Yuan Xingxing nodded in all seriousness. “Of course. Our teacher said that we will have to shoulder the responsibility of letting our ancestral country rise to prominence in the future! We are all part of society. I should be a good child, doing things like helping the elderly cross pedestrian crossings, but unfortunately, we don’t have any pedestrian crossings here.”
Yuan Hai looked at the village’s roads and could not help but smile bitterly.
Days passed and Yuan Xingxing did as she said. From that day forth, she really seemed to change. She began to volunteer to do the house chores and help others carry things in the village. She was practically a mini-LeiFeng1Everyone in the village praised Yuan Xingxing for being obedient and sensible. Yuan Hai heard such talk everywhere he went, turning even more pleased than Yuan Xingxing herself. He was just short of hanging a plaque around him saying: Yuan Xingxing is my beloved daughter!
The scene changed again.
There was a clap of thunder in the sky as loud as though it had blasted right beside one’s ear. Following that a strong gust of wind blew as dark clouds rolled in. Large droplets of water poured down and although the rain did not reach the village, the swath of rain which sent particles into the air could already be seen heading straight for them!
“Dad, I’ve never seen such heavy rain before.” Yuan Xingxing looked into the distance while standing at the door.
“There are many things you have never seen. Quickly pack up. If the rain hits us, all these vegetables will be finished,” exclaimed Yuan Hai.
Yuan Xingxing rushed over and quickly packed the chili, tomatoes, and other things that were left out to dry. Yuan Hai’s wife was busy taking in the clothes.
The trio rushed and at the final instant they stepped into their house, the downpour arrived.
The heavy thunderstorm sent dense raindrops down. In the beginning, it stirred up dust, but soon rainwater began accumulating on the ground. Yuan Hai looked outside in worry. “This rain is a little too heavy.”
Yuan Hai’s wife said indifferently, “What’s so rare about this? Isn’t it common for our northeastern regions to experience this? It’s good that the rain is heavy. It will rain itself out sooner. It won’t cause too much problems.”
Yuan Hai and Yuan Xingxing nodded. Although they had never seen such heavy rain, they had seen numerous thunderstorms in the northeast. They usually sounded loud with their thunder, strong winds, and crazy rain, but they passed quickly.
Yuan Hai could not help but sigh. “Each place has its own way of supporting its own inhabitants. Northeasterners have attitudes just like their weather. They do everything like a gust of wind. They are impatient people, and they brandish their fists the moment talks fail. Then, both sides enter the hospital together and fight to pay the hospitable bill for each other.”
Upon hearing his sighs, Yuan Xingxing and Yuan Hai’s wife laughed. Without a doubt, northeasterners were like that. They fought easily and ended up like hooligans.
However Yuan Hai’s words were not accurate. The heavy rain persisted even an hour later. The strong winds were still howling, striking at the window sills like the baneful cries of ghosts. It was quite frightening.
“Dad, why hasn’t the rain stopped? I can’t go to school in such a heavy rain.” Yuan Xingxing had returned home for lunch, but after having lunch, it was unsure how she was to return to school.
“I’ll send you in a while. Wear a raincoat. It will be fine.” Although Yuan Hai said so, his eyes turned a little gloomy.
At that moment, the village’s loudspeaker sounded. “Attention everyone. The heavy rain this time”
However the sound was cut off after it made another two crackling sounds.
Although there were already cell phones in this era, they were too expensive. How could ordinary village families be able to afford them? Even when it came to lined phones, only the village owned some. In situations when lines of communication weren’t good, Yuan Hai had no idea of the exterior world. However based on his experience and instinct, he knew that the rain this time was likely going to be troublesome.
Yuan Hai’s wife said glumly, “That crappy loudspeaker should have long been fixed. It usually sounds noisily all day, but when it’s needed, it shuts up.”
“Alright, cut it out. Stay home, I’ll go visit the village council to get some updates.”
With that said, Yuan Hai ran out in a raincoat.
However the moment he left the house, he nearly stumbled. His eyes were filled with shock. This was the first time he was seeing such heavy rain and such strong winds! He looked up at the dark clouds in the sky, his heart sinking. Yuan Hai briskly walked to the village council and when he entered, he was stunned. In the village council’s yard was a police car!
When he entered, he saw a policeman and a soldier sitting inside. The village secretary and village chief were sitting there solemnly. It was unknown what they were talking about.
“Yuan Hai, what you doing here?” The village secretary asked.
“This rain is too heavy. The loudspeaker was broken, so I had no idea what you said. I came to ask.”
“Nothing much. We said that the rain was a little heavy, and the weather forecasts say that it will last a while. It’s hard to tell how long it will last. This is a comrade from the county. He came to inform us of the matter.” The village secretary looked at the soldier.
The soldier stood up. “Comrade Yuan Hai, nice to meet you. I’m Li Cheng from the division. The rain cloud came from the mountains, and it has been raining heavily the entire way. Furthermore, it moves very slowly. The comrades at the weather station say that this rain will likely last for a while. As the government is afraid that this will cause trouble, troops have been sent to be stationed in every village. We are to constantly monitor the situation of the river. If there’s any help you need, feel free to find me.”
This was the first time Yuan Hai met a soldier. Just as he was about to salute him, he turned a little stumped. He did not know if he should salute or shake his hand.
The secretary smiled. “Alright, alright. Don’t waste your time thinking about these pointless matters. By the way, school will be placed on hold. Tell Little Xing not to go to school. If there’s anything, find us. If we aren’t here, we should be at the river levees.”
Yuan Hai nodded. “Alright, I’ll return first.”
On the way home, Yuan Hai deliberately made a trip to the riverside. The water in the river had indeed risen, but the levees were more than a meter tall. Yuan Hai wasn’t too worried.
After he returned home, he explained the situation to his family. The family felt assured and no longer panicked when they heard that troops had been sent to help. However, Yuan Hai had a feeling that the situation wasn’t as simple as it seemed
Late into the night, Yuan Xingxing leaned on the window sill and looked at the heavy rain outside. “Dad, this rain has been going on for a day.”
“Yeah, but it’ll be fine. Go to bed. It will stop tomorrow,” said Yuan Hai as he ruffled Yuan Xingxing’s head.
“Okay.” Yuan Xingxing snuggled into bed before falling asleep.
The night passed under the tumultuous storms.
The next day, the weather did not show any signs of letting up. Instead, the sky turned even gloomier. Although the wind was no longer as strong, the rain remained heavy. It struck the windows with loud pattering sounds.
Yuan Hai woke up early in the morning to take a look outside. But the moment he walked out, he realized something amiss. There was water everywhere in the village! In the past, the heavy rain would flow into the drainage before flowing into the Dong River, but this time, the water did not seem to be flowing!
Yuan Hai waddled in the water and rushed to the riverside. He was horrified to discover that the water was almost level with the river levees!