Chapter 24 Sealed Off
This move of mine, no matter how many time I use this move, I am finding myself at wits’ end.
“Yang Yang, what is the situation?” Eldest Grandpa asked with great concern.
“It’s useless. I don’t know why it isn’t working!” I was a child, and when a serious responsibility pressed down on me, I would not be able to withstand it somewhat.
“Why is it that you don’t know what to do? Last night didn’t you saved a lot of people? Can’t you just use the same method you used yesterday?” Eldest Grandpa said somewhat anxiously.
The villagers were also looking at me.
“I did follow yesterday’s method, but it is of no use. I just got lucky yesterday, but I can’t seem to do anything right today, how should I know what to do?!” I was angry, and straightaway quit the task, opened a path in the crowd and walked out.
“Ai! What should we do about this!” Eldest Grandpa and the village elders all sank into a dejected state.
Wu wu wu, the siren at the village intersection suddenly began blaring out. The siren managed to attract everyone’s attention. I was on the way back to home, and when I looked up to see a lot of police cars on the road, and behind it were many green military vehicles. It was packed to the full with soldiers in uniform.
“Did something happen? Are they coming to catch some bad person?” I was surprised, while I asked secretly in my heart.
Only later did I come to know, that the county was the under the impression that an epidemic had broken out here. A large number of poultry and livestock had died, now it had further gone on to spread to people. Anyone who would hear this would immediately think of one word: Epidemic situation. [TLNote: Well the Raws say about two characters, but that’s just how Epidemic/epidemic situation is written in Chinese]
Sure enough, several ambulances also followed in the back.
The convoy stopped at the village entrance. The soldiers quickly jumped down from the cars, and began drawing a defensive perimeter encircling the village. People wearing chemical-resistant suits began entering the village.
The village branch secretary also hadn’t thought that one phone call of his could lead to such big fuss. He walked over to the village entrance panickedly.
“Who are you?” Huang Lisheng was quickly stopped by a person.
“I am the Ba Jiao village branch secretary, it was I who made the phone call to report the situation here. We don’t have an epidemic situation here. So you all don’t need to panic so much.” Huang Lisheng was somewhat regretting making that phone call.
“Whether there is or isn’t, is not for you to decide, we also don’t have the final say in that. We have to carry out tests, to determine whether there is or isn’t. You will be informed when the test results come out, Ok.” The chemical-resistant suit wearing person quickly introduced himself, “I am the County disease controlling chief Tan Yinglian. You go back and inform the people of your village that we suspect that Ba Jiao village has a severe epidemic situation. The country in this situation has decided to temporarily quarantine off Ba Jiao village. No one can enter and no one can leave. Only after the possibility of an epidemic situation is excluded or eliminated, will the blockade be lifted.
I watched from afar for a long time, but still couldn’t understand what was going on. So, I quickly started walking towards home. Actually I was very much worried that these people had come because of the events that occurred last night. Had they come to catch me? That thought, was making me somewhat nervous.
Teacher Lin was also standing in the courtyard surveying the situation outside.
“Teacher Lin, those people are saying that we have an epidemic situation here. Now the People’s Liberation Army has surrounded the village, Teacher Lin what is this epidemic situation?” I walked over at pulled at Teacher Lin’s clothes.
“Epidemic situation means when within a village there is an outbreak of an infectious disease. In the village, so many livestock and poultry died suddenly, and furthermore several people died, so it is normal for them to have this suspicion.” Teacher Lin was also somewhat worried.
“But, the village’s poultry and livestock didn’t die because of an infectious disease, ah!” I said.
“They will investigate thoroughly.” Teacher Lin patted my head.
Grandpa came walking hurriedly: “Yang Yang, some people have come to the village, you must not run around everywhere wildly.”
The staff members of the epidemic prevention branch started going door to door to draw blood for analyses. They first wanted to confirm whether or not the village really had an epidemic situation.
When the epidemic prevention branch set to work to prepare to battle the disease, the situation of the people of those two households had become very serious, and they were dying. The doctors weren’t able to play any role to alleviate the effects suffered by those two critically ill patients.
The three people that had died earlier in the village still hadn’t been buried, yet now two more were dead. In a small village, five people died suddenly. If someone were to say it was a natural death, who would believe it?
I didn’t know whether my act of saving some village lives earlier had or hadn’t been told by the village branch secretary to the aforementioned doctors. I was a little worried, that because of this matter I would get arrested. Seeing those fully-armed police and soldiers, my heart was trembling.
Teacher Lin could finally see that I was not well, “Huang Jingyang, what happened to you? Are you feeling unwell?”
In a village, all of a sudden so many people died, and suddenly seeing someone abnormal, there would always be some no-good connections.
“I, Teacher Lin, will they come arrest me?” I asked anxiously.
“Arrest you? Why would they arrest you? You haven’t done anything bad.” Teacher Lin seeing that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, exposed a smile on her face.
“Last night’s thing.” I was still very worried.
Teacher Lin frowned: “It will be all right. That cannot be considered a misdemeanour of yours. Don’t be afraid. They have come over to save people, not to arrest people.”
At that time I wasn’t aware, that after the blood from the villagers was drawn and the results from the lab tests had come out, the Doctors in the county were very shocked to find that they weren’t able to detect any known virus in the villagers’ bodies. The samples from the several dead people also yielded similar results.
However, Ba Jiao village’s blockade was still not touched. The poultry and livestock buried by the villagers were also dug out by the doctors of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and after running a variety of tests, they were still unable to achieve anything.
Ba Jiao village was filled with a tense atmosphere. The phone in the village branch secretary’s home became the only medium for Ba Jiao village and the outside world to communicate. The people in the village would communicate the village’s situation to outside through the telephone, telling the people who were preparing to come back, to temporarily not come back.
Grandpa and I didn’t make any phone calls, because we knew that my parents were unlikely to come back anyways.
The adults were all very nervous, but as far as us children were concerned, it was one of those hard to come by times of no-control.
I wasn’t sure if it was because of that night’s matter, but I was no longer seen by the village children as ‘forbidden area’.
Huang Shulang was especially intent on running to my home. Huang Shulang wasn’t spending these past few days happily.
“Haven’t had meat to eat for several days.” Huang Shulang spoke of his heart’s anguish.
All the pigs in the village except for those in my house had all died. Naturally nobody would ask Huang Shulang’s father to butcher pigs. Obviously, Huang Shulang wouldn’t have any meat to eat.
“Can’t see it.” I looked at the fat on Huang Shulang’s body and said laughing.
Huang Shulang shook his greasy belly: “See, how my belly has become so small. Not capable of going without meat to eat. These days are hard to pass.”
I didn’t respond to Huang Shulang. I didn’t have any good impression regarding these village brats.
“Huang Jingyang, how did those Ba Grannies die?” Huang Shulang asked further. [TLNote: Another confusing sentence, My best guess is that since village name is Ba Jiao, thus, Grannies of Ba Jiao Village -> Ba Grannies]
“How would I know?” Everyday, I had endless things to do. Where would I have spare time to talk nonsense with classmate Huang Shulang.
“That night you went to the primary school to save people, I know that affair pretty well. My dad had also gone that day. Those three elders from those three families didn’t go, as a result they lost their lives. You definitely know what is going on.”
I rolled my eyes, and thought: You damned fatty, since when did you start speaking so logically?
“Huang Lisheng had called a meeting on that day, it had no relation to me.” I said.
“You must know something!” Damned fatty Huang Shulang shouted out loudly.
“I am busy, don’t bother me.” This is the thing which I was most worried about. If this fatty comes to know, then with his open mouth, it would sooner or later spread to the entire lookout. Then the doctors which had come from the county would come to know. Perhaps they’d come for my head.
The village had been sealed off for one week, even experts from the province had come, but the cause of the death of livestock and people in Ba Jiao village couldn’t be discovered.
I heard Huang Shulang say that these experts had held a lot of meetings. The meetings also went very poorly. Some experts argued since it had been confirmed that there has not been an occurrence of any epidemic situation known to science, and moreover as there haven’t been any new infections in the Ba Jiao village, this indicates that the matter of death of people and livestock was possibly somewhat coincidental. It already didn’t make much sense for Ba Jiao village to continue to remain sealed off. It should be unsealed as soon as possible. While some experts believed, that if the blockade is lifted rashly, then once the epidemic spreads, the inevitable impact would be extremely serious. The expert holders of these two different viewpoints were awfully busy quarrelling with each other.
The sound of an automobile’s horn sounded out at the village entrance. I very quickly rushed out, and saw that a few black cars had come to village.
The fatty also shouted at me loudly from their house’s courtyard: “Huang Jingyang, Huang Jingyang! Look, more people have come again.”
There is much difference between the people this time and the previous time, because I could see that the people that came out when the car stopped, were not wearing chemical-resistant suits. These people were wearing jackets, some were also wearing western-style clothes. They looked very classy. Only later did I come to know that these people were from the province’s cultural relic bureau. They had some very specialized people in their midst.
Regarding these specialized people, actually from the moment that they had arrived, I had already had a confrontation with one of them.
The last of the people to get down from the car, there was unexpectedly a person who was wearing a chang pao. I could see it from a glance that this person was very special, but where exactly his speciality lay, I couldn’t tell.
When I stared at the person, he also unexpectedly turned to look at me. I didn’t know if it was coincidental or intentional. He was seemingly capable of feeling my presence.