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Friday, February 27, 2009

Joy of Life: Volume 1 Chapter 5

Volume One: The City by the Sea
-- written by Maoni


Chapter 5: Staggering Pillow

Although Fan Xian had the body of a four-year-old, inside he had the soul of a mature person. The bloodshed and massacre on his first day in this world left deep imprints in his mind. For that reason, he always felt a sense of unease in his heart, knowing that his mysterious pedigree would one day bring serious trouble to him.
Trouble had finally found him today.
Since his sneak attack ended in vain, it was no good to repeat the old trick. While sobbing pitifully with the intent to baffle the late night visitor, Fan Xian worked his brain hard for a method of escape.
“If I cry for help, the man would surely kill me in no time. But the visitor is not moving. He must be really confused when I randomly called him ‘Daddy’,” he thought to himself.
“Daddy, Daddy…,” he immediately cried out, taking full advantage of his very young age.
“Stop pretending, Young Master Fan,” the man said in an indifferent tone. “You are really smart. Even at such a young age, you already know how to protect yourself. But you probably also know very well that I am not the Count, his Excellency.”
After these words, the man tightened his grip of the dagger and then approached forward toward the four-year-old Fan Xian.
Fan Xian kept the innocent look and teams streamed down his face, but he felt a strong throb in his chest.
“Then who are you, uncle?” he said with a sob.
“Your father sent me to check on you. So don’t scream, okay?”
The late night visitor’s two eyes both had small tints of brown and looked somewhat ugly. The crinkles by the corners of his eyes clearly gave away his age. The tone of his words directly reminded Fan Xian of a pervert grandpa who invites little girls to go watch goldfish with him[1].
Fan Xian did not reveal any of those thoughts and still put out a flawless act of a four-year-old kid, showing a bit of fright, a bit of surprise, and a little annoyance.
“You are not Daddy!”
Then as though he had not seen the dagger in the man’s hand, he turned his tiny buttocks and climbed up the big bed.
“I don’t even know what Daddy looks like,” he muttered.
The man walked toward the bedside with a sinister smile. All of a sudden, the little boy on the bed turned his head around and gazed in the direction behind the man with sheer joy. “Mommy!” he called out.
……
……
This was a very clumsy attempt to trick someone. If it were done by any other person, the man would not have fallen for it. He was, after all, a great master who owned an entire laboratory in the Capital City.
However, since it was done by a four-year-old boy, the man simply believed in him, and as soon as he heard Fan Xian’s calling for Mommy, his eyes opened wide in shock, and he jerked his head around and looked over his shoulder.
Naturally, behind him were only the tightly-shut door and the dense shade of the night.
“Wham!” a brittle cracking sound suddenly resonated in the bedroom. The late night visitor collapsed to the floor, blood all over his head.
Holding the remaining half of the porcelain “pillow” in his hands, Fan Xian looked at the man lying on the floor, heart still fluttering with fear. He felt the weight of the remaining “pillow” and then clenched his teeth. Raising his arms high, he swung the porcelain headrest at the back of the man’s head with all his might.
This time the sound was somewhat muffled because of the strength carried. Even if this late night visitor were a first-class master in martial arts, this staggering “pillow” blow would have kept him unconscious for a good while.
……
……
“Is everything alright?” The servant girl’s voice arose from the outside.
“Everything is fine, Sis! I broke a tea cup. You can clean it up tomorrow.”
“I better clean it up today. You might step on the broken pieces and hurt your feet.”
“You can do it tomorrow!”
When the servant girl recognized the unusual bad temper in the voice of the always gentle and lovely Young Master, she held her tongue and said nothing.
Fang Xian walked by the closet and pulled out a quilt used in the winter. Holding tight onto the quilt cover, he ripped hard and made himself some cloth strips. Twisting the cloth strips together, he tied up the unconscious man on the floor firmly. Only by then, he noticed that the clothes on his back had been soaked by cold sweat.
Fear quickly welled up in his heart – both in his previous life and the present life, this was the first time he ever tried to kill someone, even though he was still unsure if he did kill the man or not.
“That was too risky,” he thought, “if the man was indeed a Kung Fu master, my first strike would for sure have gotten me killed.”
He reached underneath the cloth mask of the man and felt. The man was still breathing. For some unknown reason, Fan Xian suddenly felt a strong urge to kill the man. A cold shudder awoke him. He suddenly realized that ever since his rebirth, he seemed to have morphed into someone much more firm and resolute. He didn’t even hesitate for a second when he ruthlessly attacked the man.
He didn’t realize that deep inside the heart of the child named Fan Xian, he considered himself as someone who had already died once. Therefore, the new life in this world was especially precious to him, and he would not allow anyone to take it away from him.
As the old saying goes, “You never know what you have until you lose it.” The truth was just that simple.
Fan Xian held the dagger in his hand and pondered over and over. In the end he still couldn’t make himself kill the unconscious man on the floor. Suddenly he thought of someone and a smile crept up his face. Silently pushing the door open, he ran to the back court and crawled out from a hole in the wall used by dogs to get in and out. Soon he was standing outside of the small grocery store on the street corner right across from the Count’s Manor.
……
……
“Thump! Thump!” he gently knocked on the door of the small grocery store. The sounds were very light and didn’t travel far even in the quiet night of Port Danzhou. But Fan Xian knew that the man inside would hear the knock with no problem. Even though the man always pretended to not know him for the last four years, at the critical moment, this man was the only person in this world Fan Xian could trust.
“Who is it?”
A flat, emotionless voice came from inside the grocery store.
“He hasn’t changed at all,” Fan Xian thought, “just like that year outside of the Capital City, following a prescribed pattern in both his speaking and his acts.” He rolled his eyes and then replied softly, “I am Fan Xian.”
As expected, the wooden door of the grocery store opened quietly, and the blind youngster stood at the doorway like a ghost, which actually caught Fan Xian by surprise.
Fan Xian stared at the man who sent him to Port Danzhou and the face and the black cloth covering his eyes, which didn’t seem to have changed even the slightest bit. He couldn’t help wondering, “Doesn’t this man ever get old?”





[1] “Inviting little girls to go watch goldfish” is a popular phrase used in China to refer to pervert child molesters.


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