Before I begin this chapter, I would like to say something about the current coronavirus (COVID-19). This story is set in modern China and many of the characters are Chinese or part Asian. In saying that, the virus has nothing to do with the story and any racist or fear-mongering comments made by guests will be deleted by me. If you have an account on here and make a comment like this, please, reflect on your actions before being stupid ever again. The virus isn't as harmful as we're making it seem. A healthy person could pass it off thinking they have the flu and not die. It has only killed about 3 percent of people diagnosed. This story does contain some characters wearing surgical masks but that is due to the respiratory conditions pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis and not the virus. So please, be mindful and not a racist.
With that said, The updates on this story may be a bit so depending on the quality of the Chinese keyboard I can manage to get onto my laptop and how it functions. Since the first chapter is in English, I'm able to write it now. Please note that my Chinese may not be the best since I'm literally only going to use what I have learned over the course of the past six months. It's pretty basic and I know I'm going to have to use google translate for somethings. I would like to give a thank you to my Chinese teacher for helping out a little. Anyway, let's get started.
"I can't believe I have to wear these horrible-looking masks to school tomorrow. I mean, who would wear these willingly?" Haydn Ivor complained, unloading the five cases of surgical masks that his servants had packed for him. His roommates for the next few weeks - Aeron Bryn and Jay John - both seemed invested in more pressing matters. Noticing this lack of attention he was getting, Haydn cleared his throat. Aeron put down his gaming controller and looked over at his roommate, giving a sigh as he did so.
"You're complaining about that!? We have school on a Saturday now. A SATURDAY! That's like, the half of my gaming time. By the way what's with the- Oh yeah. I totally forgot about your COPD. Sorry 'bout that." He retorted in his unusually feminine voice. Haydn sighed and buried his face in his palms before placing his masks in his drawer.
"Hey, I gotta take a phone call. I'll be back in time to prepare lunch though, okay?" Jay said from the other side of the room before leaving the house. They were supposed to call their mother when they got to China but was extremely busy the day before due to a mix up with the apartment they were renting. Jay made their way out of the building before pulling up their mother's contact on their phone and pressing the call button.
"Jay, my baby girl! Oh! My mistake! My baby! How's China?" the lady yelled on the other side of the phone, as if Jay needed to hear her from Britain.
"I'm fine mom. How are you and May getting on?" Jay asked, sort of recovering from the shock of their mother's screech from the other side of the world.
"We're fine sweetheart. Can you tell me what mom is in Chinese? I want you to call me that while you're in China." the mother questioned.
That was when Jay made their fatal mistake - mispronouncing the Chinese word for mother and accidentally saying the Chinese word for horse. This was unfortunately was overheard by a motorcyclist passing by. The woman stopped and took off her helmet. She had a furious expression as she approached the unsuspecting Jay.
"HEY! DID YOU JUST CALL YOUR MOTHER A HORSE!?" She growled. Jay found themself unable to speak. The woman seemed to get angrier the longer Jay took to answer but no words came out for them. Jay just stood there, silent.
The woman suddenly threw Jay to the ground and ran to her motorcycle. The next thing Jay knew they were trying to sit up when everything suddenly went dark as the woman purposely hit Jay with her motorcycle, ran over their phone to smash it and they rode away.
Jay woke up what felt like a day later in the hospital. They woke up to see a shocked-looking Haydn and a relieved-looking Aeron. Before Jay could say anything, Aeron quickly wrapped his arms around them in a tight embrace. Jay was confused and barely able to speak.
"W-what...h-happened...to me?" Jay stuttered clumsily. Aeron released Jay and explained that the woman had ran them over and possibly given them a bit of a concussion. He then went on to explain that Jay had only been out for roughly half a day. Jay looked out the window and realized that they definitely been out for a while, seeing as it had been morning when they were knocked out and it now appeared to be in the late evening. Jay sat there, dazed before seeing someone strange enter the room.
"Hey, thought I come see you guys!" a young Chinese girl appeared. She had long, black hair that was half-tied in a bun with a couple of magenta streaks. Similar to Haydn at this time, she was wearing a surgical mask but her mask was decorated with drawings.
"My name is Yun Zan. I am the support student at school." the girl continued. She then turned her attention to Haydn, whose mask wasn't in the best condition. She took out one of her own, took off Haydn's mask and put her clean mask on him, properly, unlike he had it before.
"I see you must have a chest problem as well. I have..." she pulled out an online translator on her phone before continuing "...cystic fibrosis. What do you have?"
"Pulmonary fibrosis. The new mask wasn't necessary." Haydn explained, examining the new mask in his handheld mirror. Aeron looked into the mirror and commented that his half-shaven hair needed redoing.
"You always have to make it about you, don't you Aeron." Haydn sighed.
"Bold of you to say that, rich boy!" Aeron jokingly chuckled.
Hayden gave an angry sigh before turning to Jay and growling "By the way, I got you a new, slightly better phone. I noticed your old one was smashed to bits and, judging by how many times I've seen it, it was getting old anyways.". Haydn then left the room in a huff after what Aeron had joked about.
Zan bent down to match Jay's height in the bed and smiled. "Nice to meet you, Jay. Do you realize your name reminds me of the Chinese word for older sister?" she beamed.
Jay tried to reply but, just like before with the motorcyclist, nothing came out of their mouth. No matter how hard they tried, Jay just couldn't speak. It was strange. They had just spoken to Aeron and Haydn a few minutes beforehand but they seemed unable to speak to Zan even with how friendly she seemed.
"I suppose you do not want to speak right now. I understand. I will see you tomorrow at school then. Bye!" Zan said as she left the hospital room with a smile. Jay was in shock. What was wrong? Why couldn't they speak?
"Hey, you okay? You're being kinda quiet over there." Aeron asked.
Jay suddenly snapped out of it and managed to reply with "I'm good thanks!". Jay went back into shock. How was this possible? Where did this anxiety come from?
"If you need anything, just call me. I left my number beside your new phone with some other numbers like Haydn and your mom's. I'll see ya when you get home." Aeron stated before leaving to catch up with Haydn before he drove off without him.
When Aeron left, Jay's mind became flooded with questions. What was going on with them? Had they become racist?
No, I can't be. I was able to speak to Haydn and he's half Chinese. I'm able to speak to myself and I'm half Korean. I mean, they're not the same thing but it's still Asian. Jay thought to themself.
Jay lay there, wondering what had caused their sudden mutism, eventually falling asleep and dreaming of what would become of them when they returned to school the next week.
This story was actually inspired by something my Chinese teacher told us. In Chinese, there are four tones which can change the meaning of a word. For example, Ma can mean both horse and mother depending on the tone. If you use the wrong tone, you could get in serious trouble.
That got me thinking, what if someone who is tone deaf tried to speak Chinese. They'd probably struggle a lot. Eventually, it changed into this story about a traumatic incident leaving a student with partial mutism.
I hope everyone who comments takes the warning at the beginning seriously and please, don't harm Asian people because of this virus. Just because someone has a certain race, disability, belief or orientation, doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them no matter what's going on in the world. So just be kind to others. (Okay, I was about to call ya'll a swear word but then I remembered I'm aiming for a K plus rating on this so sorry about that but I thought it would be funny to say "be kind to other's b****es". Edit: just noticed the plot as a whole doesn't fit in with K plus so I can curse. SO BE KIND BITCHES!)