Little Poplar《小白楊》Xiao Bai Yang

Little Poplar, Chapter 2; Reality Cheque you are cashing it in the army

Bai Xinyu woke up and found himself in his bed. He looked at the familiar ceiling, remembered the events of last night and realized that it was not a nightmare but a reality.

There was a knock on the door and his the maid shouted from outside, “Xinyu, get up for dinner.”

Bai Xinyu shouted, “No! I would rather starve!”

The maid pushed the door in, looked at Bai Xinyu who was kicking the bed, sighed, walked to the bedside, patted him on the back, “Look at you, what’s the use of having a tantrum, get up and eat, auntie steamed the crab for you today, it’s fresh, get up, be good.”

Bai Xinyu wriggled under the covers, muffled, “Not if I am planning on starving.”

The maid said in a sad voice, “This is for you to go to the army, it’s not for you to go to the firing squad.”

Bai Xinyu lifted his face, his hair messy like a bird’s nest, his eyes red and said in a crying voice: “What’s the difference between that and a torture chamber?”

“Gee, it’s not as bad as you think.” The maid smoothed his hair, “and besides, what’s the use of making a scene, your parents are determined and if you really don’t want to go, think of something else.”

Bai Xinyu’s eyes light up, “Something else? Auntie, do you have an idea? You go and talk to my mom.”

“What’s the use of my persuasion, if you think about who came up with it.”

Bai Xinyu blinked, “My cousin…”

“I was there yesterday when Young Master Jian came and I listened to everything they said and he made the decision with a lot of coaxing. It’s no use begging your parents if you don’t want to go, he is the man to talk to.”

Bai Xinyu thought about it and that’s true but how could he dare to call Jian Suiying, it’s too late for him to hide.

the maid laughed and said: “Get up, eat first, then we’ll figure it out and you can stay in bed forever.”

Bai Xinyu pouted, muttering, “You’re crack the crab shells for me.”

the maid looked at him with a smiling, loving face, “Yeah, my little young master says what he means.”

Bai Xinyu stayed in the house all day. He didn’t go anywhere. His dad was true to his word, he woke up, his car and apartment keys were gone, he didn’t need to look at his credit cards, they must have all stopped, he stayed in bed and played a game for a while, he got more and more frustrated, he just dropped the controller.

Come to think of it, the maid was right, if this was to be solved, his brother would have to do it but he didn’t dare call Jian Suiying, the mere thought of hearing that familiar roar made the back of his neck cold and his legs weak. He hesitated between going to the army to suffer and getting a good beating from his brother.

After a couple of days of this, Bai Xinyu didn’t come downstairs for dinner, so he asked the maid to bring his food to his room.

Bai Xinyu immediately threw his chopsticks away, leaned back on the bed and turned his head away in frustration as if he had no appetite.

Li Weizhi grumbled and said: “What are you doing hiding in your room all day and you don’t know to go downstairs and move around?”

Bai Xinyu whispered and said: “It’s boring.”

Bai Qingmin said gruffly, “Sit up straight, you bum.”

Bai Xinyu was still a little scared of his dad, so he sat up straight.

Bai Qingmin threw a file bag on his bed, “Here’s your file, Suiying took care of it all for you, I’ll take you to the train station for the 4 pm train tomorrow.”

Bai Xinyu stared at her. “Tomorrow? Tomorrow?” He wasn’t expecting it so soon, he was hesitant to go on a hunger strike, or come up with some other strategy and then he’s being told that he is leaving before he can do anything about it? He had the feeling that the bag would explode before he even threw a punch.

Bai Qingmin looked at him, also a bit reluctant but said with a hard heart and said: “Tomorrow.”

Bai Xinyu wanted to burst into tears but suddenly realized that he had let out too much negative emotion in the past few days and couldn’t gather it all at once.

Li Weizhi said sadly: “Eat this meal well, tell mom what you want to eat tomorrow, mom will cook it for you personally, when you get to the army you have to listen to your leaders and get along well with others…” She couldn’t go on, she was so sad when she thought of her son leaving her soon.

Bai Xinyu knew it was useless to say he didn’t want to go and looking at the bag of files on the bed, he wanted to kill himself.

Bai Qingmin said: “You should pack your things, there is nothing to pack, the army doesn’t want you to bring too much stuff, there is an enlistment guide in the file, read it.”

After that, he didn’t listen to anything his parents said, he had only one thing on his mind, to call his brother, he’d rather be beaten half to death by his brother, than go to the army!

   As soon as his parents left, he grabbed his cell phone and dialed his brother’s number but there was no answer and he knew that his brother was deliberately not answering his calls.

   The next afternoon, Bai Xinyu was put on a bus, crying and screaming and taken to Beijing Railway Station.

   Now, he was wearing a camouflage suit, he’d never worn such cheap clothes in his life, the fabric was too hard and rubbed against his skin, he had a stupid red flower pinned to his chest, his hair was always in shape and now he couldn’t stand up because of the cap, his eyes were red and he looked depressed, almost as if his father was dragging him along.

Bai Qingmin was scolding him as he walked, “I just forgot to cut your hair, what’s with the messy color, get it cut first when you get there, got it? You know?”

Bai Xinyu pursed his lips, his heart filled with resentment and resistance.

Li Weizhi was wiping her tears and telling him a lot of things but Bai Xinyu was not in the mood to listen to her.

Bai Xinyu couldn’t control his emotions, he wanted to squat on the ground and cry at the thought of so many brothers who suffered like him.

Li Weizhi touched his face and couldn’t stop the tears, “Baby, go over there and take good care of yourself, mommy doesn’t want to leave you behind but mommy is doing it for your own good, don’t blame us and don’t blame Suiying.”

Bai Xinyu, still clinging to the idea that she could be resuscitated, said tearfully, “Mom, let’s go home, I don’t want to go, I don’t want to leave you.”

Li Weizhi said as she wept and said: “Your brother was afraid you’d be bullied in the army, so he found someone to take care of you and that boy’s family is very important, his grandfather is from the same generation as the Jian family’s old man, a military family, Remember to look for him when you’re in the army. Look, your brother really wants what’s best for you, so don’t hold a grudge, okay?”

Bai Xinyu hadn’t really listened and now his mind was blank, thinking that the train behind him was a truck heading for the slaughterhouse, where they’d be dragged off to suffer.

On the station radio, the announcer started asking recruits to board the train by number.

Bai Qingmin pushed Bai Xinyu onto the train with hatred in his heart, Bai Xinyu hugged his father’s arm, sobbed and almost knelt down to his father on the spot, Li Weizhi wept non-stop. the crowd of onlookers were a bit overwhelmed, and those who came to see him off were more or less emotional, but like them who seemed to be parting.

Bai Qingmin, being thin-skinned, hurriedly pushed Bai Xinyu onto the train. Bai Xinyu had just dipped one foot into the train steps and was trying to run outside with the other but before he could take a step, his arm was suddenly grabbed and his body was violently dragged into the train as a man with a Sichuan accent shouted in his ear and said: “Go inside, go inside, don’t block the door.” And the next second, he was pushed into the train.

He managed to steady himself and when he looked back, he saw that the man who had just dragged him in was a lean man in his thirties, with dark features, tanned skin, bright eyes and thick, bushy eyebrows, not to be trifled with. He gave the man a sorrowful look, then was shoved into the carriage by the flood of new recruits.

Bai Xinyu found a window seat and as soon as he sat down, he opened the window, his parents were standing outside and he reached out his arm, grabbed Li Weizhi’s outstretched hand and wanted to jump out of the window but at this moment, he also knew that nothing could be done, that he was really going to be dragged away to faraway Xinjiang, to spend at least two years of miserable life.

Li Weizhi was in tears, unable to speak out of her heart and Bai Xinyu was sobbing and crying at the window.

When the siren sounds, the train is leaving.

Something in Bai Xinyu’s heart called sanity snapped and he grabbed his mother’s hand, crying, “Mom, I’m not going, I’m not going, I’m going home, Mom–”

He was so loud, he scared his comrades sitting next to him, the other mourning parents looked away, the other recruits cried but they just couldn’t bear to leave their families and none of them were fighting to stay like him.

Bai Qingmin blushed, feels embarrassed and dragged Li Weizhi away.

Bai Xinyu cried out, “Mama-”

Li Weizhi took three steps and turned back once but Bai Qingmin dragged him away. Bai Xinyu felt abandoned and when he tried to shout again, the back of his neck tightened and he was dragged back to his seat with a force, knocking the back of his head on the seat, which made him see stars.

There was a shout overhead and said: “What’s all this whining about! Calling for Mom? You’re not f-cking weaned (a baby stopping sucking milk) that you wanna go back to suck milk?!”

Bai Xinyu looked up and saw that it was the man who had violently dragged him into the carriage. He had been a bully since he was young and he cringed at the sight of that man’s strong body and fierce eyes.

The man pointed at him and cursed and said: “This is going to the army, not to war, why are you crying? How can the country expect you to protect the country with a bratty face? Who recruited you?” he shouted.” Who recruited you? Who recruited him? Who recruited this soldier? Who recruited this soldier?!”

He shouted twice, then a man with glasses ran in from the other carriage said: “Lao Xu, don’t shout, don’t shout, come here.” Then he grabbed the man by the neck and dragged him out of the carriage.

The man pointed at Bai Xinyu before he left and said: “Try calling mom again and see what happens!”

Bai Xinyu was so scared that he didn’t even move in his seat until they got out of the car and all the new recruits around him, who used to have sad faces, didn’t dare to say anything but just looked at Bai Xinyu with sympathy or mockery.

Bai Xinyu felt on pins and needles, he turned around, turned his face to the window, quietly pulled out his cell phone and continued to call his brother, who would rather be beaten half to death now, if only to avoid going to the army.

After a couple of blows, I heard a roar from behind, “The army is a dump! If your parents can’t teach you, teach me, what the hell, I’m with you…” and then he was silent, probably stopped by someone.

Bai Xinyu shuddered, sniffed and felt the beginning of a long nightmare.

Someone behind him tapped him on the shoulder, “Hey, man.”

Bai Xinyu turned her head, only to find herself sitting next to a small-eyed boy with curved eyes and a natural smile, Bai Xinyu wiped her tears, “What?”

“Why are you crying like that? You don’t want to leave your girlfriend.”

Bai Xinyu couldn’t remember which girlfriend he was supposed to leave behind, he was leaving his good times behind, he shook his head, “I just don’t want to go.”

“Why did you come if you don’t want to go?” A dumb-headed boy sitting across from him frowned at him, “There were twenty or so people in my village who wanted to be soldiers and I was the only one chosen and I wanted my childhood friend to come but he couldn’t. He couldn’t come.”

Bai Xinyu didn’t bother to talk to him, thinking my life is too easy for a country bumpkin like you to understand.

“My name is Qian Liang and Qian….” The little eye stretches out his hand, making a gesture of ambition, “Liang”

Bai Xinyu said absentmindedly, “My name is…  Bai Xinyu. Bai Xinyu.” He wasn’t interested in these people’s conversation at all, although he wasn’t capable but because he was born into a good family, he had the sense of superiority in his bones and all the people he had made friends with over the years were rich and noble,  But to his dismay, his brother seemed determined to leave him to his fate.

After a while, the man with the glasses came back, he clapped his hands in the carriage, attracting everyone’s attention, “Hello everyone, welcome to the glorious People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China, from today onwards, you are wearing these clothes, which are not only clothes but also a symbol of majesty and honor of the soldiers, since the day you got on them, remember the morals and dignity of a soldier, train hard, fight hard and contribute to the defense of the country and the people.”

Bai Xinyu rolled his eyes, ignores it and continues to play with his phone, complaining to all his friends in WeChat that he was sent to the border.

“Let me introduce myself, my name is Wang Shunwei, I’m the instructor of this temporary recruit company, that was the temporary Company Commander, Xu Chuang, we recruited more than 600 recruits from all over the country, to Xinjiang, after three months of training, you’ll be assigned to other companies as you see fit but for the next three months, Company Commander and I will be in charge of your training. From now on, you will live and train together and in the future, you may even go into battle together as comrades.”

After the applause, the carriage erupted in applause and all the new recruits had the desire for a military career on their faces, except for Bai Xinyu, who kept his head down and played with his cell phone and after the applause ended, he received a WeChat message, which dinged loudly and was particularly loud in the instantly quiet carriage. Everyone’s eyes were on him again.

Bai Xinyu looked up sharply, dazed and confused, “What, what.”

Wang Shunwei frowned at him.

He’s in charge of recruiting, there are a few soldiers in the army, they’ve been stuffed in through special channels, this kid is one of them, he knows that Xu Chuang is angry, he doesn’t want to be inside and outside the organization, there’s no shortage of favors, it’s inevitable wherever there are people, the head of the regiment has stuffed his file in his pocket, he can’t say a word. The word ”No”?

Though he had picked on him but he also looked at this rich young master who was all delicate, he sighed, “This little comrade, what are you doing?”

Bai Xinyu shook the phone, saying innocently and said: “What’s wrong.”

Wang Shunwei said seriously and said: “When a superior speaks, it is not allowed to play with cell phones, or do other distractions.”

Bai Xinyu shrugged, shoving the phone into his pocket.

Wang Shunwei looked at his unconcerned look, in his heart sneered, to the army you will have a hard time, sooner or later, you will be corrected your stinky habits.

After speaking, Wang Shunwei left.

The carriage was full of new recruits, they didn’t know each other, they didn’t talk to each other at first, after a few hours they got to know each other, there was chattering, playing cards, the average age of these kids no more than eighteen or nineteen, they opened up easily, the whole carriage was much livelier.

There’s only one person who doesn’t fit in with the people around him and that’s Young Master Bai.

Bai Xinyu had been playing with his cell phone since he got on the bus. The battery died after a few hours and there was no place to charge his phone on the bus.

Qian Liang pushed him, “Hey, wanna try playing cards?”

Bai Xinyu shook his head, not even opening his eyes.

Someone whispered and said: “Qian Liang leave him alone, don’t you see that he doesn’t like to talk to us.”

Bai Xinyu thought yes, I don’t like to talk to you, I’m tired of you, so don’t bother me. He fell asleep with a sense of frustration, panic, anger and anxiety, along with the rickety carriage.

After sleeping for some time, he woke up, found it was dark and the stewardesses started pushing the dining car for dinner.

Bai Xinyu was already in a bad mood but when he saw the mixed meat and vegetable dishes in the box lunch, he lost his appetite.

At about 9:00 p.m., Bai Xinyu, who had been on the bus for six hours, felt his back and buttocks aching and his neck was so stiff that he couldn’t help but ask and said: “Qian Liang, is there a place to sleep on this bus?”

Qian Liang said: “Yes, it looks like there is a sleeper berth at the front of the bus.”

“What is where?”

“Huh? Where to?”

“The sleeper.”

Qian Liang blinked, “We’re not going to the sleeper.”

Bai Xinyu glared, “Are we just going to sit and go to Xinjiang?”

“Yes,” Qian Liang said as a matter of course and said: “Sleeper beds are expensive.”

Bai Xinyu couldn’t believe her ears, “A few… How many days?”

“Maybe two days. When we get to Urumqi, we’ll have to change trains in Xinjiang and after that we’ll have to take a bus, which is a long way away, on the border of the motherland.” Qian Liang said unconvincingly and said: “Talking and playing cards, it’s actually very fast.”

Bai Xinyu just blacked out and wanted to pass out.

The author has something to say and said: the next chapter is about to feature our little Seme…

~Little Poplar~

 

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Next: Chapter 3: This is Hell, son

 

 

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