48 Hours a Day
Chapter 323 - Deep Sleep Aboard the Train
After dealing with the prankster’s harassment, Zhang Heng took out a ‘Finnish Grammar’ book from his bag and continued from where he stopped. Surprise flashed in the eyes of the TOEFL girl sitting opposite of Zhang Heng
Finnish was a very niche language, where only one university in China, namely the Beijing Foreign Studies University, offered any related major. The enrollment each year was tiny as well. In fact, less than 100 people managed to master Finnish in the whole country. Besides, Zhang Heng’s poise was very much that of a student’s. The TOEFL girl hesitated and whispered, “Classmate?”
“Aren’t you from Beijing Foreign Studies University?”
“Oh, I am not,” said Zhang Heng. Realizing what had caused the misunderstanding, he waved the book and explained, “Just for my own pleasure.” The TOEFL girl’s face turned red. “I’m sorry…” she muttered.
Zhang Heng smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I like Finland very much, and I hope to go there someday.”
“May your dreams be granted soon.”
After that, the TOEFL girl quickly buried her head in the red book again. The train continued to move forward, and the carriage was alight with sounds. Some chatted and ate sunflower seeds. Children were crying and playing music, and the middle-aged man beside Zhang Heng was still talking on the phone. Suddenly, Zhang Heng missed the moon’s eternal silence.
The man had got up from his seat, and when he came back, he finally put away his phone as he muttered a few words. Then, he leaned his head on the curtains and fell asleep after that. Zhang Heng continued to flip through the ‘Finnish Grammar’ in his hand until an attendant who was pushing a cart reminded the passengers to keep their legs off the aisle.
The TOEFL girl took out an apple from her bag. After a few moments, she took out another one, and in a soft voice, she asked Zhang Heng, “Hey there, do you want an apple? It’s washed.”
Zhang Heng did not refuse her kindness to avoid embarrassing her. The TOEFL girl breathed a sigh of relief. The gesture had eased the previous awkward introduction, and she seemed to have forgotten about it. She appeared less bashful and started to talk while taking a bite off the apple.
After chatting for a while, the TOEFL girl winked at Zhang Heng, whispering, “Look at the uncle next to you. He’s drooling.”
Zhang Heng looked at him and frowned. Many people drooled while sleeping, but it was rare seeing a middle-aged man drooling so much that the curtain was wet. In fact, he seemed completely unable to control his salivary glands. Immediately, Zhang Heng tried to pat the middle-aged man on the shoulder, but there wasn’t any response. So, he tried harder, nudging the man this time. Still, the middle-aged man did not wake up.
The TOEFL girl, too, noticed that something wasn’t right.
“What’s wrong with him, is he sick?”
“I don’t know. Let’s call the attendants first,” Zhang Heng replied in a low voice.
After that, he placed his fingers under the middle-aged man’s nostrils. Seeing that the man was still breathing, he proceeded to open his eyelids and saw that his pupils were not dilated, and they responded instantly when exposed to light. Apart from the abnormal amount of saliva, his current state wasn’t medically abnormal. He was in a deep sleep, but it was strange that he couldn’t be awakened by any means.
After a while, the TOEFL girl came back with a train attendant. Zhang Heng did not move the middle-aged man, placing him flat on the seat instead to stop him from choking on his own saliva.
Nonetheless, there was only so much the train attendant could do. They had received a good amount of first aid training, but they certainly did not possess any professional medical knowledge. Unable to make a better diagnosis, the only thing the train attendant could do was to keep shaking him, hoping he would come to.
“Sir, wake up. Please wake up!”
After confirming that the middle-aged man was breathing properly and his heartbeat was also normal, the attendant began to suspect that the man was actually pretending to be asleep. Just then, a rough part of the track caused the whole car to shake, and the man’s body fell towards the table, his head hitting the corner hard. Although he wasn’t bleeding, the loud, sickening thud from skull colliding with metal couldn’t be faked.
Even so, the middle-aged man still didn’t wake up.
It was then that the attendant started to panic a little. Soon, an emergency broadcast came over the intercom. They were looking for any doctors on board. After a few tense moments, a doctor showed up, but he could only make simple diagnoses since he had no medical equipment with him. Unfortunately, he, too, failed to find the root cause.
The middle-aged man had been traveling alone, and his phone was locked. Hence, train attendants couldn’t contact his family to enquire about his medical history. In the end, they could only reach the hospital at the nearest station. When they arrived at the next stop, medical staff quickly rushed into the train and carried the man into the ambulance.
Finally, the unexpected incident had come to an end.
As the crowd slowly returned to their seats, the TOEFL girl and Zhang Heng returned to their respective places as well. She still seemed a little shocked and gasped a little when she saw the drool on the curtains. “What happened just now?” she asked.
“I don’t know.”
Zhang Heng lied. After seeing the condition of the middle-aged man, he came up with a few guesses. When the train attendants and the kind doctor were busy ‘rescuing’ the middle-aged man, he turned on his mobile phone. He then opened up WeChat and touched Why Do You Always Look Unhappy with Aqua’s profile picture (#’O’).
(Hey, I want to ask a question.] (What’s up? Finally decided to visit the haunted house with me? Looking forward to…)
(Stop talking about the haunted house first. I told you I’m on the train.)
Zhang Heng typed, paused, then typed again.
[Dreamland of Death. Who’s holding it now?]
[??? Play stupid.jpg]
(Will a person targeted by Dreamland of Death never wake up? And all that drooling is abnormal as well, right?] This time she kept quiet for a long time, struggling to answer Zhang Heng. It took her half a minute before she replied.
[Did you see it happening to someone?] [Yes. It happened just now, right in front of me. The person has been carried off the train, but I suspect the user is still here.]
[…big brother, I really don’t know who has it right now. I know the Dreamland of Death’s previous owner, but as far as I know, she sold it right away after she got her hands on it. It hasn’t been used at all. Besides, the Dreamland of Death doesn’t require its user to be in the vicinity.)