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Apartments for Rent – Chapter 05 – Part II

Chapter 05 – Confrontation

Part II

Perhaps I should slowly start to desensitize myself and study how Ying Ru performs her perverse and preposterous acts of crime onscreen. With repetition, through simulations and studies, I can slowly attain the mindset of the highest level of criminal.

Only then will I no longer be afraid of Ying Ru. We will both be criminals of the highest level.

However, I do not mean that I should do what she does. I have no interest in chain feeding sleeping pills or cutting someone’s finger off etc.

 

I sat down on the long chair under the tree next to the sidewalk and watched as Bo Yan walked into a grill house nearby. His stomach was howling.

But I was surrounded by the shocking images forcefully imprinted on my mind, the vivid memories of Ying Ru snipping away at that man’s fingers, one at the time.

If I go back now; I can probably still make it for that guy’s beheading, right?

If I wish to be touched by her criminal scent, I better go home now and wait in front of the TV.

 

“Huh?”

Suddenly, racing past the corner of the street, old man Zhang drove his bike into the small alley next to my old apartment house.

“Half past one in the afternoon?” I glanced at my watch after seeing Old man Zhang parked his bike. He looked around a bit and entered the door.

Old man Zhang had never returned so early before on a Tuesday.

 

Are you about to act?

I stood up and slowly walked towards the old apartment house.

I tried my very best to lighten my steps, like a smooth criminal.

 

Lying on the bed, I stared at the TV-screen.

Ling Hu was still sleeping on his, just like Guo Li said.

Bo Yan returned to his room about half an hour later. He turned on his PC, touching just about everything except his books.

Ying Ru was reading hers lying on the bed. The door to the bathroom was closed, but that guy on top of the stall was long gone. He had turned into a black plastic bag, sitting quietly in the corner of the bathroom. The kid however, was still paralyzed on that chair, like a piece of plaster.

Old man Zhang who had just taken his first step chose, as I expected, the sweet room of Miss. Chen.

He watched the hallway for a full fourteen minute before he finally snuck his way down to Miss. Chen’s door.

Old man Zhang was an even worse criminal than me; everything he did was geared towards sex. So naturally, his eyes went straight to her bed. He pushed aside his fear and anxiety, leaning his body close: smelling, sniffing, touching, and inhaling.

“Stop doing all the pointless shit.” I said.

 

Old man Zhang didn’t dare to stay long; he quickly rose up to his feet and studied other interesting part of the room.

Her perfume sitting out on her dresser, he smelled it.

He took her comb off her desk and ran it through his own hair.

He picked up the soap in her bathroom, squeezing it over and over again.

The towel hanging in her bathroom, he wrapped it around his head, inhaling its scent.

The toothbrush sitting in her water glass, he squeezed some toothpaste on it and became visibly excited as he brushed his teeth.

Finally, he crouched over the toilet, gliding his finger over the plastic seat, back and forth, touching it in a way you would fondle a beautiful girl. Then he pressed his face against it, dreaming.

 

“You should start thinking about how to obtain all that, instead of wasting your time feeling the stall!” I murmured, afraid of Old man Zhang would squander the peeping power I granted him.

 

But in the end, Old man Zhang was a newbie in the sacred hall of crime. Onscreen, he was like an Indian who saw the camels for the first time.

Old man Zhang spent more than an hour on some pointless adventure before he ultimately, but reluctantly closed Miss. Chen’s door, re-appearing anxiously in the hallway.

I wanted to interrupt his perverse act like the way I did to Bo Yan and Ying Ru, but I was scared that I would destroy the tiny spark of criminal talent, or courage that he just managed to cultivate. Therefore I gave up on the idea.

But the most important reason was Ying Ru; she just moved, yawning.

 

Putting down the “Urban Phobia” novel she read earlier, she stood in front of the kid and touched his forehead.

Is he dead?

I couldn’t tell through the screen, not that I had reason to care.

Ying Ru took out the syringe, filled it with the milk sitting on the table, and flicked the needle.

 

“No way? Did you forget… that guy was supposed to be the soy sauce guy?” My mouth opened wide.

 

Ying Ru clearly didn’t give a shit; she just jammed the syringe into the kid’s neck and forced the milk into him. Some of it went in, and some of it spurted out, leaving sticky white liquid streaming down his neck.

My god, Ying Ru didn’t bother to aim for the artery at all; she just randomly jabbed the needle in. I guess I'll have to get used to her heartlessness.

As soon as she withdrew the needle, a thin stream of red sprayed from his neck. Ying Ru sighed under her breath. Opening the drawer, she grabbed a gold-colored band-aid and brutally slapped it on the wound.

Splat! She was obviously using too much force because the kid toppled to the ground, kicking over the chair.

Ying Ru lifted him up, slapping his face a couple of times. But of course, the kid didn’t respond.

When dusk arrived several hours later, Ying Ru covered him with a piece of red cloth. She picked up the big plastic bag from the table and that damned bottle of soy sauce, and opened the door.

What could she be planning?

I grabbed a hat in a hurry and followed her down. I could barely spot her entering the kitchen on the first floor as she turned on the gas.

“?” I was dumbfounded, seeing old man Zhang talking nonsense to Guo Li who just came back from work while Ling Hu sat quietly next to him browsing a magazine on man’s clothing.

“Mr. Landlord! Come talk to us!” Old man Zhang shouted neighbourly.

I nodded and sat down with them while constantly eyeing Ying Ru playing magic tricks in the kitchen. I couldn’t hear a word Old man Zhang and Guo Li said.

Mr. Wang and his daughter came back to the house as well, smiling to everyone as they went for the stairs immediately.

“Mr. Wang, why don’t you sit down for a second, I made something for everyone.” Smiling, Ying Ru came out of the kitchen holding the pan and the soy sauce.

Mr. Wang hesitated and didn’t know how to respond, but old man Zhang was already clapping and cheering: “Nice! I was wondering why the kitchen smelled so good! So it was you who did the trick, Ha! I hope it is not because you are getting married; are you trying to practise your culinary skills on us?”

Ying Ru smiled gently and said: “No way, I just saw some new recipe and wanted to give a try.” With that, she returned to the kitchen, leaving us alone in the drawing room to wait for the unexpected, free and tasty meal.

Except me.

“Fuck.” I was on the edge of my seat.

 

The ingredients she used… I hope they are not from that guy on the toilet?

 

Even though I never saw how the fellow in the toilet got stuffed into the plastic bag, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Ying Ru took out his organs or peeled off his flesh.

“Mr. Wang, come have a sit! Let’s chat!” Old man Zhang laughed heartily; He was still high from his unexpected adventure earlier today.

Mr. Wang nodded timidly and sat with his daughter next to the quiet Ling Hu. They joined in on the conversation regarding the national education reform, but were quickly interrupted by the wonderful smell coming from the kitchen. I however, was getting goosebumps all over.

“Mr. Landlord, have you been ill lately?” Guo Li noticed my bloodless face.

“Oh? I just didn’t sleep well last night. Haha.” I laughed dryly.

“Bad night sleep? This particular dish is perfect for reinvigorating the body.” Ying Ru came out of the kitchen, holding a plate full of dark brown sliced and steamy meat. It permeated with the scent of soya. Ying Ru put the plate down on the table and left us with a handful of chopsticks.

It only made me even more nervous.

“How so?” Guo Li asked out of curiosity, picking up the chopsticks.

“This is the fried liver of a man who only drinks milk; the meat is fresh and the texture is smooth.” Ying Ru spoke smilingly: “It is particularly soothing when you are tired.”

I was about the throw up.

“Human liver” Cool stuff! I have to try this!” Bursting into laughter, old man Zhang picked up a slice and put into his mouth. Accompanied by another wave of laughter, everyone else picked up a slice for themselves as well. Even the quiet Mr. Wang went and put a few slices in the bowl of his daughter.

Only my chopsticks hesitantly remained on top of the plate.

 

In fact, I had many opportunities to escape from this horrifying banquet. Such as: I’m sorry, I have something I needed to take care of, please enjoy yourselves; I’m sorry, I’m a vegetarian; I’m sorry, I just had my dinner.

But my uncooperative rear decided to sit down instead.

 

But why?

 

“Mr. Landlord, don’t be shy. There is a lot more where it came from.” Ying Ru’s smile chilled me from the inside.

“Of course.” I picked up a piece of the liver meat, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t move the chopsticks closer to my mouth.

 

Everyone was watching me, curiously, puzzled, confused and stagnant.

 

“Don’t mind me everyone, I’m just not very fond of the taste of liver. I’m sorry.” I spoke apologetically as I returned the liver meat back to the plate with my chopsticks, feeling slightly embarrassed.

“It is all right.” Ying Ru smiled, returning to the kitchen. Other than smiling, she didn’t seem to have any other kind of facial expression.

Old man Zhang didn’t hesitate and put my slice of liver meat into his mouth, smiling: “It is really good, as expected from a… man who only drinks milk! It is delicious!”

While everyone continued to discuss our national policies on education reform, more wonderful smells drifted from the kitchen.

In the recent years, whenever someone talks about education reform, almost everyone has something to say about it. Even if they don’t have an opinion, they have at least a few complaints.

While listening to Guo Li expressing his educated opinion, I carefully observed the others, checking if any of them are becoming nauseated, dizzy or worse.

I didn’t want to eat any sleep inducing meat then becoming another dish myself.

At the time, I felt really useless. Even though I had been careful, I faltered, and very badly so.

 

“This is barbecued human ribs, grilled human meat ball, stir-fried human tenderloin with scallions and human arm pot roast.”[1]

Ying Ru brought up so many different dishes at the same time; she made old man Zhang and Guo Li laugh nonstop. Even though Mr. Wang wasn’t too pleased with Ying Ru’s “jokes” and frowned at her, he still picked up his chopsticks out of courtesy.

“Should I go get Bo Yan?” I stood up, hoping to relegate everything to him after I convince him to walk into that trap. I just needed to let him tell everyone that I wasn’t feeling too well and wanted to sleep, and that everyone should continue to enjoy themselves.”

But the moment I stood up, I saw Bo Yan wearing his noisy slippers coming down from the stairway, eyes fixated on us.

 

What timing? Are we in a movie?

 

“Bo Yan! We were just about to come get you! Join us!” Old man Zhang loved to pretend being all friendly. Bo Yan hesitated for a second, but it was quickly overcome by Ying Ru’s attractive smile.

Fuck, you are such a tool when it comes to girls.

“Did you make all these?” Bo Yan put up a well mannered front and sat next to Guo Li, smiling as he picked up the chopsticks.

“Right, we also have a pot of hot soup on the stove.” Ying Ru sat down on my left.

 

I could instantly feel the left side of my face going numb.

 

“Delicious, the meats are so soft and smooth, nice.” Guo Li praised. Bo Yan immediately picked up a big chuck of “human tenderloin” for his bowl.

“The meat is really good, thank you.” Ling Hu continued where Guo Li left off.

“Not just good! Tell you truth, my nose is very sensitive when it comes to milk, and this meat definitely has the aroma of milk. It must have been expensive, no?” Old man Zhang pretended to be an expert, but in fact he was only a pervert who consumed too much expired milk.

“Yum, Miss. Ying, your culinary skills are outstanding.” Mr. Wang politely commented in response to the free dinner.

“Thank you sister.” Mr. Wang’s daughter had a decent upbringing as well.

“If Miss. Chen was here, we would have a full house, Hahahaha…” Old man Zhang laughed hysterically.

Hahahaha, I laughed as well.

Ying Ru picked up a big and horrendous human meat ball and dropped it in my bowl, nodding suggestively.

“Don’t you want to have some as well, Miss. Ying?” I had already forgotten how or why I said it, I could only remember that my ears were almost on fire at the time, and my insides were turning upside down.

“I don’t eat human meat.” The entire room burst into laughter after Ying Ru said that, especially Mr. Wang’s daughter who almost fell off her seat.

I wanted to repeat what she said so badly: “Ha, as it turns out, I don’t eat human meat either.” But my hand for some reason started to move that meat ball towards my tongue.

 

Was my confused frustration causing me to do stupid things?

Like its name, my thoughts were all smushed up like that meat ball.

“Taste good?” Ying Ru smiled.

I nodded, swallowing the minced meat down my throat.

 

So this is your corpse. No, is this how you plan to get rid of your evidence?

Our stomach, is your best hiding place?

 

“I will check on the soup.” Followed by a wave of cheers, Ying Ru stood up.

“Ah! Alcohol! We are missing some drinks!” I shouted with sudden realization and stood up as well.

No matter what, I’m not going to touch that unexplainable soup.

“Guys, you don’t have to wait on me. I will go get us a few bottles of beer. It is on the house; let’s have fun!” I spoke out loud.

“Don’t bother; I can be faster by car.”Guo Li stood up as well; luckily I made it to the door first, raising my voice: “It is fine. You don’t have to wait for me! I will be back soon with some appetizers to go with the drinks as well!”

Opening the door, I ran away from the place, all the way out of the alley. I tried to stick my finger down my throat, forcing myself to throw up. But alas, I was too inexperienced when it came to inducing vomit; I couldn’t regurgitate any of those minced human meat I swallowed earlier.

Feeling disheartened, I arrived at the convenience store and bought two six-packs of beer, then turned around the corner to the pickled vegetable store[2] and bought three plates of those as well.

“It was disgusting, but why did I stay at that cannibalistic banquet for so long? I was getting angry at myself. At the time, I didn’t blame Ying Ru; I just didn’t understand why.

I could hear the sound of loud laughter coming from the drawing room as soon as I entered the alleyway.

 

“A bunch of fools.” I mocked them to myself.

Slowly, my footsteps came to a halt.

I realized I was actually having fun. So that was the reason.

“I wanted to see how those idiots put human meat into their mouths. Haha!” The moment I realized that, I didn’t mind going back so much anymore; instead I was glad for being able to forgive myself so soon.

 

“I’m back with more!” I happily declared as I opened the door.

 

Miss. Chen and her shorter boyfriend had both appeared in the drawing room as well, holding a big bowl of human soup each while laughing joyously.

For the rest of the evening, I enjoyed my pickled vegetables and drank my beer while laughing at those idiots unknowingly swallowing real human meat. Ying Ru on the other hand, just sat there listening to others pointlessly criticising the national education system, eating nothing at all.

 

I spent my night surrounded by the sound of laughter.

 

 


[1] Some liberties were taken when naming the dishes.

 

[2] In raw the store actually sells cold plate dishes.

 

 

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