It was an extremely sharp pain, like being stabbed into the skin by several needles at once. Feng Yeran almost roared out in pain. He subconsciously grabbed Feng Hua’s shoulder and pushed it away violently!
“What’re you doing?!” He covered the painful area and roared, his head still dizzy and his temples throbbing.
The mad rage in Feng Hua’s eyes hadn’t dissipated yet, just like a beast on the verge of outbreak. But when his eyes touched Feng Yeran’s angry ones, tears spilt out almost instantly and the oppressive feeling in the air disappeared abruptly. His eyes were red, filled with panic and rebuke, just like that of a puppy afraid of being abandoned by its owner.
“I’m sorry! Ye’er… I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to… I don’t know what happened to me… But as soon as I heard… Are you hurt? Is it bleeding?”
Feng Yeran checked, and it was only bleeding slightly. “Don’t do that in the future.”
“Mm… sorry… ah, phone…”
Feng Hua hurriedly picked up the phone on the ground. Although it was still working, its screen was cracked. Phones in this era were very resistant to drops. How much force did he use to drop the phone into such a state…
“The phone’s been with me for three whole years.” Feng Yeran sighed and checked his phone’s functions. “I don’t know what you’re angry about. It’s just a call from Chen Xuan. I didn’t make an appointment with her before. She just came to me on her own accord today. Why do you dislike her so much? …Ah, do I replace the screen or get a new one? I really can’t let it go.”
“I’m saying, if I get together with her in the future, what would you do? You have to learn to accept her. After all, she’s the one I like.”
“She’s already married.”
“Maybe she’ll divorce and choose me,” Feng Yeran said while texting. “Anyway, Feng Hua, you have to adjust your mindset. To me, you’re like my son, but I can’t be single all the time. I’ll eventually find a woman. But, you can rest assured that even if I find a wife, our previous relationship will still be the same. It won’t change.”
“She said she wants to see you and asked me to say a time… Feng Hua, the day after tomorrow, how about I apply with the director for you to meet?”
* * *
It was October 24th. Feng Yeran came over early, cleaned the room, and changed Feng Hua into new clothes—a silvery-grey woollen sweater, loose coffee-coloured checkered shorts, white socks and grey slippers. He himself was dressed in a dark casual suit and his hair was just made, looking very fresh and handsome.
Chen Xuan arrived after dinner.
Feng Hua heard Feng Yeran and her talking and laughing outside the door. His eyes slowly moved from the light jumping on the barred window to the two shining people. As soon as the woman entered the room, Feng Yeran helped her take off her thick coat and hung it up. Her white high heels stepped on the floor, making a rhythmic sound. Her ankles were slender, ah, the ankles of a woman, the ankles Ye’er liked.
The woman placed her black handbag on the table, her fingers slender and coated with pink nail polish.
How does she touch Ye’er with these hands?
Feng Hua tilted his head, but shuddered in an instant, because his other “self” seemed to come out at that moment. He leisurely put both hands in his trouser pockets as he stepped barefoot on the floor, walking around behind the sofa, watching the two people sitting down, curiously sizing them up.
Feng Hua had a headache. He closed his eyes.
He heard Feng Yeran and Chen Xuan let out laughs one after another, and then they began to talk to Feng Hua.
“Feng Hua, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Chen Xuan. You can just call me Sister Xuan.”
The woman reached out to shake Feng Hua’s hand, but Feng Hua didn’t move.
The woman took back her hand awkwardly. Feng Yeran constantly winked at Feng Hua, trying to smooth things over. Feng Hua smiled but was indifferent. The other Feng Hua laughed behind the sofa.
Chen Xuan continued, “Feng Hua, I often hear Yeran talk about you. He always says in my ear, how smart and great you are, how proud he is of you…”
“Don’t be shy, hahaha. You were even talking about it early this morning!”
Behind the sofa, the other Feng Hua was smiling very happily. He stared at Feng Hua sitting on the sofa and spoke to him silently, slowly changing the shape of his mouth. Early, this, morning.
They were together again last night.
Feng Hua took a deep breath and loosened his clenched fist.
The woman, however, was unaware of this. She continued, “I’ve read all the interviews and reports about you many times. I’m really interested in you, especially your ability to turn dreams into reality. I think it’s incredible. Yeran told me that you once brought him into the starry sky on his birthday, and turned the room into a fish tank…”
The other Feng Hua propped his right elbow on the sofa, holding his cheek as he quietly mocked, He told her all of it!
Fool, you’re the only one who thinks of those as secrets between you two!
“I want to make a documentary, and I hope you can be my main character…”
The woman said that and took a sip of water, her bright red lipstick staining the white porcelain cup with the fat cat pattern. It was the cup exclusively for Feng Yeran.
Maybe your Ye’er has her lipstick on his body too!
How did she kiss on it?
Where did she kiss?
The other Feng Hua looked like he’d gone berserk, pointing at Feng Yeran’s body as he danced around. His face? His neck? His clavicle? His chest? His arms? His abdomen?…
Feng Hua bit his lower lip hard. He felt a slight shiver all over his body, especially at his temples, where his blood pulsed. He felt surges of dizziness.
“I’m sorry!” he said suddenly.
“What’s wrong?” Feng Yeran asked.
Feng Hua looked up at Feng Yeran, and the words he was about to say changed again. “I’m thirsty…”
Feng Yeran poured Feng Hua a cup of water. The woman handed it to Feng Hua. Feng Hua reached out to take it. Behind the sofa, the other Feng Hua’s eyes widened in excitement, and he gradually revealed a strange smile as the corners of his mouth slowly hooked upwards.
The moment Feng Hua carelessly touched the woman’s fingers, the cup of water dropped straight down and hit the coffee table, the porcelain cup shattering with a crash, splashing the slightly hot water everywhere—
Feng Hua roared, his eyes widening in disbelief as waves of nausea rose in his throat, as well as an uncontrollable feeling of anger and explosiveness…
By a carelessness on his part, by an uncontrollable voyeuristic motive that was deep inside him, he just saw through the woman’s skin—saw the woman’s delirium beneath Feng Yeran’s body… She was tightly gripping Feng Yeran’s back with her slender fingers, leaving a series of red marks on it…
He heard someone calling his name, someone shouting something, but he didn’t know what they were saying.
The walls and floor became bumpy, and everything was expanding and shrinking. He raised his hands and found that the skin was peeling off rapidly. Something terrible was growing inside his body. The searing pain spread up from his fingertips, and soon it was his arms, his shoulders, his body, even his neck, even his face—
Before he lost consciousness, he heard the woman’s screams:
Feng Yeran had never expected that letting Feng Hua see Chen Xuan would trigger such terrible consequences.
For four years, Feng Hua had been in a stable human state. He’d almost forgotten that he was a terrible, bloodthirsty monster that had devoured his mother’s body and a researcher’s arm when he was just born!
Feng Yeran watched helplessly as the delicate-looking child seemed to be extremely frightened the moment the cup fell on the coffee table—his eyes widened, as if he’d seen something terrible, and he grabbed his hair and growled in a low voice!
He called his name and went over to grab him and soothe him, but to no avail. His whole body was shaking violently, his veins were swelling, his body was hot, and his face was twisted!
It was an unimaginable and terrifying changing process. Feng Yeran saw with his own eyes Feng Hua’s skin rapidly peeling off, like paper being burnt by flames, and terrifying limbs bursting out from within—
Once again, Feng Hua had lost almost all his human features, with his nose and mouth lost. He was about 1.65 metres, but his tentacles could cover almost the entire room. His body was twisted and disfigured to the point it was indescribable. The things in the room were overturned and broken one after another.
Before Feng Yeran could react, he heard Chen Xuan’s screams. Chen Xuan’s neck was wrapped in those slimy limbs and she was abruptly lifted up!
Chen Xuan struggled violently and her high heels fell to the ground. “He——lp!!”
“Let her go!!!!”
Feng Yeran yelled in fright. He attacked the limbs with a chair and tried to pull her down, but those limbs that were wrapped around Chen Xuan were rock hard. The door had been slammed open with several staff members rushing in, and several shots of anaesthetic had been given, but to no avail. And the growing pressure was causing headaches, constantly stopping incoming staff. It was obvious that the monster had set up something like a boundary in this space, and they couldn’t enter without his permission.
The monster was strangling Chen Xuan like crazy, and a strange, hoarse, almost inaudible voice sounded repeatedly, just like a terrible incantation. “Kill you… kill you… kill you… kill you… kill you… kill you…”
“Feng Hua!! Let her go!!” Feng Yeran tried to wake him up.
“Monster! Let go of Chen Xuan! Or we’ll shoot!” Old Zhang and the others shouted.
It was to no avail.
Watching Chen Xuan’s struggle getting weaker and weaker, Feng Yeran snatched the gun from Old Zhang’s hand, gritted his teeth, and pulled the trigger with his finger, hitting the limb grabbing Chen Xuan with a bang. Several tentacles spluttered violently, splashing blood everywhere. The monster struggled fiercely and hissed, but still didn’t let go of Chen Xuan.
Feng Yeran pointed the gun straight at the monster’s “head” and roared, “Feng Hua, I’m warning you. If you kill her, I’ll definitely kill you!”
His words worked.
A few seconds later, the monster hissed as it let go of Chen Xuan.
Then, it was completely hysterical.
Its voice was so shrill that the ceiling lights and glass shattered completely. After its screams had subsided, it destroyed, rolled, and even mutilated itself uncontrollably. It destroyed almost everything in the room that could be broken. It snapped off its own tentacles. It hit the wall countless times with dull thuds. It received countless anaesthesia shots, and then, finally, stopped its hysteria.
Its tentacles became fewer and fewer, and its shape became smaller and smaller.
In the end, it became a piece of rotting flesh once again, only two or three times larger than when it was just born.
It lay in a pool of blood, staring at the person holding the woman in his arms, and two streams of liquid overflowed from its eyes, sliding comically and disgustingly down its rough skin and onto the dirty floor.
A slit split from its body, which opened and closed slightly.
It was saying, Ye’er, I’m sorry.
After that, its consciousness lapsed. People gathered around it at times, injected it with something, and it didn’t know where it was.
Not knowing how long had passed, it dreamily called out “Ye’er”. Not knowing whether it was a dream or reality, it followed the familiar smell and hazily saw the crooked corridor and the twisted door, and it saw Ye’er’s back.
Ye’er was talking to a man.
He said, “…I know. 347 is our most important experiment. We can’t do without it now… Yes, it’s in development, but it’ll take at least three years… I know, when the time comes, I’ll…”
It felt its whole body hurt, its stomach hurt, its tummy hurt, but where were its stomach and tummy.
Its whole body was shrinking, and it finally became a ball, rolling on the ground, being kicked by children.
* * *
After the incident, Chen Xuan was rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, it was just trauma, nothing too serious.
This incident almost caused an extremely negative impact. Fortunately, the people in the research institute immediately blocked the news. They rejected the reporters who were going to interview Feng Hua, cancelled Feng Hua’s trip for next month, and imprisoned Feng Hua again, putting him in chains. Feng Yeran was called in for a long talk with the director and the president.
The following was Feng Yeran’s diary for half a month.
I didn’t expect this to happen at all. Feng Hua broke out, and he became a monster again. A monster a hundred times more terrifying than when he was just born. His size became huge, and he was roaring constantly, as if he wanted to destroy everything. He wanted to kill Chen Xuan. Fortunately, Chen Xuan wasn’t seriously hurt.
What exactly happened? I had talked to him about Chen Xuan many times, and he had agreed to see her. I don’t understand at all what had stimulated him. But it must have been something I overlooked.
He was put in the electric prison again, and I stayed up all night. The president had a long talk with me about nothing else but his danger, his anaesthesia problem, and how I had to make my position clear or I would have trouble later.
But I really didn’t know what the problem was. Although he was terrifying when he was born, he had been raised by me for so long. I thought I knew him. He had always been a docile, obedient and kind child—did I really know him?
I was surprised at my own assumption. Yeah, did I really know him?! Had I been deceiving myself all this time?!
I watched the surveillance video over and over again. Indeed, he didn’t seem quite right the whole time. His vision wasn’t quite right. On the day of the accident, he often looked behind the sofa. After zooming in many times, I saw that he seemed to be constantly stimulated as his body kept shaking. He was holding back? He had broken out because Chen Xuan handed him water. But why would handing him water make him break out? Would make him show such a frightened expression?!
I also lost sleep all last night. I’m really angry. I don’t know what’s wrong with Feng Hua, why he’s so thoughtless. If he really killed someone, he would be shot immediately—doesn’t he know that? I want to talk to him right away, but he still looks like a monster and hasn’t regained his human form at all. I shouldn’t.
Chen Xuan got much better, and she had to go home. She talked to me a lot, but I was distracted. All I could think about was the electric prison. I had to go see him right away. Feng Hua might have turned into human form, wailing in the electric prison! After all, he’s still a child, and there will be times when he does something wrong. Adults should educate him well and make him apologise.
But he still didn’t turn into human form, still looked like a monster. He stayed shrunk in the corner, his body covered with a layer of white film and shrinking at a rate visible to the naked eye. He didn’t eat or drink at all and no vital signs are visible. It’s almost as if he’s dead!! God, what’s going on?!
Feng Hua’s growth rate, abilities, and everything about him seem to be related to his emotions. His world is small, and the things that affect his emotions are actually very singular. I clearly knew that. I clearly put those words into the experimental report. But I chose to ignore it!
I can’t sleep at all. All I can think about all day was Feng Hua. I realise I was wrong! I was wrong!! I was wrong again! How could I be so stupid, so incapable of learning from my mistakes!!
I’ve watched the previous surveillance video countless times. Feng Hua had long since started to have problems. He often talked to himself, he drew pictures all the time, lots and lots of pictures, and he was often silent, or broken down, emotionally unstable.
He had clearly given me enough chances—I had looked at his drawings, and he had clearly drawn me! He had clearly confessed to me! Even though I had spent an afternoon convincing him, had he really given up on me? Had he really become a mature child? Or was he still obsessed with me? So every time I mentioned Chen Xuan to him since then, was I stimulating him? In the craniotomy experiment before, I forgot food and sleep writing reports and neglected him, and then he suddenly lost all his senses. Now, though I often come to see him, do I really have him on my mind all the time?
As I lay in bed, sentences suddenly appeared in my head.
“I want to be with Ye’er forever!”
“But, Ye’er is mine alone, right?”
“You’re obviously mine.”
“But I like you, is that not okay either?”
“Ye’er, what do you want me to say? Because I was rejected by the person I like… I broke down and couldn’t control myself, so I hurt someone?”
“Where were you last night?”
“You taught me not to lie to people. But, you lied to me.”
“You reek of that woman.”
“Are you going to see that woman again if you leave now?”
“Ye’er, beat me! Hit me! But don’t leave! Don’t go to that woman… don’t go! Don’t go to her!”
I can’t help but cover the teeth marks on my clavicle that haven’t completely cleared up yet. My stomach has started to hurt again. God, how could I have been so stupid? All this time, I’ve been thinking about Chen Xuan every day, and I almost couldn’t see the truth… Such obvious hints, and I thought it was just a child’s jealous nature worrying that I wouldn’t care about him after I got a wife!!
Indeed, he had always been a very cute and obedient child, but he’s changed recently. He’s grown taller, he’s become difficult to understand, he often says things I thought he couldn’t possibly say, he has very big mood changes, but I’ve neglected him at this special time of his life. So, all this wasn’t caused by him, but by me!!
—But what am I supposed to do if he’s still obsessed with me? How could I possibly like a child? A male child?? My child? Wouldn’t it be crueller to lie to him and pretend to accept him in order to appease him?!
God, what am I supposed to do?