Winter in China was rather cold. White snow fell from the sky, painting all roads and roofs white, and making the commuting quite difficult.
Inside the Beijing Central Prison, there stood a middle-aged man with an old shovel in his hand. He was bending over, scooping pale snow from the stairs with an ever-gloomy expression.
His attire was that of a prisoner. The number on it was 1106.
Prisoner 1106 was Bai Chen, who was turning 30 this year. Twelve years in prison had transformed him from a kind-hearted young man into the hardened middle-aged man that he was today.
Even in a merciless frostiness of winter, the prison made no exceptions for the convicts. The prison uniforms were made of thin fabric, which meant Bai Chen was freezing all over.
Days after days of manual labour under harsh weather had morphed his skin into a deep shade of tan, yet it was still visible that his hands were red and painful from frostbite. But at this point, he acted as if all he felt were numbness and indifference.
Each day, other convicts were tasked with different chores. Today, Bai Chens was to sweep snow off the prisons staircase.
While Bai Chen was busy plowing snow away with his shovel, an overweight prison guard approached. He paused to look at Bai Chen and smiled faintly.
”Prisoner Bai, you
e always diligent, aren you? If you keep this up, you might get an early release. ”
Bai Chen halted doing his chore, turned to look at the guard, then shook his head lightly. ”Warden Cheng, please don joke around. My sentence was too severe. Even if I spend the remainder of my days here, it wouldn be enough. ”
”Well… Ive heard of your crime. How can commoners like us compete with the powerful families from Beijing? The fact that we
e still alive is enough of a blessing, ” the bulky guard said and shook his head slightly. ”But do keep on trying, Prisoner Bai. ”
As he finished his sentence, the burly wardens face turned into a faint smile. He then left stomping through the snowy prison grounds.
With sorrow, Bai Chen watched him walk away. No one knew how much vengefulness was hidden behind those eyes.
”Wang Chengye! ” He ground his teeth loudly. The man dropped his shovel onto the ground. Both hands that were heavily frozen and numb clenched into fists so tight that blue veins popped up along his two arms.
”If it weren for that bastard, I wouldn have had to suffer in this damn jail for twelve whole years! ”
His face turned brutal. He would give anything to kill Wang Chengye. The nightmare from when he was eighteen years old resurfaced to haunt his memories again.
At the age of eighteen , Bai Chen was a young man with a pure heart. He was kind to everyone. His family owned a small Chinese steamed bun restaurant, and his parents worked hard every day to afford his education.
To make his parents proud, Bai Chens focus was school and school only, making him the top of his class throughout the first two years of high school. The boy believed that once he graduated, getting into a prestigious university was definitely not out of reach.
But everything changed with the appearance of Wang Chengye—the youngest son of the Wang family, one of the top five most influential families in Beijing.
Wang Chengye wanted to turn the business district where Bai Chens home was located into a high-end supermarket. He offered huge payments to Bai Chens parents and other homeowners in the district in hopes of buying up their property.
At first no one was willing to give up their homes. But when Wang Chengye came back with a bunch of hooligans to destroy their belongings and properties, everyone had no choice but to give in.
There was only one shop remaining, which was Bai Chens. His parents were very steadfast in not selling as this was the family home passed from generation to generation.
No matter what methods Wang Chengye used, Bai Chens parents were never going to sell off their home!
At last, Wang Chengye lost his patience and resorted to evil means. His parents were murdered in what appeared to be a car crash, and Bai Chen, their only son, was sentenced to a 200-year life sentence for a crime he did not commit!
The nightmares that resurfaced made Bai Chens blood boil with vengefulness. He despised both Wang Chengye and his clan which is one of the most powerful clan in Beijing. If the Wang family had not existed, the purely evil Wang Chengye who had torn his family and his life apart would have not been born.
Cold harsh winter wind hit Bai Chens face, and tears streamed down his cheeks. Even though he was thirty, thinking of his parents gave him sorrow so deep that rivers always ran from his eyes.
Life had been so unfair to him. Bai Chen wanted to see God face to face and ask him why he would divide people into different classes like this. Why must there be opulence and poverty? And why should inequality exist?
Bai Chen raised his head to look at the sky before laughing derisively. He did not mock anyone but himself and his pitiful life.
The thought of suicide had struck him many times. He wanted to end it all but had never brought himself to commit such a deed. He knew the life given to him by his parents was precious. He would continue to live, even though living meant rotting away behind bars. And even though living meant harboring in his heart a fervent grudge towards Wang Chengye and the whole Wang family!
[Do you want to change your life?]
Option: (Yes) (No)
Everything looked as if it was a mere illusion. A translucent white window appeared before him; on it was a sentence written in gold. Bai Chen blinked several times, but what struck him as a delusion did not go away.
The man shook his head a few times before smiling bitterly. Who would have thought that he would hallucinate and see this nonsense?
Regardless, he could not help but press to choose the answer (Yes).
After he pressed the answer, the sky he was looking at turned foggy. White light blanketed his body, embracing and consuming him whole. Before long, Bai Chen… vanished into thin air!
End of Chapter 1