Early spring in HongJing was still cold.
It was already past the period of hibernation, and rain was also abundant.
The floating clouds sketched a vivid scene between heaven and earth.
The land was lavish with plants, half light green, and the rest dark green.
A bicycle’s bell rang intermittently as if they were an alarm clock for insects.
There were flower stalls along either side of the road.
It was easy to buy pale yellow carnations and lavender phalaenopsis in bunches without much cost.
Xing Cong Lian pulled over and stepped out of the car.
He stopped under a sycamore tree.
There was a small flower stall under the tree.
The girl in the stall wore a velvet hat, and her cheeks were red from the cold.
The girl smiled at Cong Lian.
He paid ten yuan, and the little girl handed over a bunch of lilies as per usual.
The fresh lilies were accompanied by the fragrance of dew.
Xing Cong Lian shook his head and took a single lily from the bouquet to give to her.
He flicked her chubby cheek after with his finger, then turned around and walked down the flower street.
At the end of this road was a secluded cemetery.
As one got closer, the scent of flowers faded, and that of incense grew thicker.
This cemetery wasn’t in a beautiful countryside, but almost center city instead.
It was close to a large river with a bridge named Tai Qian over the river.
It was already over half a year since Lin Chen fell into that river.
Cong Lian kicked the pebbles along the shore and walked randomly around the tombstones.
Once he got to the one nearest the lake, he stopped and stooped the lay the lilies in front of it.
There wasn’t even a photo on the tombstone, and the name was painted with red ink.
Perhaps, because there was too much oil in the paint, the ink leaked from the edges of the characters, looking something like an insect’s antennae.
Xing Cong Lian casually sat in front of the tombstone, legs crossed, and lit a cigarette.
Yet, he let it burn bit by bit without inhaling any of it.
After Lin Chen and Feng Pei Lin fell off the bridge that day, the police searched for a long time.
After three days and three nights of work, though, Cong Lian tasted shattered hope for the first time.
Even now, he sometimes thought of Lin Chen’s face as he fell.
He had seen the faces of many people near their death, but none was as calm as Lin Chen.
As if he’s going out for breakfast, he was as casual as leaves falling off the branches in autumn.
He often wondered if Lin Chen wasn’t dead as they never found a body.
Maybe one day, Lin Chen would stand in front of this tombstone and pick up the lilies to smell them himself.
This was why he liked to come here.
If nothing else, he could daze around while he was here.
Cong Lian sat in front of Lin Chen’s grave, aimlessly looking around.
His phone vibrated in his pocket.
“Boss, he’s back,” said the person on the other side of the line.
“Shi Fang Section of the Hong Jing highway…”
Xing Cong Lian hung up and inhaled the last of his cigarette.
He threw the butt on the ground and crushed it under his heel.
If nothing else, the Hong Jing City Police Force looked the same hadn’t changed since Lin Chen left.
Most of the officers were dispatched, leaving only the technician Wang Chao to watch the video.
Xing Cong Lian took a large sip of the iced lemon tea he robbed from Wang Chao’s hand, teeth chattering from the cold.
“Boss, even though you don’t dislike me, that doesn’t mean I’m the same.
Can you please buy your own” Wang Chao snatched the cup back, turning it around so that he wouldn’t drink from the same place as Cong Lian, his other hand still on the mouse.
“What’s going on with that kid”
“See for yourself,” Wang Chao replied then clicked the video’s start button.
It was a clip of a bus on the highway only about eight minutes long.
A bit after six in the morning, the stars and the moon had just disappeared from the sky, and both sides of the highway were full of reeds.
When the bus passed, the reeds swayed like waves in the ocean.
The bus was packed, and because of this, the passengers’ breath condensed into a thin mist on the window.
Most of the passengers were sleeping, and the air was drowsy.
In one of the window seats, a woman with a child tore open a pack of candy and the little girl took the cantaloupe flavored lollipop to taste.
A green road sign appeared outside the window.
Because the bus was moving too fast, they sped past the sign in a flash, leaving only the shadow of the font on the sign.
That road sign was like the catalyst of a magic spell.
The fog outside seeped into the bus, and the camera shook wildly.
The curtains swayed while the passengers leaned left-ward, and the video blurred.
A piercing sound then rang out.
The driver slammed on the steering wheel, the sharp sound of the emergency brake, and the horn overlapped and mixed with each other, deafening.
The lollipop in the girl’s hand fell to the ground, instantly coated in dust from the carpet as it rolled back and forth.
It wasn’t until the bus pulled over in the emergency lane that the passengers woke from their daze.
They hurriedly checked the surroundings and after a while, found there didn’t seem to be any other vehicles nearby.
The road was empty, and the air full of dread.
They automatically looked at the driver.
A few young, rigorous people stood in the front row seats, looking like they would rush out if there was danger.
But they all froze at the sight of a gun to the driver’s temple.
A person touched the driver’s seat without them noticing.
That person was a young boy, wearing an ash-colored cashmere scarf.
The scarf covered his mouth and nose, leaving only his slightly upturned eyes visible.
His eyes were misty like moist glass, making people wanting to kiss them.
He leaned close to the driver’s ear and seemingly said something.
Today’s legal society had strict gun control.
Most people have never seen a gun, let alone an actual car-hijacking.
Especially with a culprit so clean and gentle, even his gun looked so soft.
After waiting for a dozen seconds, the carjacker didn’t seem to want to make any other moves, and the passengers began to whisper.
The mother hugged her child and gently patted her back.
The men stood up vigilantly, and young girls who watched a lot of variety shows began to wonder if this was a prank with hidden cameras.
The atmosphere in the bus gradually tensed, and a few bold youths began to walk down the aisle, trying to get close to the driver.
The criminal’s eyes narrowed slightly, looking as if he’s smiling.
The next moment, the gun went off.
It was a real gunshot, it sounded like a firecracker, or a tire bursting, making the fog around them stir slightly.
The passengers looked at the driver in horror.
But the scene of blood and brain matter didn’t appear.
The bullet brushed against the driver’s forehead and hit the window, shattering it to pieces.
The driver clenched his teeth and shrank into a ball, trembling.
The passengers realized this was an actual hijack, and the young man was serious.
The bus went quiet immediately.
The boy standing in front, however, smiled.
His smile was good looking with his eyes closed, he swung his arms and jumped onto the panel in front of the aisle, the gun in his hand was down.
How should a vicious car-jacker speak
“Give me all your money, or I’ll kill you,” or “If you don’t want your head to blow off, put all your valuables in the bag”
Some passengers had already started taking off their gold watches but were surprised to hear the criminal’s strange words :
“Ladies and gentlemen, take out all your sweets.
Leave out the citrus ones, though.”
The young man said that while playing with his gun, throwing it from his left hand to his right.
Suddenly, he reached out and swung the barrel of the gun at the driver’s head, who was moving suspiciously.
“I said, don’t move, please.”
His voice was like warm water flowing into their ears.
Most of them thought they misheard him.
Looking left and right in confusion and hope, no one knew what exactly was happening.
“Hurry up, I’m not joking.” The boy sat on the panel and laughed.
His light blue jeans were paired with new Nike yellow sneakers.
He shook his dangling legs, left and right, gently.
The passengers were still lost, and he pulled the trigger again, issuing a loud bang.
This time, the bullet went through the front of the bus, shattering the windshield, cold air filling the bus in an instant.
The wind blew the boy’s soft black hair, and the driver’s face went cold as he trembled like a leaf.
As if by magic, the boy took a red velvet hat from his coat pocket and thoughtfully placed it on the driver.
But in the next second, he took the gun and aimed it at the restless, middle-aged man about to take out his phone and coldly said: “Hurry up!”
The middle-aged man trembled and took out a roll of Halls mint that was already halfway emptied and handed it over to the young man.
The boy took it with satisfaction, picking out one and placing it in his mouth, courteously shoving the mint’s wrapping into his pocket.
It only took one to start, and the others naturally followed.
White mint candy, light yellow lemon ones, pink bubblegum, sweets of all sorts and colors fell into the young boy’s pockets.
One even handed over a box full of golden Ferrero Rocher, which was rejected after the teenage boy looked at it for a bit.
Eight minutes later, all the candy on the bus was taken away.
From time to time, the bus pager sent out call requests.
The red dot on the smart tablet constantly flickered.
The young boy seemed to be bothered by this as he turned off the pager and took the bus’s tablet off the holder.
“Have a nice trip.”
With that, he jumped and stood on the panel at the bus’ front and blew a kiss.
Then, he leaped out the broken windshield without hesitation and landed on the ground in a roll.
He dashed away, like a returning egret, flying into the vast field of reeds.