Chapter 326 Simple Drawings

Ding Si’s text this time was partly an advertisement. It was about a newly established forum led by the three major guilds. They had rented overseas servers to facilitate and promote communication between players, and each player could register for an account for free.

Zhang Heng briefly glanced at the picture Ding Si attached. The name of the website was Immersive Simulations Fan Forum.

There were also rules and regulations written in fine-print below, done in a way that if a regular person accidentally clicked it by mistake, they would think that it was just another gaming fan forum.

Currently, three main sections of the website were open- a message board, a trading section, and a teammate recruitment section. Some other functions were still under construction. The website’s developers claimed they would do their utmost to protect members’ privacy, encrypt their identities, and would not require users to be bound by email or mobile phone registrations. In fact, a comment could even be left as an unregistered user. But of course, registration with an ID was still encouraged.

In principle, website administrators were not responsible for the authenticity of the information posted on the forum, and new members were reminded to stay vigilant at all times and to never disclose their personal information.

The idea of such a site was actually conceived a long time ago. Reportedly, it started off with a group of players who created QQ groups and invited their friends to actively share their experiences. However, after a series of vicious incidents, the QQ groups were dissolved. The current website was considered to be an upgraded version of the QQ group. The initial intention of the forum was to reunite the players, hoping to solve the problem of poor communication and to eliminate the ‘every man for himself’ mentality. Of course, that didn’t mean the three major guilds didn’t have their own selfish intentions. Through the forum, they hoped to establish a position of leadership gradually. For now, the creation of the webpage was obviously a huge advantage, especially for single players like Zhang Heng. It provided him with a platform to understand the outside world.

However, Zhang Heng did not sign up immediately. Although the three major guilds claimed that the site was safe and that they would not disclose their members’ IDs, Zhang Heng didn’t log in using his mobile phone or computer. Instead, he planned on visiting an Internet cafe when he was free.

After tidying the yard, Zhang Heng got out of his muddy shoes and entered the house. He was about to take a shower but stopped as he walked past Tian Tian.

The girl was sprawled over the coffee table, pencil in her hand. At first, Zhang Heng thought she was doing her homework, but when he came closer, he realized that she was actually scribbling on the back of the workbook.

She had drawn a picture of a woman sitting on a bed, where an old man lay there with a leg in an elevated position. There was a frightened look on his face because the light from the ceiling was falling down on him.

It was a simple child’s drawing, but within the innocent brushstrokes lay an ominous and frightening image.

“Can I have a look?” Zhang Heng asked warmly, reaching out.

Tian Tian was startled, so focused on her drawing that she did not see him coming. Despite the scare, she handed the workbook to Zhang Heng.

Zhang Heng flipped through the book and saw a few other drawings, including one of an old man who had fallen off his bicycle, a little puppy falling into a pond, and another of a woman cutting her finger amid a meal preparation.

Zhang Heng’s eyes widened as he thought about the band-aid on that woman’s index fingers. He looked down at the girl and saw her looking up at him, her eyes trembling in fear.

They had last met about a year and a half ago, and back then, Tian Tian was a cheerful and bubbly young girl. Now, she seemed a lot quieter than before.

“That’s pretty good,” Zhang Heng smiled as he handed the book back to her. He noticed how relieved she looked when the book was in her hands. Admittedly, it was difficult for children this age to hide their true feelings.

Zhang Heng abandoned the idea of a shower and changed into fresh clothes instead. Then he went to his grandfather and asked, “Which hospital is Uncle Chen in?”

“Why? Feel like visiting him? That’s good. When you were a little kid, you were always at his place, eating a fair share of meat. He’s in The Second People’s Hospital. I was planning to see him, but since you’re going, then you can go in my place. Do you have money?” Zhang Heng waved his wallet. “I’m going.” Once he was outside, Zhang Heng dropped by a local fruit shop to purchase a fruit basket. Then, instead of taking the bus, he hired a DiDi* and arrived a lot faster at Shenzhen’s Second People’s Hospital more than three kilometers away.

No matter what time it was, the place was always crowded. Patients, visiting families, relatives, and friends… it was so packed that human scents and odors overpowered the corridor. There were sounds of people coughing, and a pungent scent of disinfectant lingered in the air.

It was nothing but a depressing scene.

Instead of approaching customer service to get the patient’s information, he remembered the bed number on Tian Tian’s drawing and found the ward without trouble. Through the viewing window, he then saw Grandpa Chen and the young woman inside.

Zhang Heng knocked on the door twice before entering the ward. The woman was surprised, but immediately stood up and greeted him. She accepted the basket of fruits, and she asked about his university life.

Grandpa Chen looked pretty good. Even though he had just fallen and injured his leg, he was still in high spirits. He even laughed aloud when he saw Zhang Heng, noting how they hadn’t seen each other for a while and that Zhang Heng looked even better than before.

Zhang Heng peeled an apple for the old man using a fruit knife that happened to be on the bedside table. The setup of the ward was pretty decent, considering it was a three-patient ward. The other two beds were occupied, and Grandpa Chen was in the middle. Above his head hung an old-fashioned double-ended fluorescent lamp.

It was a scene that was eerily similar to the drawing.

Zhang Heng didn’t leave immediately even after the apple was peeled. He stayed by Grandpa Chen’s bed and chatted with him, something the woman thought was rather odd. Grandpa Chen reminisced about the old times, relating how Zhang Heng would never tell anyone if he had peed his pants when he was still a kid, and how he tried to hide the embarrassment by standing in front of the heater to dry himself off. The memory was so funny to Grandpa Chen that he seemed to have forgotten the pain in his leg.

Suddenly, without warning, the fluorescent lamp on the ceiling detached from its housing and took a dive toward the old man! Just as the tube was about to hit Grandpa Chen’s head, a hand reached out and caught it. Zhang Heng could even block a falling butcher knife – a lightbulb was nothing to him. Also, he had been secretly keeping an eye out for any movement from above. Still, he was somewhat flabbergasted that the light actually fell. Predicting the future? But all the simple sketches only seemed to portray bad things. It was more like some kind of a curse.

The woman gasped, and although clearly in shock, she thanked Zhang Heng profusely. The nurse tending to the patient next to them stared at Zhang Heng with curious eyes. She had frozen in place and seemed startled as well. Unfortunately, Zhang Heng decided not to stay in the hospital any longer. Now that his suspicions were confirmed, he needed to figure out a way to solve the problem.

Footnote:

Didi: A ride-sharing platform

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