Chapter 10: Hello hello… Fúck
Zheng Tan squatted on top of a tree. This was a decent place which he had only found after putting in some effort.
There were several households two hundred meters away. There were two households that still had their lights on, and it was occasionally possible to hear the voices of people. The places around here were mostly fields, however, even in the dimmed starlight, he was able to see that there wasn’t actually a lot of agricultural produce here. This place would probably be demolished in the near future.
After lying down and shifting into a comfortable posture, Zheng Tan closed his eyes to rest, his ears standing upright. Whenever he was outside, he didn’t dare to be overly careless.
The last of the lights were extinguished. Sounds of cats screeching traveled over from afar. A bark or two occasionally came from the residence at the opposite side.
The temperature in the suburbs was slightly lower than Chu Hua. The wind caused Zheng Tan to feel a bit chilly. And those wisps of sleepiness he had were gradually blown away by the gusts of wind.
Just when Zheng Tan was pondering whether he had to find something to do, he heard some sounds. They were very light footfalls, but to a cat, these were still easily distinguishable.
From amongst the leaves, Zheng Tan looked in the direction of the footfalls. It was a person sporting a loose sweater and making their way there. A hand was shoved into a pocket, which seemed to be holding something, while the other hand held a small shovel.
That person wore a hat. Zheng Tan couldn’t see that person’s appearance, and also couldn’t make out whether they were male or female, however, if they came out here at this time of day, all by themselves, it would usually be male right? With this sort of posture… could it be they’re about to bury a corpse after murdering it?
Zheng Tan’s curiosity immediately rose, but he didn’t dare to rashly follow. Even if he was a cat, there was still the possibility of being silenced.
The direction the person was heading in was getting closer to those dilapidated tiled-roof houses. There should have been no one living there for some time now, as there were weeds everywhere.
Seeing that person stopping in front of a small half-collapsed house, Zheng Tan prepared to squat there and watch the show which was about to unfold. After all, it wasn’t too far from where he was.
That person squatted at a corner with their back facing Zheng Tan. He didn’t know what that person was doing. Zheng Tan didn’t hear the shuffling of bricks, but the minute sound of glassware colliding.
That person only departed from that broken tile-roofed house when the sky began to brighten. Zheng Tan jumped down and observed, but he didn’t dare get too close because he could smell some sort of disgusting odor from that place which seemingly smelled like pesticide.
Zheng Tan was curious, but he valued his life even more. Even if it was a cat’s life, it was still his.
While the residents have not yet risen from bed, Zheng Tan took the opportunity to slip into one of the courtyards. He found a tap and washed his paw pads to prevent the pesticide-ridden dirt of the dilapidated houses from sticking to him. The water was too cold, and there weren’t any paper towels, Zheng Tan also didn’t want to lick them himself. He looked around and gazed at the clothes that were being aired outside by the residents of that home, then he rubbed his paws onto a dress made of the best quality materials. The paw pads stepped on top of it, leaving behind a string of grey prints. Having finished wiping his paws, Zheng Tan swiped a persimmon as he passed a tree growing them that was inside that courtyard, gave it a wash then went on his way.
A few barks came from next door. It was probably because the dog on that side heard Zheng Tan’s movements. The voice was rather immature. It was probably a small dog yet to reach adulthood.
By the time Zheng Tan again returned to that tree, the sky had already brightened up a lot.
Not much later, a person’s voice came from the residence on the other side. It was sounds of cursing, due to the dress that Zheng Tan had used to wipe his paws on.
As the sun rose, the temperatures gradually increased.
Zheng Tan felt the warmth of sunlight on his body. He gave a yawn and stretched out lazily. He opened up the packet of finger biscuits and began to eat breakfast. When his throat became was too dry, he would then take a bite out of the persimmon.
A small, greyish-brown mutt ran out from the door and began to frolic in the fields. This was probably the chap that made the immature barks from before.
There were several hens pecking for food in the unmanaged fields. The little mutt ran towards the hens, causing them to cluck out in alarm. In particular, there was a fat hen amongst them that sat there unmoving when the little mutt rushed towards them, and after the little mutt reached the hen, it paused for a moment at the fat hen, seemed to nip it once or twice though there wasn’t even any contact, then continued to chase after the rest of the hens. It ran the more it chased, and the more it chased the more it would run.
Every time that fat hen saw the little mutt chasing it, it would immediately sit down stationary, and every time it could avoid being chased everywhere.
Sure enough, the big fatty also possessed big wisdom.
The little mutt got tired from chasing after the chickens. It slowly trotted along the edges of the fields with its tongue hanging out. Suddenly, its ears twitched. It stopped and looked around, then looked in the direction of Zheng Tan and ran in his direction.
Zheng Tan made crunching noises as he munched on the finger biscuits. Seeing the little mutt circling the tree below barking while spinning in circles, he threw down a finger biscuit that had only a finger nail’s length remaining. The little mutt paused, then went towards it, its nose pressed against the ground sniffing here and there, and found the bit of finger biscuit inside the grass. With a curl of its tongue, it ate them.
After eating it, the little mutt then looked at the Zheng Tan who was biting on a biscuit on top of the tree. Its little tail wagged fervently.
Every time Zheng Tan finished munching the finger biscuit to its very last bit, he would throw it down, then watch the little mutt wag its tail while searching for it in the grass, or directly catch the biscuit midair while half-standing.
Zheng Tan had a great time playing with it. Without noticing, the bag of finger biscuits had soon reached its bottom. Just as he was about to lament, he suddenly heard the click of a cigarette lighter nearby.
Zheng Tan was startled. Since when did a person come nearby?
Looking in the direction of the click, Zheng Tan saw a person that wore the look of a laborer, however, even if they had switched clothing, Zheng Tan could still recognize this person.
It’s that man who went looking for the guinea pig!
The little mutt had also discovered that a stranger had come from nearby. It barked once, then barked at that person again.
Zheng Tan twitched his lips. You glut, what’s the use of calling out now!
But the little mutt didn’t continue for long. Under the gaze of that person, the little mutt ran away with its tail tucked between its legs.
Zheng Tan didn’t dare to flee. He wasn’t certain he could make a successful escape even if he tried.
To confront change by staying constant. Observe what this person was up to, or perhaps pretend to not recognize him? There is an abundance of black cats in this world afterall. Zheng Tan surmised in his head.
That person spat out a ring of smoke. He looked at Zheng Tan and sighed. “I can still recognize you even if you’re not wearing the cat tag. How nasty, going so far as to provoke little dogs.”
Stunned! He was indeed not easy to fool!
Zheng Tan twitched his ears. His muscles tightened. Although the aura around this person was rather calm, Zheng Tan’s first impression of him was too poor. He had to take precautions.
That person casually spoke some nonsense while smoking a cigarette, then suddenly asked, “Were you here the whole night yesterday? Did you see any strange people?”
Strange people? Could he be talking about the one that was wearing a sweater?
“You really did see them!”
Wei Leng saw the answer through the subtle changes in this cat’s eyes and expressions. He originally only asked probingly. He never did place hope on receiving any useful intel from this cat, but who knew this cat had actually really seen it!
“Fine, I won’t ask much about the rest, all I want to know is what in the world did the guy do? Or, what things they hid?” Wei Leng held a cigarette in his mouth and spread out his hands to show he really didn’t hold any malicious intentions.
Zheng Tan thought for a moment, then nodded his chin at the run down tile-roofed house.
Just as Zheng Tan decided to slip off at this opportune moment, Wei Leng spoke out as he headed towards the dilapidated houses. “Don’t leave yet, I’ve still got some things to ask you. If you slip off, I will catch you and bring you back. You wanna bet on that?”
Zheng Tan felt a sliver of silver flash past him. A thin piece of metal was embedded in the path ahead of him.
Zheng Tan stared at the metal piece still vibrating in front of his paws. His whiskers trembled, then he squat down. He lifted a paw and gave that metal piece a flick. Zheng Tan was filled with amazement. He looked sideways at the person by the dilapidated houses, then thought, how can the thing be easily found when it took the sweater wearing person such a long time to hide it away?
Five minutes later, Wei Leng held a brown glass jar in the hand that had gloves on, while the other hand held a phone.
“Hey, got some good news for you… I said, got good news… Did you hear that? Hello… Hello… I said on your side… fúck!”
Just when the phone on this side hung up, the phone began sounding a notification.
“Hey… I said, there are some leads on this side… Hello…”
It took ten minutes to describe the location and summarize the events, and again and again repetitively at that. Even Zheng Tan got tired from listening.
Zheng Tan gave a rough estimate, within the span of ten minutes, most of the time that person was saying three words- “Hello hello”, and then “Fúck”.
Wei Leng went to great lengths to finish talking about the matter. He shoved the phone into his pocket as if he was extricating himself from it. “Fúck, damned phone!”
While looking at Zheng Tan who was still squatting in his previous place, Wei Leng nodded. “Come along with me for a short trip, don’t even think of running away, or else I’ll block you off at Chu Hua University, you actually live on that side right? I just don’t believe that you won’t return at all.”
Zheng Tan: “…” This outdoor trip this time had been such a freaking mess!
“You wait here for now, I’ll drive the ride over.” Finishing his talk, Wei Leng ran off with the jar.
Zheng Tan stayed in his spot and waited for around two to three minutes, then saw that person going along the rugged stone path, bumpily riding over on a whitewashed women’s bicycle.
What the hell is this ride that this damn uncle is “driving”?!