Tea Leaves and Red Silk


Match Fifteen: Trauma:


Szu hated herself. Her mask was slowly beginning to crumble. Her attacker first appeared in her nightmares. He would trap her just like he did that night and tackle her to down the floor. His hands like claws would tear at her shirt and rip up her skirt. Her screaming was muted as he violated her again and again. She never got to see his face, but his silver snake rings were enough to make her blood run cold. One thing she could count on was that the monster stayed in her nightmares.

Lately, he started to appear when she was alone. The more she kept details of her rape to herself, the worse the monster became. This morning in the girls' bathroom at school, Szu thought she saw a shadow creeping up behind her as she was washing her hands. She whipped around screaming. The shadow reached out to grab her by her shirt.

"No, go away!" she cried. "Please leave me alone!" Szu shielded herself with her arms. The shadow didn't stop trying to grab her. The images over grew more vivid. The fingers like claws grabbed at her blouse, trying to rip it open. Szu replayed the horrifying events of that again in her head. She couldn't escape those silver snake rings even if she tried. His rings haunted her nightmares.

"Please don't hurt me!" she begged.

"Szu!" a girl's voice shouted. "Szu, it's okay! It's only me." Szu tried to fight her off as her classmate tried to calm her down.

"Stop it! Stop it!" she screamed. Her classmate finally grabbed her and pulled her into her arms.

"It's okay," she whispered, shushing her. "It's okay." Szu finally broke down crying. The poor girl ended up going to the guidance counsellor once she calmed down.

"You have to do something!" Hark pleaded with Ju. "It tears me up to see her like this!" Her clan leader rubbed her forehead.

"I understand your pain," she said.

"I don't think you do!"

"I do, actually!" Ju sighed. "Look, we don't have much to work with here. She didn't get a good look at her attacker's face and can't really tell us anything of what happened." Hark gritted her teeth.

"Then what do you call this?!" she shouted. She slammed down a piece of paper with a pencil drawing on it. Ju looked down and gasped. The picture depicted a hand with a silver ring of two snakes eating each other. She looked up at Hark.

"Is that…?" she asked.

"I'm hoping not!"

The clan leader sat back in a trembling sweat. "This is bad. This is really bad."

"Yes, so what are you going to do about it?"

Ju gulped as she pressed her hand to her forehead. "I need a moment." Hark resisted screaming as she grabbed onto the desk. Right now, the clan's promises kept building up brick by brick.

Meanwhile, Qian was leaving school when his phone rang. When he sat the caller id, he looked around panicked and hurried behind a tree.

"I told you not to call me when I'm at school," he hissed.

"Aren't you out of school right now?" his DJ friend asked. The soccer player rolled his eyes.

"What do you want?"

"My buddy got the information that you wanted."

Qian felt his body go stiff. "Well?"

"You're right. It was him."

Qian gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. "Zhong Junjie?"

"Yeah, man."

"You sure?"

"Yes. My source overheard him bragging about his sexual escapades to his friends. Szu was one of the girls he was talking about. I have the tape recording to prove it. Would you like to hear it?"

"No, that's fine."


The soccer player cursed himself under his breath. "Damn it!"

"So, what do you want to do?"

Qian bit on his lower lip. "I have to take revenge for what he did to Szu."

"You know you can't touch him because of his power and family."

"I don't care! I have to get revenge for Szu! I have to!"

His friend shushed him over the phone. "Alright, I understand. I can help you."

Qian frowned and narrowed his eyes. "Will I have to pay you for this too?"

"Nah, consider this one pro bono."

The soccer player raised an eyebrow. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah. Consider me being humble. Take it or leave it."

"What are you planning to do with Junjie?"

"Oh, I have a few ideas."

You wouldn't…?"

"Hey, you want to avenge your girlfriend, right?"

"She's not my girlfriend!"

"You still want to avenge her, right?"


"Then let me do the work."

Qian sighed and rolled his eyes. "Fine, do what you want!"

"I will not let you down. We'll talk when it's done." He hung up before his secret friend could say another word. Qian lowered his phone to his chest. Despite knowing that it was too late to turn back, he felt himself regretting where this could go.

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