The first side story. Here goes.. The story will be in three parts . This is the first one. There is often a debate about whether serial killers are an out come of nature or nurture. This is Lin Qingyan’s story. Let us know which side of the debate you weigh on.
When I Think About You
Lin Qingyan Extra Part 1: Before the Angel Killer case
This is slightly depressing; you have been warned
The place Lin Qingyan lived in from the time he was small was a village by the name of Dao. At the beginning of the eighties, Dao was still poor and chaotic, and the streets were full of hooligans*. Even 10-year old children found great pleasure in fighting.
*(多如牛毛 – as many as the hair of the ox i.e. countless)
Without a doubt, seven-year-old Lin Qingyan was bullied the most. His family was too poor, and he was skinny and uncommonly quiet, and as shrivelled as a bean sprout. Thus, the children who were just a little older than he was, frequently bullied Lin Qingyan, using him as a way of venting their adolescent hormones and indignation.
However, to Lin Qingyan, this didn’t really matter. What he feared the most was returning home everyday from school to see his father holding a bottle of wine, his greenish-black veins popping out of his face which glared fiercely. Whenever this occurred, a savage beating would always follow. Once, his father beat him into unconsciousness with a stool. When he awoke, it was already dark, and his father was nowhere to be found. He wrapped a towel around his head for a long time before the bleeding stopped. In a daze, he grabbed a stool and stood at the kitchen stove to cook his meal.
However, his situation improved when he was ten years old because one day, his father finally drank himself to death. Perhaps, because his neighbours paraded the body all over the village (招摇过市 – to parade oneself ostentatiously about town, to blatantly seek publicity), so that all the villagers could see his father’s white, ghostly face, the other children no longer dared to bully him. When they saw him, they would go another way, and behind his back they called him the “evil unlucky star”.
The young Lin Qingyan realised, that dead people could be a good thing.
He started living with his grandfather, who owned a few acres of barren land. To make sure that he could go to school, his grandfather would drag his aged body to the fields everyday to work the land under the blazing hot sun. The minute Lin Qingyan came home from school, he would help his grandfather. However, they were still extremely poor. His clothes were always old and washed until lint dotted the surface. Every noon, he would eat a big steamed bun and a little bit of vegetables and tofu.
But, there were still people who were especially good to him. His female head teacher who was in her thirties, had a son who was his age. At noon, she would always invite Lin Qingyan to her home to eat lunch. This was a period of time in which Lin Qingyan was able to eat his fill, and he felt like he was living in paradise everyday. His frame also developed during this time, and he grew more than 10 centimetres in the blink of an eye. He finally started to look like an actual child. Even his grades, which were originally depressing to look at, gradually started to improve. Most of the time, he was still reticent and uncommunicative. It was only at the birthday of his form teacher, when he was at her house, and after he had cautiously and solemnly eaten a slice of birthday cake, that he gave her a card which he had drawn himself. The words on the card read: “Teacher, when I grow up, I will definitely repay you. I swear it.” His form teacher was so moved that she cried.
However, these happy times were short-lived. In the beginning of the second year, his head teacher transferred. The newly arrived teacher was a middle aged man around the age of 27 or 28 named Du Tie. He had graduated from the teacher training college, and was very handsome. Lin Qingyan’s head teacher had specially told Du Tie to pay especial attention and care to Lin Qingyan, and had even left sum of money which, though small, would be enough to cover Lin Qingyan’s food expenses for a semester. Du Tie was enthusiastic in his promises to do just that, and looked at Lin Qingyan with eyes that shone with kindness, so that he felt at peace.
After that, when school was dismissed at noon, Du Tie would bring Lin Qingyan back to his single room in the dormitory. A big bowl of rice and toppings could be bought for just one dollar at the teachers’ canteen. Thus, each day, Du Tie would get a little more food, and give that to Lin Qingyan. Moreover, each week, Lin Qingyan would bring freshly harvested vegetables grown on the family land and give them to Du Tie. After school, if he helped his grandfather to scavenge old cans and mineral water bottles, and managed to earn a dollar or two, he would give all of it to Du Tie as living expenses. Du Tie always received the money, patted him on the head, and praised him for being sensible.
It happened on a summer afternoon. As usual, he carried his lunch box and went to Du Tie’s room. That day was especially hot. Du Tie was wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He sat on the bed watching television and smoking, with his broad, white back exposed. The fan was whirring.
Lin Qingyan held his lunch box in both hands and ate while sitting on a small stool. After a while, he realised Du Tie was smiling slightly while looking at him: “You’re a boy. How is it that you don’t sweat at all?”
At that time, Lin QIngyan was thirteen years old, and his face had already matured. His skin was like his mother’s, very delicately and evenly fair. His long, slender eyebrows were like brush strokes. When he heard his teacher’s comment, he blushed faintly, and smiled without saying anything.
After he had finished eating, he was about to return to the classroom when Du Tie patted his shoulder: “Take an afternoon nap here. You can sleep on the bed, I still have to prepare some lesson plans.”
Lin Qingyan naturally felt that that would be too forward, and declined. Du Tie pushed him towards the bed, while he himself sat by the table and began to work.
With a summer sleeping mat* spread beneath him, and the fan blowing on him, it was really very cool and comfortable, especially as compared to the sun-baked classroom. Lin Qingyan fell asleep very quickly. He even had a dream, in which he was standing in a paddy field. The sun was overhead, and it was unbearably hot. Suddenly, a fish leapt up from the paddy field and bit his inner thigh, then wriggled its way to his crotch, causing him to feel both itchy and embarrassed . . .
*(TN – the ‘summer mat’ is made of bamboo)
When Lin Qingyan opened his eyes, the first thing he noticed was that the curtains had been drawn shut, and the room was very dark. Then, he became aware that his thighs felt a bit cold, so he looked down, and discovered Du Tie’s large form was sitting at the bedside. He was wearing his grandfather’s shorts, very loose and old. Du Tie’s hand was reaching through the leg of his shorts to rub his buttocks.
Du Tie was staring at him intently, his face a little red, and his expression rather strange and alarming. The room was so quiet, but Lin Qingyan felt as if he was being thrown into a dusky torrential river, murky and full of horror.
“Qingyan, teacher is thinking . . .” Before Du Tie could finish speaking, he (LQY) had already stumbled off the bed, feeling as if he had been kicked in the stomach. He pulled open the door and ran out.
The remaining year and a half of junior high school were very difficult for Lin Qingyan.
Du Tie did not dare to force him to do anything, but, when he again asked Lin Qingyan to go to his dormitory room, Lin Qingyan never went. Even when he asked Lin Qingyan to go to the teachers’ room, if Du Tie was the only person in the room, Lin Qingyan would turn and leave. From that day until he graduated from junior high school, Lin Qingyan did not say a single word to him. Even when his name was called in the morning roll call, he remained stubbornly silent.
Naturally, Du Tie retaliated. He had Lin Qingyan’s seat moved to the last row, where he was blocked by a crowd of big, hulking students who had no desire to study well. Very often, he was unable to hear what the teacher was saying, and unable to see what was written on the blackboard, thus his results plummeted. Of course, this just gave Du Tie another excuse to criticise him. In front of the entire class, he was scolded for not wanting to improve himself, for only wanting to be corrupted by bad examples, and for wasting the nurture and training of his previous form teacher.
Moreover, Du Tie always looked at him with a cold, sarcastic glare, like a sinister snake, not having the courage to attack openly, only daring to strike secretly.
Translator – Shl
editor – Librismuse