Information on the Newspaper
A heavy object fell from the sky and landed in front of Wen Yu.
“Someone jumped from the building—”
A woman’s sharp scream and chaotic footsteps rang out around Wen Yu. Wen Yu opened his mouth and shouted at the corpse in front of him, “Mama……”
These were the last word he ever spoke.
Afterwards, he lost his voice, never speaking another word again.
Half a month later, Wen Yu sat in a room without making a sound. The room had no air conditioning, neither did it have an electric fan. Sitting inside felt like sitting in a steam oven, but he felt like he had the chills.
An overweight woman sat opposite of him, her chubby face was full of sweat. She said with disgust, “I have two kids at home, feeding them is costing me an arm and a leg, how can I afford another one?”
“I need to leave for work soon, I can’t possibly bring a child along.” Another person who was skinny and fanning himself with a palm fan stated.
“Why are you looking at me?” A bald man choked on the beer he was drinking as the other two looked at him. He wiped his mouth and said, “Give me a break, I still want to get a girlfriend, who would want me with this bastard at my side?”
The group was trying to push the responsibility to each other, no one was willing to keep this hot potato. At this moment the door to the room suddenly opened, a relative turned around to look, “Ah, Xiao Ning is here.”
Ning Ning stood at the door with a swollen face. She had had no time to change out of the red camisole she was wearing. It was hugging her curvy figure, causing her to exude a vulgar and seductive aura.
She stumbled into the house and looked for a corner to sit down. She opened her bag and brought out a bottle of ointment. She applied it on her leg as she quietly looked at the little boy opposite her.
As she had just arrived, she didn’t know much. All she knew was that the mother of the child had just jumped off a building and died. The mother did not have much savings while she was alive, and didn’t leave behind much after she died, which was why his relatives were unwilling to raise him.
Not only was she unwilling to raise him, the overweight woman even walked up and grabbed his hair and shook his head non-stop while complaining, “I know you would drag us down, why didn’t you die together with your useless mother? You monster!”
Ning Ning paused what she was doing. She suddenly stood up and walked towards the overweight woman who was still scolding the boy, then raised the bottle of ointment above the woman’s head.
“Ah!” Drenched from the head, the overweight woman screamed. She turned around and shouted, “Stupid bitch, what are you trying to do?”
Ning Ning laughed at her coldly. The two phrases she currently hated the most now were ‘ugly monster’ and ‘monster’. After those, monster was above ugly girl. She smashed the bottle on the table, shattering it. Ning Ning pointed the jagged end towards the woman and laughed. “What are you going to do about it?”
The other two frantically pulled them apart. But even if they didn’t do that, the overweight woman would have walked away on her own. Ning Ning’s current look was way too scary, like the mouth of a volcano that was about to erupt. The more she smiled, the scarier she seemed.
“Why so violent.” The overweight woman softly mumbled as she returned to her seat, “You stupid bitch, don’t tell me you want to raise the little monster?”
Ning Ning sat back at her original spot without making a sound as she applied the remaining ointment on her wound. The woman was not wrong, her current body was unsuitable to raise a child.
She transmigrated into the old woman’s body in her younger days. Her current self was called Wen Xiao Ning, the aunt of the lead character Wen Yu. She did not expect that the old woman was a sex worker when she was younger. Furthermore, the money that she earned was not for herself, it was to provide for her boyfriend, Hui Huo.
The wounds on her body were fresh from a fight — the things she could endure, were unbearable for Ning Ning.
Ning Ning fought with the boyfriend for a while before she finally knocked him out with a stool. She wiped the blood from her nose, went through the drawers and cupboards, and took anything that was worth even a little bit of money into her bag. She then left her boyfriend’s house carrying the bag.
Along the way she asked for directions and had managed to make it just in time to meet with a group of people trying to shirk this responsibility. The overweight woman screamed, “Whom do you want to go with? You should at least say something!”
Ning Ning did not meddle with this. She continued to rub the bruise on her leg. As she was rubbing it she suddenly but slowly raised her head, her eyes following a pair of skinny legs upwards. She looked at the little boy standing in front of her.
He had fine hair and fine eyebrows, looking like a tender and delicate boy. He was standing in front of Ning Ning like a porcelain doll, silently reaching his hand out to her.
“Don’t choose me.” Ning Ning couldn’t help but laugh. “I don’t even have the means to provide for you.”
But Wen Yu gazed at her quietly, not retracting his outstretched hand.
“Don’t choose me.” Ning Ning’s expression became solemn, she repeated her words again, “I don’t even have the means to provide for you.”
Because of the previous experience, she didn’t intend to form any deep connections with anyone in the movie. She would fulfil Wen Xiao Ning’s last wish, to give Wen Yu a hand when he faced danger, but she wouldn’t do more for him—because she was scared! Giving in a relationship was too painful, accepting a relationship was too painful, losing a relationship was too painful. To rephrase it in modern terms, ‘Our body had been hollowed out!’.
The two of them stared at each other. Finally, it was the overweight woman who took Wen Yu. Afterall including Ning Ning, the three other people were not financially equipped to raise a child.
“Just my luck!” The overweight woman spat on the floor, grabbed Wen Yu’s underarms and walked outside angrily. As they left, the little boy would occasionally turn around and look at Ning Ning with his pitch black eyes.
‘Don’t look at me like that!’ Ning Ning kept her solemn expression and thought, ‘I can’t even save myself!’
Her bag did not have much money, if she wanted to settle down in 1987, she needed to have a job that would earn her enough to live on. She definitely could not continue to be a sex worker, but she also didn’t want to be a female worker in a textile mill or a factory, she hoped to be able to find a crew or theater related job. This was very difficult, she could only work odd jobs on the side as she looked for information of such jobs.
The days were already tough, her ex-boyfriend refused to go away. He repeatedly came back and asked for her to get back together with him.
“Xiao Ning, I was wrong! Let’s get back together!”
“Xiao Ning, I can’t afford to eat anymore. Come home and cook for me!”
“Xiao Ning, my clothes are torn. Help me patch them up!”
“Xiao Ning, I’ve already taken Boss Qin’s money. You can’t bear to see me get beaten up right? Then go spend a night with him……”
“You don’t have to trouble Qin, I will beat you up!” Ning Ning grabbed a broom and hit him!
As she was knocking off from her job, her boss requested for her resignation. She was not the only one that wasn’t able to bear her ex-boyfriend, the other employees found it unbearable too, so he requested that she take one for the team and bring her plaything along with her as she left for good.
Under the setting sun, Ning Ning walked home with a bruise on one eye. On the way back she went past someone. She stopped in her tracks and turned her head to look at him.
Wen Yu who was carrying a schoolbag also stopped in his tracks. He turned his face which was swollen on one side and fixed his gaze on her.
At that moment, they actually sympathized with each other’s sorrow.
“Why am I so depressed?” Ning Ning scolded herself in her mind, then turned around and continued walking. The streets of 1987 were not filled with nightlife. She saw a candy art store. On the store, there was a disc with the twelve zodiacs. A child handed over money and spun the disc. The needle landed on the dragon, the child clapped. The stall owner poured some melted sugar on a board, and sculpted it into a dragon, then he gave the dragon to the child. The child held the dragon up and vivaciously ran down the streets where there were an array of stalls and all kinds of people.
The sound of footsteps came from behind, Ning Ning’s right hand was lightly held by someone. She looked around and saw Wen Yu standing behind her, holding up a deep-fried dough cake wrapped in newspaper at her. The dough cake had turned cold, its oil had seeped into the newspaper.
“You eat it, I’m not hungry.” Ning Ning was very hungry, but she cannot eat his food because she didn’t know if that was all he had for the day.
Wen Yu stared at her. He tore a small piece of the dough cake off, then shoved the remaining dough cake along with the newspaper at her.
“…… getting in my good books won’t do you any favour.” Ning Ning said coldly, but he responded with a smile.
He was really a sweet idiot. Ning Ning grunted and took a bite out of the dough cake. It started as nibbles, but the nibbles gradually became bigger bites before she finally devoured the cake. After she was done, she opened the newspaper in an attempt to look for any crumbs.
Then, she froze.
Ning Ning muttered as she looked at the contents of the newspaper, “How is this possible?”
This was a newspaper from last week, with this piece of news published on it: An adaptation of <<Phantom of the Opera>> titled <<Phantom of Theater>> would begin filming shortly. It would hold open auditions for the female lead. The deadline was at the end of July, the venue for the audition would be at Orchid Theater.
At that moment, Ning Ning felt like she was plucked from reality. Didn’t she arrive in a movie named <<Abandoned Child>>? Why did <<Phantom of Theater>> appear here? Hold on…… If she recalled carefully, within the information Li Bo Yue provided her, the year in which <<Phantom of the Theater>> was filmed seems to be stated as — 1987.
“……the deadline is at the end of this month, three days remaining.” Ning Ning suddenly started running with the newspaper. Wen Yu was stunned, he chased after her with his schoolbag.
Ning Ning ran to the train station. In this time period you didn’t need to provide your identification card nor did you have to queue to buy a train ticket. Whoever was physically strong enough could push his or her way to the front of the line.
“Give me a ticket to xx.” Ning Ning took out the last dollar from her pocket.
The ticketing staff took her money, looked behind her and asked, “One or two person?”
Ning Ning looked back and saw Wen Yu standing behind her, panting breathlessly from running, his cheeks flushed. He could not talk, but used his expression while tightly tugging onto the corner of her clothes to tell her, ‘Bring me with you’.
“……I’m sorry, I cannot afford your ticket.” Ning Ning answered with difficulty.
Wen Yu’s expression darkened. He did not throw a tantrum, he quietly lowered his head defeatedly.
“……I’m going to another province for the sake of confirming something.” Ning Ning slowly squatted down. She wanted to reach out and touch his head, but she felt that it was not good to get too close, so she retracted her hand that was half reaching out. She looked at him and said, “I will come back and bring you along after I have confirmed my matter.”
……She couldn’t let someone who was about to die in an accident in the following year out of her sight, right?
Wen Yu fixed his gaze on her for a while before suddenly grabbing her hand. He pried her fingers apart and hooked his pale and skinny pinky with her pinky.
Then, he raised his head and smiled towards her. A smile that was innocent, warm and filled with trust.