Extra: The Tenant

Kan Jian was biking up and down the mountains in Hangzhou. It started to sleet when he arrived at Mount Yuhuang, so he had to put his hood up.

He came upon an inconspicuous stone trail that led upwards. It was covered in grass and the top of the trail disappeared into the weeds. 

The mountains here weren’t that high, so although they looked desolate, there were still many hikers. There weren’t any steep or dangerous areas, and benches and trash cans were available within a fifteen minute hike. 

Kan Jian leaned his bike against a nearby tree and climbed up the trail as the sky slowly darkened. There were trees on both sides of the trail that were as thick as a wrist and appeared to be about twenty years old. The trees became even more dense as he kept walking. If this mountain hadn’t been in a city and vehicles weren’t passing by on the road below, he would’ve felt like he was back in the primitive forests of Changbai Mountain. 

He soon came to a flat trail that had been paved with bluestone. There were several benches on the side, where an old man was sitting and listening to the radio. The radio was playing a local opera that Kan Jian didn’t understand. He was certain that it wasn’t Yue Opera, and thought it might be Wu Opera (1). A piece of cardboard with a phone number written on it lay near the old man’s feet.

Kan Jian looked at it and realized that it was his own number. He walked up to the old man and said, “Hello, are you the landlord? I’m here to see the house.”

The old man looked at Kan Jian, stood up, and told him to follow. As he began making his way into the forest behind the benches, Kan Jian realized that there was an extremely narrow trail there that the forest workers used when they were conducting maintenance. 

Kan Jian followed the old man up and down the uneven trail for about thirty minutes. He was already well into Mount Yuhuang’s wild forest by then, but he obviously wasn’t alone. There were a lot of plastic snack bags and cigarette butts along the way, which showed that a lot of visitors must have come to this place. He had many ideas as to why they would come here. 

After some more time had passed, he finally arrived at the edge of a cliff. The cliff wasn’t steep, but had a gentle slope leading down to the valley. He looked down and saw that an old yellow cement bungalow was hidden under the cliff. It had a flat roof that was covered in fallen leaves, was about eighty or ninety meter square meters, and looked prone to collapse.  

They carefully slid down a narrow, damp trail towards the bungalow.

There was a layer of cement covering the ground outside the bungalow that was also covered in fallen leaves. The sea-blue iron door was faded and rusted and had a rental advertisement with a phone number spray-painted on it in red. 

“Sir, is this your house? Why would you build a house in a place like this?”

“It’s my company’s.” It took a while for the old man to find the bungalow’s key on his key ring. After several tries, the lock made an ominous sound and finally opened. The old man took the key off of the ring and immediately handed it to Kan Jian before heading inside and turning on an incandescent lamp.

The room was bare and full of dust. Kan Jian could see that there were many cables and leather hoses laying in the corner. It appeared that the house had previously been used to store cables, but all that was left now was trash.

Kan Jian took out his phone and found that there was still a 4G signal here. He breathed a sigh of relief and realized how omnipotent his boss was, how the hell did he know that there was a house for rent in a place like this?

“I’m leasing the house to you privately, so you guys better keep quiet about it. I don’t want to get in trouble if my company finds out,” the old man said in heavily accented Mandarin. “Your boss said that he had to rent the house but didn’t tell me why. What do you guys even do?”

Kan Jian pulled out some cash, counted it, and then handed it to the old man, who put on his glasses and wrote a receipt. “My boss needs a place to photograph sunsets and sunrises,” Kan Jian replied, while Wu Xie’s exact words rang in his ears: There will be a lot of unpredictable things when I come back to Hangzhou. Wushanju is too big of a target. I need a hidden shelter before I get things settled. 

Before the old man left, he explained the utilities to Kan Jian and told him about some of the precautions to take if it rained during the winter.

Once the old man was gone, Kan Jian walked out of the house, climbed up a nearby tree, and pushed himself up to the edge of the roof. After he flipped himself onto the roof, he carefully inspected the surrounding forests and mountains to see how many sentries he needed to set up and how he should plan out his hunting trails.

<Silence—About Su Nan><Table of Contents><The First Meeting 2>


TN Notes:

(1) Yue Opera is a Chinese opera genre that originated in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province. Wiki link here. Wu Opera is a Chinese opera genre that originated in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province. Wiki link here.


Translated by: Yvette
Edited by: merebear226


4 thoughts on “Extra: The Tenant

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s