A dull pain gripped Song Qingchun's heart, and she continued to read.
"1996, October 3rd, sunny. I just transferred into a new school. It has been three days since I left the sanatorium, but I still feel the world around me is a piece of darkness. The world around me is within arm's reach, but for some reason, it feels incredibly distant."
"1996, October 5th, 3 am, starless. I once again woke up from the nightmare. The first thing I did after pulling off the cover was to rush into the bathroom. There is no hot water in the dormitory, so I shivered in the cold bath for one whole hour. The dormitory is quiet because all my roommates are asleep. I shivered under the covers throughout the night, but I was unable to sleep because I feel the dirt hasn't been washed off me."
Dirty? Why would Su Zhinian see himself as dirty?
There were merely three entries on the first page, but it already gave Song Qingchun so many questions. She flipped over the page carefully.
"1996, October 6, light rain. The nightmare returned, and I found myself back in the mental hospital room. I'm no longer in there, but the old lady's touch all over my body remained. It felt incredibly real in the nightmare. I felt so disgusted that I proceeded to vomit in the bathroom for half an hour straight. That was followed by another one hour of cold showering.
"During class, I felt the whole classroom was dirtyeven the classmates were immensely dirty. I started to have fever in the afternoon. Today is a Friday, so we were allowed home after school. I'm home alone because mother is at work. I didn't call mother to tell her about my fever. Instead, I found some medicine lying around the house, took that, and went to sleep."
Song Qingchun read the phrase 'the old lady's touch all over my body' several times before she understood what it meant. The young Su Zhinian was molested? No wonder he has such an obsession with cleanliness; it's because of this.
The image of the young and innocent Su Zhinian being taken advantage of seemed to appear before her eyes. It was overlapping with the image of the boy struggling with his sickness alone in bed. Song Qingchun felt like someone had reached into her heart to pull on it tightly. It caused all the air to escape her body. She really didn't know that he had such a troubled childhood.
"1996, October 8th, sunny and windless. It's a boring weekend. I walked around town with an earphones in. The streets were crowded, but I felt like I was an outsider looking in.
"I met a little girl at the entrance of Ming Jing alley. A suspicious man wearing a cap offered her sweets, and she agreed to follow him just like that. The man was a human trafficker.
"Initially, I didn't want to get involved, but when the girl brushed past me, she helped me pick up my wallet. It was simply because I did not feel like owing her that I told her the man was a bad person. She looked at me with her eyes wide open. She didn't say a word in return. At the time, I thought she looked devastatingly dumb. I thought that she couldn't understand what I was saying. Just as I was about to regret being such a busybody, the girl suddenly told the man that she did not want to go with him because 'big brother' said he was a bad man."