Zhao Yunlan & Shen Wei: Untold Stories - Chapter 7 "The Intruder"
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
Past midnight, a Mouse felt like he was being suffocated. Not by any common predator, but more precisely, it was a Black Bear that held him in his clutches.
From his recollection, Guo Cheng Chang was sleeping on the floor because there was no couch. The small studio only had one chair, a coffee table, and a twin size bed with a scarcely comfortable fit for Chu Shizhi’s large frame. Despite the fact that he is on the skinny side, the bed was obviously too small for both of them.
There was no escape. Guo Cheng Chang was captured, and not far from being smothered to death. The large bear’s arms were like coiling snakes. The more he struggled, the tighter the arms became. Bracing himself for what he was about to do, because it’s never wise to wake a beast from its slumber. However, given the circumstances, the Mouse would truly be suffocate if it remained silent.
“Chu Ge…Chu-Chu..Chu…,” came the faint whimper, which he doubted the Bear could hear at barely a whisper. A part of him wished he didn’t.
Yet, he did.
“Chu, Chu Chu what?!” the grouchy Bear snapped.
“Could I get up now?” the Mouse gasped in surprise.
“I should go home...It’s getting late. My aunt and uncle are waiting for me,” Xiao Guo explained the lame excuse, which was in fact a lie.
Guo Cheng Chang had already told his guardians he would be gone for the next couple of nights nursing his friend. An additional lie to appease their worries. He couldn’t tell them it was for his colleague because they would ask more questions. It was already difficult keeping them from finding out how dangerous his job had become. An injured colleague on the job would only add to their anxiety.
“I thought you came here to take care of me,” Chu Shizhi growled. “Didn’t you bring your overnight clothes?”
“Y-Yes, I did.” Guo Cheng Chang wanted to smack himself for being a terrible liar. “Bu-But…But I didn’t take into consideration how this would inconvenience you.”
“But-But can you let me go? I need to use the toilet...Chu Ge?”
Silence followed....the timid Mouse waited. And waited…For longer than he should, because the Puppeteer had fallen asleep again!
Still no answer.
“Chu Ge. Chu Ge, are you awake?” Xiao Guo asked louder this time, but the Bear remained fast asleep.
The Mouse started to struggle from the embrace, but it was impossible to break. Flushed from the heat of the large man who held him, but more so from his own body. Squeezing his eyes closed, he realized his heart was beating faster than normal.
Thoughts that shouldn’t arise....rose.
He remembered this distinctive scent of the man who held him not long ago, during the time they had lost track of their witness, Li Qian. Xiao Guo knew he was clumsy and useless. For the greatest part of his life, he hadn’t done much to offer to society, but he had tried his best to learn and adapt. Ever since he had become an official member of SID, he promised himself he would not cause others to fail on his behalf. But for whatever reasons unknown, his efforts were in vain, due to the senior he admired.
So Guo Cheng Chang didn’t fault the man for losing his patience, but was still taken aback from the method of punishment. Or was it bullying? Xiao Guo was used to being picked on. He lost count of the number of times others had humiliated, degraded him. Unkind words of his shortcomings were a common occurrence. Thus, he was immune to most bullying tactics, which were never taken to heart when those incidents occurred. For most kinds of bullying, he could still move on with his day like nothing happened.
This was all new to Guo Cheng Chang. If only he could have someone to tell, but he had no friends. Save his colleagues and his intermediate family. He could not bring himself to tell them, because it would be too embarrassing, too childish the more he thought about it. Guo Cheng Chang thought if he waited long enough, those feelings would be gone. However, Chu Shizhi chose that exact moment to turn and lie down on his back, with Guo Cheng Chang still in his arms.
“Chu Ge! What are you doing! Let me down!” Guo Cheng Chang squealed in panic. He’s now lying on top of the Bear!
“What?” the sleepy man groaned, half awaken from the near shout from the Mouse on top of him.
“You need to sleep comfortably for you to re-recover. The bed is too small for both of us. Let me go... Chu Ge, I can sleep on the floor. That way, I w-won’t accidentally hu-hurt you.”
"I am recovering, but all your squirming would only make it worse. Stay still,” the Bear replied sleepily below his head. His hold was slightly loosened, but the arms remained where they were.
It could be the fact that the Bear was still half asleep, or it was because he decided to shut him up. But most likely, it was both, because Chu Shizhi did something even more shocking than yesterday.
He kissed Guo’s forehead. A peck, but no more.
Not too long, nor was it short. But enough to render the Mouse speechless.
"...." His skin burned. The spot where Chu Ge had laid his lips seared.
Bully, bully...Bully! Chu Shizhi is a bully!
Why wouldn't he stop torturing him? What he had done yesterday was direct intimidation, but this...this was worse! Too close, too intimate. The act itself should be reserved only for the future special someone he had yet to meet.
Why was he taking all his firsts?
Sleep was out of the question now. Before, Guo Cheng Chang thought he would probably have a restless night, but now he would probably welcome the dawn.
And that was exactly the case.
Was it fitting that Wang died for the woman she loves? Will her sacrifice atone for the lives she took?
Though brief it was, it was all the time she needed. Fifteen minutes, she had pleaded. They’ve allowed her request, the short-lived moment. But who knew the desperate girl had acted, for her atonement.
“Jie Jie....Jie Jie, don’t cry. Please don’t cry…. I’m sorry...” Wang’s last breath shook as her fluttering eyes took.
Her beam of happiness was clouded by her enviable end.
“I was the cause. She only wanted to save me. Please save her...Please, I beg you...I...” the recovered Professor Ruonan begged in a broken voice, but it was too late. Held in her embrace, the heart which beats for hers had stopped. Shaking her head in denial, Zhang Ruonan broke down. “Yike, Yike...don’t go…st-stay with me...I-I..!”
Only after some time had passed, and Wang Yike’s body was properly secured by SID, did the Professor speak again.
“In order to extend my life, she went after others,” Professor Ruonan explained, tears swelled again but she held them back. “First, it was the men who assaulted me. But it wasn’t enough when her urgency led to this. I couldn’t return to my original state, once she touched me. Her body fed on most of what she stole from others. There was not much left to transfer. After she learned about the artifact, I should’ve known she would trade her life for mine. Silly child...she refuses to give up.”
The youth had returned, but at what price?
Her heart ached for the young woman to which she had given her world. Their love was stained by others. Wang’s attempt to clean it off only caused it to spread. The victims’ blood still smeared her hands.
A life was saved, but was she truly?
The unsettling scene continued to play out in his mind even when dawn broke. By then, Shen Wei had returned to his apartment. The empty hallway was silent, except for the sound of his footsteps upon reaching his residence’s door. Shen Wei fished out his key, but before it reached the lock, his hand stopped.
Someone was here...Shen Wei frowned. Correction, the intruder is still here.