SEVEN YEARS WITHOUT YOU
(The Truth About Dong Tao Town (10)
After waiting for a while, no one answered the door…
Unwilling to give up, Qin Chu was just about to push through the door when a voice sounded from behind them.
“Who are you guys looking for?”
Huo Mian turned around to see a young boy, about 15 or 16 years old. He was tall and had dark skin.
He held a basketball in his hands and was sweating through his shirt. He seemed to have just come back from playing outside.
“Little boy, we are looking for the owner of this house, have you seen him?” Huo Mian asked politely.
“We are distant relatives of Grandpa Yang,” Qin Chu added.
“You guys are looking for Grandpa Yang…?” The little boy had a weird expression on his face.
“Isn’t he at home? I heard that he came back a few days ago,” Qin Chu said.
“He’s… already dead,” the little boy hesitated for a moment before slowly saying.
“What? Dead?” Huo Mian and Qin Chu exclaimed at the same time.
“It happened the night before last. He was supposed to be buried yesterday, but there’s a tradition in our town that we can’t bury people on the 7th and 8th days of the lunar calendar. So, we’re waiting until tomorrow to do it. Grandpa Yang didn’t have any relatives, and his only niece is still down south, but I don’t think her life is that good either. He doesn’t have much money, so the head of the village said to place his body in the town’s morgue and cremate and bury him tomorrow.”
“I thought he was fine, how did he die all of a sudden?” Huo Mian couldn’t hide her disappointment; she had just found another clue, but again, for some weird reason, the trail disappeared…
The young boy scratched his head and said, “I don’t know either. My mom and the others said that Grandpa Yang took his own life. He didn’t have any children, and he couldn’t go back to his niece’s, so he didn’t see a reason to live. But I don’t think that was the case. Grandpa Yang is a really nice and optimistic person, he even played Chinese chess with me the day before he died.”
Huo Mian and Qin Chu fell silent…
“Cheng, why are you there? Come home for dinner!” a woman around 30 years old shouted from afar.
“Coming, Mom!” Then, the young boy turned around and said, “I’m going to go now, my mom’s calling me for dinner.”
“Thank you, little boy.” Huo Mian nodded at him.
“I guess we’re too late…” Qin Chu said quietly.
“Yeah… it’s so weird that he’s dead.”
“What do you want to do now?” Qin Chu asked for Huo Mian’s opinion.
“I want to go see the head of the village.”
“I was thinking of the same thing, let’s go.”
In the end, Qin Chu and Huo Mian failed to enter Uncle Yang’s old house, but they did find out where the head of the village lived. Therefore, they headed toward the big, steel-slate house where he lived; his last name was Zhu, he had a good reputation and was well respected within the village.
“You guys are…?”
“Oh, we are distant relatives of Uncle Yang, I heard that he came back a while ago, so we wanted to come to see him, but when we got here, someone told us that he died. What happened?” Huo Mian listened to Qin Chu and pretended to be Uncle Yang’s relative.
Upon hearing that they were Yang’s relatives, the head of the village relaxed and invited them into his home.
“What kind of relatives are you? I’ve never heard him mention it. I thought he only had a niece?” The head of the village looked at Qin Chu and Huo Mian with a confused expression on his face.
“Oh, here’s what happened, Uncle Yang is a distant relative, but we haven’t contacted each other in years. My parents are currently looking to reacquaint with him, so they asked me to come to check this place out. I heard that Uncle Yang recently returned from down south, and therefore we came to visit him today.”
“Oh, I see… well, you guys are too late, he’s gone now.”
“I heard, but how did it happen? It’s so sudden. How did he die?” Qin Chu again asked for Yang’s cause of death.
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