Fang Guo received on Monday the letter sent from the class monitor, an invitation to a funeral.
The deceased was Wei Wei.
Fang Guo thought for ten minutes before recalling this person.
Wei Wei was Fang Guo’s high school third-year classmate, and the belle of their class.
By all reason, since Wei Wei was the class belle, Fang Guo should have a deep impression of her.
Yet the situation was the opposite, regarding memories concerning Wei Wei, they were very shallow.
In his impression she was a pretty and quiet girl, with ordinary results, and a weak sense of existence. As if a paper cut-out, her only good point was being beautiful, yet that beauty was constantly shrouded in shadow, hard to make out.
Not long after receiving the letter Fang Guo received a call from the class monitor: “Fang Guo?”
Fang Guo: “May the class monitor live for a thousand and ten thousand years.”
The class monitor was teased into laughing, and said: “Have you seen the letter I sent you yet?”
Fang Guo lowered his head, his hand still holding the letter, as white as snow.
The words on it, were written in calligraphy, the movements robust and powerful, not inferior in any respect to great calligraphers.
“Saw it.” Fang Guo paused for a beat, and asked: “Is it true?”
The class monitor was taciturn, and after a long while spoke in a serious tone: “Who would joke on this matter?”
Fang Guo was disappointed.
Never mind if he was familiar or not, they were once classmates for three years. Calculating from now, she would be no more than twenty-five.
This was an untimely death, such a pretty flower has thus wilted like this, and henceforth would flower no more.
Fang Guo sighed: “Nothing lasts forever.” Pausing, he said again in doubt: “I remember that we haven’t contacted Wei Wei in five or six years already. Why did they suddenly find us to invite us to the funeral?”
Wei Wei has transferred into their town’s high school from a remote area, and after graduating from high school had cut off contact completely. Right now Fang Guo had already graduated from university and came out to work for a year, then he was suddenly contacted to join the funeral.
Furthermore it was to a remote village he had never been to before, so he felt rather surprised.
The class monitor said: “I don’t know either.” She paused in doubt, and then said: “I was suddenly contacted too… maybe Wei Wei was not close to us back then, only because she was shy. In truth she really likes us.”
Fang Guo nodded: “Perhaps.”
The class monitor: “When are you setting out?”
Fang Guo: “Three days later. I need to wait for the leave to be approved.”
The class monitor: “Fine. See you then.”
Fang Guo: “See you then.”
The funeral location was very remote, Fang Guo had never heard of it.
The entire journey was running back and forth between the train, the coach, and the taxi minibus, setting off early in the morning, and come evening he was still in the taxi minibus.
Fang Guo held his luggage with a tired expression, the taxi minibus had six people including the driver.
The other three people consisted of two guys and a girl, with tanned skin, apparently all farmers. Amongst them one was completely clothed in black, wearing a hood, and enclosed in shadow, unable to be seen clearly.
He had met them that afternoon in the village, and there was only one minibus headed towards his destination. The minibus was rather run-down, with a heavy odour of petrol within.
Fang Guo resisted his disgust and got aboard, but the whole journey was bumpy, which was hard on his stomach.
He was not carsick, yet because he had been changing between vehicles the whole day, his bodily functions were protesting.
Fang Guo could not help it, and asked the driver: “Master, how long more to get there?”
Fang Guo did not like this answer, without a definite answer he might not be able to hold on.
“Master, could you be more precise?”
Driver: “Hai, just soon. How do you want me to say it? I’ve been using this route for over ten years, I can tell if we’ll be there soon or not even without looking at the road. I said soon it’ll be soon, why are you so anxious?”
Evidently the driver was an impetuous person.
Fang Guo had no way to continue speaking, constantly feeling that he would throw up if he continued speaking.
His stomach rolled, it was difficult to bear.
Opposite him the girl amongst the trio raised her head to glance at him, and seeming to see Fang Guo’s unwell expression, said: “Probably left about a kè, not far.”
She had used the ancient method of time-keeping, a kè being about fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes, a quarter of an hour.
Not enough time for even a puzzle game, yet at this moment, to Fang Guo, time seemed to crawl.
Fang Guo narrowed his eyes slightly, his throat in pain, the odour of engine oil and body odours mixed with various smells in his nose, and felt even more disgusted.
Right as he was unable to handle it and was about to call to pull up, suddenly his nose was filled with the scent of ink, carrying a touch of coldness. As if within the height of summer, a flower had just been taken out of the fridge, its surface densely suffused with cold.
And scented with the fragrance of ink.
It dulled the surging pain in Fang Guo’s stomach.
Fang Guo glimpsed beside him an arm, very pale. It was a bloodless white, somewhat morbid.
Staring at a loss for words, Fang Guo raised his head to look at the person beside him.
The inside of the car was dark, and outside it was already night.
There was no moonlight, and because it was in the wilderness, there were no streetlights.
Only because the minibus was running, the inside of the vehicle was slightly lit. The person next to him was also completely dressed in black, besides the arm stretched out, its extreme paleness making it extremely visible in the night.
The person beside him extended a hand, supporting Fang Guo.
The pleasant scent of ink came from the person beside him, and Fang Guo lowly gave a thanks, retreating with slight reluctance.
That person said nothing, and took his hand back.
The minibus advanced, and it was quiet within.
Suddenly there was a bump, Fang Guo was not steady in his seat, and in a moment was about to fall onto the ground. That pale arm appeared once again to grab Fang Guo’s waist, pulling him into an embrace filled with the icy fragrance of ink.
The vehicle continued on stably, and Fang Guo heard the trio’s complaints and the driver’s laughing attempt to smooth things over. Yet at this time, he felt that these sounds seemed quite distant, and having heard these sounds, he could not make out their content.
Probably because at this moment all his attention was on the person beside him.
This was a man, with a tall and lean figure.
Fang Guo thought to himself, and then realised that the force around his waist was too strong, and too tight, but would not hurt him.
Fang Guo thanked him once again, and then gave a push at the man’s torso. Having assumed that the strength looped around his waist would be difficult to push away, he did not expect the other to easily and quickly let go.
This made Fang Guo convinced that the man had acted out of good intentions, so he was grateful. He had originally wanted to chat, yet he felt nauseated the moment he opened his mouth.
On second thought it was better to get off the bus at the village before chatting, since the village was only so big. The driver had mentioned that he would spend the night at the village, so Fang Guo he himself would probably also pass the night at the village.
As he thought so he closed his eyes, leaning back against the chair to rest.
Thus he did not see, when he closed his eyes, the originally noisy environment in the bus abruptly fell silent. And the man beside him turned his head slightly, the face hidden in the mood a mass of black mist, with a pair of eyes set within, fixed unblinking on Fang Guo.
The writer: short, barely 30K. Ghost gong human shou, I prefer this.