“Morning!” While enjoying my breakfast and the newspaper in the drawing room, I gave my regards to Mr. Wang who had to wake up early for work.
“Morning.” Mr. Wang nodded at my direction and his pitiful bleary eyed daughter waved at me too.
I didn’t sleep much, but I slept well, though slightly worse than the drugged Bo Yan.
It was great.
After I finished my clay oven rolls and soy milk, Miss Chen came down with the shorter one of her boyfriends. I wanted to say hello, but she seemed exhausted. Murmuring a few curses under my breath, I ended up holding my tongue.
“Morning! Landlord.” Guo Li came down soon as well, carrying a small brown leather bag.
“Morning! Got lectures in the morning?” I asked politely.
“Indeed.” Guo Li walked towards me, not in a hurry to leave. He was never in a hurry to do anything.
“Is Ling Hu still asleep?” I pretended to be in the dark, even though I could see everything.
“Nope, I spent the last night alone. He had night shifts, but he will be back soon.” Guo Li exited the building with a smile on his face.
As I heard the engine of Guo Li’s BMW leaving, I went upstairs and continued to work on my notebook.
The page of white paper was instantly infused with the endless ideas pouring out of me. An incredible imagination with master plans, each line coming with the possibility of even more complex lines linking everything together.
Bo Yan woke up around twelve; by then, Ying Ru had already fed the kid another round of sleeping pills and soy sauce. And injected who knows how many grams of milk into the underbelly of the guy sitting on the toilet.
Bo Yan was dumbfounded when he first opened his eyes; in fact he sat lazily on the floor for another half hour before he finally decided to wake up.
He didn’t seem all too surprised when he fondled his messy pubes sticky with dried cum. But still, he seemed rather puzzled sitting on the floor: Jerking off and then falling asleep completely naked, that had never happened before.
“Damn.” Bo Yan laughed in spite of himself. That was the conclusion that idiot came up with.
Bo Yan stood up, staggering slightly. Clearly the drugs continued to rob him of his balance.
“Fuck, fuck!” Bo Yan massaged his temples, grinning hideously while turning on the monitor. Only then did he attempt to wipe the dried cum off with toilet paper.
But of course it didn’t work; he only managed to get more paper scraps stuck on his already messy pubes.
“Why was I jerking off watching this fat cow?” Bo Yan kept shaking his head, unable to recall what he did last night. Or so I interpreted from his facial expressions.
Bo Yan cursed few more exaggerated words before he went into the bathroom. Filling his rinse cup with water, he began to wash his pubes, or tried to, as he kept scrubbing it with soap, instead of just taking a shower. He had no sense of hygiene what so ever.
“Should I go pay you a surprise visit again? This time I will scare you shitless!” I watched in amusement as Bo Yan angrily cleaned my cum off him, thinking how I will try to annoy him next time. Meanwhile, Ying Ru had finished a small cup of coffee and a small piece of bread. She then crouched in front of the toilet guy, checking his temperature. She examined his pupils and felt his pulse before finally exiting the door.
I nervously stared at the images of the hallway, murmuring: “So you are not on the hunt for another prey, no, no, no, because you didn’t hide the kid. But what are you trying to do now? Buying more interesting stuff perhaps?”
Suddenly my neurons fired up in all directions, because Ying Ru did not go down, she came up.
Is she coming for me?
I took a deep breath of the cold air; I couldn’t even feel my feet.
Ying Ru slowly, but surely went up the stairway. Suddenly, a jolt of pain alerted me, apparently I had been biting down so hard I bit through my lips.
“Shit!” I leaped out of the bedroom in a hurry, closing the door behind me. I definitely cannot let her discover my secret eyes.
I inhaled deeply, in an attempt to calm my nerves, but an abomination of terror was coming to the other side of the door. I could almost feel the burning shadow heating up against it.
“Please don’t knock.” I was still trembling when I exhaled. I wanted nothing more than to scream at the door telling her to go away.
“Knock knock knock.”
I can’t open the door right away. That would be too deliberate. My neck twitched a little.
“Knock knock knock.”
Exhaling slowly, arms crossed, I put my hands on my shoulders.
“Huh? Ah! Ying Ru!” I feigned surprise, standing at the door.
“Hey, Landlord.” Ying Ru talked in her soft voice, smiling.
“Wassup? If I remember correctly, rent won’t be due for another two days. Haha.” I really didn’t know if that was true, and stood still at the door.
“Oh right, I have a flower pot in my room in need of cutting, but I don’t have any big scissors. I was wondering if I could borrow yours?” Ying Ru lied straight to my face without so much as batting an eye, and her voice even seemed gentler than usual.
“I see. Big scissors… Let me think…” I scratched my head, confused.
What does she want with my scissors?
Do I have big scissors?
Should I lend them to her?
“Just slightly bigger than the usual will do.” Ying Ru’s voice was incredibly gentle, so much so that my strained nerves vanished almost instantly.
“Give me a moment.” I didn’t know why I said that; by the time I realized something was amiss, the words had already escaped my lips.
Turning around, I began searching for the big scissor drawer by drawer while keeping an eye on Ying Ru from the corner of my eye, terrified at the possibility of her ambushing me from behind. I was totally not ready to start swallowing sleeping pills several times a day.
I made up my mind.
“Do you have any?” Ying Ru seemed concerned.
“Is this one ok?” Holding a not so big pair of scissors in my hand, I purposely ignored the much bigger tailor’s scissor sitting in the corner of the drawer.
I honestly didn’t want to give anything to that time-bomb, mostly because everything in my room was covered with my fingerprints.
Narrowing her eyes, Ying Ru examined the scissor in my hand.
Please say no!
“This will do.” Ying Ru extended her hand, speaking joyously: “Thank you.”
Ten seconds later, I watched Ying Ru’s white dress disappear into the stairway, leaving me startled. She definitely came out as the victor that time.
“You really are something.” I loathed myself, ashamed of having lost the battle.
I regretted deeply after returning to the bedroom, and not just because the insignificant sense of shame.
What I felt after losing that battle, was like being gunned down by the enemy using my own weapon which I was forced to surrender.
It was a terrible feeling.
Ying Ru returned to her room and disrobed, letting her snow white dress and laced underwear fall to the floor. Standing completely naked, her pink nipples elevated slightly. The curve under her breasts was exactly the kind of angle a man would want to place their hands on.
Yet, the sensation Ying Ru’s slender and balanced form would inspire was not one of indecent nature, instead, it was the pure kind that made you want to hug and kiss gently, for a whole afternoon.
She was laughing and I was confused.
Picking up the scissor on the bed, she carefully walked into the bathroom and kneeled down in front of the guy in the toilet. She slowly snipped away his shirt and pants, leaving the man completely exposed on the toilet stall. And then she gently placed the sharp edge of the scissor against that man’s left pinkie.
My eyes opened wide in surprise.
“Don’t… Please don’t!” I cried out.
The man’s neck gave a jerk, spraying tiny red dots all over Ying Ru’s face.
Her focused gaze glowed brightly through the screen.
“Stop… Please stop…” That was the only subtitle I could add.
She loosened her grip on the scissor only to place it again, but this time, on his left ring finger.
I couldn’t breathe; I tightly folded my hands together in prayer.
The entire bathroom floor was drowned in red, so was Ying Ru’s hands.
My fingers heated up in response, and I hurriedly flicked them. Yet, the impossible, symbolic, metaphorical, and abstract pain began to speed through the nerve endings of my fingers into my heart, searing my arteries like a needle every step along the way.
I clutched my chest firmly, sinking all five of my nails deep into the gap between my ribs. Still, I couldn’t escape the blood soaked scissors in the TV-screen.
Ten fingers fell on the ceramic floor, and ten were flushed down the toilet.
The guy on the toilet endured it in silence, without a word of complaint. It was as though he had sworn an oath to “never scream”, or perhaps his fever had long burned out what was left of his senses. Even when his manhood, his penis and balls were being snipped off by the blunted scissor blade, piece by piece, over twenty times in total, he still just sat there with a slightly arched back, waving his legs in acknowledgement that he understood.
But I, through the TV-screen, was forced to endure and share his unbearable pain.
What he couldn’t feel, I responded with distorted face and limbs, as if I had become his nerve system, crying out in pain.
I swallowed my anger, tightening my fist, and tried to regurgitate the pain.
“You really are something.” I hammered the bed repeatedly in utter outrage while throwing up all over it.
I decided to take my revenge by catching her off guard!
“Knock knock knock!”
It took a whole minute before she opened the door, by then Ying Ru was already back in her white dress and in front of the door, acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
That was quick!
“Oh look, I just found it.” I raised the tailor scissor in my hand, smiling warmly.
“Great, I was having a hard time with the other one, thank you.” Ying Ru smiled as she took the tailor scissor from me.
“You’re welcome. Fate brought us together under the same roof, it is only natural that we should look out for each other! Haha!” I smiled back, unwilling to leave.
You stupid bitch, I will give you the scare of a life time!
“That’s right.” Ying Ru nodded and kept smiling.
“Yep.” I smiled, of course I had to smile; I studied her room through the little gap of the door, refusing to leave.
“Is there anything else?” Ying Ru spoke softly while leaning slightly to her side and blocking my view.
“Oh! I just want to have the other pair of scissors back, haha. I may have need of it soon.” I smiled again, pretending to wiggle my nose at the smell and frowning: “What a strange smell, do you have a dog or a cat? It stinks like… animals.”
“Oh, my dog just died, I will take care of it in a bit.” Ying Ru smiled; she didn’t even bother to fake a sad face for her pet.
“Make sure you do; oh, I don’t really mind, but I’m afraid the other tenants might!” I pretended to be considerate.
“Of course, wait here. I will go get the scissors.” Ying Ru closed door with a smile.
I felt quite proud of myself seeing the door close in front of me, even though I could still taste the sourness at the corner of my mouth from throwing up earlier.
Yes hurry! Go wash my bloody scissors!
The door opened.
Pulling myself back, I alarmingly took a step away from the door.
“Thank you, I will return the tailor’s scissors as soon as I’m done.” Ying Ru continued to smile. Her hand holding the scissor was so white and smooth. I couldn’t resist and touched more of her skins than i should.
Ying Ru wasn’t upset, only in a hurry to close the door.
“Oh right!” I pretended to have suddenly remembered something: “About that potted flower! Can I see your potted flower? I’m interested in getting one for myself as well.”
I watched Ying Ru in excitement, waiting for her to panic and lose her shit. I will have my revenge for making me puke all over my bed earlier.
Eyeing me with increased intensity…
Ying Ru twitched her mouth slightly.
I managed to put up a smile, but my hand was soaked in sweat.
“Please come in.”
Ying Ru smiled, but I almost forgot to breathe.
Are you crazy?
What are you up to?
How could you possibly clean everything up in one minute?
If you haven’t, then why aren’t you acting like a criminal is supposed to?
Is it possible, that you want to put me…
I glanced at the big tailor’s scissors in Ying Ru’s hand, feeling scared.
My smile turned into a ghostly mask.
Suddenly Bo Yan’s door sounded behind me. I could sense the unrequited rage mixed in the draft coming from his room.
I quickly looked behind me. Bo Yan slammed the door shut in his shorts and blue slippers, scowling. As he began to drag his feet down the stairway, I shouted…
“Bo Yan! Watch the door, don’t break it!” Despite me complaining, I was relieved.
Putting my arm around Bo Yan’s shoulder enthusiastically, I turned to Ying Ru: “Ying Ru, perhaps another time.” Bo Yan waved as well.
Ying Ru nodded with a smile and closed the door.
“What happened? School stuff or girl friend problems? Haha.” I laughed dryly. I didn’t expect Bo Yan to be the floating log I managed to grab ahold of before drowning.
“Nothing.” Bo Yan was in a bad mood, the complete opposite of the guy who begged me to allow him to stay from before.
He pushed my arm away and hastened his pace heading downstairs for dinner.
I casually followed behind him, trying to soothe my tension from the stare down with Ying Ru earlier.
This time, I couldn’t even feel the shame of defeat, because I was thankful for having escaped with my life.
Or rather, I was grateful.
Committing a crime is a very intriguing mental activity.
Committing a crime separates the strong from the weak.
Committing a crime makes you powerful.
That is what it means to be a criminal.
Crime itself is a profession, a passion, and an addiction.
It is the kind of inhuman practice that you can only accomplish by overcoming your fear and continuously suppressing your moral ethics.
Such a practice is often very addictive; I have slowly come to realize that from peeping on others.
But Ying Ru has shown me something different than peeping, something different than exploring the sea of darkness in secret.
Her crime, despite her meager size and lonely lifestyle, was shrouded by a ghastly aura inducing fear and vomit. It made a low-tier criminal like me completely lose the will I had gained through peeping, to commit a crime.
I couldn’t stand up to her at all; I tried twice and I failed twice, utterly.
Crime has empowered Ying Ru, and weakened me.