omytian i almost forgot but hey better late than never lollol thank yous to Whiteflare and LurkingReader for the ko-fi donation (^з^)-☆
First, there was a loud bang.
The deafening sound rang right by his ear. All Qi Jing could remember was that he instinctively raised his hand to block the source of the sound.
Then, his hand was assaulted with a sharp pain—
And then what
There was a break in his memory from the point on, what came next was his consciousness being swallowed by the darkness. He had no idea what had happened.
The first thing he lost was his sense of hearing which was also the first thing he regained.
In the chaotic darkness, he heard something that resembled the sound of glass being shattered to a million pieces. As the crisp and cold sound went off, his eyes barely opened into a slit. He couldnt tell which way was the right way up, it was as if the sky and the earth had been turned upside down.
Qi Jings head was spinning as cold sweat appeared on the tip of his nose, one after another.
What really brought him back to his senses was the sound his throat made as he desperately gasped for air.
From not too far away, he could also hear the heavy movement of a crane, the shrill siren of an ambulance, all sorts of metallic clatter from stretchers, and the shouts of people echoing in his ear.
“Someone is still in there!”
“That vehicle is more severely bent out of shape. The person might have gone into shock and is unresponsive. Take extra care when you pry open that car!”
Oh right... he was on his way back from his business trip.
They happened to be on a road that wound around a mountain when they were about a half an hour drive away from the city and they got caught in the heavy traffic of people travelling for the long National Day holiday. The mountain road had a lot of twists and turns and was still wet and slippery from the rain the previous night.
Could it be that he met with a car accident
Qi Jing was in a daze. Then, he blinked laboriously and tried to move away from between the two layers of twisted metal.
However, with just that slight movement, intense pain shot through his left arm and right down to his very core. He felt as if his heart had stopped momentarily from the pain. Blood flowed backwards, causing his entire body to convulse.
A whimper couldnt help but escape his lips as he reflexively pulled his legs in to curl up into a ball, hitting the crushed seat in front of him which caused the broken glass to shatter onto the ground.
“I heard something inside!” The person outside seemed to have heard his movement as they hurriedly called for help.
“Can the person inside hear me Can you answer me” In the few seconds it took the EMTs to call out to him, Qi Jing could feel his collar being drenched in his cold sweat from the pain.
“I can hear you...” Qi Jing replied weakly when he barely managed to move his mouth.
In that narrow space, a strong metallic smell filled the air—its blood. He couldnt tell where it was coming from but the smell was extremely pungent.
It appeared that he had met with a car accident.
Given the pain he was feeling in his left hand, it was most likely fractured. He just hoped it wasnt crushed.
The impact from the accident was really strong and the extreme pain received by his nerves from the bone fracture might have caused him to go into shock which was why he lost consciousness for some time. Luckily, his colleagues that came along with him were fine because he could hear them anxiously asking something of the EMTs.
“Were all from the provincial TV station! ...Yes, yes, were reporters!”
“The one still inside is called Qi Jing, he was seated right where we collided! Our injuries are nothing serious! Please! You have to save him!”
He heard their voices amidst the sounds of people rushing about and machinery dismantling the shells of what once were vehicles.
It truly was a blessing that he did not lose his life; Qi Jing tried to be as optimistic as he could as he weakly gasped for air. He turned his head to the side to avoid choking on dust as the rescuers pried open the vehicle.
And thats because if he were to cough at this time, he would surely wound up affecting his whole body, including his fracture; theres no guarantee the pain wont send him into another shock.
After being dug out of the car, Qi Jing specially took a look at the wreckage that was the companys minivan.
Accordingly, what hit them was a large truck. Both drivers managed to swerve their vehicle in the nick of time, preventing a car accident with fatalities. However, the front of the truck still crashed with the side of the minivan that he was on, throwing the entire vehicle off the road and onto the side of the mountain.
As he looked back at the car, its wreckage was truly a sight to behold.
“Hes got a fracture in his left upper arm. Hes suffered cuts in other areas of the body which need to be disinfected and the blood has to be stopped, but it shouldnt be anything too serious.” The doctor who was checking on his injuries confirmed his previous suspicions.
“The internal bleeding from the fracture is quite severe, so we need to fix it as soon as possible and send him to the hospital for an operation.”
“Prepare the splint! Quick!”
In order to do a closed reduction on his fracture there and then, the nurse gave Qi Jing some anaesthesia. He could not move his whole body, but his eyes were not idle.
Looking around, he found that other than his colleagues who were caught in the accident, his other colleagues who caught wind of the matter were on site as well. This news really was dominated by their TV station—whether it was the interview team or the people being interviewed, they all came from the same workplace.
Finding joy despite his predicament, a smile couldnt help but slip through Qi Jings lips when he thought of that. And his colleagues who had paled from the sight of his injuries couldnt help but chime in one by one to “scold” him for laughing in this situation. Chubby Dahai, the one who was supposed to come on this business trip but managed to escape because Qi Jing took his place, was here as well. He was in a mess as he stood next to Qi Jings stretcher, apologising and repenting profusely to the latter; that grown man was just shy of bursting into tears on the spot. In the end, Qi Jing even had to comfort him instead.
“Its good enough that Im not dead...” he muttered to himself with a blank look as a mixture of weariness and pain washed over him.
He had handed in so many dry recordings and not all of the audio dramas were out yet. He still had some audio dramas that he accepted but havent gotten to recording yet sitting in his folder, waiting for him. Luckily, he didnt lose his life despite being at deaths door, otherwise, hed have to remove theplaying fromplaying dead.
“Sir, this is your phone, right”
The nurse who was dressing his wounds gently called out to him. He turned his eyes to the source of the voice and saw her holding up a phone that was covered in dust and blood, asking him to identify it.
“Alright, well help you hold on to it for now,” the nurse said with a nod and inadvertently revealed, “Youve been holding a tight grip on it for a while now and it only fell from your hands when we administered the anaesthesia.”
Qi Jing was stunned at her words; he blinked his eyes in a daze before closing them.
It came back to him—just one second before the accident, he was still looking down at his phone, on the photos app, at the photo of that person and the cat.
When he arrived at the Provincial Peoples Hospital and did an x-ray, it was confirmed that he had suffered fractures in both the ulna and radius of his left forearm but fortunately, it was not a comminuted one. Since he was sent to a tertiary hospital located in the capital of the province, they had a wealth of experience and the operation went very smoothly. After an open reduction, a steel plate was placed inside while his arm was placed in a plaster cast for reinforcement.
As fractures in the ulna and radius are more prone to displacement post-operation, the hospital suggested for Qi Jing to be hospitalised for a period of time for observation and only be discharged after all has stabilised. Since this car accident happened while he was on a business trip, it was considered a workplace injury. Management from the TV station sent someone over to comfort him and ask about his condition. They also told him to stay in the hospital with a peace of mind and that all his expenses would be reimbursed.
Qi Jing knew that he wouldnt be able to get back to news reporting anytime soon so he put aside any distractions and put his mind onto recuperating in the hospital.
After his surgery, the nurse cleaned his phone and returned it to him, but after such a long time, the battery had already run out. As for his charger, he didnt know if it got left behind at the crash site or something, but he couldnt find it no matter how hard he tried.
“Dahai, could you help me borrow a charger” Qi Jing asked when chubby Dahai came with his wife to visit the following day.
He couldnt use his left hand at all so it was pretty inconvenient for him to use a laptop. And if he couldnt even use his phone to surf the internet or use Weibo while he was recuperating in the hospital, he definitely wouldnt be able to survive.
“Whats the model of your phone Ill go get you a new one.”
Ever since Qi Jings accident, chubby Dahai kept blaming himself, feeling that it was his fault, that it was all because he swapped jobs with Qi Jing during the Mid-Autumn Festival so he kept trying to make up for it.
Meanwhile. Qi Jing didnt take it to heart at all. In fact, he felt that it was worth it. Otherwise, if the same situation were to have happened on chubby Dahai, who knew how distressed his wife and children would be
However, if making a little material request could slightly reduce the guilt the other party felt, Qi Jing was happy to go along with it.
“Well alright, you buy me a phone charger and were even, so you can stop beating yourself up too much.”
“We cant do that!” Chubby Dahais wife interjected before he could say anything, “A charger is nothing. What else do you want Feel free to make any request of us, Xiao Qi! Our Dahai really owes you too much this time!”
Qi Jing was the worst at dealing with such straightforward women.
Hence, after pondering for a moment, he finally thought of one other thing.
“Then, how about you guys get me some better food”
He had to say, the quality of the food served in the hospitals public cafeteria was terribly disproportionate to their level of medical care. He had tried it once on the day of his surgery and it was really not appetising at all, which caused his craving for normal food to shoot through the roof.
The couple brought him a delicious meal as promised, which Qi Jing gratefully accepted, treating himself to the nourishment he needed after his recent surgery. However, both husband and wife had their jobs to attend to, so it was impossible for them to visit him every day.
After his phone got revived, in order not to trouble the couple, the first thing he did was call chubby Dahai. Qi Jing told Dahai that he had someone else coming to deliver food for him, so the latter didnt need to worry about it. Then, he continued to get his meals from the hospitals cafeteria—coarse rice and some simple side dishes. Qi Jing slowly got used to the food one bite at a time; there was nothing that couldnt be stomached.
Perhaps it was because of the National Day holiday, there werent many people staying in the wards. Everyone that could be discharged was probably taken home by their families.
Like most hospital wards, the walls were white, the bedding and pillows were all white, and even the bed frame was painted white. In this season, the colour palette made it feel especially cold and lonely.
Hes used to being busy these few years, rarely has he been so idle that he had nothing to do and nothing he could do. When he strolled along the corridors of the hospital, it was as if he was in a trance. He watched the busy traffic of the city in the distance, spent ten minutes counting the fallen leaves in the courtyard, but most of his time was just spent staring blankly into space.
Not to think about anything.
It wasnt that he had nothing to think about, its just that he didnt want to think too deeply about it. Just like writings on a paper, when placed too far, the words on it become so small that one might think its still a blank piece of paper.
There were four beds in the ward Qi Jing resided in and his was by the window. At first, he thought the other three beds would remain empty, but he didnt expect that on the third day of his hospitalisation, an elderly lady, who came to town from the smaller counties for operation, would move in. Apparently, it was also a period of postoperative convalescing for her, so she just chatted with him to relieve boredom.
The old ladys children worked in the city and her elderly husband, who accompanied her to the city to seek medical treatment, usually stayed with their daughter during the period that they were in town. Whenever meal times came, he would bring his home-cooked dishes to visit her.
The old man was a good cook and his food smelled delicious and must have tasted good too, because the old lady was happy every time she ate, and the crows feet at the corners of her eyes bloomed more as her smile grew.
As he watched her eat, even the rice in his own mouth seemed to become slightly more palatable. Hence, he would always eat at the same time as the old lady, that way, it wouldnt take him an hour to finish the contents in his takeaway box.
Seeing that he was eating food sold at the hospital, the old man asked curiously, “Hey, young chap, your wife didnt come to send you any food”
Qi Jing replied with a smile, “Theres no wife, Im not married yet.”
The old man probably must have a lot about young people in the city preferring to marry late and thought that Qi Jing was one of them.
He couldnt help but shake his head as he began to say to Qi Jing, “Why didnt you marry earlier If you did, you wouldnt wind up not even having someone to bring you food.”
Since he felt indebted to the hospital for the surgical treatment they had provided him, Qi Jing felt that he should help maintain the image of the hospital.
“The food provided by the hospital cafeteria is still not too bad.” At least he wouldnt go hungry.
“Im not just talking about food,” the old man said as he continued shaking his head, “Whats good about being all alone with no one to accompany you”
“Oh, the young lad is still young and doesnt understand. Once he reaches our age, hell know that its too hard to live without a companion.” The old lady joined in the conversation while gently looking at her husband.
Qi Jing didnt say anything in response. He just lowered his head and smiled silently.
This time, he still hadnt finished his food even after an hour. When the old lady finished her dinner and went out for a walk outside the hospital with the help of her old companion, his pair of disposable wooden chopsticks were still resting on top of the rice, fiddling back and forth with a few pieces of hard white rice.
He had just suffered a bone fracture and a lot of internal bleeding; he needed to eat and rest.
Thus, he had to continue eating.
Qi Jing took a deep breath before picking up the endive sitting atop the rice and bringing it to his mouth.
Just then, his phone suddenly started ringing. He could only put his chopsticks aside for the time being and reached for his phone on the bedside table, but he stiffened when he saw the number on the screen.
In the event of car accidents like this, the company would usually notify the family as soon as they could.
“Xiao Jing You finally turned on your phone”
The voice of the woman on the other end of the phone was one that was once familiar to him, and was starting to get unfamiliar in recent years. However, it did still belong to someone he had called his sister for over twenty years.
“My phone died, I only managed to get a charger two days ago.”
Then, they fell silent. Perhaps, it was because they hadnt contacted in so long that starting a conversation was more difficult than expected.
Under the pressure of such a suffocating atmosphere, Qi Jing chose to get straight to the point to end this call quickly. “Can I help you”
A rather awkward laugh came for the Qi Xi on the other end of the line as she answered with a very low and cautious tone, “Your company called home a few days ago saying that you got in a car accident and are currently hospitalised. I tried to call your phone several times but I kept getting the automated message saying that it was off...”
“Im fine, the surgery was a success,” Qi Jing explained the situation succinctly.
“Thats good, thats good...”
The siblings exchanged common pleasantries that even strangers could carry out; formalised greetings and formalised replies.
Then, Qi Jing suddenly heard the voice of another woman in the background.
It was his mother.
With a sad and angry, yet helpless voice, she muttered the same few words, “Why does he still refuse to come back to his senses If he had realised the err in his ways and changed sooner, he can come back to work in his hometown, and should anything happen, we can also take care of him.”
The last time he heard those same words was when he decided to leave his family and move to a foreign city all by himself.
“Refusing to come back to his senses.” Yes, those were his mothers favourite words and that was indeed the way she talked.
Next, came his fathers voice.
Just like in his memory from a few years back, the voice that had been ruined by smoking sounded hoarse and decrepit.
Being an alcoholic addicted to Chinese spirits, he sounded even more irritable than before as he shouted, “If he could change, he wouldnt be in this mess today! A car accident... The car accident is just retribution! Of all things, he likes to mess around with men! Hes utterly disgraced me!”
His fathers angry yells were coldly interrupted by Qi Jings younger brother, Qi Zhe, who said, “Dad, can you not shout so loudly about such things Being heard by our neighbours—thats whats truly disgraceful.”
Qi Jing subconsciously moved the phone away from his ear before slowly putting it back.
His breathing was starting to get a little ragged.
Qi Xi probably heard the change in his breathing and seemed to have covered the receiver with her hand as the voices became muffled. Then, he vaguely heard her yelling for them to stop.
His mother started sobbing hysterically while his brother stopped talking.
Only his father refused to listen and even strode over to grab the receiver and said, “Listen here! I dont care if you were in a car accident or whatnot, if you still insist on screwing around with men, dont ever come back to this house—”
He slammed his finger on the screen to terminate the call and he did it several times. Those words kept ringing in his ear as his finger trembled so badly he didnt even know if he was pressing on the right place, or if the call had been ended. He just kept pressing, as hard as he could, over and over again.
Only after thirty whole seconds did the pressing finally stop.
Qi Jing released his thumb which was slightly bruised from using excessive force. He lowered his head and gasped for air. Somehow, it felt like there was a lack of oxygen in his lungs and he had no choice but to breathe heavily, doing what he had to to survive. As he panted, he moved his stiff thumb from the screen to turn off his phone, cutting off all contact.
In this empty hospital ward, surrounded by monotonous white colour from all sides, the sound of his heavy breathing appeared even clearer and louder.
As he panted, Qi Jing tucked his phone under his pillow so that it was out of sight and he didnt need to look at it for the time being while the memories of the various sounds that came out from it played in his mind.
“Eat,” Qi Jing suddenly opened his mouth and murmured numbly to himself.
Thats right, he should eat. Wasnt his meal still unfinished He should first eat his meal, fill his belly, then lie down and get some sleep, and when tomorrow comes, it would be another bright and sunny autumn day.
Qi Jing readjusted his box of food, picked up the chopsticks and tried to grab the food inside. However, his hands were just trembling so hard that it took him quite a while before he picked up anything and before he even put it into his mouth, it fell back in. Something else fell in as well. He didnt taste it but it rained down from his face, dripping onto the coarse rice one after another.
It was too hard to swallow.
After the first sound escaped, the rest could no longer be held back. Fortunately, there wasnt anyone else in the ward to hear him so he could slightly let go of himself and cry for a while in the worst voice hes ever heard since he started voice acting.
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He hadnt been like that in a long time so he had to give himself a little more time.
After that, he would continue to finish his soiled food. He just needed some time.
A/N: When I was halfway through this chapter, I decided to delete everything and start over, so it took a little longer.
But I feel like I finally got the right feeling.
But I also feel like Im probably on the verge of asking Grandpa to heal me... TAT
Lilies: lol the names of the Qi siblings are single words made up of two characters that can be broken to form standalone words: “誩”→“言”, “囍”→“喜”, “喆”→“吉”
The next chapters will be updated every sat :>