”That guy named Bai Liu (6) has been weirder lately…” The children whispered in fear with their heads together
After the dean said that Xie Ta had escaped from the welfare home, they transferred their fear of Xie Ta to Bai Liu.
The other children looked with horror and curiosity at Bai Liu, who was sitting at the end of the long table, far away from the others and eating silently. This was the place where Xie Ta used to eat.
“Newcomer, your name is Lu Yizhan, right?” A child blinked at another decent looking, older child. He pointed to Bai Liu and said, “The child sitting at the end of the table is Bai Liu (6). Remember to stay away from him.”
The young Lu Yizhan looked back doubtfully. “Why? Did he do something?”
“It is because he is a monster!” The talking child gestured with his teeth and hands, making a strange whine. “He ate his only friend. Of course, his friend was a monster as well, a bleeding pinpricks monster. If you make friends with him, he will eat you too!”
The child threatened Lu Yizhan with a serious air.
Lu Yizhan frowned and looked at Bai Liu at the end of the long table. Bai Liu was a child who looked normal on the surface. He was even a bit too thin. Lu Yizhan didn’t think there was anything to fear or be wary of such a child.
Bai Liu looked as if he had never eaten enough. The flesh on his cheeks were sunken. He looked really hungry as he ate quickly.
But—Lu Yizhan’s eyes fell on Bai Liu’s plate. There was the staple bread on his plate that he hadn’t touched. It seemed he wasn’t ready to touch it.
Bai Liu finished eating quietly and quickly and took the bread he hadn’t touched to the lake at the back of the church.
Lu Yizhan followed Bai Liu to the church and stopped. His eyes became increasingly bewildered as he looked at Bai Liu curiously.
What was this person doing?
Why did these children of the welfare home reject him so much?
Lu Yizhan was the new child in the welfare home so he was assigned to the bed where Xie Ta slept previously. The moment he lay down, Lu Yizhan turned his head and saw Bai Liu standing by the head of his bed with an expressionless face while holding bedding in his arms.
Lu Yizhan was startled. He sat up in a panic and covered his chest with his quilt. “What are you going to do, Bai Liu (6)?!”
The other children in the bedroom were frightened by Bai Liu’s sudden appearance. They screamed and fled everywhere. “Bai Liu (6) has come to eat people! He is coming to eat us!”
Lu Yizhan could barely maintain his composure. He looked at Bai Liu standing motionless by the head of his bed with a lot of bedding. He figured out Bai Liu’s meaning so Lu Yizhan pointed to his bed and then the bedding in Bai Liu’s hand, asking tentatively, “Do you… want to change beds with me?”
Bai Liu looked quietly at Lu Yizhan. He seemed to be in poor spirits and his eyes were dazed. At present, there were thick dark circles under his eyes. Bai Liu heard Lu Yizhan’s question and slowly nodded.
Lu Yizhan sighed with relief. This person really came to change beds.
Lu Yizhan didn’t care about the ownership of the bed. He kindly gave the bed to Bai Liu and reminded him to change it back tomorrow. It was because the teachers here recognize people by the bed. The children could secretly change beds by themselves but it wasn’t a good thing if they were discovered.
After discussing with Bai Liu the time to change back tomorrow morning, Lu Yizhan picked up his bedding and went to sleep on Bai Liu’s bed.
Before leaving his bed, Lu Yizhan glanced back at Bai Liu. He saw Bai Liu make the bed silently. He held a strangely slender, faceless doll on the bed and quietly closed his eyes.
Bai Liu didn’t look like a child who would sleep with a doll at such an old age yet he obviously cherished the doll. Not only did he give up most of his bed to the doll to sleep but he also covered the doll’s body with the quilt, exposing half his body.
It was obviously a bit cold at night but Bai Liu didn’t seem to feel the cold, just like he didn’t feel hunger. He fell asleep soon after holding the doll.
However, it was a doll. In the eyes of ordinary people, it didn’t need to be cherished or protected like this. There were many patches, rough workmanship, broken lines on the edges and no face. It was just like a semi-finished product.
Bai Liu curled up in a small ball and slept next to the doll. The body of the doll was positioned to curl around Bai Liu and the two of them fit together tightly, as if they were sleeping in a very narrow, oval bathtub.
It was a… very peculiar sleeping position.
This strange sleeping position with the doll made Lu Yizhan want to laugh a bit. He took another look before withdrawing his gaze and walking toward Bai Liu’s bed.
Lu Yizhan judged in his heart that Bai Liu was a very strange child.
Still, it seemed that he wasn’t as difficult to get along with as other children said. He was quite reasonable.
Lu Yizhan paid more and more attention to Bai Liu, a child who was strange and gloomy to other people.
On the seventh day after Lu Yizhan’s arrival, Bai Liu almost fainted at the dinner table. It was Lu Yizhan who first noticed something was wrong. Lu Yizhan gave him a piece of sugar and forced him to eat half of Lu Yizhan’s own meal. Bai Liu obviously had low blood sugar.
This person obviously hadn’t eaten well at all. Every day, there was a lot of food left that he sneaked away with. It wasn’t known what he was doing but every time he came back at night, his mental state became worse.
Lu Yizhan was a bit worried about Bai Liu and started to give his food to Bai Liu, intentionally and unintentionally.
Yet most of the time, he would be refused by Bai Liu with a cold expression, stating that it wasn’t necessary.
At the same time, a strange and gloomy atmosphere started to permeate the welfare home. More and more children fled. Some really fled while others were ‘forced’ to flee. Lu Yizhan was keenly aware of the wrong atmosphere. This welfare home didn’t seem that bright and safe.
As more and more children disappeared, Lu Yizhan’s worries became heavier. He found that Bai Liu also started to have the bloody smell after his blood was drawn and he made up his mind. He would take Bai Liu and the other children to escape.
Before going to bed, Bai Liu came over to find Lu Yizhan to change the bed. Before leaving, Lu Yizhan grabbed Bai Liu’s arm and whispered in Bai Liu’s ear about the discovery. He reminded Bai Liu that this welfare home wasn’t safe and asked if Bai Liu wanted to run away with him.
“I know a public welfare home that is safer than here. We can go there.” Lu Yizhan spoke softly. “It is close to the police station and someone will protect us.”
Bai Liu replied coldly, “I won’t go.”
“Why?” Lu Yizhan was a bit anxious. “There is really something wrong here!”
Bai Liu looked at him with drooping eyes. There was no focus in his pupils and his voice was dull. “I am waiting for someone to wake up. Once he wakes up, I will take him with me.”
Maybe it was curiosity or maybe it was Lu Yizhan’s eagerness to take Bai Liu away. After another baptism, Lu Yizhan finally broke his principle of not easily spying on other people’s secrets and he followed Bai Liu to the back of the church.
The back of the church had always been a forbidden area in the welfare home. The dean strictly forbade any children from going there, stating it wasn’t very safe. It was an undeveloped forest with shrubs and a small lake. It wasn’t developed or transformed. In the past, it was easy for children to drown or they sank in the mud pit. Therefore, the church was locked on weekdays to prevent these children from coming over.
However, Bai Liu seemed to have found a remote path that led straight to the back of the church.
Lu Yizhan followed Bai Liu, watching as he skillfully and lightly slipped through a broken window behind the side door of the church. Bai Liu crossed the church, exited through the back door and walked without hesitation through the lush grass behind the church that could engulf Bai Liu in an instant.
Bai Liu skillfully maneuvered around the shrubs and stone obstacles that cut at his feet. Finally, he came to a small lake full of duckweed.
Lu Yizhan hid behind the grass and trees doubtfully. What did Bai Liu come to this pond to do? Swimming?
If it was normal, Bai Liu would definitely be able to detect Lu Yizhan behind him. It was just that his long-term hunger had seriously reduced his condition and his attention was consumed. Thus, he didn’t notice that someone was following him not far away.
Bai Liu had his back to Lu Yizhan and took off his shirt in a defenseless manner, revealing his sharp, white back. He bent down and put his bread down on the clean clothes. Then he turned and dove into the pond.
Lu Yizhan was hiding in the grass and quietly observing. He had a feeling that he would soon understand what Bai Liu had been doing all this time.