The Taming of the Yandere
V2 Chapter 3: A Winter Without Snow
This is a dream.
Wintertime in southern China is very cold.
Heaters were rarely used, and the air was often humid. Although the temperature rarely dropped below zero, even sitting at home will cause pangs of damp chills, piercing to the bones.
Our small village doesn’t snow during the winter, but rain freezes to ice as soon as it touches the ground.
Most people viewed the slippery ground as a nuisance, but us kids were delighted. It meant that the entire sidewalk became our skating rink.
After school, we’ll joyfully slide on the ice, skating all the way home.
The whole town was a carpet of green-gray houses. My grandparents’ house was one of them. Right now, I should be going home for supper.
I haven’t walked this path for a long time. But why am I going this way?
Following my memory, I left my laughing friends, and walked briskly towards home.
I hesitantly opened the house’s iron gate, and found Grandpa practicing tai-chi in the courtyard.
He stopped when he saw me, and snatched a paper from my fist.
Strange, when was I holding that paper?
After reading the text, Grandpa’s calm expression suddenly tightened. He grabbed the broom sitting in the corner, and spanked my butt hard, twice. *
*Please note that this isn’t physical, violent abuse, but rather discipline within family. American society has come to the point where the two are seen as one, which is completely ridiculous.
Strange, it doesn’t hurt at all.
Grandpa furiously crumpled up the paper and threw it at my face. I caught and unraveled the paper.
“Elementary School, 5th Grade Mathematics, 29/100.”
Oh, so this test paper is from that time. For some reason, my heart started to beat faster.
If I’m getting this paper right now at this moment, I should be able to see her soon.
Just as anticipated, I was kicked out of the house by Grandpa’s broom. He made me stand outside as punishment, and forbade me to eat supper. But I didn’t care, once dinner was ready, my loving Grandma will definitely sneak some food for me to eat.
My elementary school grades were really bad. My brain just didn’t want to work, like a violin with a missing string.
It’s not even my fault, I focus on the teacher in class, but I just can’t figure it out!
I’m just this stupid, what can I do?
Who cares about Grandpa, telling me to stand outside like an idiot. The sun was still going to be up for a while, so I started wandering around.
I crossed a concrete bridge, jumped over a frozen river stream, and arrived at the opposite side of the river.
A lonely house appeared in my eyes.
This house was just like the European mansions I saw in movies. It was a Western architectural design with high pillars, carved windows and balcony, as well as a groomed garden within a painted gate.
The whole house was covered in gleaming, white-washed walls. This pale, two-story villa stood out considerably in the gray village.
I want to go in and see, is the inside like my grandparents’ house, with all kinds of ancient wooden furniture? Is there a smell of incense inside? Will there be calligraphy hanging on the walls like Grandpa does?
“Is there anything you need?”
A person appeared behind me.
“No, nothing. I’m just looking around.”
I must have stood in front of their house for too long.
I slowly turned around, looking to see who it was.
She was a young girl, slightly older than me.
Her face was a classic Asian one with Eastern features, but she had a head of European, silver-blonde hair. She must be interracial, I thought the moment I saw her.
The girl seemed to be very afraid of cold. She wore a thick, orange down jacket, with a maroon scarf draped around her collar. A matching wool hat covered her head, but her silver hair blew loose outside, wavering in the wind.
Even though she was wearing a lot, she still blew on her mittens, and stamped her feet constantly.
Was it really that cold? I felt fine wearing a thin jacket.
She was! She was that person!
My heart screamed for her name, but my mouth didn’t utter a word.
I haven’t dreamed of her for a very long time.
I stared at her with a blank mind. She really was beautiful, her face was already pleasant and fair, and her blonde hair made her seem even more elegant.
This perfectly aligned with my memory.
“Do you go to the elementary school nearby? Your math really sucks, it seems.”
I wasn’t sure when she had taken the crumpled test paper from my hands.
“Not at all, this was an accident.”
I took my test paper from her hands with a red face. I smashed it back into a ball, and stuffed it back in my pocket in embarrassment.
“If you’d like, I can help you with your studies. You’ll go far beyond your classmates.”
She stated confidently.
Although surpassing my classmates wasn’t a top priority for my mischievous mind, I’ll at least pass my tests, and Grandpa wouldn’t whack at my heels with his broom.
“Are you really willing to do that? You’ll teach me at no cost?”
I didn’t believe the girl.
“There’s just one small requirement. If you could, you can come play at my house often. You can talk with me, or we can play some games. I’ll be satisfied, then.”
She smiled pleasantly.
Being with girls is quite troublesome. They only like those weird “house” games, and they show no interest towards my fighting and war games. *
*Playing “house” is when kids act like a family and have pretend-husband, pretend-wife, pretend-baby, etc.
“Are you okay with that?”
Her face showed a sliver of sadness when she saw my wavering expression.
“Sure, if you really can pull my grades up, I won’t mind coming to play every day. Say, where do you live? Is it far from here?”
I finally agreed. I might get a tad bored in her company, but I felt very comfortable with my decision.
“It’s right there.”
She looked very cheerful, and pointed to the Western-style mansion.
“So you’re the one who lives there?!”
I was a bit surprised, but I didn’t doubt her words at all.
Strange people live in strange houses, it falls completely within reason.
I walked up, planning to tour the house with her a bit.
“You naughty little boy, why’d you come here, your grandma was worried sick!”
A pair of hands grabbed my shoulders. I raised my head to look, it was my anxious and troubled Grandma.
“Come home with Grandma.”
She didn’t even look at the silver-haired girl in front of me, and pulled me along.
I protested, I wanted to talk with her a bit longer.
“You can come play tomorrow, it’s getting too late.”
Grandma stubbornly dragged my hands.
You’re in my dream, Grandma. There won’t be a tomorrow with her.
But I couldn’t break free of her grasp at all, so I walked home with her doggedly. As I left, I waved towards the girl.
She smiled, and waved back.
I crossed the riverstream with Grandma, and came back to the familiar cobblestone house.
I gazed longingly at the little stone bridge, and gaped in surprise at a girl in a black dress. She appeared out of nowhere, standing at the bridge’s entrance.
Even though it wasn’t very cold, running around in a summer dress is probably not a good idea.
That person must be insane.
She seemed to realize my presence, and turned around. She smiled creepily, and swung a gleaming object in her hand.
It was a scythe, used for harvesting grain.
“Jiang Muqing! What’re you doing here?!”
I recognized her face, and gasped with horror.
She faced towards me, and pointed towards the mansion with an outstretched finger. Then, the girl lifted her scythe, and started walking towards the house.
The girl, wielding a scythe in all black, looked like the Grim Reaper. Shadows washed on the ground like ocean waves as she shuffled closer towards the white mansion.
“Don’t! Please stop!”
I yelled at Jiang Muqing, knowing what she was about to do.
“Grandma, we have to go help Xue, something’s going to happen to her.”
It was clearly a stupid dream, but I lost control of my emotions, and shook her hand violently.
“Let go of me, I have to go help Xue!”
I pleaded with my Grandma.
”Fan just has to come home to dinner with me.”
A voice sounded nearby.
How could this voice be Grandma’s?!
I slowly turned around and looked at the person dragging me along.
A pale, thin hand tightly grabbed mine, I had no chance of breaking free. Her black dress billowed in the wind, and a bloody scythe rested on the ground.
The crimson blood dripped bit by bit from the sharp blade. The steaming droplets started to melt the snow below.
The ice was stained with red.
Strange, it doesn’t snow during winter here….