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Contemporary Mystery

Giving up is easy, I thought. Give up this life; loneliness, shattered hopes, and full of abhorrence. Give up all the hopes, that someday, there might be some happiness. Someone who would understand me?

I, Hou Zhou, am a restless, hopeless, and helpless being.

I can't live without fulfilling my needs.

My mother died when I was five. I used to live with my father until I took part in an accident.

The day when I won an award from my college; an award for being the top student in the academic years, I had a car accident in a taxi.

My father had promised to pick me up from my last day of college that day, but he didn’t appear, after waiting hours for him. So I had no choice but to pick a taxi and move on. I was already aware of his lies and broken promises from the past, so I knew that much.

In the taxi, I was in joy. This honor, respect, and love I got from my classmates, friends, and teachers, produced an endless joy inside my heart. I couldn’t believe myself for doing this much high progress. I kept gazing at the trophy, I got from the headmaster. I remember the sweet praising he gave me on the stage. I remember, my teachers applauding in joy for my winning.

I also remember my great friends, cheering on me until the end of the graduation ceremony.

It was a heaven-like feeling back then. But I knew I could never repeat that moment ever again. Because that’s all in the past.

After a short moment, I felt dizzy and sleepy, so I decided to take a nap in the taxi, however…

Suddenly, a heavy crash sound abruptly arose. The window immediately crashed and all the glass scattered inside. A few of the fragments even scratched on my arms and legs.

The pain was thin and piercing. It hurt so much that after a few seconds, the car hit something so heavily.

The last scene I remember was seeing the taxi’s front, smashed open and crushed brutally, with me pressed flat, by the front seats.

Heavens blessed that when I opened my eyes, I was alive and…. Saved?

The machines beside me were clicking and beeping. I opened my eyes slowly and could see dozens of machines, set here and there around my bed. I was clearly stated at the hospital.

Soon, a nurse came worriedly talking with the doctor. Their voices sounded anxious.

“It’s all God’s help that Cheng Lian was saved.”

But the doctor, somehow, contrasted upon her notion. “If it wasn’t for the advanced machines, how could he be saved?”

The nurse paused right after hearing it. She thought, how cold the doctor was.

The doctor came forward and read my pulse. His expression said that I was doing alright.

“Cheng Lian, you’ve been through a very shocking and fatal heart attack. You’ve already been a heart patient since birth, but now you’ve bypassed this fatal occasion, it's very rare. I congratulate you. Well done for fighting hard.”

Wait, what the heck?

He just said, ‘a heart attack’ but… but if I remember correctly, didn’t I participate in a car accident?

Slowly my memories came back. Each and every memory flashed but in a faded and vague manner.

Cheng Lian… this isn’t my name.

I got up slowly and carefully after the duo was gone. I saw a long white coat, hung on the sidewall. I wore it and went to take a walk outside.

As I was walking slowly, I observed the clearly visible drip marks, beginning from my arm till the vein. The more I saw it, the more it felt piercing pain…

While my focus was on the frightening marks, I accidentally bumped into a certain person.

“Ah,” My head spun in circles.

The other party was decent-looking with black hairs and a graceful, fair face.

I gazed until he scratched and started his talk, “Uh, sorry to not concentrating properly.”

I felt guilty, “No, it’s okay. It’s partly my fault too… urgh, my head is spinning in circles… that I’m going to-”

I suddenly collided in his arms and the next moment I opened my eyes, it was on the bench, in the corridor.

“Still feeling stiff?”

I blushed and said, “No, thank you for saving me…”

As I got up, the moment I saw his self, it was the most frightening and shocking in my whole life!

What I saw, I couldn’t believe my eyes or brain. I refused to believe it no matter what!

It was….

Fair white skin. Dark black hairs with a pair of black eyes, as if looking into a dark, starry night sky. Beautiful posture with an utmost decent figure. This guy was none other than….

“You, you!”

I was not only baffled but scared. How come it was possible. How can I make myself believe it?

At that moment, in that silent corridor, with just the two of us, sitting on the bench, I could clearly see myself, visible and alive.

I asked in a vague tone, “Why… do you look like me? What’s going on?!”

He patted on my shoulder, calmed me, and said calmly, “Don’t panic. I’ll explain clearly. Just listen with a tranquil heart.”

However, I couldn’t stop my shivering tongue, unrested heart, and trembling body.

I could do nothing but just listen closely to what the crap was happening.


It started. The horrifying backstory, that my brain and heart weren’t ready for, started.

“Well, if you’re not aware, I’d tell you that you’re not inside your real self.”

My eyes widened in surprise.

“What do you mean?” I asked with narrowed brows, giving out a scary expression.

“What I mean is…. Let’s just say, we actually, for real, swapped bodies.”

Oh no. my heart could stop there.

“So you mean, I’m in you and you’re in me? Is there any other joke left?!”

“Didn’t I say not to panic? I know it’s frightening because it’s actually real. But you have to believe it since we don’t have any other choice.”

He had a pitiful, sad expression.

“When I awoke after my ‘nearly death’ moment, I realized that I took part in an accident and I survived luckily. While my real self was actually a severe heart patient.”

It all made sense a bit.

“When…” I put up all courage to speak, “When I woke up, I was told to have bypassed a really rare outcome.”

The guy turned shocked. “Really? Which means I’m saved!”

I inwardly smiled because… I was able to save a life.

“So as a result, we swapped bodies to be able to…”

He continued the mysterious truth, “Save each other’s lives.” And smiled.

Yes, in truth, that was what fate wanted for us. So it happened so that we could live again. A second chance, alright.

Cheng Lian swapped bodies with me, Hou Zhou. At that time, I could see the whole world from Cheng Lian’s brain’s perspective. I realized that the world Cheng Lian saw was…. Colorless and unattractive.

At that moment, I understood that whatever Cheng Lian saw was never attracted to him. In fact, Cheng Lian wished to die. He wished secretly for his heart to fail, deliberately. But God, fate, and I saved him because he had a life yet to live. He had many things yet to see, imagine, and experience.

Cheng Lian in my vessel, said, “Then, now that we’re saved, how about we experience things from each other’s eyes and feet?”

I made a sour expression while saying, “What? How can you have fun in this situation?”

“Isn’t it fine? While we’re at it,” he got up and said in joy, “let’s have fun together!”

Alright, now I had to accept him. No other choice.

Since we both were dispatched from the hospital, we went outside in different directions.

As being in Cheng Lian’s body, I, Hou Zhou, experienced everything.

The cars that used to be colorful, seemed to be dull. The flowers, which were so beautiful and pleasant, looked so obnoxious.

I thought, why? Why was it all like that? What was actually missing in his life?

The answer was known only to him, the real Cheng Lian.

I went everywhere and saw everything, but through his eyes. His eyes showed everything completely different; blunt.

On the other hand, Cheng Lian in Hou Zhou’s body was having fun.

He saw colorful things, pleasant flowers, awesome sceneries, and everything turned so graceful just in a swap.

As if, with just a swap, we both could know about each other.

In the evening, I and Cheng Lian met at the ocean.

I said bluntly, “You… did you enjoy it?” ignoring the real thing, with a smile.

There wasn’t any smile, but instead, a sad expression.

“Today, because of your help, I could find out the world’s real meaning and face.”

My heart eased.

“And today, I was able to perceive the world you see.”

Cheng Lian came forward and held my hands.

“Hou Zhou, take back your body. I am, today, so grateful that I had never been.”

He said, facing towards the blue, sparkling ocean waves, “I realize that the world isn’t that cruel. The cruel is the people. When everyone stopped caring about me, that was how I started to see and feel.”

He continued, but with a bright smile on his face, and with heavy tears started to drip down.

“If I’m able to live, I’ll see the world like you. If possible, I’ll also smile and laugh around everyone.”

Finally, I released my hands and said, “I’m as grateful as never. It’s all thanks to you.”

In joy, he said: “Then, if I’ll live, I want to be at your side. Shine by your side and smile for you. Learn how to smile from you and then, use it on you.”

I patted on his head, “Sure. Be happy, of course, you’ll live.”

“I… never wanted to live. The loneliness killed me. But now I have you, I won’t be alone anymore.”

I wiped his tears, softly, “I was the same. After the accident, I never thought of living again. But after knowing about you and the world you see, I’ve come to a result; let’s go back to our vessels. This was just a test and a gift from God. We learned about each other, so let’s begin a new life. After all, we’ve been already given a second chance.”

I thought, my smile had eased him and given him hope.

“En. But if I could swap bodies with you ever again, I would want to experience your heart.”

He made me speechless. What was that?

Anyways, the whole life, we both had the same fate. And in the end, swapping bodies made us experience our lives.

The world is not a cruel place. The people, indeed, make it cruel. Cruel enough to make such humans, who have difficulty in living, want to disappear.

But I was different. Even if no one cared about me, I would still keep on living. Because, in the end, there had to be someone who can be with me. Enjoy life with me. Smile for me and laugh with me.

And that turned possible through, body swap.

Body swapped into each other’s lives then, aiming the future together.

August 05, 2021 16:11

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1 comment

Yuki Lang Shan
15:00 Aug 11, 2021

A lesson. Lesson for such people like me ;)


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