TW: mention of attempted suicide
On the third day after Liao Nanqing disappeared, Su Beimo searched all the places he could find.
Early in the morning, he squatted on the side of the road without shaving his beard or washing his head, with a heavy mountain bent on his back. He took a short vacation. Xu Yuanming thought he was ill and asked him several times with concern. Since his work was good, the department leader readily granted him a few days of leave, allowing him to take a few days off together with the annual leave.
During this business trip, the project talks were very successful. Su Beimo took a lot of credit for the success of the project. After this year, his salary would be increased and his position would be promoted. If it were anyone else,they would be too happy to sleep.
But Su Beimo regretted it very much, how he wished he hadn’t made this mistake. Then he could pick up Liao Nanqing early on the day he finished his exam.
He regretted it to death that he wanted to slap himself twice.
Su Beimo went to the police, but the police didn’t take it seriously when they found out that Liao Nanqing was taken away by his mother. He also advised Su Beimo: “Young man, your friend left with his own mother, what can happen. Maybe after a while, he will contact you, ah.”
Such persuasion, he had heard it many times.
When he was desperate, he called Zhao Qin’s phone number
At six o’clock in the morning, Zhao Qin was still sleeping when she was woken up by Su Beimo’s phone call, and before she could speak, she heard Su Beimo’s muffled voice say, “Mom.”
“What’s wrong, Beimo?” Zhao Qin cleared her throat, trying to ease the tone of early awakening.
Su Beimo’s nose was sour because of this warm voice, and he was helpless and anxious. Unconsciously, tears rolled out of his eyes. Aside from many things, he was just a 23-year-old young man, maybe more mature than others, more successful than others, but so what? The years of experience were clearly there. But he would always know so little about the world.
So much so that now the helplessness and anxiety, almost like a mountain of ruins, madly overwhelmed him.
“Mom, help me.” Su Beimo squatted on the side of the road and cried hoarsely, “Mom, can you help me…Nanqing, he can’t be found.”
Since the year of Zhao Qin’s divorce, Su Beimo had never once cried in front of her. He was a strong person and was proud of everything. So she always bragged to others that her son knew how to behave and didn’t let anyone worry about him, which was true. Su Beimo had good grades and a cheerful personality, and he always did many things properly, like a little adult.
But today, Su Beimo seemed like a child who had lost his way.
Zhao Qin bought the earliest train to the Su house, pulling Su Beimo, who had not washed his hair and bathed for three days, sitting in the living room of Su Jing’s house. Once she lived here for about ten years, when the divorce was finalized, Su Beimo was only in the fifth grade. Today, the son next to her was more than 1.8 meters tall.
Growing up and also falling in love, although talking about it, it was not satisfactory.
Zhao Qin and Su Jing were at a standstill with no one refused to back down. Su Jing stubbornly refused to hand over Li Qin’s contact information and gave a hasty eviction order. But after all, his heart ached for his son. He scolded Su Beimo to go to the bathroom to wash up and change into clean clothes. Su Beimo didn’t hear anything, standing still, his face as dark as mist.
“Look at you? Do you know what you look like now?” Su Jing hated iron for not becoming steel.
Zhao Qin sneered: “What does he look like, are you not the cause?”
“What do you know!” Su Jing turned his back, not looking at this cold face of Zhao Qin. When he was young, he had suffered enough from this face, “I’ve been in charge of him all these years, what do you know? He has abducted Liao Nanqing and engaged in homosexuality together. I am helping them like this!”
The word “homosexual” was especially harsh, Su Beimo clenched his fist and gritted his teeth.
“Su Jing, you clearly know the situation of Liao Nanqing’s family, yet you still contacted his mother and stepfather. In case something happens to him, can you afford to take the blame?” Zhao Qin didn’t have the time to argue with him and asked seriously.
Su Jing was stubborn, he couldn’t accept his son’s choice, he himself fell into a dead end: “That’s at least his own biological mother, would she really kill him?”
In his mind, no parent would ever really hurt their child. Even when they did, it was unconsciously self-righteous and complacent that it was good for the child. Like he was right now.
Zhao Qin was disappointed that Su Jing’s bad temper that had remained the same until now, and even celebrated in her heart once again that his divorce was the right decision back then.
She said coldly: “She won’t, but can you guarantee that Liao Nanqing’s stepfather won’t either?”
Su Jing was blocked from speaking, his face stifled.
“Su Jing, violence will not solve the problem. Let the two children sit down and have a chat with us. The problem of sexual orientation is not something you can correct just by trying to correct it, you have to try to understand them in order to solve the problem.”
“Understand? Understanding and then they can break it off? You as a mother actually approve of your child taking such a path?!”
“As a mother, I just want to understand the matter in the right way!”
“You don’t care about it these years, how much do you care?” Su Jing couldn’t help but ask rhetorically.
Zhao Qin frowned and calmed down, trying to keep herself from losing her temper. Su Beimo beside her rubbed his face hard, he knew that this might be a protracted battle. No exhaustion could crush him, because at this moment Liao Nanqing must be more painful than him. Su Beimo had heard some descriptions of his stepfather, Zhang Yuangang, in bits and pieces from Liao Nanqing’s mouth before, and it was nothing more than some violent words.
The more he delayed, the more he didn’t dare to imagine what was happening to Liao Nanqing.
The only way out was compromise, and Su Beimo finally spoke, “Dad, what do you want me to do?”
Su Jing paused, surprised that Su Beimo would speak first and give in, as did Zhao Qin.
“As long as you tell me where Nanqing is, I’ll listen to you.” Su Beimo wasn’t joking, his face was pale, “Nanqing’s stepfather has violent tendencies. even if you want to separate us, you can’t send him there.”
The four words ‘violent tendency’ were shocking. Su Jing panicked briefly in his heart, and then the phone vibrated. He glanced at the call, and deliberately walked to the balcony to pick it up. There was a trembling voice on the phone.
——”Su, Su Jing…give the money back to you…you, you come and take Nanqing, please.”
The person on the phone already didn’t know who to turn to for help. She cried and said, “He won’t move, he, he won’t move…”
Last night, Liao Nanqing encountered endless violence, drunken Zhang Yuangang was like a murderous axe, making Liao Nanqing into a barren half-unconscious and half-awake.
Li Qin and Xiao Ze hid in the house, staring at the clock ticking away, not daring to take a big breath. Li Qin didn’t dare to leave until a loud snoring came from the back room and hurried to the basement outside the house with a simple medicine kit. Xiao Ze took a flashlight and followed her habitually.
At a young age, he had become accustomed to his mother’s behaviour that was like a thief.
In his dysfunctional family, Xiao Ze accepted everything openly except for an inexplicable fear of his father, Zhang Yuangang. Including his dying brother Liao Nanqing, who was now lying in the cold basement.
Xiao Ze fiddled with his flashlight and followed Li Qin to the basement. Li Qin lightly found the switch on the wall and turned on a dim light.
“Nanqing, Nanqing?” Li Qin shouted Liao Nanqing’s name.
Nanqing, lying on the ground, still reacted a little; he moved his fingertips slightly and his voice withered: “Ah…”
“Why do you want to be stubborn with your stepfather! You are just wrong, why don’t you admit it, look at you…” Li Qin was crying and annoyed.
These two words were treated as hard-shaped stones, smashed into the door of Liao Nanqing’s brain, stoned out of a bloody hole, passed into his brain, like a recorder when the machine replayed. No one heard Liao Naqing’s words in consternation. His mouth was vague, and only he knew that he was repeating the word “wrong”.
Li Qin came closer, the shadow fell in Liao Nanqing’s eyes, bringing a deep, bottomless darkness. Liao Nanqing breathed instinctively, and the blood stuck at his throat, making a gurgling cry for help. He couldn’t tell who was coming, and the chaos nearly swallowed him, slapping at his fragile nerves.
Those two words were all that remained in his mind.
The survival instinct told him that he could live if he was wrong. His consciousness was occupied by fear, but he could not resist, and was brought into a shock-like coma by the bottomless abyss. After that, no matter how Li Qin talked to him, he didn’t respond.
Li Qin quieted down, went back to get a quilt and handily spread it on the floor before hurriedly brought a pot of hot water and a washbasin with a small towel in it.
“Mom, gege looks so scary.”
Li Qin ignored Xiao Ze, dragged Liao Nanqing hard onto that quilt, and urged Xiao Ze, “Go get another quilt, don’t wake up your dad.”
“Oh.” Xiao Ze obediently ran off. As it turned out, Zhang Yuangang had been sleeping and couldn’t be woken up.
When Xiao Ze took the quilt, he deliberately ripped off half of the soft quilt on Zhang Yuangang, as if he wanted to freeze this terrible father to death. But then again, he didn’t dare, so he only pulled half of the bed. Zhang Yuangang smashed his mouth and rolled over, scaring Xiao Ze to escape with his quilt in his arms.
As long as there was no Zhang Yuangang, the basement was more interesting than the inside of the house.
Xiao Ze sat in the corner of the spread quilt, playing with the flashlight in his hand. Li Qin had wiped Liao Nanqing roughly with hot water. Liao Nanqing’s pants were cold, with the smell of urine. Li Qin took it off, put on a pair of thin pants, and covered him tightly with a quilt.
There were all kinds of medicine and ointment for treating wounds in the family’s regular first aid kit, and she began to apply medicine to Liao Nanqing. Li Qin’s temper was gone, she became numb, but when she saw Liao Nanqing being beaten like this, she still couldn’t help shed tears and complain bitterly in her heart. He blamed Liao Nanqing for being disobedient, and also blamed her own life.
“Mom, I’m sleepy.” Xiao Ze yawned.
“You can sleep next to your gege.”
The quilt that was laid was big enough, and the quilt that Xiao Ze held up was big enough for the two brothers to be close to one another. Li Qin sat on the side to guard them, her eyes were dull. Looking at Liao Nanqing, she always remembered the old time.
Before the accident in the Liao’s family, she, like all ordinary women, married and had children safely, and lived a life of peace and joy even though they were not rich. Liao Dong was soft-tempered and boring, but he treated her well. Liao Nanqing excelled in his studies and scored full marks in every exam.
The wind chimes of summer, the sun of winter, the memories that passed through the chains of time.
Li Qin laughed mockingly, wishing that time would stop there.
During Liao Dong’s first year in prison, she was so irrational that she even tried to think about suicide. She bought a bottle of rat poison and poured it into the freshly cooked rice that day, gently stroked the cheek of the young Liao Nanqing and asked him, “Nanqing, is it okay to go to a place with mommy?”
“Okay.” Liao Naqing said so, but his eyes changed, even though he didn’t even know that there was poison in the seemingly warm meals.
He followed Li Qin as if to please, for fear that Li Qin would not want him either.
“Mom, I will go wherever you go, don’t throw me away, I will be good.” Liao Nanqing lowered his head, his figure blurred.
She could no longer remember what Liao Nanqing looked like as a child. Only remember that he grew up white and tender, pleasing to the eye. But exactly how likeable, she really couldn’t remember.
But it must be very lovable, because that day, she looked at Liao Nanqing’s face, and finally could not bear to let the child die with her. Everyone wanted to live, and so did them; they wanted to work hard and live well. They were also full of expectation to meet the hopeful tomorrow and future.
Therefore, she dumped all the food, grabbed the edge of the sink, retching and crying. This kind of day, she couldn’t endure for a minute.
And standing next to him, Liao Nanqing thought he had said and done something wrong to make her emotionally out of control, and even poured out those delicious meals. Liao Nanqing stood fearfully in the corner, looking at her timidly, not daring to move or speak, his figure blending into the curtain before the dusk fell into the night.
Li Qin covered her face and cried even more.
The Liao family had ruined her life, she just wanted to live this life mundanely.
Towards the early morning, the sky was bright.
Li Qin slept drowsily and was nudged awake by Xiao Ze. The three of them, mother and sons, snuggled together, huddled under a quilt. Xiao Ze was pressed against Liao Nanqing and she was pressed against Xiao Ze.
“Mom, gege is so hot.”
Li Qin struggled to get up, touched the face of Liao Nanqing, and seemed to get away from electric shock.
He was like a ball of fire, as if his body was burning. Li Qin was busy patting Liao Nanqing’s cheek, gently, but with an incomparable urgency: “Nanqing? Nanqing?”
But Liao Nanqing didn’t react at all, his eyes closed tightly and his lips were pale. If it weren’t for his hot body temperature, he would be no different from dead. But he was a big living person, how could he die? The concept of death was too distant. Li Qin sat in a daze, her head a little overwhelming.
Until Xiao Ze asked with concern, “Is gege dying?”
Is it dying?
The memory seemed to go back to that summer, when she lost her mind and stirred rat poison in the food. Liao Nanqing was sitting in the living room, quietly. She walked out carrying bowls of rare and careful delicacies, and Liao Nanqing looked up at her. His eyes were clear, as they appeared in her memory.
With his white and tender skin and watery eyes, he looked very beautiful, he was the kind of kid who would be liked everywhere.
In the year he was just born, Liao Dong happily hugged him out for a walk every day, and said happily: My wife gave me a big fat son, looks like her, look, this little nose and mouth. Yes, it looks good!
Spring flowers in March, rain in June. Liao Nanqing was the child conceived in October, the child she gave birth to with great expectation.
Li Qin woke up with a jolt. She called Liao Nanqing like crazy, but he just wouldn’t wake up and couldn’t make a single response. Xiao Ze added fuel to the fire and said nervously, “Is gege dead, he won’t even move!”
“Don’t talk nonsense!”
Xiao Ze whimpered and cried.
After a while, Li Qin’s shaking fingertips unlocked the phone and found the only person she could ask for help right now.
Although she didn’t know if she should call this number, but the only one who could come to pick up Liao Nanqing and not alert the police was Su Jing. Too bad, Li Qin was still thinking foolishly; things had come to this point, she still wanted to keep Zhang Yuangang.
The phone rang for a long time before Su Jing answered.
Li Qin suppressed a choked sob and trembling voice: “Su, Su Jing… give the money back to you…you, you come to take Nanqing, please. All of this is caused by you, you come to take him away!!!”
“He won’t move, he, he won’t move… He seems to be dying, killed by Zhang Yuangang. Please, help him… Please, we are, we are…you know, the place where you came to us with the money last time…”
She asked for help incoherently, as if a mental patient was talking to herself. Su Jing still patiently listened to the end, asked a few questions before hanging up, and then turned around, Zhao Qin was leaning against the door frame, looking at him impatiently.
Zhao Qin’s tone wasn’t good: “Whose call is it?” She was always keen, Su Jing avoided them to take this call, which had already aroused her suspicion.
Su Jing did not hide it, he was even surprised to the point of remorse. In the end, the words spit out from his mouth were somewhat rushed and at a loss: “Nanqing, Nanqing seems to have something wrong with him…”
When Su Beimo got up, he knocked over a low stool in front of him.