Chapter 1 – He Came From the Future
It was high noon on a blistering hot summer day. So long as one was outside, it would be impossible to escape the rays of sunlight coming from above.
Nobody had the strength to speak. Even the birds were silently hiding among the leaves. Only the cicadas continued to cry out restlessly, as if they knew their lives were soon approaching an end.
It was the final day of summer vacation.
Stepping upon the newly paved asphalt roads that led to a normal school, it felt soft, as if it was finally on the brink of melting beneath the intense glare of the sun.
A slim, youthful figure wearing a hat and sunglasses was currently walking along this road.
He walked very slowly.
One moment he was looking at the shabby mailbox over there, the next he was caressing the listless holly leaves that basked beneath the sun’s glare. And after that, he stared at an old ad for treating STDs with ancient chinese medicine that had been on an old wire pole for some time.
He seemed to have found everything on this road extremely interesting.
Afterward, he checked the time on his wristwatch and suddenly jogged through the normal school’s gates until he was beneath the eave of the school building.
His actions would surely be considered strange. When he stopped, a sudden clap of thunder resounded from the air and the originally azure sky was overcome with a black cloud that appeared out of nowhere. Afterward, soybean-sized rain drops began to descend rapidly from the sky.
The youth in sunglasses stood underneath the eave of the building, quietly watching the sky. After a moment of silence, he began to slowly ascend the school building’s stairs.
Students had to wait until the next day before they would begin their classes, so the school building was completely empty right now. The only one there was the youth in sunglasses who shouldn’t have been there.
His footsteps seemed to have a rhythm to them, as if they were an accompaniment to the melody of the rain. Together, it almost sounded as if they were playing the theme to a beautiful prelude.
When he arrived at the stairs leading to the fifth floor, the rain suddenly stopped.
Weather in summer was always a fickle thing. The next moment, the sun hovered proudly in the skies once more, but after the baptism of that passing rain, its might seemed to have weakened. With the addition of the occasional breeze blowing by, the earth that had previously been scorched by the glare of the sun seemed to have livened up all of a sudden.
The youth in sunglasses stood there, peering through a gap in the stairwell walls and trying to see the roof of the three-storied teacher’s office building fifty meters away.
Yet, his line of sight was limited to a stainless steel fence. The concrete floors outside were completely barren.
He looked at his wristwatch, and once again continued to peer outside.
His expression revealed extreme concentration. A concentration so deep that others would wonder if the cement floor over there was about to suddenly sprout flowers.
Oh. Three people came out.
Three men came out to smoke cigarettes.
Among them were two older men laughing as they chatted.
The remaining man was much younger and simply stood silently in the back.
There they stood on the rooftop, looking down upon the school building from behind the fence. One of the older men stretched out a hand and pointed towards the school building and said a few words.
It was a pity that they were so far away. The youth couldn’t hear anything at all.
But that youth’s gaze followed the movements of that man, focusing on the thing he pointed at.
He suddenly grew excited. His sunglasses covered up a pair of sparkling eyes as he said to himself, “Father, it’s been over ten years now. I’ll finally be able to see you again.”
He sounded like a person who hadn’t been home for a very long time and was finally about to see his father again.
On the rooftop, the two older men were still chatting.
The young man seemed bored to death. He got up and went to the other side of the fence to look.
But when he was about seven or eight meters from the two older men, he suddenly grabbed the railings and jumped atop them.
The middle-aged man the youth called father finally noticed the actions of the young man. He pointed at the young man and spoke a few words.
Soon after, the other middle-aged man turned around and looked at the young man.
His voice was exceedingly loud and was carried by the wind and over to the school building.
“Xiao Sun, be careful. Don’t fall over.”
But the young man simply waved at them without a concern.
When the two middle-aged men saw he wasn’t listening to them, they stopped concerning themselves with him. After all, he was a co-worker and they couldn’t just scold him like a child. They leaned on the railing once more and resumed their chat.
The young man saw that no one was paying any attention to him, so he slowly shifted his position and sat his butt atop the steel pole railings. He quietly rested his heel upon the outer edge of the railings. Now, only his hands were holding onto the steel pole railings, preventing his body from tumbling down to the ground.
Thus, he stood there like this. He raised his head and gazed up at the sky. As if he’d seen something truly beautiful, he revealed a smile.
Soon after, he got up without any warning and spread his arms like a bird.
Then, his body began to rapidly lean forward.
Birds would fly, but clearly, he would not.
In reality, a person’s skull in free fall at such a height wouldn’t seem that much different from a watermelon.
As the young man fell, the youth inside the school building gripped his fists tightly. Upon careful examination, one would notice that his nails had actually pierced through skin.
He wasn’t wearing his sunglasses anymore, revealing an expression that wasn’t shocked at all.
By the time the two middle-aged men responded and looked down over the rails, a depressing thud was heard from the ground.
The young man had fallen head first. When his skull met with the concrete, it had produced a quieter thud than expected.
Crimson blood and white brain matter was splashed all over the concrete. His neck was bent at an exaggerated angle.
Looking from afar, it almost seemed as if that upside down head had a trace of a taunting smile.
This was 1998, August 31st.
On this day, many people died, and many were born.
Yet nobody knew the significance of life.
Perhaps one is born for the sake of dying at some unspecified time.
But where do those people go after they have died?
When the young man jumped off the building, Chen Wu Sheng was at home, reading a high school English textbook.
He had always been hardworking, but his grades had never been particularly high or low. His score hadn’t been too outstanding in the recent middle school exams either. Although he had only been short by five marks, his parents still had to pay 15,000 yuan to get him into a good high school.
That couldn’t be considered a small sum of money for his family.
As a result, Chen Wu Sheng had always blamed himself. Before he even entered high school, he borrowed some textbooks and began studying.
His so-called home was actually just a two-room office with ten square meters of space temporarily loaned to his sports teacher father by the principle of the normal school.
Of the two tiny rooms, one was the kitchen, while the other was the bedroom of him and his father.
They only had a cloth screen hung from a steel wire separating the bed. That was all the personal space he got.
Apart from the teacher’s offices in the building, there lived a total of two families.
One of the families was Chen Wu Sheng’s family, who lived in a corner of the second floor. The other family was the Xiao Sun husband and wife. They lived in a space between the second and third floors.
The 28-year-old Xiao Sun was also a sports teacher. He had a sturdy body and a handsome face.
What made others even more envious was that he had a young and beautiful wife.
According to him, his wife had been dispatched to a university in a coastal city for training, so she would be gone for a while.
Chen Wu Sheng was extremely focused as he studied.
Despite the growing chatter from the people downstairs, he hadn’t taken any notice of it.
It wasn’t until he heard the sirens of the police cars that he sluggishly put down his book and left his room to take a look.
This familiar haunt of his was now filled with people.
But even from the second floor, Chen Wu Sheng could see the corpse on the ground.
This 15-year-old youngster stared at it blankly for a moment. He wanted to walk over and get a better look, but in his eagerness, he tripped on a table and hit his head against a pillar before fainting.
Naturally, the cops below hadn’t noticed him at all. They simply followed routine and began blockading the school gates. Then they began investigating the scene of the accident, taking all sorts of pictures.
Although the onlookers should have dispersed in theory, the reality was that people loved to follow crowds. In the face of hundreds of people, the two cops on scene were helpless. After shouting a few times, they resigned themselves to having an audience.
At nearly the same moment, the ambulance finally arrived.
The EMS workers got off the ambulance and confirmed that the person was already dead, and was now simply a corpse. Afterwards, they simply waited for the cops to handle the scene of the accident so they could transport the body to the hospital’s morgue.
Similar to the rest of the crowd, the youth in sunglasses had already come down from the school building and neared the crowd.
He bypassed the crowd and quietly entered the office building. As if it was simply routine to him, he quickly reached a corner in the second floor.
Chen Wu Sheng lay on the floor just as before.
This corridor only had a right angle bend with an office, thus preventing Chen Wu Sheng from having been discovered until now.
The youth in sunglasses calmly looked down upon Chen Wu Sheng as he took off his hat and sunglasses.
His expression was somewhat complicated now. He muttered a few words to himself, “I remember this day. Eighteen years have already gone by in a flash…”
Beneath the sunglasses was a mature face with sharp sword eyebrows that carried a heroic spirit in them. Despite his face not being particularly handsome, he still possessed sharp features and spirited eyes.
The most important thing was that he looked nearly identical to the 15-year-old Chen Wu Sheng.
“Wait for me to change once more. I will give you a perfect body, so you just sleep quietly.”
The youth released a deep sigh as he softly bent down and gradually merged with the body that lay upon the floor.