Title: Stepping into the void with no hope of reprieve
Jiang Xiaoning did not intend to take advantage of someone’s difficulties at first, in fact, he was almost scared to death.
After having been kicked out by Han Jia, he was confused and angry, unable to understand what Han Jia was thinking – anyone could touch him, but he wasn’t allowed? This was simply an insult to him.
He went home in anger, went to school, then went back home and once again went to school. He had told himself that he would never look at that pimp’s face anymore. But he became more and more gloomy at home and was more and more bored at school until one day after school, he ‘involuntarily’ walked toward the direction of Han Jia’s residence while vowing to himself that he couldn’t just let Han Jia off that easily and be happy as if nothing had happened.
Jiang Xiaoning had also brought the spare key with him, and upon noticing that Han Jia did not change the lock, he sighed in relief. He walked into the place and found that the coffee table still had fresh fruits, and when the student table in the study room had not changed at all, he was actually quite baffled, but a strange warmth passed through his heart, making him felt comfortable suddenly.
He sat happily on the sofa and picked up an apple, tossing it around. He thought, okay, I can forgive him, but I still have to make an angry look and let him know what a huge mistake it was to refuse me.
He thought and thought, waited and waited – the sky had darkened by the time his phone sounded.
He didn’t know the caller, and he didn’t dare to answer randomly so the call naturally went to his answering machine.
The content that he heard made Jiang Xiaoning’s heartbeat wanted to stop.
Without thinking much, he practically leapt off the sofa and rushed toward the door, then quickly turned back and went to the kitchen to get a knife before he flew out.
The elevator seemed to move in an extremely slow-paced manner as Jiang Xiaoning held the knife tightly until his knuckles started to hurt.
Before the elevator was even fully opened, he wanted to squeeze out but then he saw Han Jia leaning against the wall next to the elevator, looking at him with a drowsy expression.
He rushed over and shouted, “I heard the voicemail and came down. Are you okay?”
The moment Han Jia weakly fell down, all the blood in his whole body froze.
He caught Han Jia and hurriedly checked whether he had any injury – wanting to call the police or call an ambulance in a panic but he had dropped his phone upstairs and couldn’t find Han Jia.
He was about to cry. He wanted to carry Han Jia outside and ask for some help, however, he heard what Han Jia said to him.
“What? What’s wrong? Where do you feel uncomfortable?” he asked frantically.
Han Jia’s eyes were blurry. As if he had not heard his words, just murmured: “I’m sorry… Jiang Xiao… I’m sorry…”
What are you saying this now for? Jiang Xiaoning was sad and nervous. He asked him: “I’ll carry you to the hospital, okay?”
Han Jia’s conscious was obviously unclear already yet he still stubbornly repeated ‘I’m sorry’, and whispered: “The drug… being drugged is awful… sorry, sorry…”
Just then, Jiang Xiaoning became a little more awake. He carried Han Jia on his back, looked around cautiously and took him into the elevator.
He was actually drugged, no wonder he said sorry… humph, you also know how difficult it is? All sorts of feelings dashed toward Jiang Xiaoning’s head and as he thought, the elevator opened and closed but just as it was about to close, he finally took notice and quickly pressed the button for it to open again.
When he went downstairs, he was very anxious, leaving the door to Han Jia’s place wide open. Jiang Xiaoning carried him in, but because a bit of anger remained in his heart, he didn’t care whether Han Jia was comfortable. He strode to his bedroom and threw him into the bed.
Regardless of his uncomfortable groans, Jiang Xiaoning went to lock the main door. He went to the bathroom, wet the towel with cold water and then returned to the bedroom to turn on the light and checked on Han Jia.
Once he saw Han Jia’s appearance clearly, Jiang Xiaoning remained rooted, unable to turn his eyes elsewhere.
Han Jia had been assaulted by Zhang Xueming and then examined by Jiang Xiaoning, his clothes were already disheveled, giving a glimpse of his bare skin close to the color of pink – an aftereffect of the drug.
When the light was turned on, Han Jia groaned uncomfortably from the glare of the light. He wanted to reach out to cover his eyes; he wanted to turn his head and hide his eyes in the shadows, but he was so weak that those two simple actions could not be completed – these slight twists and turns appeared even more like a seductive trap.
Jiang Xiaoning could only feel the temperature of his own body rising. He knew well that he should help him relieve his pain, yet his feet were like roots – he couldn’t take even one step as his eyes stared straight at Han Jia’s charming gestures, his mouth and tongue became dry.
Han Jia’s face was flushed, and his breathing slowly became urgent. Jiang Xiaoning’s eyes were locked to his slightly opened lips. The shape of the lips was unnecessarily alluring, imperceptibly opening and closing to the rhythm of his breathing. Every time they part, Jiang Xiaoning was bewitched with the impulse to touch.
Jiang Xiaoning couldn’t help but approached one step at a time; the demons and gods were surely at work as he moved. He shook the towel that was soaked in cold water and rubbed it on Han Jia’s lips; those movements added a layer of water to those pink-tinted lips.
Han Jia was startled by the slight chill and had actually opened his eyes slowly – under the long eyelashes, was the slackened and misty darkness.
In such a trance-like state, he wasn’t able to focus, but it seemed as if he could sense Jiang Xiaoning’s presence. He sighed and whispered brokenly, “… Ning… sorry…”
The target you want to possess was directly in front of you, and the whispered words were of your name was like the words of love, had Jiang Xiaoning ever experienced such excitement?
He cast aside the towel in his hand, turned over and sat on Han Jia’s body, peeling off his clothes while he breathed heavily. Han Jia was unconscious and gasped from his actions.
Jiang Xiaoning tore open his shirt and pulled his pants and underwear down to his ankles; with the slightly cool air, Han Jia seemed to be somewhat awake, his hands and feet moved a bit, looking as if he wanted to curl up.
Jiang Xiaoning pressed down on him, rendering Han Jia’s struggle completely useless – in front of his desires, he had the effect of pouring fuel on the fire. In his dreams, Jiang Xiaoning had overtaken Han Jia many times already but no matter how crazy the fantasy was, it was not as good as the reality that caused blood to rise before his eyes. He can no longer wait as he gasped with difficulty, got up a bit, and turned Han Jia over.
Han Jia let out a low moan – unsure of whether it was of refusal or enjoyment, one of Jiang Xiaoning’s hands slid between his legs while the other hand pushed away his shirt, exposing his back.
Then he stopped.
His mind was blank.
The light in the room was warm, the bedsheet was of a soft color and Han Jia’s skin was like jade – the one thing that destroyed it all was the scar on his back.
The crisscrossed scars contained six or seven strokes that covered Han Jia’s fair back – they looked to be old wounds and the deeper scars had traces of having been stitched while the shallow ones had a kind of grotesque smoothness to them. It was clear, someone had wanted to use a sharp weapon to engrave a character on his back. The longest stroke, however, destroyed the person’s plan. It ran from the left side of the waist to the bottom of the right rib, and also, the scar from right to left was thinner in apparent, evident that someone had blocked it from the right side during the ‘engraving’ moment, though it left behind the longest mark.
Jiang Xiaoning was dumbfounded as a gust of chilliness radiated from his heart, making his whole body rigid.
He couldn’t continue, practically caught in a dilemma. He got off Han Jia and almost fell from the bed to the floor.
He stepped back backward, then turned and ran to the bathroom, first he splashed his face with cold water, then took off his clothes and turn on the cold water and haphazardly rushed under it.
After calming down, he put on his clothes, took a basin of water, and went to the bedroom. He used a towel to cover Han Jia, but he didn’t dare to take another look.
The drug given to Han Jia was obviously much more than his. The cold water was warming up, and he was also beginning to tremble, however, he was still not awake – only much calmer, soon falling asleep.
Jiang Xiaoning covered him with a thin blanket and then put away the basin and towel. He stood in front of the mirror contemplating for a long while before, ultimately, walking back to the bedroom and sitting on the side of the bed.
Han Jia closed his eyes tightly, his face had become pale, and the two rows of eyelashes appeared black and dense. There was a sense of helpless beauty under the light.
Jiang Xiaoning looked at it for a while and slowly reached for the spot on his back, in the end, he did not lift the thin blanket – he only touched it lightly, and then no longer able to endure it, he turned around and ran out of the bedroom.
He walked a few rounds back and forth in the living room. For the first time in his life, he wanted to call his father to report his whereabouts. But he knew that his father wouldn’t care, so he ended up just sitting on the couch, staring at the fruit bowl on the coffee table.
His heart was endearingly touched – a youthful soul that had always believed himself to be the centre of the universe, always believing himself to have experienced the bitterest pains – when he finally realized… realized that aside from his own world, there was another world in which he had no control, realized that aside from his own fears, there were other hearts shuddering in fears, realized that in this world there were other pains, scars, and sins more bitter – he could not help but tremble.
The sight could not be erased from his mind. Han Jia’s crisscrossed scars were repulsive and ugly with evil intentions and mercilessness.
That character was of the word “贱 – worthless”.
Han Jia’s impression was too deep-rooted in his heart, so the second he saw the word, he’d even thought it was some kind of perverted, disgusting, and popular sex game that took place in Jin Ting. But the distortion of the strokes showed Han Jia’s struggle and resistance at that time. How serious were the wounds that they didn’t fade away after so many years? When Jiang Xiaoning looked down, it seemed as though he could still see the blood dripping——that was, in no way, a mutually-consented matter.
Jiang Xiaoning couldn’t stop the crazy thoughts, the word, the contempt, and humiliating declaration, the cold and vicious judgment, what kind of past had it all come from?
Who damaged him like this with no scruples? Who wanted to leave him with such a shameful mark? When… when did Han Jia bear such a price?
With his arms propped on his legs, Jiang Xiaoning buried his face in both of his hands; his whole body felt utterly cold. He suddenly realized that his father’s most outstanding disciple, the unforgettable and fascinating student, had turned into a shameless and enticing pimp, yet despite everything, he had never pursued the reason. He had firmly believed that Han Jia was born with no shame, but the same Han Jia had used such a reminiscing-tone to talk about his father and he deliberately ignored it. He initially sought Han Jia for revenge, even though their relationship had gotten more and more harmonious afterward and even though his opinions of Han Jia increased, he never wanted to know how the young man who had the talents envied by his peers, a bright future, and unlimited possibilities, ended up abandoning his glories and dreams little by little just like that?
But now, he truly wanted to know. He had seen a diversity of Han Jia: immoral, estranged, charming, fierce, tolerant, mysterious… but it was not enough. This turning point allowed Jiang Xiaoning to understand his own heart, but that was not enough. He wanted to see even more of Han Jia, the real Han Jia, the Han Jia from the very beginning, even if it was a ruined Han Jia, the dark and gloomy Han Jia, the disappointed Han Jia – he just wanted to see the Han Jia that no one else had ever seen before.