The perpetrator actually slammed the door and left as if he was the victim, and he had only left one sentence behind: “Call the police! I’ll wait for you to sue me!” He Nuo laughed for a long time. He laughed until the tears glimmered in his eyes, he laughed until he choked, he laughed until something trickled down from the corners of his eyes, and he laughed until his cheeks hurt.
His stiff limbs began to feel like blood was flowing through them again, while his lower region stung with a sharp pain. He Nuo supported himself up with the bed’s headboard; he still felt an overwhelming dizziness that made everything around him look like it was spinning. When he stood up, a stream of heat flowed down his legs from his behind, and a few drops dripped straight onto the cement floor. He Nuo hugged his naked self and sat back onto the edge of his bed, but he had just sat down when he sprang back up again — it hurt. He Nuo lied on his side as he laid on the quilt that had already been kicked into a ball.
His brain gradually began to regain its function and he could think again. The first thing he thought was that his family couldn’t know about this. He Nuo hurriedly forced himself to bathe, and when the water flowed to his behind, aside from the pain that was as clear as day, he also noticed something strange. He touched the ravaged place in shame. It was swollen and slightly turned out, so He Nuo gritted his teeth as he pushed his chrysanthemum back in. Then he went back to clean up his room that had been messed up by their fierce battle. He rolled up all the torn clothes and wrapped it with an extra plastic bag as a precaution before he threw them into the garbage bin outside. When he saw the marks on his face, he hurriedly took a cloth dipped in cold water to try and relieve it.
After he had finished doing all these and he could sort of sit down again, he still didn’t dare to recall what had happened. He only knew subconsciously that if others were to know about it, he would come to no good end. His Dad might beat him to death; he had really thrown the dignity of his family away this time. He was now the disgrace of his family — if others were to know about this, he would implicate his family as they would be too ashamed to face other people as well. He Nuo was so afraid that he looked all around him as he feared that he had overlooked some trace that he hadn’t cleaned up yet.
Shi Yan was afraid too. No matter how many bad things he had done before, he was still just a big child, a big child that had been pampered all his life. He had never truly hurt anyone before, and had never truly done anything that was really evil. And of course, he was much less likely to break the law. But he also knows that what he had done constitutes as rape; escaping after he threw down that sentence was his last bravado.
Just as Shi Yan was about to be tormented to his limits, his parents returned home after work. Shi Yan’s nervous expression was understood to be the result of his stress over the college entrance examinations, while his parents’ return had relaxed his nervous heart. His parents warmly told Shi Yan at the dinner table not to worry about the examination. His family had already done enough preparations for him, so all he needed to do was to enter the examination venue in a relaxed state.
What kind of preparatory work? The college entrance examination was invigilated by the teachers in several nearby elementary and junior high schools who would take turns — that is, the teachers of Children schools1 would go to local schools to act as invigilators, while the teachers of local schools would exchange places with them. Shi Yan’s father had already met the teacher-in-charge below, so Shi Yan will be well taken care of. But the other preparation was the most important one. Test numbers in school are arranged randomly for all the science students — but even this randomness has its own methodology. Normally, the order sent to the State Education Commission will be drawn every five and ten times; thus, if 50 students in succession are all good students, then no matter who leaves, this examination hall would still be a world that belongs to good students.
The exam numbers were given out today. Shi Yan was surrounded in all four directions by the smart students in Class 1 and Class 2. The director of the high school these students were in had also talked to them individually, and asked them to be “friendly” schoolmates and extend a helping hand when necessary. This wasn’t something unheard of — it was the unspoken rule understood by those in cadre families. When June rolled around, parents had already begun to look for students whom they wanted to place near their children — it was best to find those students who were about to graduate but still had to return, since they would be the ones who would be willing to help in exchange for a good job after their graduation.
Shi Yan knows that his father had arranged a room for him in his enterprise’s external hotel. He will be reading and resting there for tomorrow and the day after in the morning with a few other people — his examination neighbours. Actually, no one would still be studying in these last two days. It was just an opportunity for them to establish a bond and practice their mutual tacit understanding. He didn’t think much of this kind of arrangement; he would feel more relaxed if he could be with others.
During dinner, He Nuo explained that his swollen face was due to a toothache. His parents thought that it was an inflammation that occurred because his examinations were approaching, so they asked him not to be too nervous. To them, He Nuo’s results had never been particularly outstanding, but he never seemed to fear examinations either — he could pass whatever examination he had to face. He Nuo couldn’t fall asleep for the entire night, but he didn’t dare to recall what had happened in the afternoon. Even remembering that shadow or the name of that person made him terrified. He had a fever, and the tolerant him hadn’t even realised it. He only thought that his body felt unwell because of the nightmare that afternoon.
After he woke up, his mouth felt dry and he was so dizzy that he practically had to crawl to the kitchen to get a cup of water. He wasn’t the type to study for an examination at the last minute, so he had already finished his revision and memorized what he needed to a long time ago. For the few days before an examination, He Nuo has never done any crash revision before. So he endured his discomfort and lied back down on his bed, then fell asleep drowsily. When his family was having lunch in the afternoon, they thought that He Nuo was exhausted from his studies so they made an exception and didn’t wake him up. Instead, they had left him some dishes for him to eat later.
After one full day of enduring a fever without taking any necessary measures for it, it had finally triggered his old disease that had been dormant for a long time. He Nuo urinated blood that night, and it was worse than any other time before. It hurt so much that he had to bite down hard on his blanket to keep himself from groaning. At this time, He Nuo had the intention to see a doctor, but he didn’t dare to go. He was afraid that the doctor would be able to tell what had happened to the lower half of his body. His behind was still suffering from a burning pain — he didn’t dare to do the no. 2 because of the pain from the laceration and the blood that would trickle down.
While he was drenched in the sweat caused by the intense pain he felt, He Nuo looked for the medicine that Shi Yan gave him before. His examinations were starting tomorrow, so he had to endure it for at least the next few days. However, because of his recovery in the recent months and the disappearance of his blood urination symptoms after spring arrived, He Nuo didn’t have much medication used to control his hematuria left. He could only consume large doses of the high-quality medication that he had and wait for the pain to subside.
Sickness comes like a landslide, but leaves slowly like spinning silk2. Within a day, the most the medication could do was to lighten the colour of his blood after a large volume of water was consumed. However, after He Nuo stepped into the examination venue that would determine his future path, how could he consume a lot of water? The commoner He Nuo had never even considered applying for a trip to the toilet halfway because of the strict examination system. Before the start of their examination, their stern-faced teacher had announced loudly: no one is allowed to leave their seat in the middle of the examination. He Nuo had once said before that he could force himself to be an unyielding martyr as long as he wasn’t subjected to the torture in his urethra. But he just had to finish his college entrance examination under the torture of this pain in his urethra that made him want to die.
During his last English examination, He Nuo’s face had turned ghastly pale and his sweat dripped onto his paper. He had lied on his table for a little while during his previous paper because he couldn’t endure it anymore, and it took him a whole half an hour to wake up. The invigilating teacher just thought that he was a bad student who was bored because he didn’t know how to answer the questions. Right now, He Nuo definitely wouldn’t do that anymore; he tried his best to force his brain to work, but his mind was already thoroughly exhausted after the constant pain his body had to endure for the past three days. His mind wandered, and his vision blurred.
He Nuo bit his lips until it bled and used the pain to stimulate his brain to work for another 10 minutes. When his vision was going blur again, he sucked in his lips between his teeth and ruthlessly bit down on it, then the taste of blood filled his mouth. He didn’t know when the torrential rain that could be seen through the windows had begun, and He Nuo didn’t know when the teacher had taken his papers away. He was completely drenched in sweat and didn’t even have any energy left to raise his head in his seat.
The curtains were drawn on his college entrance examination.
1. Large companies/organizations that are situated far away from the city set up these schools so that it would be more convenient for their workers to send their children to school↩
2. Easy to get sick but not easy to get it cured↩
T/N: I’m back! And after the past two weeks of testing, I’ve decided on a schedule of 1-2 chapters per day for PSWOL until it’s finished, and I’ll post more when I’m being more productive/real life isn’t being a b!tch. ALSOO GOOD NEWS!!!! SWEETNESS IS COMING AND I was so moved when I was translating it adsjlfknasjkdnf