486 Have You Seen My Child?
Route 17? Xiao Gu turned back to look at the bus route map. The bus for Route 17 would not pass his apartment. I need to take Route 104 to the end and walk for another two blocks.
According to the map, the last bus for Route 104 would be at 9 pm. Xiao Gu sighed in relief when he saw that. He leaned against the bus stop and waited patiently for bus on Route 104 to arrive. The bus for Route 17 stopped by the bus stop. The driver was a middle-aged man with little care for his appearance. After the passengers got off, the bus did not leave and waited where it was.
What's the meaning of this? Xiao Gu did not plan to take this bus. He lifted his head to look at the driver and saw the driver staring at the space one to two meters in front of him like there was someone standing there.
After about seven seconds, the driver grumbled with impatience, If you want to get on, then get on. If you don't want to get on, then stand back. Don't block the door!
The door closed, and the bus trundled away, disappearing down the road.
Who was he talking to? Xiao Gu looked around; he was the only one waiting at the station. The rainclouds pooled above him, and the stars were eclipsed. It made him feel quite alone. At 8:20 pm, the rain started to fall. People on the road started to rush to their destination, and the originally quite busy street became quite deserted.
It feels quite cold. Xiao Gu, who was rather bored, went online to look at the latest news around Jiujiang.
"Latest update on the cadaver theft cases at Central Hospital. The surveillance caught some possible suspects and has already denied the possibility of an inside job."
"A famed livestream host disappeared at Mu Yang High School in the middle of his stream last night. According to our sources, there have been multiple disappearances at Mu Yang High School since its abandonment."
"A Schistosomiasis Control Station's employee, surnamed Wang, was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Thirty percent of the victim was drained, and there was a wound in the shape of a rose on the victim's back."
"Three men drowned when they were out swimming near Eastern Jiujiang's dam. The weather lately has been warm, but due to the geographical nature of Jiujiang city, which has had plenty of rain and water, the local government would like to remind the public not to play in the water at open water locations to prevent accident."
"Jiujiang Update: A couple was found dead from self-immolation at Li Wan City's shopping center. It's suspected that this was some sort of ritual."
"There has been another serious car accident involving the last bus ride on Route 104! The minister of traffic promises to improve the route map."
Putting away the phone, Xiao Gu looked at the empty bus stop and shivered. He had no idea when this had started, but the news had stopped being about celebrity gossip and more about the supernatural cases that happened around the city. How come it feels like the world has gotten more dangerous?
Xiao Gu squatted down as the rain continued to pour. He did not carry an umbrella so he could only hide inside the bus stop.
Other than Brother Chen and Sister Xu Wan, I have no other friends at Jiujiang. It's already too late to call them for help—after all, we've all been working for a whole day already.
Xiao Gu was a kind person, and he was a straightforward thinker. For those who treated him well, he would treat them back in kind. He was not one to harbor hidden intentions. The bus stop was caught in the storm. The rain fell down the roof. Xiao Gu wondered when the rain would stop.
Where is the bus?
The shape of the buildings from afar looked blurry due to the rain. The cars on the road dwindled. The only company that Xiao Gu had at the bus stop was the street light next to him.
The yellow light dimmed after it filtered through the pouring rain. Chills climbed into Xiao Gu's sleeves. He poked his head out to look down the road. There were no cars or trucks, much less a public bus.
The road was empty, washed clean by the rain. Every few dozen meters, there was a street light, and it was these lights that warmed Xiao Gu's heart in this lonely night. The rain turned heavier, and Xiao Gu became increasingly worried. He paced under the bus shelter, thinking that if a taxi passed by, he would just flag it down. The street lights dimmed. He waited for another ten minutes. When it was almost 9 pm, Xiao Gu saw a bus coming from the end of the road, heading slowly to the stop.
Perhaps it was the rain, but while Xiao Gu could see the bus coming, he could not hear any noise made by the vehicle.
That looks like it's for Route 104.
Xiao Gu searched for change inside his pocket, and as he turned around, he saw someone standing at the bus stop!
Standing not far from him was a woman in a red raincoat. She seemed to be waiting for a bus as well.
Wasn't this lady on the opposite side of the road earlier? When did she get over here?
The raincoat was wet, and the woman had her head lowered. The exposed hair stuck together to cover the view of her face.
She doesn't seem to be wearing any shoes… could she be a mad woman?
Xiao Gu carefully edged away. He stood at one side of the bus stop, but the woman stood right in the middle.
The rain became heavier. The bus slowly entered the station, stopping between Xiao Gu and the woman. Xiao Gu, who had already prepared his change, charged toward the door, but to his surprise, the woman who kept her head lowered suddenly moved. She reached out to grab Xiao Gu without warning, and her wet hair fell on Xiao Gu's arm.
"What are you doing‽"
The woman slowly raised her head. Hair covered most of her face, but through the gap between the hair, one could almost see a pair of eyes that did not seem to have black pupils.
"Have you seen my child?"
"No, I have not." Xiao Gu was given a fright by the woman. He wanted to struggle loose, but the woman's thin hands held onto him tightly.
"Have you seen my child?" The woman took another step forward. There was a large stain on the red raincoat. Since the stain had a dark red color, Xiao Gu had not noticed it initially because it blended perfectly into the color of the raincoat.
"Big sister, I really have not seen your child!" The door of the bus had already started to close. Xiao Gu did not want to continue his tussle with the woman. He tried his best to struggle loose and jumped onto the bus. He put in the coins and found a seat by the window to sit down. Through the window, Xiao Gu saw the woman still standing in the middle of the bus stop. Her head was lowered, and her hair was dripping wet.
She too is a sorry character. She probably lost her child, and her mind broke from the overwhelming sadness. Xiao Gu's eyes were shining with pity.
The rain seeped through the gap in the roof, and a few drops fell on the woman. It slid down her raincoat to create a red puddle around her feet.
"The vehicle will start soon. Please take your seat. Welcome to the driverless bus for Route 104. Dear passenger, please move closer to the backdoor. Our next stop is Central Hospital."
The cold operator voice came from the front of the vehicle. Xiao Gu stretched lazily and leaned against the car seat.
What is this sticky feeling?
Xiao Gu turned to look around. The middle of the backseat was wet like someone had just taken this seat not that long ago.