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Chapter 4: Ants Crawling into the Heart (Part 2)
The next day, I went to the bank to withdraw the money.
Other than the fifty thousand yuan that I had to pay Wang Tianlin, I withdrew another ten thousand to buy a television, tables and chairs etc. As the transport in Haidao is inconvenient, big items will often take around ten days to half a month to be delivered. I’d rather have them early than late. At most I can find somewhere to place them first. If I get them late, the goods may not even be delivered by the time the inn officially opens for business.
Despite knowing that the residents on the island weren’t greedy and that the island was safe, there was still sixty thousand yuan* in my bag. I was very careful and deliberately held the bag tightly to my chest, squeezing it under my arm.
[t/n: For your understanding, US$1 = 6.49 Chinese Yuan]
Passing by the bustling market, I lifted my head as my gaze followed Mazu street along the meandering mountain path. Thinking that I was about to reach home, I slightly let down my guard.
For various reasons, the old streets of Hai Dao have undergone countless reconstructions. By the time the government had realised the need for preservation, only Mazu Street, which was the most remote, and Denglong Street, which was the street at the harbour where all the tourists gathered, was left. The old streets were too narrow for cars to drive through. Both sides of the streets were local mansions. Except for the small shop selling some cigarettes, alcohol and snacks, there weren’t any other businesses selling anything — it’s very quiet.
As it was work hours, there was no one on the street. I walked along the uneven stone path in the middle. A motorbike came towards me. There were two men seated on it — both their faces were covered by the helmet.
I moved to the side to make way but the motorbike drove towards me directly instead. When we were about to pass each other, the man seated behind reached out his hand to grab my bag. With the roar of the engine, the motorbike suddenly sped up and dashed forward. I instinctively grabbed onto my bag and didn’t let go. However, my strength wasn’t enough to fight against the power of the motorbike. I immediately fell onto the ground while getting dragged along with it.
The thin dress I wore didn’t provide any protection. Being dragged across the rough stone path at a fast speed brought pain throughout my entire body, yet my mind was still focused on that sixty thousand yuan. I held tightly onto the bag and refused to let go. The man seated at the back of the motorbike murmured some vulgar words, before taking out a knife and cutting the straps of the bag. As the motorbike shook, the sharp blade of the knife slashed my hand. Due to the sharp pain, my hand finally let go of the bag and my entire body fell onto the ground. I wasn’t sure whether it was the dust or the blood that got in my eyes, but I was in so much pain that I couldn’t see clearly. I could only hear the sound of the motorbike going further away and then disappearing.
After encountering the motorbike and getting robbed, in less than two to three minutes, Mazu street returned to its quiet and peaceful state, as if nothing had happened. Yet, I’ve just visited hell.
With much effort, I stood up. One of my shoes was missing and the skin on my legs scraped off — they were covered in blood. The blood on the back of my hand dripped. I felt that my vision was getting blurry since I couldn’t see the road clearly at all. I tried to rub my eyes with my hand but I ended up making it worse as I got blood and dirt on my face.
I wanted to call the police but my phone was in the bag that got snatched earlier. Roughly making out the direction to go home, I walked, trembling as I shouted, “Is anyone there? Is anyone…”
My whole body was in pain as I shouted with all my might, hoping that someone would help me. But either my voice was too hoarse or there was no one around because nobody came. At that moment, even though I was walking under the bright sunlight, I felt that I was in a dark and desperate world.
No one will help me. All I have is myself.
Since no one heard me before, I decided to stop shouting. As I was reaching the limits of despair, I felt at ease instead. Fear was useless, and so was crying. Just like when I was younger, the only way forward was to grit my teeth and move on. Back then, I firmly believed that I would grow up. Now, I firmly believe that I will make it back home.
Because I couldn’t see the road clearly, I could only act like a blind man, with both hands stretched out, trying to figure out each step as I walked forward. Each step I took was like I was walking on sharp blades.
Suddenly, a cold hand grabbed me and like a frightened little animal, I abruptly retracted. Then I immediately heard Wu Julan’s voice, “It’s me!”
Accompanying his voice, he tightly held onto my hands and didn’t let me break away. His hands were undoubtedly cold, not even slightly close to being warm. But at this moment, they felt like the warmest place in the universe.
I tightly grabbed his hand, scared that he might disappear. I slightly raised my voice. He somewhat understood my fear and said, “I’m here. I won’t leave.”
I slowly calmed down, feeling a little embarrassed, I covered it in with my hoarse voice and said. “I was robbed. Quickly call the police. I’m also injured so I probably need to go to the hospital.”
Wu Julan said, “I can see your injuries. Don’t worry. Only the cut on the back of your right hand is serious. For the other injuries, even if they may look terrifying, they’re only scratches.”
I said, “I don’t know what happened to my eyes. I can’t see well.”
“It’s alright. It’s just dust. You’ll regain your vision after washing it with clean water.” Wu Julan said gently, “You’ve got injuries on your hand. Loosen your grip. Don’t use too much force.”
I loosened a little and Wu Julan immediately removed both his hands. I nervously shouted, “Wu Julan!”
Only hearing a ripping sound, Wu Julan used a cloth to tightly wrap around my arm and explained, “It’s to stop the bleeding.”
Amidst my shrieks, Wu Julan carried me up, took big steps forward, “Let’s go to the hospital.”
Earlier on, I was making my lonely way over, solely based on my perseverance and courage. Now that I have someone to rely on, I let down my guard completely. Only then did I feel scared, with my limbs weak and my entire body was trembling. I gave in and leaned my head against Wu Julan’s shoulder, shrinking my body in his arms.
Although I couldn’t see anything clearly and my entire body was in pain, I could clearly feel the sun shining on my body. Right now, it was the warmest and brightest daylight.
When passing by the small shop along the streets, a few elderly who were sitting in front of the shop and playing chess saw my frightened expression. They raised their voices in shock, and eagerly helped to hail a taxi and call the police.
After getting in the taxi, Wu Julan lifted my arm that was injured, “It’s to slow down the bleeding.”
I laughed, “ I guessed so. I’ve seen it on TV.” I touched the bandage that was on my arm, “Where did you get the cloth from? You didn’t tear it from your clothes, did you? That would be a little old-fashioned.”
“You guessed that right. Do you like to watch TV shows and movies?” Wu Julan probably considered that since I couldn’t see and wanted to assure me so he spoke a little more than usual.
“I don’t know whether I like them or if it’s just a habit. As far as I can recall, my parents have always been fighting and didn’t have time to take care of me, so I could only watch the TV quietly. Later, when I was living with my step-father and step-mother, I didn’t want to cause trouble. So whenever they went on a vacation, I would stay at home, watching TV. And even later on, I realised that the TV wasn’t only a suitable form of entertainment for a person, but it was also free, so it’s the best choice for a frugal person like me.” From Hong Kong’s TVB dramas, to home-produced dramas, Korean dramas, then afterwards were American dramas, Thai dramas… Although some may look down on such a boring way to pastime, to me, these TV shows have almost accompanied me throughout my years as I grew up. Within these dramatic plotlines, there were people with sinister thoughts, betrayal and evil schemes, but there were also warm kinships, romantic love and passionate friendship.
I smiled as I said, “When I was younger, my classmates always admired that I had no adults supervising me and was able to watch the TV that only the adults could watch. In fact, I was the first person in class to watch a kiss between a man and a woman, people rolling on the bed…”
Uh, I think I lost my composure… I immediately added, “Not porn, they were just the kind of passionate kisses between the male and female leads, pretending that they were going to do something but in fact the scene was quickly changed, merely hinting the audience that they were going to…”
I felt that the more I said something, the more wrong it sounded so I stopped talking.
We weren’t expecting to do a release for this novel this week but we somehow got it ready over the weekend and decided why not just release a part this week. Haha. Hope you’ve enjoyed it~
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