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263 The Stench

 Yang Chen and Lee Xue ran out in a hurry. The three of them stood in the corridor and looked down. They saw nothing but darkness.

"Where are the footsteps?"

"I really did hear them! It sounded like someone was jumping down the corridor!"

"You're just scaring yourself, come help us."

Lee Xue dragged Wang Dan into the last room while Yang Chen stood outside for a moment. He repeated the thing that Wang Dan mumbled about earlier. "Jumping?"

The three ransacked the last bedroom. Most of the trash on the bed was made from foam and wooden blocks. It looked dirty and messy, but none of it would produce any weird smell.

"Was this room purposely left open to store trash?" Lee Xue used the sleeve of her shirt to block her nose. "But why does that bed have a mattress on it? Who would sleep in an environment that is as dirty as this?"

"Now our consideration shouldn't be the occupant of this room." Yang Chen picked up one piece of trash from the bed and gave it a good sniff. "When we entered this secret scenario, there was a weird stench in the air, and the stench is the most intense in this room. This means that the thing that gives out that stench should be here. We need to find that thing to solve the mystery of this scenario."

"Ol' Yang has a point. There is so much trash inside the room, but none of that is radiating this stench. It's very weird." Wang Dan walked to the only bed with a mattress. "This relatively clean bed has the strongest smell."

He put his hand on one of the corners of the mattress before yanking it back. There was nothing scary underneath the torn mattress except a notebook. Wang Dan picked it up and gave it a read.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have gotten too close; I just wanted to help you pick up the ball.

"Teacher, it wasn't my plan to dirty my shirt. No one bullied me, this is all my fault.

"Father, I will do my best to be a better person. Please don't hit me anymore.

"I'm sorry, I don't know why I look so ugly when I smile. I will stop doing that.

"Where did you think I went wrong? I can change, I really can change!

"I just want to be like them, I'm sorry..."

The notebook was thin, but it was filled with apologies.

"Is something wrong with the writer? Why is he only focused on apologizing? He should fight back if someone bullied him!" Wang Dan scoffed. He was very much against what the owner of the notebook did or rather did not do.

"Come take a look at this." Lee Xue found a torn picture inside the dustbin. She picked up all the pieces, and after joining them together, a picture could roughly be seen. "Looks like a father and son."

The son was dangerously obese, and his lack of self-esteem could be seen even through the picture. He seemed to be afraid of the camera, so he hid behind his father. His father had a scowl on his face. He was rough with his child. He had one hand around his boy's neck as he dragged him forward.

"Is this a stepfather?"

Wang Dan flipped open the notebook for the other two to read. The front few pages were fine, but the more they read, the more uncomfortable they felt.

The boy did not have a name; the students all called him Piggy. His father was one of the sponsors of Western Jiujiang's Private Academy. He came from a rich family, but his father was extremely strict with him. The notebook did not explain why explicitly, but it could be read from between the lines. The boy's mother had betrayed his father, and the father had moved that resentment onto the son.

The boy desired his father's love, but no matter what he did, no matter how obedient he was, the only reaction he got was violence and lecturing. He led a very careful life, and only when he was ingesting food would he feel a sense of satisfaction. Food thus became the way for him to release stress. This led to the consequence where the boy's weight had gone beyond the accepted standard even when he was a child.

Seeing the boy's ugly exterior, the father did not feel a shred of worry but felt a rush in taking revenge. The boy, who did not know better, forced himself to eat even more to see the smile on his father's face. After he grew up, both his physique and heart were ill.

At school, the boy retreated into himself, which was perfect because no one wanted to sit with him anyway. When he was at home, whenever he was not careful, he would be greeted by his father's punches and kicks. Slowly but surely, the boy's heart started to twist. The things that others saw as beautiful were ugly in his eyes-the things that others could not wait to escape from, he saw as treasure.

The boy would often be caught doing stupid thing like stealing the leftovers from the canteen and grabbing stuff from dumpster. His father would beat him up every time he did so, but the boy could not stop himself anymore. His worldview had completely changed.

After this repeated several times, there was one instance where the father was too heavy on his beatings, and the boy had to be sent to the hospital, which alerted the police. With pressure and advice from law enforcement, the father finally agreed to send the boy to the school dorm.

The father was a sponsor at the school, so the school was willing to specially open a room for the boy to live in. After moving into the dorm, the boy had to interact with other students. The amount of times he apologized to others drastically increased, and his illness turned several.

Not long after that, the boys in the rooms near him started to smell a stench. The school followed the trail and forced open the single room that the boy was assigned to. When the door was open, they were shocked. The originally clean bedroom was filled with assortments of trash. However, the dirty, smelly trash became the best decoration in the boy's eyes.

The school had someone cleaned up the room, punished the boy, and informed his father. The way the father taught his son was the same. It was yet another round of heavy beating. The notebook recorded the punishment that night in close detail. His father left only after midnight.

No matter how hard his life was, life had to go on. After the wounds on his body healed, the wounds on his heart only got deeper. There was again a deep stench in the dorm corridor. The school could not do anything. His father was one of the sponsors, so expelling his son made no sense.

The room was cleaned again and again, but the boy did not change. In the end, the school had to clear away the rooms near to the boy's bedroom and then had someone clean his room every few days.

As days moved into the weeks, the stench seemed to stick to the room, seeping into the floor and walls.

At the time, Western Jiujiang's Private Academy was too busy dealing with the 'accidents' happening at the female dorm, so they did not have time to pay the boy any attention. Even the cleaners stopped coming.

The boy whose heart was twisted kept bring trash to his bedroom, and the stench got thicker.

From this point onwards, the boy's diary started to repeat itself. He kept apologizing to his father, asking him for forgiveness.