Huo Xiaoran’s astonished expression didn’t go away even when the doctor came back. But he didn’t say anything, just leaving his hand on my stomach and looking at it with shock.
And I fell asleep because of that slight peace. I didn’t even realize when he left; I only woke up when I felt the prick of pain on the back of my hand.
“Okay! From now on, eat well, you’re very weak.” The doctor threw the needle away, and seeing me nod, started taking down the empty infusion bottles.
When the prison guard brought me back to my cell, there was no one inside. I was on edge.
“Huo Xiaoran?” I called out softly. Although I didn’t want to admit it, I can’t deny that I wanted him to appear. The time passed by slowly, and even though I called his name every so often, he never appeared.
The door to the cell opened, and the fat woman, Hong Ning, and that weak woman came back together. But the gaze the fat woman gave me was not friendly, and Hong Ning had an evil smile on her face. The weak woman didn’t even glance at me before falling onto her bed, her face towards the wall.
When the door closed, the fat woman grabbed my hair and slammed me against the wall, snarling, “Where’s the stuff?”
I saw the ruthlessness in her eyes, like a ravenous wolf, about to swallow me down whole. I explained nervously, “Today, today I, I didn’t see the person I wanted to see, so…… ” I don’t have the money. I didn’t dare say this last part, because I was scared by her gaze.
I added hurriedly, “I will give you, double! Just give me some more time, and I will give you double!” Seeing her raise her hand, I brought my arms around my body, afraid she’ll hit me.
“Double?” The fat woman pulled on my hair, making me face her, and laughed, “You think I’m stupid?”
“No! I will definitely pay you!” I yelled.
I thought the fat woman would give me a beating, and desperately hoped Huo Xiaoran would appear and save me. But when the large hand of the fat woman grabbed my chin and he still wasn’t here, my heart dropped again, hurting painfully. I thought he was different from the others, but the results now showed that he was no different!
The fat woman suddenly let go of me, and I fell to the ground. She turned around and sat on the bed, looking at me, “Hong Ning paid your money, so this month, you are hers! Remember, next month pay the money on time, or else…… ” The fat woman humphed, then got up and climbed up onto her own bed, not looking at me again.
Hong Ning looked at me evily, a different emotion in her eyes. I started trembling involuntarily. That night, when I woke up from my dream and saw Hong Ning’s face, was my worst nightmare.
“No! I beg you, I will pay you, I just need time.” I curled up, holding myself tightly. I was frightened, even frightened of Hong Ning’s gaze.
Hong Ning chuckled coldly, coming to my side, her hand reaching towards my face. I buried my face into my knees, trying to evade her touch, screaming, “No! Leave me alone, no…… ”
But my pleas were only met with the fat woman’s laughter and Hong Ning’ even bolder touches. My head buried, I waved my hands in the air, trying to make Hong Ning go away, but instead, she grabbed my hand and stroked it, making me scream even louder.
“Hong Ning! Don’t do it here! Disgusting!” After saying this, I heard the bed creak, and I knew the fat woman must have climbed onto her bunk. Laughing coldly, Hong Ning let go of my hand, whispering into my ear, “You’d better behave yourself, don’t make trouble, or your one month might become many months.”
I cried. I never thought that in a place where there was only women, there would be such a disgusting person and such disgusting things. I even wanted to kill myself right then and there to avoid Hong Ning ever touching me again.
When the bell for turning off lights sounded and the fat woman turned off the light, I was still curled up on the ground, crying and trembling. I was so afraid of Hong Ning that I felt dizzy. My fearful eyes watched Hong Ning’s bunk without blinking. If she dare touch me again, I really will fight to death.
In the dark, I watched her closely, not daring to be careless at all. But while I was waiting through the torture of time, Hong Ning didn’t get up. Close to two a.m., I saw the bunk Hong Ning slept on starting to shake, and I thought Hong Ning was coming down.
I stood up, ready to fight with her!
But Hong Ning didn’t sit up, still lying flat. The bed was shaking and creaking. Puzzled, I squinted, moving forward a few steps involuntarily, and saw that Hong Ning’s face was pale as she struggled on the bunk, legs kicking, her two hands on her neck.
Her breathing was labored and her mouth opened and closed, as if someone was strangling her. I backed up fearfully, my mind clearing. Ghosts? This was the first word that appeared in my mind. But no, if it were ghosts, I should be able to see them, and there was nothing on her at all!
I walked forward again, this time nearer, because I knew she couldn’t come down and I was boldened. My nose almost touching the bunk, I saw Hong Ning’s eyes wide open, her eyeballs bulging, staring at the ceiling, whimpering. I watched as her face turned from pale to blush, to green……
Her eyeballs turned, and fixed them on me. One hand on her neck moved towards me, fingers straight. I backed up instantly, scared and confused. I looked at the space above her carefully, nothing! There was nothing there!
What was happening? The bunk hit the wall again and again, banging and creaking, my heart also beating in tune with that banging. The fat woman suddenly snarled, “Hong Ning! Be quiet!” Then turned around and continued sleeping. I saw that the weak woman opened her eyes slightly and looked at me, but didn’t say anything.
Just when I didn’t know what to do, a sweet and childish voice sounded by my ear: “Mama! Don’t worry, she’ll never bother you again!” When the voice stopped, so did Hong Ning’s struggles. The room once again returned to silence.
Standing there, I was too scared to even move a step. This voice, was the voice of the child that I imagined, how could it appear here, and…… I looked around in a panic, no, nothing, I couldn’t see anything. I tried my best to calm myself, trying to feel the temperature of the air.
I remember, that when ghosts appear, the temperature in the room would decrease suddenly. But here, even though I closed my eyes for a long time, I was sure the temperature didn’t change in the room.
“Mama! Don’t worry, you can rest safely now, she will never bother you again. Everything that you don’t like, baby will make them all disappear!”
The voice sounded again, and my heart skipped a beat. This time, I heard it clearly, and my hand moved to my stomach. Right there, I felt a tiny little hand, touching mine from the inside, and a warm feeling started in my palm and spread out throughout my body.
Instantly, the fear in my heart evaporated. Even looking at Hong Ning’s tense legs and her outstretched hand, I wasn’t afraid.
Lightheaded, I walked to the bed and sat down. I didn’t know what happened; did she kill Hong Ning? My child, killed Hong Ning?
“Huo Xiaoran!” I called softly. I needed to see him, I needed to ask him, what was the child in my belly like. Was everything I thought before wrong? I started worrying. Right now, the only person to ask was Huo Xiaoran!
Silence, frightening silence. He didn’t appear, so I called out once more: “You come out, or I’ll die here right now, do you believe me?” I wasn’t just scaring him. If my child was a monster, I would rather take her with me. Before, I never thought about what a child conceived with a ghost would be like.
Because she was in my belly, because the doctor didn’t find anything different than a regular pregnancy, I buried all my doubts deeply into my heart. But now? Everything that happened told me that what I thought was wrong! No, this cannot be. If she was a monster, I didn’t even have the will to live.
He finally appeared. This was the first time he appeared since I told him I was pregnant. I looked at him hastily, asking, “Child, my child, is she…… ” I paused, I couldn’t say the words, my voice choked in my throat, the last words stuck there.
I looked at him, worried, my hands grabbing the bed sheet tightly, waiting!
“What happened?” He asked.
I stared. “Everything that just happened, you don’t know?”
When I saw him shake his head, I almost fainted, the tears falling down instantly. He frowned, his cold hand touching my face, “What just happened?”
“I, just now, Hong Ning, my child…… ” Stammering for a long time, I still couldn’t say a complete sentence.
“What happened?” He was worried. Seeing I couldn’t say anything that made sense, rarely, his expression was worried.
I told him everything that just happened. Of course, I changed Hong Ning’s disgusting behavior into them hitting me. Not that I wanted to lie, but I had my own dignity, and…… I was a little afraid of Huo Xiaoran knowing that Hong Ning’s dirty hands had touched me.
“They hit you?” He asked coldly, but his eyes were looking towards the snoring fat woman.
I nodded. The next second, he raised his hand towards the fat woman. I looked over in a panic, and saw the quilt on the fat woman’s body fly up, and then immediately wrapping around the fat woman tightly. The fat woman’s grunts sounded from inside the quilt……