Chapter 3: The Night Sky (1)
He’s not sure how many laps he’s ran but he won’t stop.
It’s freeing, peaceful, and serene.
He won’t stop so long as he’s not overburdened.
He remembered the time spent in the army. He’d run three kilometers every day carrying the seabag—a heavy load on his back. Without the seabag, they’d run more or less five kilometers.
Ye Ke chuckled at the thought.
Physical fitness was surely hellish.
He passed by many shadowy figures on the playground—found that they were mostly lovers veiled under the covers of the night. They’d speak words of sweetness and some actions deemed inappropriate in public.
How naughty of them.
Ye Ke quickly passed them.
He didn’t need to see such sights.
His heart was nothing but sweet burdens of love.
He didn’t need it.
He didn’t want it.
Loving people… it’s nothing but disappointment and heartaches.
Finally, his body signaled signs of exhaustion. Ye Ke slowed down his pace and stopped near the waterfront. He walked back and forth and calmed down lest he wished to overwork his body from exhaustion.
He sat down thereafter.
He closed his eyes, emptied his heart and soul, and breathed slowly. This was his favorite pastime. He liked the feeling of every cell in his body slowly revitalize as oxygen fills up.
His eyes remained shut for a half minute before slowly opening.
“Why do you hide from me? Don’t you usually run in the front side of the playground? The school has two playgrounds. Why come here instead?”
A shapely figure came into view. She was dressed in loose fitted jeans topped with an oversized white graphic tee showing her pearly luscious arm.
She bent down besides Ye Ke. Her silky black hair shone brightly under the moonlight. She placed the palm of her hands on her chin and looked at him, a sense of complex emotion filled her core.
It’s the beautiful flower.
Her alluring fragrance hit him hard and he felt dizzy. He turned away and dared not to look straight into those starry eyes.
“It’s closer.” He blurted.
“Really? I don’t see your dormitory anywhere.” She looked at him blankly.
He was stunned, speechless even but it only egged his temper. “It’s none of your business!”
This wonderful flower… their chanced encounter was but an accident, a one in a hundred chances of knowing her.
During the first half of the semester, teachers and counselors alike warned him of his truancy. His absence placed him in danger of failing and inability to take the semester exam. Helplessly, he gathered his weary body from the dormitory and into the classroom.
But he’d not pay attention much. Physically, he was there. Mentally, he wasn’t.
One night, the lights went out.
The whole entirety of the campus grounds was dark.
The residential buildings from the outside were pure bright.
The school was unable to find the reasons why. But Ye Ke thought it a good thing. Night classes were canceled and they’d have no choice but to head back to the dormitory.
This was simply gospel news.
But much to his dismay, he was on the fifth floor and he needed to head down. The power’s out so the elevator was out of question.
He’d need to use the staircase.
Like him, many others thought the same. They pulled out their mobile phones, turned on the flashlight, and proceeded down the staircase slowly.
Ye Ke placed his hand on his trouser pockets and thought about his time spent in the army.
They tested the soldiers their time to go from the first floor to the highest floor. From the moment the whistle blew, many soldiers rushed to the finish line. Ye Ke’s record was three minutes.
A loud piercing scream caused Ye Ke to return from reality.
Many thought it’d be a plain evening but fate handed them a big fat joke.
A woman frightened to death for reasons unknown screamed and rushed forwards and thus triggering a ticking time bomb all at once.
Combined with the chaotic darkness and the woman’s ear frightening scream, the fears of many magnified infinitely.
A torrent of fear swept throughout their bodies and immediately panicked.
Many screamed and rushed desperately towards the exit, crushing many others in the process.
Others used the opportunity of fear and caused more chaos.
Ye Ke who found himself caught in the middle of the chaos stopped his advancements quickly squatted down and moved towards the corner of the wall.
It was here he met the beautiful flower.
She wasn’t so lucky.
In the moment of the torrential uproar and turmoil, she was pushed to the ground by the people behind her followed by countless footprints marked on her body.
Pain coursed all throughout her.
She could do nothing but huddle herself in a ball-like position and protect her head.
“Who the f*ck keeps stepping on people?!” Ye Ke was only a short few distances away from her and roared only for it to drown in the heat of chaos and confusion.
His heart tightened for the woman seeing her in such a hopeless state. He moved to her side and dragged her like a corpse to the corner of the wall, covering her from the dangers.
His back faced the chaos and received many damages but he endured through it all. The woman would be safe.
The chaos lasted over three minutes.
Once sure the dangers were gone, Ye Ke stood up. “Can you get up?”
The woman did not reply. Her long hair was messy and sprawled all over, her clothing marked with numerous footprints, and her bare skin filled with purple bruises.
She looked wretchedly broken.
His eyes softened as he squatted down. Her big bright eyes were watery. She looked as if she’d fall into a state of despair at any moment.
But she didn’t. She bit her lip and did not allow the tears to fall.
Ye Ke saw the left portion of her tender face bruised and marked with a footprint. He reached out unconsciously and hugged her gently.
He’s not sure why but he can’t help but think of his high school teacher.
Feeling a sort of warmth covering her, she felt safe and protected. So she sobbed into his chest unceasingly, fingers clutching onto the hem of his clothing. He held her in silence, allowing her tears soak his chest.
Because of the power outage, Ye Ke carried her to the hospital before heading back to his dormitory.
If he knew the troubles it’d bring him for helping her, he’d choose to leave her be.
Shi Yinran pouted her lips and grew indignant. She stood up and placed her hands on her hips. “Ye Ke, you mofo, are you a man or not? I’ve chased you for so long… won’t you accept me?”