“Yes, I don’t know what is my name, and I don’t know where did I come from. I only know that I have been here for a long time. But I feel that, living like this, it’s like there’s no meaning to it. That’s why I want to do something that, to me, is significant.” The boy’s gaze was desolate, as if there was nothing that was worth for him to be attached to, and there was nothing worth for him to remember. He was simply a lingering ghost in this world, staying in the Lost Woods with no direction or purpose. e.
Moonlight drenched the forest, the sky full of fireflies lighting up the dark night.
Xinqing looked in surprise at the young man in white beside her. Under the yellowish light, he turned his head, and the young man’s handsome visage appeared before her eyes. His facial features were well-balanced, that pair of black eyes — like midnight — reflecting a dazzling light. The plain white shirt he wore made the light reflect off his clear white skin, reflecting his warmly smiling face at that moment.
“Mm.” Xinqing nodded. If it wasn’t for that boy rescuing her, she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to go back again. In the silent forest, the glowing fireflies surrounded them, and the dark night didn’t seem as frightening anymore.
“That’s good.” Xinqing froze, seemingly having heard his sigh, only to see his watery eyes gazing into the distance. To her surprise, they seemed to hold an unspeakable sadness. He put his hands into his pockets, scratching his head and said to Xinqing, who hadn’t yet regained her senses, “Let’s go back, if we stay here any longer, the people in black will find us.”
Xinqing followed behind him. She was filled with curiosity about the young man before her. Was he perhaps a person from this world? Was he a ghost? However, what surprised Xinqing even more was finding out that he also lived with the old lady.
“So you lost your way in the forest; that’s really dangerous. You’re lucky that you met that young lad.” The old woman came to receive them with a black cat held in her arms. The black cat’s eyes were of a different colour each; they were a pair of really beautiful eyes. After they entered the house, the young man went out again.
“Are you two related?” She sat on the sofa and asked, a cup of flower tea that the old lady had given her in her hand. The old woman, who was sitting on the rocking chair while knitting clothes still smiled kindly, “No, that young lad may live here, but he rarely comes back. It’s pitiful, but he does not remember his own name, and I don’t even know what he is called. I only know that he has dwelled in this world for a long time.”
Dwelled for a long time? Xinqing gazed downwards then looked out of the window. Seeing the young man’s silhouette among the flowers, her heart had a feeling that she could not speak of. Xinqing may had forgotten her memories of how she had came to this place, but she still remembered her name; however he had forgotten even his own name.
That black cat suddenly hopped on top of Xinqing and used its little head to rub against her. The old lady’s laughter suddenly drifted through the air, “Heizi really likes you.”
“Is he called Heizi(1)?” Xinqing picked up the cat and asked in curiosity. The old woman nodded; perhaps because she gave it this name because it was black. AT that moment, Xinqing realized that the hand she used to pick up the black cat was gradually turning transparent. The old woman seemed to also had noticed this and hurriedly walked over, “Child, you haven’t died yet; you need to quickly return to the human world.”
When she woke up, she found herself already lying on a bed. The old woman and the boy were standing guard by her side; that black cat was also lying on her. Seeing that she had woken up, the old lady passed her a bowl of soup, “Hurry and drink this.”
“Thank you granny.” Once Xinqing had drunk that bowl of soup, she felt a lot better. That black cat stood up and jumped into the boy’s arms. What was surprising was, the black cat actually spoke, “There is already a way to let you go back, but you have to pass through seven terrifying places, then only can you return to the human world.”
“The cat… can speak?” Xinqing froze. She didn’t hear wrong; the cat did indeed spoke. The boy laughed, stroking the black cat’s little head and replied, “Heizi has always been able to speak; it’s a cat god.”
Xinqing simply thought that it was mystifying, but when she thought about what Heiz had just said, that to return to the human world, she would have to pass through seven frightening places, she began to hesitate. Perhaps she alone could not do it.
“Child, those seven places can be said to be purgatory, your mind’s state, a land of demons; You will need to overcome them, then only may you leave.” The old woman rubbed Xinqing’s head as she spoke. Xinqing lowered her head and thought deeply for a while, then mustered up her courage. “Yes, I get it. I will overcome them.”
The boy suddenly said, “Don’t worry, I will go with you.”
His words made Xinqing and the old woman surprised. The old lady suddenly let out a sigh, “But doing so, you will be in more danger.”
Although Xinqing felt afraid of being alone, she didn’t want to trouble them, “It’s alright, I can go alone.”
“You won’t be able to leave if you go by yourself.” The boy looked at Xinqing seriously. This made Xinqing hesitate again.
“Seeing as this is his decision, then let him go.” Heizi said from the boy’s arms. The old woman was about to say something, but apart from sighing she didn’t say anything else apart from, “Fine.”
Night fell, and the boy sat on the steps near the flower garden, gazing at the full moon suspended in the sky; it was bright and round. Xinqing put on a coat and walked out, sitting by his side.
“Do you know why I want to go with you?” The boy’s faint voice drifted. Xinqing was caught off guard. She was going to ask him that, but he said it himself. She did not answer, only to see the boy turn his head, his face still having that same warm smile, “Because, I want to let myself have significance.”
“Have significance?” Xinqing didn’t understand the meaning of his words.
“Alright, go in and sleep. I’ll take you away from here tomorrow.” The boy stood up and turned to leave. Xinqing thought of something and stood up, shouting at the boy who was walking in, “I’ll give you a name.”
The boy’s footsteps stilled, his face astonished as he turned his body. The wind swept through his soft messy hair. Xinqing smiled, “Even though you don’t know your name, you still need to have one right?
Xinqing remembered that she had met him at the bright firefly-filled forest. “You’re Ah Can, the Can from ‘bright’. Do you think it’s okay?” Xinqing wasn’t sure whether he was satisfied with this name.
The boy stilled for a long while before suddenly raising his head with a wide smile, “Ah Can sounds nice. Thank you, Xinqing.”
Xinqing stilled again. She seemingly had never told him her name, but the old woman probably told him that. But as long as he liked that name, then it was fine.
(1) “Heizi” means “black child”.