• Natasha

CALAMITY Chapter 15 - Abyss

Aktualisiert: 3. Feb. 2021

 



Finally, after two excruciating hours of doing nothing except worrying and ignoring the lecture, the chime that rang in lunchtime sounded out. Xie Lian basically erupted from his seat and rushed out the auditorium before anybody else, attracting quite a few startled pairs of eyes. Xie Lian didn’t notice, and even if he had, he couldn’t have cared less; he wanted to find San Lang, immediately.


Xie Lian walked towards the cafeteria in long strides, actually in front of the tidal wave of students that would follow soon enough. Once in the cafeteria, he headed straight for a table in the middle, from where he would be able to overlook the two entrances to the hall at once. There he waited, chin resting on his hands, unblinking eyes capturing every person from the crowd that now increasingly flowed into the room.


The people streamed inside incessantly, and in front of Xie Lian’s stare, turned into a blur of colors, smells and noises, more and more indiscernible from one another. As the minutes went on, Xie Lian felt like his brain was about to shut down from concentrating so hard… but he persisted, shaking his head, blinking a few times and then keeping on staring. But even after twenty, thirty minutes passed, there was no trace of San Lang.


Just then, Xie Lian finally spotted a familiar figure; from the crowd, a completely beat-down looking Shi Qingxuan emerged, looking around the room under furrowed brows and heavy eyelids. When she found Xie Lian, her expression lit up a little and she trotted over to his table. With a very loud sigh, she let herself fall into the chair opposite from him, immediately slumping forward and leaning her forehead against her hand. With an exhausted voice, she started sighing and wailing: „Oh my god, I swear my professors will drive me to my death. You’d think they’re fleas with the way they won’t get off my fucking back, aaahhhh… On top of it, I’ve got the worst fucking hangover, and I didn’t even drink that much, did I?? I’m getting old, I swear, these deadlines are giving me grey hair, no really, I found one on the back of my head this morning. I was so shocked, I asked He Xuan, could it be I’ve been drinking too much? No way, right? But do you know what He Xuan said?? She— Xie Lian, are you listening to me?“


A puzzled expression formed on Shi Qingxuan’s face as she stopped her monologue. Since the moment she had sat down at the table, Xie Lian had barely acknowledged her presence, eyes locked in iron fixation on the two entrances to the busy hall. When he didn’t answer even after seconds had passed, it dawned on Shi Qingxuan who he was waiting for. Just as she was about to tease him with a smirk on her face, Xie Lian abruptly stood up, startling Shi Qingxuan. She could only ask: „H-hey, where are you going??“, before Xie Lian already rushed away from the table. Hearing her question, he only stopped briefly and said, slightly apologetic: „I’m not hungry. I’m sorry Shi Qingxuan, I’ll be right back!“ and then, without another word, he disappeared from her sight.



After several minutes of navigating through the myriad of campus hallways, crossroads and stairwells, Xie Lian finally ended up at his goal, albeit with a face flushed from exertion: The humanities department. Despite it being lunchtime, there were still a number of students in the seminar rooms, bent over textbooks or computer screens, not pausing their studies for even a minute. Finals had everybody in a deadlock, robbing people of sleep and sufficient rest.


Xie Lian assumed that San Lang must be one of those hard-working students, that he didn’t even take a break to eat lunch at the cafeteria. If that was the case, Xie Lian would just briefly pay him a visit to make sure he took good enough care of himself, and encourage him.


Finally, after having followed small signs and even smaller arrows, he entered a hallway where the Psychology students most often had their classes.

Shyly peeking into the hushed rooms, Xie Lian looked for a glimpse of San Lang’s wine-red bomber jacket or his wild, jet-black hair… yet found nothing. One after another, he checked off all the classrooms, without success. Finally, with no choice left, he gathered all his courage and spoke out to a male student who just left one of the classrooms.


„E-excuse me, may I ask if you are majoring in Psychology?“, he asked with a lowered voice, not wanting to disturb the other people diligently studying inside.


The student didn’t look bothered at being addressed and responded straight-forwardly: „I am, how can I help you?“


Xie Lian was relieved that he had encountered a friendly person, and smiled: „I’m looking for a student called San Lang, he’s a sophomore, do you perhaps know him?“


At his question, a contemplative air befell the male, and he pinched his chin as he pondered. „San Lang… I’ve never heard that name before. Are you sure he’s a sophomore studying Psychology? He should be in my class then…“


Xie Lian’s face dropped, and confusion befell him. „Are you sure? I know he wouldn’t lie about this!“


The student’s expression turned apologetic. „I’m sorry, but I would know; I’m class representative. Especially with a weird— ahem, unique name like that, I would recall it belonging to a student in my class.“


Xie Lian’s head fell as thoughts started racing in his head. This person seemed honest, but… he also trusted San Lang. He was sure he wouldn’t deceive him. So… maybe… it was the name that didn’t fit?


Just as he looked up again and wanted to describe San Lang’s appearance to the class representative, the bell ringing in next period sounded out, making him freeze on the spot. Lunchtime was already over?? How was a period of lunch over so fast, when one hour of class felt like excruciating eternity??? The male student’s head also perked up, then he took a hasty glance at his wristwatch. Brows wrinkling, he quickly said: „Student, I’m really sorry, but I have to leave for my next class. If you have any more questions, you can come back later, okay?“


Xie Lian first opened his mouth to say something, but then took himself back, and bowed slightly in appreciation. „Thank you for your help!“, he said warmly. The class representative nodded, then hurried off down the hallway.


Xie Lian stood still for a moment longer, lost in deep thought. He couldn’t deny that he was in turmoil a bit: Something was going on. Something was strange. Even if San Lang wasn’t San Lang’s real name, something else… there was something hidden in the darkness, Xie Lian felt deep in his heart. This feeling was chilling, as if something spiky, cold and foreboding crawled under his skin, gnawing at him and not letting go.


But for now, he had no way to pursue the matter further… he didn’t find San Lang, and he too needed to get back to class. He would’ve loved nothing more than to skip and keep looking for San Lang, but he was already treading on thin ice in regards to attendance… so he as well hastened his step and headed back to his department.





Three gruelling afternoon classes went by with glacial slowness. Finally, the chime rang with deliverance, releasing the exhausted students from their day. But this time, Xie Lian didn’t rush out… in fact, he wasn’t quite sure what to do or where to go. He stared down at his hesitant hands, his classmates rushing past him to go outside.

Xie Lian recognized their faces, but only knew a handful of last names, and wasn’t close to anybody. All his years of invisibility and social abstinence resulted in him being completely isolated from everybody else. He had no friends, except for Shi Qingxuan. He didn’t really mind this, he had been most comfortable alone… but now that he had gotten a taste of how wonderful friendship and affection could be, he regretted not being more open. Of course he had his reasons, but now, although he had changed, he felt like it was already far too late to initiate some kind of camaraderie with his classmates… he was already labeled the weirdo, the loner, the mute. Xie Lian could only sigh and accept the fruits of his own actions.


The thing with San Lang still weighed on his mind, but stronger still was his belief and his trust in him. He would tell him in time, he was sure.

With that conviction, Xie Lian also followed the other students and trotted out the auditorium. He let himself be swept up by the stream of people, all the way through the exit gate and onto the expansive, paved forecourt in front of the university. There, the crowd dissipated and walked off into all directions. Xie Lian slowed his steps in hesitation; he still felt the need to stay. He told himself if Shi Qingxuan came out before he saw San Lang, he would go home with her. But otherwise… he would wait.


He found a circle-shaped bench around a willow tree a bit outside the busiest area, where he sat down. Although it was a bit ill-mannered, he pulled his knees up to his chin and put his feet up on the bench as well. It was still winter after all, and the evening air was getting colder. And after San Lang had told him to keep warm so many times, he now made sure he did. He didn’t want to worry him anymore.


Minutes passed, and the crowd hardly thinned. The university was big, hence, there were a lot of people. A lot. Of people. Xie Lian’s nose was starting to get cold and turn red, when suddenly, he saw a flash of red in the crowd. It stood out because most winter jackets were black or a shade of brown, including his own… this was the first red he saw. His heart jumping in his chest, he unfolded his legs and stood up. He actually ran forward, determined to catch up to this person, hoping it was the one he had been waiting for.


Entering the crowd, Xie Lian disregarded niceties and started pushing and shoving his way towards the glimpses of red. He earned dissatisfied looks and tongue-clicks, but he put up with them; he knew they were justified. But he’d have no chance otherwise to transport his small frame through the tightly-knit bodies of students than with a little force.


Finally, hair a bit loose and frizzy, he reached the red; but immediately recognized that his struggle had been for naught. It wasn’t a bomber jacket he had been chasing, but a long padded coat, which belonged to somebody who looked far from San Lang’s likeliness. Immediately, Xie Lian’s expectant expression fell from his face in disappointment. He retracted his outstretched hand and turned to push back through the way he had come.


Head lowered, he squeezed through the people once again… but this time, he had made a miscalculation.


Everybody in this crowd was a tired student, just wanting to go home after a long and strenuous day of studying. The fact that finals were fast approaching added another layer of stress, and everybody was unusually tense and impatient. Tolerance for disruptions and annoyances were at an all-time low. Which is why, when Xie Lian chose to go back the same direction he had come from, the people who had already witnessed his act of discourtesy had to suffer from it not once, but twice. And that was once too much for some people.


As Xie Lian pushed past a group of guys, he didn’t notice how they angrily muttered amongst themselves, how furrowed their brows and how clenched their fists were. Just as he wanted to walk past, he heard a curse, and then a voice spitting: „Hey fucker, what’s your problem??“

Xie Lian flinched and abruptly stopped his steps. His blood froze when he sensed that there was anger directed at him. Quickly, he turned around to face the source, and hopefully quench the flames before they turned into fire.


The group consisted of around six tall males, all looking infinitely annoyed and confrontational. Their body language intimidating, some flashing their teeth while chewing gum, they made Xie Lian immediately shrink into himself, like a deer in the headlights. He cursed his luck… these were the kinds of people he had no chance of dealing with.


Still, he had to try. Chaste, he folded his hands in front of him and bowed deep. Trying to control his shaking voice, he said: „My deepest apologies for offending my fellow students. I regret having caused discomfort and having acted with such carelessness and rudeness. I pray my fellow students will forgive this one for crossing the line… I am very sorry.“ Xie Lian didn’t dare look up, hoping to god the group was tired enough to just let him go and go home. Just go home, he prayed.


But his luck really was too bad: It seemed the males were not only stressed, but in desperate need of blowing off steam to make themselves feel better. They sensed that they had a perfect victim in their midst, a punching bag to take their own blown-up dissatisfaction.

Invisible to Xie Lian, the apparent leader of the group smirked at his words and spit out his gum to the ground. They didn’t seem to care that they were now blocking the stream of people, posing a far greater inconvenience than Xie Lian had ever. Some people had even stopped to watch the circle, sensing a show.


Xie Lian was still stuck in his position, cold sweat starting to form on his forehead. He felt like this wasn’t going to end well, and debated if he should just run away while he still could. But in that moment, he heard the leader sneer: „So you think in this society, you can just apologize and people will let you off the hook? No no, my dear fellow student! That’s not how this world works! If you do something wrong, it’s natural that you have to pay for your sins. Or do you think you can pay everything with that pretty mouth of yours, huh??“ Before Xie Lian could react, he suddenly felt himself be flung backwards by a strong push against his bent-over shoulders. He didn’t have time to process anything; he just felt himself crash into the back of another person walking by, making them stumble and grunt with hurt. Xie Lian himself felt a bolt of pain in his back, then tumbled backwards to the ground.


Some spectators gasped at the sudden action, but made no move to help Xie Lian up. Xie Lian was stunned, his eyes wide… but still, they were averted from the now cackling group of men. For a brief moment, he just sat on the ground in disbelief, wondering how this happened to him.

Yet he couldn’t bring himself to be angry. Somehow, he felt like this was his natural place to be. And he still felt the need to apologize to the person who he collided with, even though none of it was his fault.


Slowly, carefully, Xie Lian stood up… then scratched the back of his head in embarrassment. As he turned to the afflicted person, he said: „I’m very sorry, are you alright? I hope you’re not hurt anywh—“ the rest of his words immediately got stuck in his throat. As he made eye-contact with the other person, he felt the blood drain from his face and his hands start shaking with dismay. All the thoughts he previously had got flung into an endlessly dark abyss as he recognized the face.


Lips trembling, he uttered the name he so desperately never wanted to say again. „Q-Qi Rong?“


Qi Rong’s face had worn an equally stunned expression… but only a second later, it was replaced by raging, uninhibited hatred. His brows furrowed with contempt, a grin seething with killing intent split his features, making his face distort into a disturbing grimace of cruelty. Through clenched teeth he started speaking, words soaking with venom.


„Well well well, who have we here. A bitch who keeps making my life more miserable than it needs to be. Tell me, dear COUSIN“ -Qi Rong spat the word out- „why do you bother to keep living a life this fucking pathetic and useless?! Just to torture other people with your existence?? You’re such a fucking pain in the ass!!!“ Qi Rong was shouting his insults into the air without restraint, unknowingly reflecting the sentiments of the gathering crowd around them. Xie Lian’s image was already tarnished, and at Qi Rong’s words, it only went from bad to worse. Xie Lian was like a puppet on display, its empty shell getting defiled and filled with derogatory whispers:


„I knew there was something up with him, the way he just pushed through the crowd without decency or respect. Really, how rude??“


„Yeah yeah, I hear he’s always been a weirdo, never speaking to anybody, and not having any friends and stuff. Probably was for good reason lol.“


„Honestly I always thought he was super creepy, he never smiled or anything. Who knows what he was thinking…“


„Maybe he’s a sociopath, I hear people like that just don’t feel anything. Like he doesn’t care about anything or anybody and ended up all alone. That would actually pretty sad.“


„What the hell, I think people like that belong in the nuthouse.“


And so, while Xie Lian stood helplessly in the middle, people said anything they wanted about him behind the back of their hands, creating their own Xie Lian from rumors and fiction. And Xie Lian stood frozen, not being able to do a thing to stop it. His mouth was immobile, barely a breath escaping his throat as horror enveloped him. How did this happen… how was his fortune this merciless… no, he didn’t want this, no, stop talking, please, stop talking… stop talking!!


Xie Lian’s whole body was trembling. His entire mind was painted black as memories, triggered by the unbearable voice in front of him, flooded his consciousness and retold events from a time so dark, it made all hope and joy disappear. Xie Lian struggled against it, desperate to ignore the memories and keep his grip on reality. His breath quickened.


Finally, with great effort, he managed to force a question out of his constricted chest: „Wh-what do you want?“ His voice was small and more fearful than confrontational.


The question made Qi Rong scoff with condescendence. „Do you think I came here to see you? Get off your narcissistic ass, who in the fuck would ever wanna see you by choice!!“ Qi Rong spat on the floor. Xie Lian felt frost pull over his heart.

Qi Rong turned around and faced into the direction of the university. „I’m here for Hua Cheng. Lucky for you, he’s the one person I hate more than you. The motherfucker better be ready to get his head smashed in a hundred million fucking times for what he did to my face!!!“


Only then did Xie Lian notice that there was a scar running across the bridge of Qi Rong’s frustratingly tall and slender nose. For the first time since the start of this situation, Xie Lian felt his mood lighten just a bit. Inwardly, he praised this Hua Cheng to the gods and heavens for administrating justice.

He was actually so delighted that he blurted out: „Who is this Hua Cheng person?“


Qi Rong’s head turned back to face Xie Lian, brow twitching with irritation. „What’s it to you?! Don’t push your luck, bitch! He’s my fucking bandmate, and… actually, wait a minute. What the fuck?? Is your head broken?! Didn’t he ruin our show because he ran after you into the forest??!“


Xie Lian was puzzled at first and couldn’t make sense of Qi Rong’s words… but then, realization dawned on him. Eyes widening and mouth falling open, he processed what he just heard and stuttered: „Y-you mean… San Lang? Hua Cheng?? What— what? Qi Rong, you are in CALAMITY????“


Qi Rong’s expression also changed… but not in a good way. „Ah that’s right, He Xuan told me. San Lang, huh? What a retarded name!! Speaks for his rotten brain! Well guess what, Xie Lian; your saving grace lied to you, he fucking lied!! His name is Hua Cheng!!! How’s it feel?!“


Xie Lian was surprised. He didn’t even blink before he responded:


„It doesn’t matter what his name is. He told me his name was San Lang, so to me, it’s San Lang. I like it. It’s cute. It’s definitely better than yours.“


The crowd fell silent in surprise.


Xie Lian was stunned at his own response. He didn’t know where the courage to retort came from, nor how this lightness that suddenly lifted his spirits emerged. When he thought about it, it was relief he felt: Relief to have found the source of his confusion to be this trivial and insignificant. When he thought of San Lang, he naturally didn’t think about his name; he thought about his heart and spirit. So to him, it didn’t really matter what he called himself. When he remembered the scenario in the morning with the female students… he now thought that San Lang must’ve been embarrassed to hear his real name be called in front of him. Xie Lian couldn’t help but smile; San Lang really was too cute.


But Qi Rong didn’t smile. Quite the opposite. His face went pale with fury at Xie Lian’s jab. He, Qi Rong, would stand to be insulted by his vermin cousin?? Never in his life. Never!!!


He clenched his hands into fists, brows furrowed so steeply, he looked akin to a hateful, ugly demon. When he opened his mouth, he sounded exactly like one, too. „What the fuck did you say?! Somebody is tired of living, I see!!!“


Xie Lian swallowed, immediately regretting his uncharacteristically aggressive answer. As expected, it only fanned the flames, making Qi Rong erupt into more profanities and harsher insults. His eyes almost seemed like they were burning with green, vile fire.


„Xie Lian, don’t you think I forgot that you ruined our show just as much as Hua fucking Cheng. You just had to be the dramatic bitch that stole the spotlight. You just had to be the damsel in distress, crying in self-pity while destroying other people’s lives. God damn it!!!! If you’re so fucking depressed, why didn’t you go all the fucking way??!! Nobody’s gonna fucking miss you!!!“


Under Qi Rong’s merciless onslaught, Xie Lian’s blood drained from his face with every word. No matter how hard he tried, no coherent sentence of defense could form in his head before it was shattered by a stabbing attack. He felt his body get colder and colder.


Qi Rong cackled without mirth or amusement. „I’m not gonna lie though, you and Hua Cheng that manwhore make a good match, just like piss and shit complete each other as the most disgusting filth on this earth. Truly, a match made in heaven!! The sooner y’all go up there, the better!!!“


Xie Lian’s breath hitched. All of a sudden, he felt like his entire body ruptured into two. He could stand being insulted, even wished death upon; things like that, he was already well acquainted with. But against San Lang, he could not tolerate the same treatment. It felt like his heart was being stomped all over, crushed and spat on. He couldn’t stand it.

Heat suddenly rushed up from his chest, setting his nerves on fire. The warmth animated him and made him wake up. Xie Lian finally furrowed his brows as well, and responded very clearly:


„Qi Rong, you know as well as I do that San Lang saved my life. I’m sorry that my actions ruined your show, I regret it a lot. But I’m happy to be alive. So don’t insult San Lang like that, he did the right thing. If you gotta blame somebody, blame me. But leave San Lang alone.“


Qi Rong’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets with fury. His jaw was so clenched, it was shaking, and it looked like foam was building at the corner of his mouth. His lips trembled, and then with great tremors, opened to sputter a curse-filled response.


„Don’t think you can get involved in our fucking business just because you’re sucking Hua Cheng’s dick now, you fucker. He is scum because I say he is; if I want to bash his fucking head in I’ll do so, and there’s nothing you’re gonna do to stop me!! That’s our fucking business! You gotta respect your elders and pay for your sins when you don’t! Isn’t that right, Xie Lian???!“


Xie Lian felt like he was whipped in the face when he realized what Qi Rong implied. No. No, no, no, no, don’t go down that road, don’t—


But it was too late. Qi Rong was laughing insanely, already heated up too much to stop.


„I’d have nothing to worry about even if I did: I’d just say I killed him in self-defense!! For this trivial, little FUCKING SCRATCH!!! Works everytime, doesn’t it, COUSIN??!!!“ As Qi Rong exploded into crazed shouts, he pushed his head closer to Xie Lian’s deathly pale face, flinging droplets of saliva onto his desaturated complexion.


The situation suddenly seemed out of control. Qi Rong was too noticeable of a character, and his vulgar insults had already drawn a big crowd. The people were whispering to each other in the comfort of anonymity, threading together stories with assumptions and hear-says. Everybody was drawn to the green-haired man’s words and how they affected the completely mute and trembling figure captured in the middle of the circle. Everybody watching was entertained more than involved, observing as if they were completely detached from reality. And in that complete isolation, Xie Lian silently suffered, not being able to cry or call out for help. He was utterly, entirely, alone.


Xie Lian seemed to shrink into himself, eyes growing dark and dull as unspeakable, maddening memories and emotions welled up within him. They pulled at the strings which kept his mind together, wanting to drag it deep into the lurking darkness. Everything was an incomprehensible flicker of separate words and impulses, making no sense as a whole. Through his increasingly offset vision, Xie Lian saw the ground start to spin. He blinked a few times, but he couldn’t make it stop moving. Finally, he staggered, and left with no other defense, shut his eyes and pressed his hands against his temples. In his dimming mind he screamed: Go away, go away, go away, go away, go away, no, no, stop, STOP!!! STOP!!!!! FUCKING STOP IT!!!! GO AWAY!!!!


The spectators watched his actions with scrutiny, some actually retreating a step thinking he was about to lose it.


All Qi Rong did was laugh with blood-curdling cruelty, before he sneered and grabbed a handful of Xie Lian’s hair. He pulled, making Xie Lian cry out with pain. He opened his eyes in shock and was forced to grab at Qi Rong’s wrist, trying to get him to unhand him, but the more he pulled, the more he felt the painful tug on his scalp. He eventually had to stop resisting, as he had no power left to even kick or scream. He had no choice but to endure, he thought, taking the beating until everybody got their fill and would leave. Until then, he had to endure… it was the last thing he could do besides begging for forgiveness.


But of course, Qi Rong wouldn’t just let him simply endure, no matter how excruciating the torment already was. Tightening his grip on Xie Lian’s hair, he shook a few times, making tears of agony finally run down Xie Lian’s face. Seeing this, Qi Rong threw his head back with shrill laughter. With inhuman hatred, Qi Rong then hissed: „You’re crying? You dare cry, you motherfucker??! After everything you’ve done, you still have the nerve to cry??!! You feel pain?? Well guess what your parents felt as they bled out on the cold, hard floor!!!! YOU DARE FUCKING CRY AFTER YOU SLAUGHTERED YOUR PARENTS WITH YOUR OWN FUCKING HANDS????!!!“ With that last skin-crawling exclamation, he took a step forward and flung Xie Lian to the ground head-first.


Xie Lian, in his turmoil, had no chance to react in time. Although his shoulder hit the pavement first, his neck snapped back at the impact and made the back of his head collide with the hard ground. With a flash of pain, metallic ringing started filling his ears, and the taste of blood slowly spread on his tongue. His vision had gone completely black for a second, and now, sickening vertigo completely petrified his shaking body. In addition to everything else, a dull pain spread from the left side of his chest, immobilizing him.

Xie Lian breathed arduously through his open mouth, as his limbs curled up in an attempt to suppress the nausea, pain… and overpowering panic. His body was in great pain, but more than that, the net that enveloped his mind, making up his sanity, slowly started to unravel bit by bit.


Lying on the ground, now rolled onto his back, he could see the circle of dark silhouettes towering over him, staring down at him with apathetic expressions, growing into the sky, blocking out the remaining light, melting together, then crashing in on him from above with disdainful snickers and hateful curses. Through his ringing ears, Xie Lian was able to hear one voice say half-laughing: „Shit, he offed his own parents? How can he bear to live? He isn’t even human!“

Another responded: „He should be locked up, not walking free around in society damn, are we sure he hasn’t killed anybody in uni yet? Who knows what he’s gonna do…“


„He’s a monster.“


In Xie Lian’s throbbing head, he felt like he was going crazy, Qi Rong’s sickening laughter reverberating and eating up his remaining rationale.

With all the evil in the world, Qi Rong said: „You’re a fucking psychopath, and nobody wants you. See, everybody thinks the same:

You’re better off dead.“


Like frost on a window, red slowly enclosed itself around Xie Lian’s vision, growing deeper, stronger, until it was all that Xie Lian could see.

Finally, there was only crimson.

And he tipped over the edge, plummeting deep, deep into the dark abyss.


Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Screaming. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Blood. Red everywhere. Red stains. Carpet, floor, wall, bottle, hair, face, hands, lips. Metallic taste. Red, red, red everywhere. Red eyes, red vision. More red, expanding, growing, incessant. Hands… glass bottle. Body. Silence. No, no, no, no, no, no please no. NO!!! DON’T THINK ABOUT IT AAAH NO MOM MOM NO MOM I FUCKING HATE YOU!!!!! WHY why why why did you try to kill me why why I tried so hard I loved you I hated you I HATED YOU SO FUCKING MUCH WHY WERE YOU SO SAD SO DISAPPOINTED I TRIED SO FUCKING HARD WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY AAAAAHHH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH WHY WAS I BORN YOU FUCKING BITCH THIS IS HELL THIS IS HELL THIS IS HELL THIS IS HELL!!!!!!!! It hurts!!!! It hurts it hurts so much ahhh help me it hurts I don’t want to exist it hurts so fucking much it hurts it hurts it hurts…


I WANT TO DISAPPEAR PLEASE SOMEBODY MAKE ME DISAPPEAR IT HURTS SO MUCH AAAAHHHH AAAAAAH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH MOM!!!!! MOM!!!!!! HELP ME!!! I’m sorry please forgive me I didn’t mean it I’m so sorry I’m so sorry I’m sorry I wanna go back, I wanna— ugh shut up, shut up, stop talking!! STOP FUCKING TALKING!!!!!! I HOPE YOU DIE!!! QI RONG, AND ALL OF YOU— I HOPE YOU DIE!!!!! UGH MY CHEST— it hurts, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, somebody help me, I can’t breathe… ah ah ah, aaahh, ahhahaha, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!


Ugh…uuuuhh, uhhh hh uuuuhh…


Save me… save me, please…


San Lang… save me….






„GEGE!!!!!!!“ A panicked voice boomed out over the forecourt, silencing the shouts and clamors from within the suddenly frantic group.

A tall, raven-haired man pushed away the people blocking his way to the middle of the crowd. There, his one red eye widened as he saw the situation.


Qi Rong was writhing and thrashing on the ground, breathing in laboriously and gasping for air while clutching at his throat. People were gathered around him with shocked and worried faces. Hua Cheng whipped around to face the other side… and felt his heart stop. Immediately, his vision flickered with black and red, and a bout of dizziness overcame him.


There, on the cold ground, he saw Xie Lian being held down by several people, head pressed to the floor, while an expression distorted in pain rested on his face. Immediately, one could see that something was wrong; although one arm was twisted onto his back and held in place, his other was desperately grasping at his chest, as though he wanted to dig through his skin and claw at his heart. Despite being held down to the ground, visible spasms coursed through his body, and with each jolt, his eyes rolled back further in their sockets.


It obvious to anybody that he was having a heart attack.




—TO BE CONTINUED—





Bonus sketch:








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