Proofreaders: Gwen, LSL and Red
Surprise! Our first of two updates for today. 8D
Sharp shrills of the ambulance, strangers wearing white coats and white hats shimmy across my vision—it’s blurry again as if there is a layer of white gauze over my eyes.
Am I still alive?
“Sun Le. Can you hear me? Sun Le?” A doctor bends over and asks me.
Who? Sun Le? No. I’m not Sun Le. I’m Xiao Yu.
“Can you see me, Sun Le? Try blinking your eyes if you can.”
I am NOT Sun Le!
I want to shout it out: I AM NOT Sun Le! I’m Xiao Yu who got pushed off the building!
That’s right. I fell from the seventh floor and the loss of gravity made me faint. Thank goodness I did so I didn’t have to watch as I hit the ground.
And then? Was I saved?
“Patient falling into coma. Prepare sphygmometer!”
Where am I? It’s a fairly narrow, white space. Unknown instruments and devices are dangling in front of me. Am I in an ambulance? But my mind’s perfectly fine. Could it be…that my conscience has been separated from my body?
“Kids these days. Jumping off seven storeys like that. Don’t they think of their families at all?”
No. I was pushed off. I didn’t jump myself. I didn’t-.
“Decreasing heart rate! Prepare FR2!”
“I think this kid’s an orphan. I mean, the school didn’t mention any family when I asked them to notify his family, so all the charges will be billed to the school.”
There seems to be two vastly different conversations going on beside me. One consists of the doctor repeating stuff like ‘BP,’ ‘pulse rate’ and ‘ECG’ as though it is the end of the world while the other is a casual chat about some indistinguishable topic. The topic seems to be me.
I’m not an orphan though. My parents might be abroad but that doesn’t mean I don’t have family! I want to retort, to talk back, but it’s as if I’ve been frozen. I won’t even budge, let alone talk.
“Patient has stopped breathing! Shock now!”
Boom! Boom! Boom!
My body jerks wildly along with the shocks but I can’t feel a thing, no pins and needles from the electric current and no feeling of a beating heart.
Is this really my body? Or maybe…I’m already dead and my spirit is quietly watching as people try to resuscitate me?
“Sun Le! You’re still young! You’ve a long way to go! Don’t give up!”
I SAID I AM NOT SUN LE!
“BP on the rise!”
“Stop the defib!”
“This kid’s lucky. Normally a fall from seven storeys means DRT.”
“He might just pull through.”
I might just pull through? I…I’m not dead?
Suddenly, my sensation rushes back to life and bone-splitting pain shoots through my body. I can already feel the doctor’s hands on my body, poking things in, rubbing and pressing. I gulp for air, pulling in as much as I can.
I want to live! I don’t want to die! I want to live!
“Pulse rate normal!”
“Sun Le! Hang in there! You’re gonna pull through!”
Yes! I want to live! I don’t want to die! No, I do not!
For a moment, I can’t tell who I am. Am I Sun Le? Or am I Xiao Yu? This strong yearning for life, whose is it? Xiao Yu’s? Or Sun Le’s?
The ambulance stops and the doctor and nurses rush me to the operating room. I can feel my chances of survival increasing and so is the possibility of making it out alive. I know I’m going to live. I’m not going to die!
I’m so happy I could cry. God, thank you. Thank you for giving me another chance. I will do the best to live my life and never let it go to waste.
Who is the one repenting? Who is the one praying to God? Is it Xiao Yu? Or is it Sun Le?
The door to the operating room has been opened. Mask-wearing doctors start working, tossing away piece after piece of bloody swabs. I listen carefully to the regular beeps from the ECG and feel joy from the bottom of my heart.
“Dad! Can can’t wait any longer! He must undergo surgery now!”
Who’s that talking?
“The university student that got brought in just now is an orphan, right? No one would notice! What’re the chances of surviving a seven-storey fall? No one would suspect a thing!”
What’re you saying?
“Dad! Can needs a kidney. He can’t wait another second! That student’s blood type is a perfect match! We couldn’t have asked for anything better! No one would ever know. No one would ever find out. We’ll offer to pay for the cremation of his body on the hospital’s behalf afterwards. Surely, the school would be glad to have us pay for it. That way our tracks will be covered! Let’s not hesitate anymore!”
Wait a minute…. Who are you talking about?
This is the operating room. There are only the surgeons’ muffled orders and the beeps of machines. Then whose emotional voice was that? Where did it come from? Or should I say, who was making it audible to me?
Suddenly, the door is opened and in comes a man dressed in scrubs. He quietly speaks with the main surgeon. The surgeon hesitates, the man says something else, and only then does the surgeon nod. The man then leaves.
I instinctively feel a bit restless and scared. What is this ominous feeling?
The world before my eyes starts spinning, brightening and dimming. My eyelids feel heavier and heavier as if it’s filled with lead.
I mustn’t sleep! I know I will never get my eyes open again if I let them close now. But…what the hell is going on? Why has it become like this?
I use all my efforts to open my eyes and my muscles get so sore I start tearing up. The tears are blood red, however. My vision is a coat of crimson. There’s red, and more red—a life’s worth of red.
And then, my eyes no longer feel leaden. I also realise that the machine that indicates my vitals has long stopped beeping. The people in the room leave one by one. The doctors have left. The nurses have left.
But what about me? I’m still waiting for you to resuscitate me.
A few other people walk in. They’re dressed the same as the doctors from earlier but I don’t feel one bit enthusiastic. Instead, I feel freezing cold as if I’m in the Arctic.
“The director’s grandson needs a kidney. Quickly, now. I don’t think he can wait any longer.”
I see them sticking a shiny scalpel into my body. Desperately, I want to scream but I can’t make a sound.
“What do we do with the body?”
“I was told to cremate it ASAP.”
“Hold on. I have a classmate who was willing to purchase a cornea at high above market price a couple days ago. This kid’s dead anyway—let’s not let it go to waste.”
“You sneaky son of a bitch.”
“Hahaha, I could say the same about you!”
Who are they talking about so casually, so jokingly? Who are they cutting up so carefully and precisely?
But…I’m a person. A living human being. How could they? How could they do such a thing? Nah…I must have misunderstood.
“Eh, screw it. Let’s just think of it as recycling. Take him for all he’s got while he’s still 30-minutes fresh.”
“We’ll be saving the hospital so much budget that we should ask the director for a bonus.”
“Go get a few more guys in here. I don’t want this to go to waste ‘cause we were too slow.”
No. I want to live. Help. Someone come save me from these crazy people.
“Now, won’t you look at that!”
They point at me and yelp in surprise.
“Why’s he crying? Isn’t he dead?”
“Stop scaring yourself. We’re doctors for god sakes. Hurry up! I have a date with my girlfriend after this.”
Tears of hatred and injustice stream out the corner of my eye. Drip. Drop. The heavens gave me a second chance yet it has been taken away by these heartless people. They never asked for my opinion, never asked for my consent, and just acted so coldblooded and ignorantly as though they were merely squishing an ant.
I’ve been wiped out of existence just like that. No one noticed anything. No one knows that I’ve been murdered. Not a soul knows. Still, my body gets placed on the guillotine while my executioners laugh and joke as they cut me apart piece by piece in exchange for dirty money.
Why? Do I not deserve to live anymore just because of one heated decision I’ve made? Do I not deserve the respectful end of a human being? Do I not have the right to choose just because I’m an orphan with no background? So these strangers get to decide my fate?
No fair! Those are mine! Those are my body parts! I don’t want to give them away! No!
Give it back! Give it all back! Give back what belongs to me!
My heartrending wail finally escapes my throat. I finally make it audible. I scream over and over with all my strength.
“GIVE IT BACK!”
“Xiao Yu! Xiao Yu!”
I hear Yuan Fei yelling at me but I can’t stop my screams.
I’ve restrained myself from screaming from the moment the scalpel entered my body and watched helplessly with my eyes wide-open as they dissected me. The terror, fury and resentment from every cut accumulated in my chest to the point I could no longer withstand its weighted pressure on me.
Finally, I can finally express all my suffering and rage. A bottomless whirlpool of malice sucks my heart, mind and soul into it, transforming all the bitterness and injustice into my final grudge: I will take it back! Take it all back!
Out of nowhere, my painful shrieks get stuffed back inside my mouth and a smell belonging to Yuan Fei envelops me. I cry and sob as I hold him tightly.
Suddenly, someone holds down my arm and I feel a sting. A doctor is injecting me with tranquilizer but I start shrieking again when I see the horrifying white coat.
It was people dressed like this who took my life away! It’s them!
“Go away! Go away! Don’t touch me!”
“Xiao Yu! Calm down! I’m here!”
I keep fighting. Only when I go hoarse from screaming and get too tired to struggle anymore do I relax. I start to see stars from using up all my energy. I then notice that everyone has left, leaving only me and Yuan Fei.
“Xiao Yu, I want you to look at me. Do you remember who I am?”
There’s a hint of a sob in his voice. I look up at him with great effort only to see a pair of blood shot eyes. I think he’s been crying for a long time.
“Yuan Fei….” I say with my scratchy voice.
“Yes! It’s me! I thought you wouldn’t wake up again!”
I can’t tell if he wants to cry or smile. He caresses my face with trembling fingers as though he is not sure if he’s actually touching me or not.
My mind only begins to clear up after letting out all my anger. I’m alive. I haven’t been dissected. I’m Xiao Yu, not Sun Le.
“I wanna know what the hell happened too!”
He holds my hands tightly. “You suddenly disappeared from the Dean’s Office. No one saw you leaving but you just vanished in thin air. And then I heard you jumped off the lab building. I almost had a break down! Thank god.... Thank god there was a mound of sand from the construction. You weren’t seriously injured only ‘cause you hit a tree branch along the way, and fell on the sand. But after we brought you to the hospital you didn’t wake up. The doctors said your pulse was really erratic. You know what, your heart had stopped once but your body jumped up all by itself before the doctor even started preparing the defibrillator as if it shocked itself. Everyone was gaping. And your heart started beating again soon after.”
So it wasn’t just a dream. I really did experience the whole thing. Well, at least I did go through, spiritually, Sun Le’s experience.
“Guess what, even the police were freaked out. I’m sure they think we’re being haunted by something now. I’m not under investigation anymore either. They’ve placed me under heavy protection instead now. And you know…you’ve been unconscious for three whole days. And that’s how long my heart’s been dead for.”
Lightly, I touch his face as he watches me intently. He bends down. “If you hadn’t woken up…I really don’t know what I’d do.”
He kisses me gently and licks at my lips. I crack up my mouth to welcome him in. Carefully, he slides his tongue in and my heart starts pounding sporadically, increasing with speed as our tongues entangle.
It’s not my first time kissing someone but it is the first time I’ve felt a loss of breath. It’s not my first time kissing Yuan Fei but it is the first time I’ve felt a solid connection with him. It turns out that a kiss is such a wonderful thing. It’s as though nothing else in this world is important as long as you can have this kiss for the rest of your life.
When our lips finally part with reluctance, his cheeks have turned pink. I assume I’m not much better off. We burst into sheepish chuckles at the same time after exchanging fixed stares. He picks up my hand and places it on his lips.
“Let’s never be apart, okay?” He asks earnestly.
I crack a smile but avoid answering the question.
“Was he the one who pushed you down?” He suddenly inquires.
I’m taken back by the quick change—it’s as if he’s a different person. Menace flashes in his once-loving eyes and pain shoots up my hand.
“Yuan Fei.” I call his name.
Only then does he come back around. He keeps apologizing after quickly releasing my hand.
I flash a light smile. “I’m still alive, aren’t I? If he’d wanted to kill me I wouldn’t have woken up. You know that.”
I see confusion slip across his eyes. He was anxious and frightened because he had thought I’d die for sure. He was overwhelmed with joy and reassurance because I have woken up. Consequently, he is perplexed because he doesn’t understand why I have received a miracle when no other has been able to escape the misfortunes. I, too, am curious.
Perhaps, Sun Le did it on purpose? He wanted me to live through the injustice and anger he had gone through. He pushed me down but let a branch slow my fall and let me land right on a mound of sand…because he didn’t want me to die?
However, I can’t figure out one thing. Why did he have to show me his experiences? Why didn’t he kill me?
He doesn’t have any reason to be so generous to me. He did try to kill me once, so what made him change his mind?
I get tired after a short chat with Yuan Fei and he leaves after tucking me in. I don’t know for how long I’ve slept when I get woken up by the nurse to take blood samples and measure my blood pressure. I blink my eyes open a few times, mind still in a daze, and take a scan around the room. It’s pitch black—it’s probably the middle of the night. Then I drift back to sleep.
A while later, a crisp sound resonates in my mind:
This takes me completely off guard and I’m wide awake in an instant. People are especially vulnerable when they’re sleeping and this almost makes my heart stop beating.
I shiver and pat my chest. “If you didn’t want me to fall to my death, then why try to scare me to death?” I gasp.
Perhaps the reason why he let me live so many times is because he wants to drive me insane and not just die an easy death.
“Do you really resent me that much?” I mutter quietly to no one in particular, knowing there won’t be an answer from it.
I don’t hear another sound. I glance around curiously—a pitch black hospital room with no one else in it. The darkness holds nothing strange either.
Could it be that I imagined it? But how could I have imagined such a clear, distinct sound coming from inside my head? Or maybe I’m just so afraid of it that it’s starting to haunt me in my dreams as well.
I let out a deep breath to calm my high-strung nerves and notice that my throat is parched. I climb up with difficulty and reach for the water bottle on the bedside table but I come into contact with a thick stack of something. Confused, I open the bedside lamp. I gape at what I see: seven files neatly stacked together on the bedside table. I’m certain, however, that there were no such things here when Yuan Fei was here earlier in the day.
I crack a bitter smile. It looks like it wasn’t my imagination after all.
I take the files over, knowing I can’t run from it, and untie the thin string holding them together.
“Alright, I’ll take a look if you insist I do….” I mumble to it, wherever it may be.
In the beginning, I had been eager to know the answer but before I knew it, I had become too scared to find out. The files had already become a petrifying solution in my eyes when it had pushed me to retrieve them the first time. The answer made me scared beyond description. So I turned a blind eye to them again and again, and yet it places them in front of me again and again.
Why must I be the one to solve this?
If it were as I had thought—Sun Le is holding a grudge from getting dumped by Yuan Fei—then why did he start with the innocent others and not Yuan Fei first? And if he wanted to leave Yuan Fei to the last why did he spare my life? More importantly, if what I had seen during my comatose days after falling off the building was what Sun Le wanted to show me, what would be the reason for it? He wanted justice? If so, why would he want to kill us?
I open the first file; it belongs to Cubs. I take a quick peek through his absence records, maybe because I had heard his name being mentioned in my dream state. It appears that he took a month off because he had a slow recovery from a surgery he had undergone in the summer.
I rummage through my memories. I’ve noticed a row of scars of stitches under his ribs when we went to take showers together. He had said it was from his surgery.
A faint vision materializes before my eyes after the soft sound:
Cubs is lying on a bed in the intense care unit with machines stuck all over his body. His mother is crying her eyes out by the bed while his father is standing to the side in his white coat quietly wiping at his tears. The next moment, a nurse comes running in saying there’s an emergency patient and Mr. Jin follows her out of the room. The scene blurs and I see Sun Le being wheeled in by a bunch of people to the surgery room. Then I see the expression gradually changing on Mr. Jin’s face as he reads Sun Le’s medical report in detail.
I can’t help muttering out loud. So the reason for every single thing…is this.
I put down the file and pick up Kong Linglin’s.
I recall Kong Linglin bragging to us one time that he got in a huge car accident in the summer and that he was lucky to even make it out alive—he used up two whole boxes of blood for transfusion. He might have exaggerated more or less but the fact remains that he had used large amounts of blood.
“Kong Linglin’s blood….”
I put the file down and pick up Mu Mu’s.
Last summer, he had surgery done too. He stayed in the hospital for aftercare when school had started already and he was excused for six weeks.
It was also that day, after Kong Linglin finished bullshitting, that Mu Mu briefly went over how he went under the knife too. He said he had bone marrow transplant because his weren’t functioning properly. Apparently, it had taken a lot of effort to find a match.
“Mu Mu’s bone marrow….”
Xu Ping’s file is next.
I don’t even need to read this to have a good idea of what it details. There was a fire at Xu Ping’s house and he got burned all over his body so he had skin transplants done.
“Xu Ping’s skin….”
I pick up Wu Fan’s file and spot another similarity—a crucial one at that, too—they were all Type A.
Consequently, I’m puzzled because I’m Type B and Yuan Fei is Type O. Neither of us have hospital records. So in other words, we have never had surgery performed on us. So is that the reason why we’ve constantly brushed past the Reaper that Sun Le has brought upon us?
I stare at the file in hand. Wu Fan had severe nearsightedness. In his own words, he had been in danger of losing sight completely so he had surgery done.
Another vision appears before my eyes along with the sound:
A woman is almost on her knees as she cries. “Doctor, my son can’t go blind! He’s so close to graduating! Please help him! Please!” She wails.
The doctor explains uncomfortably. “But there aren’t many cornea donors out there and there are a lot of patients in line….”
The man who has been holding the woman up quietly steps forward and discreetly slips a thick envelope loaded with money into the doctor’s hand.
“Please! Our child’s future rests in your hands!”
A smile spreads on the doctor’s face. He scans around him before lowering his voice. “The only way now is to buy it off of the black market. I happen to know one cornea that matches your son’s blood type but it’s in high demands....”
The man looks determined. “Money is not an issue! Please, doctor, we’ll pay whatever is necessary!”
The smiling doctor pats the man’s shoulder.
A breeze seems to blow across the misty vision before me, the smile on the white-coated doctor’s face instantly warping into something more menacing than any ghoul.
I understand now. I understand everything.
This ‘drip-drop’ is not from water dropping down but rather the weak sound of teardrops made of aggrieved resentment hitting this filthy, vile world. The spirits that cannot weep cry tears of blood that hopelessly fall towards their unchangeable destiny. Weak but stunning, the sound is overpowering and echoes in the mind.
I shudder. “You want your eye back? Is Chief the next one?”
I roll off the bed without a second thought and fall over the moment I hit the floor, my body aching as if it’s been crushed to pieces. It reminds me that I have recently fallen off a seven storey building.
“I’ll go get it back for you…your eye…so…please, spare Chief.”
Dairytea's comment: Will they survive?! Our next update for Drip-Drop will be the concluding chapter! While waiting, go read our 2nd release of the day. ;D
ayszhang's comment: I can't believe it! We're almost at the end of our journey~ (How are you so cheerful when Chief might lose his eye!!!) >u>
The Water Goes Drip-Drop - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.