- Akiko: Talking Elbows
Volume TWO. Countdown
The middle-aged woman walked quickly to the entrance of Fulai Supermarket. She looked at the old man: “Uncle Zhang, why is Qingchen coming to you to play chess again.”
Both sides also know each other in speech.
It’s just that Uncle Zhang’s tone is not so polite: “Your own son, you ask me? He has no living expenses, so he can only make a little money for himself by playing chess.”
The middle-aged woman Zhang Wanfang was stunned for a moment: “But I have to pay his father
Qingchen every month.”
These words stunned Uncle Zhang as well: “Then I don’t know what’s going on.”
Uncle Zhang thought, Zhang Wanfang was not a poor man, and it seemed that the living expenses for Qing Chen were not small, but why did the young man still live so tightly?
Qing Chen is not like a prodigal son. He spends his days carefully calculating and never takes a sip of his beverages.
“But isn’t he supposed to study by himself last night?” Zhang Wanfang asked.
Uncle Zhang just remembered at this time: “He seems to say that he is waiting for someone.”
“No, I have to take a look at home,” Zhang Wanfang said.
As she said, she was about to walk away with the cake, but she heard the man next to her suddenly say: “Wanfang, Haohao has a place for today’s birthday. We have already booked a spot. After eating, we have to take him to the movies. !”
Zhang Wanfang looked back at the man: “Qing Chen may have skipped class. I don’t care if I ask.”
“He is seventeen years old and can take care of himself. Besides, there is also his father,” the man said slowly, “Actually, it is okay to wait for the weekend to see him again. Today we will accompany Haohao. ?”
Zhang Wanfang frowned when she heard this, but after a few seconds she finally sighed: “Okay, let’s accompany Haohao for his birthday today.”
Qing Chen walked silently under the camphor tree in the tree-lined path of the Xi Family Courtyard of the City Hall.
Different from the high-rise buildings in modern cities, the courtyard is full of four-story low-rise buildings from the 1970s. There is no elevator, no gas, and sewers are blocked from time to time.
High-power electrical appliances cannot be used at home because they will trip.
Qing Chen walked into the dim doorway, ignoring the psoriasis-like opening and selling advertisements on the wall, and took out the key to open the door on the first floor.
A 76-square-meter house, two bedrooms and one living room, the first floor of the house is not well lit.
He took out his phone and opened the address book, then dialed out: “Hey, Dad…”
The voice on the other side of the phone has interrupted him: “Go to your mother for living expenses. I have no money. She is very rich now.”
While talking, the sound of rubbing mahjong came from the other side of the phone.
“I don’t want money,” Qing Chen said in a low voice, “I haven’t asked you for money for a long time.”
“What is that?” The man said impatiently: “Going to school to hold a parent meeting again? Go to your mother, this kind of thing…”
Before the other party could finish speaking, Qing Chen took the initiative to hang up this time.
He gently leaned against the closed door, then opened the sleeves under his school uniform jacket.
He stared blankly at the white numbers and symbols on his forearm that looked like an LCD screen: the countdown was 5:58:13.
The white numbers are like fluorescent tattoos embedded in his flesh and skin. No matter how much he rubs them, there is no way to erase them.
Looking closely at them, Qing Chen also saw special and fine lines in the numbers, like mechanical parts interlocking with each other, full of a sense of future technology.
The numbers are changing silently.
The countdown is 5:58:12.
The countdown is 5:58:11.
There are 5 hours, 58 minutes and 11 seconds left. All this seems to remind Qing Chen that after 5 hours and 58 minutes, something incredible will happen.
Obviously there was no sound, but Qing Chen clearly heard the beating of the second hand in his heart.
Qing Chen glanced at the phone that hung up the phone, then glanced at the empty room.
He doesn’t know what kind of life he will welcome in 5 hours and 58 minutes. He only knows that he can only rely on himself.
Time is a very heavy unit of measurement. The length of life and the breadth of civilization are all used to mark it.
The concept of time exists in everyone’s life.
So when there is any countdown in your life, no matter what it counts down, it will give you some sense of urgency.
There are still 5 hours, no one knows what the end of this countdown is.
Could it be dangerous?
Maybe another life?
Qing Chen couldn’t be sure, he could only plan for the worst first.
So he must prepare something before the countdown is over.
If there is a real danger, then he must at least allow himself to be within his power and have some ability to resist danger.
Qing Chen put on a clean gray coat and covered his appearance with the shadow of his hood.
Taking advantage of the night.
He went out and walked towards the farmers’ market. The October sky in Los Angeles was already dark very early.
There was the sound of cooking in the residential buildings, the popping sound of vegetables and oil juice after colliding, and then there was an alluring smell wafting out.
The taste of eggs, pork, and mutton flooded into Qing Chen’s mind like pieces of information. When he needed this information one day, he could extract a certain “archive” from his mind.
He bought pliers and shovel at a hardware store, a bag of rice and a bag of noodles, and edible salt at a grain and oil store.
He also bought several boxes of antibiotics in the drugstore, and bought batteries, flashlights, and compressed biscuits in the supermarket.
When he didn’t know what he was going to face, he could only prepare as much as possible.
These things almost spent all Qing Chen’s savings.
Qing Chen went home with his things and went into the kitchen. He first put all the available knives on the chopping board in the most convenient place in the house.
The kitchen knife is placed under the pillow, and the deboning knife is placed on the bedside table.
The countdown is 2 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds.
He confirmed that the doors and windows were closed tightly, so he sat on the side of the bed and began to meditate: Do you want to find a helper?
Who are you looking for?
The mother has a new family, and the father is a gambler.
In fact, when Qing Chen found a countdown on his arm a few hours ago, when he was only 17 years old, he subconsciously wanted to seek help from his parents.
But he denied this idea.
Qing Chen took out his mobile phone and tried to take a photo of the white countdown on his arm, only to find that the white lines that were clearly visible to his naked eyes did not appear on the phone screen at all.
There are no lights in the dimly lit room, and the windows are not soundproof. Because it is on the first floor, he can often hear the footsteps of pedestrians passing by outside.
The sound of footsteps outside, the sound of breathing in the house, and the faintly bright mobile phone screen, everything is so quiet and weird.
This kind of weird and outrageous thing, I am afraid it is useless to ask ordinary people for help, and I don’t have any special friends in school.
Even if it does, ordinary people shouldn’t be involved in this kind of thing, right?
Therefore, if you want to find a helper, you can only think of other ways.
Wait, Qing Chen seemed to have thought of something, and got up and went into the living room to search.
Two minutes later, he silently looked at the Guanyin Bodhisattva pendant in his hand.
Then he put it in front of him earnestly, and bowed nine times.
The last preparation is done.