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After closing the bathroom door, Zhang Heng did not turn on the faucet right away. Instead, he looked at Fan Meinan with worried eyes.
“We may be able to find other ways. You don’t have to do this…”
“Yes, you are right, but your friend probably can’t wait that long,” Fan Meinan insisted. She took a deep breath and turned on the faucet of the bathtub faucet. “I will struggle, and I might try to catch a breath. You, however, have to make sure that my nose and mouth do not leave the water…”
Fan Meinan paused. “Set the time to 4 minutes. If it is too short, I may not be able to look for anything valuable. If it is too long…”
“If it is too long, you may suffer irreparable brain damage. Even if I manage to save you, you’ll probably be a vegetable forever,” Zhang Heng went on. “When a person is in a hypoxic state, it only takes five minutes before the brain cells start dying off. So, I have to resuscitate you within five minutes.”
“Well, glad you know,” Fan Meinan replied. “Okay…I have nothing else to say.”
She glanced at the bathtub again, but it was only filled halfway.
Fan Meinan then unbuttoned her coat, leaving only her innermost vest. Although she tried her best to behave like she usually did, her aggravated breathing exposed her inner feelings in such moments.
Zhang Heng was carrying her away from the monster when the two first met, and he realized then that Fan Meinan was very light. She usually preferred to wear loose clothes, and it wasn’t easy to see the shape of her body. Now that she had taken off her top, Zhang Heng found the girl to be extremely skinny. There was almost no flesh around her bony arms.
Fan Meinan wasn’t used to being stared at like this. She turned around, hugging her arms around herself. “Why is it so cold,” she muttered.
“I’ll ask if there is anything that can warm you up,” said Zhang Heng as he opened the door.
Fan Meinan stopped him before he could leave. “No, this is fine. It won’t take long anyway.”
After that, the two spoke no more until the bathtub was filled. Fan Meinan reached out to test the water temperature.
“Let’s begin,” she replied with clenched teeth.
Zhang Heng nodded. Fan Meinan rarely had such a grave expression on her face. Since she had made up her mind, there was no delaying it. As she immersed herself in the water, the entire world around her fell silent. Her black hair floated like algae, and she exhaled a string of bubbles from her mouth. From the top, she looked like a mermaid living at the bottom of the sea.
This beautiful picture didn’t last too long, though.
Soon, Fan Meinan started to choke for breath. Her survival instincts pushed her to keep raising her head, but her decision kept her in the water. Her lungs were bursting for air, and Fan Meinan struggled harder than she ever did before.
When she simply couldn’t do it anymore and was about to resurface, a steady hand kept her head below the water.
The water in the bathtub started to splash around violently.
Fan Meinan’s flailing became more and more intense. In the end, her desire to breathe surpassed everything. She desperately tried to push Zhang Heng’s arm away, clenching it with her dying breath until blood started oozing out from the wounds. Despite her best, or rather, dying efforts, she was still unable to raise her head. As quickly as it began, Fan Meinan’s struggles became lesser, as she used up the last of the oxygen in her lungs.
It was also an absolutely tormenting process for Zhang Heng, especially when Fan Meinan was drowning in the bathtub, and he had to watch her desperate struggles. Not only could he not help her, but he had to shove her into the abyss with his own hands. Those who had a weak heart would have collapsed in a moment like this. However, Zhang Heng managed to place his arm on Fan Meinan’s head from the beginning to the end, even after she caused him to bleed.
However, in the end, Zhang Heng hesitated for a while and grabbed Fan Meinan’s hand. It seemed the girl had had exhausted all strength. Her stuggling finally slowed, and when she finally stopped moving, Zhang Heng pulled her head out after five seconds. It appeared she was no longer breathing at that time.
A minute and a half passed.
Zhang Heng swiftly laid Fan Meinan’s body on bath towels that had been placed on the floor. She looked like she was asleep, and with her wet dripping hair stuck to her forehead, she seemed like a frail and beautiful creature.
Zhang Heng then stared at the minute hand on his watch.
Four minutes seemed like forever to him.
Zhang Heng began to bring her back twenty seconds earlier than the agreed time. He placed both hands on Fan Meinan’s chest and gave her cardiopulmonary resuscitation. However, she didn’t respond even after some vigorous pumping.
Her eyes were still tightly shut, and she wasn’t breathing. Immediately, Zhang Heng put Fan Meinan’s head on his knees, blowing air into her mouth while pumping her chest as he went along. He repeated the process…
After a few minutes, Fan Meinan’s carotid artery finally began pulsating, albeit faintly. Zhang Heng gave up on pumping her chest and continued to blow into her lungs.
When both of their lips separated, Zhang Heng reached out again to check Fan Meinan’s pulse. She slowly opened her eyes, and the two looked at each other. Then, without warning, Fan Meinan began to cough violently, and she couldn’t help but retch her guts out on Zhang Heng’s thigh. She hadn’t eaten much since the evening, only chugging down some beer and having two bags of sunflower seeds at the KTV. Hence, she regurgitated the undigested parts of the snacks.
Zhang Heng was surprisingly not disgusted. He quickly propped Fan Meinan against the bathroom wall, before wiping her hair and cheeks with a clean towel.
“I saw her. I saw her…” Fan Meinan whispered weakly.
“We can talk about it later,” Zhang Heng shushed and brought the girl he had just killed and raised some water again. “Let’s rinse your mouth first.”
Fan Meinan stretched out her hands, but she almost dropped the glass. Thankfully, Zhang Heng managed to catch it before it landed with a crash.
Zhang Heng fed Fan Meinan some water. “Let me help you.”
Fan Meinan took a sip, rinsed her mouth, and spat it out into the toilet bowl next to her. “Sorry about your pants… I didn’t mean it.”
“It’s nothing compared to keeping your head in the water,” said Zhang Heng.
“For a moment, I was distraught that you won’t save me, or you didn’t save me in time, and my brain suffers from irreversible damage.” Fan Meinan took two breaths of air greedily, “I’m pretty sure that I won’t do such crazy things again.”
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