Chapter 48: Refugees
Translator: _Min_ Editor: Rundi
“Damn it! Sh*t!”
The car came to a slow stop as Robert smacked the steering wheel.
Nick quietly walked out of the car as he lifted the front cover.
“The engine is busted.”
“Fu*k! Now we are screwed,” Robert said with a voice of defeat.
“…” Jiang Chen thought if he should go back to the apocalypse for a while and bring back a levitating car.
But it was only wishful thinking; he would not do that unless they were hopeless.
If he did it, that would mean he was prepared to abandon the two of them. Then his gold selloff plan would be deserted, and this Iraq trip would become pointless.
“Can you fix it?” Jiang Chen asked.
“Let me try.” Nick took the toolbox out from the back of the car as he began to work on the engine.
However, the engine didn’t seem to get any better.
Just as they were about to lose hope, Jiang Chen suddenly saw a truck approaching from a distance.
“IS?” He tensed up as he took out the pistol.
Robert also noticed the truck, but his face looked ecstatic.
“Put your gun away, haha, we are saved. Quick! Shout with me! Haha, stop here! Here! Help!” Robert waved his arms as he yelled at the truck to get its attention.
The truck seemed to have noticed the three of them as it slowly drove in their direction.
The truck stopped. Jiang Chen saw that the back of the truck was filled with malnourished refugees. Their clothes were ripped apart and only carried a small amount of luggage. All of them had the same tired and apathetic expression.
Robert walked to the truck driver and spoke with him briefly before he returned full of joy.
“The driver agreed to give us a ride. It is tradition to help each other out in the desert. I promised him that we’ll share the freshwater on our car. Since the car is going to be abandoned, let’s take the fuel out as well. Nick, come help me.”
“Okay, boss.” Nick nodded and ensued.
Jiang Chen and Nick sat in the back of the truck while Robert, trying to get close to the driver, sat in the passenger seat.
Since only Robert knew Arabic, the two of them who sat with the refugees could only stare at each other, and couldn’t say a word.
All the women were covered in thick headscarves while the men looked exhausted, the children also lacked the energy people of their age possessed. Everyone was tired. They must have suffered a lot.
The atmosphere felt odd.
A Byelorussian and a Han here sure was weird.
“These people are probably Syrian refugees. Since Turkey shut down its borders, some of them chose to go through the Kurdish Region and then be smuggled into Turkey. It’s a coincidence that we were able to meet up.” At least Jiang Chen knew a little English to be able to chat with Nick.
“Do they know English?” Jiang Chen asked.
“Some probably do, but it doesn’t look like they have the energy to chat.” Nick shrugged his shoulders.
The back of the truck was crowded and bumpy. A child who he couldn’t tell the gender of sat beside Jiang Chen. The dirty face lacked energy and emotion as the messy hair carried a sour odor more pungent than Robert.
Jiang Chen did not care too much about cleanliness as the entire truck was filled with the awful smell, so he didn’t pay attention.
Nick already started to snore as his years of military life had programmed him in such a way to preserve his energy. Except the snoring received a few stares in the truck.
He really could sleep anywhere. Jiang Chen forced a smile as he also adjusted the way he sat to take a nap.
The truck drove for a bit longer.
It was around lunch time as some refugees took out the food they carried and began to force it down with some water. The teen sitting beside Jiang Chen took out a black thing that resembled a piece of bread and began chewing.
Perhaps it was because everyone was eating, Jiang Chen also felt hungry. He reached behind him, and when no one was looking, he took out a box of Oreos from the storage dimension. He opened the package as he started to eat it.
He was prepared for this kind of unexpected situation so he would always store some emergency food and medicine.
Jiang Chen suddenly noticed that a pair of eyes were peeking at him.
Precisely, peeking at him chewing the food.
“Do you want some?” Jiang Chen smiled as he handed the box over.
The pair of eyes quickly fled. However, they seemed to have noticed that Jiang Chen had no ill intentions as that person took over the half box of cookies and only hesitated slightly before devouring them.
This guy was comparable to how Sun Jiao eats. A smile appeared on Jiang Chen’s face.
“Thank you…” The person replied in English. The person then seemed to have realized that the box was empty before a guilty expression surfaced and they lowered their head. “Sorry…”
“Don’t worry, I still have lots,” Jiang Chen said with a friendly smile, “Can I know your name?”
“Ayesha, seventeen years old.”
She was a girl. He was wondering why the voice was so light. Maybe because she was not an adult yet, and she didn’t wear the headscarf like all the other women in the truck.
“My name is Jiang Chen, I come from Hua. Where are your parents?”
“They got killed by the IS… all because my mom rejected those devils’ demand.” Ayesha’s voice was calm and emotionless, without much sorrow on her face. It made Jiang Chen speechless, as he didn’t expect such a depressing topic.
“Sorry,” Jiang Chen gently said, but he received a peculiar look.
“What happened?” Jiang Chen asked confusedly. He was not sure if he said something he shouldn’t’ have since he only knew the peaceful way of life.
“Nothing. I just didn’t expect someone to say sorry to me.” Ayesha turned her head.
“Do you have any plans once you get to Turkey?” Jiang Chen forced a smile as he decided to talk about something lighter.
Perhaps once she started her new life, she would be slightly happier.
“No plan, head to refugee camp and receive humanitarian aid… and see if there is a Saudi or Turkish man that’s willing to buy me. I am still a virgin, if I dress up, it shouldn’t be a problem.” The girl’s voice was calm, with an awareness and apathy unfitting for her age.
[Okay… looks like any topic will become depressing.]
Jiang Chen chose to shut up.
The truck would still stop overnight due to possible dangers. The driver also needed to rest.
At this time the refugees would choose to go the washroom and stand outside for a bit of the light breeze. Jiang Chen got out of the truck and went to the washroom. He also lavishly took out some paper to whip.
Once the car stopped, Robert came and chatted with the two of them for a while. He still went back to the passenger seat when he slept. Robert said that he slipped the driver a Franklin bill and the driver immediately became more welcoming.
At night, Jiang Chen felt hungry again.
He had too many Oreos, so Jiang Chen took out another kind of strawberry cookies and began to chew on them.
He heard a faint gulping sound beside him and thought about it briefly before he smiled and gave half of the cookies to the girl.
“Try it, it’s from my hometown.”
The girl didn’t respond. Instead, she started to devour the food. Jiang Chen looked at her and didn’t say anything.
Since he was full, it was time to sleep. Jiang Chen leaned against the truck as he drifted into sleep. Although snores could be heard all over the truck, tiredness was the best sleeping pill.
As to Nick, this guy always fell asleep instantaneously, he also wakes up at random intervals. The thunderous snoring already started to ring.
Except what Jiang Chen didn’t notice was a pair of eyes that examined him.
Ayesha licked the cookie crumbs off of her fingers as she looked at the side of Jiang Chen’s face. Her eyes were filled with confusion.
The next morning, Jiang Chen woke up on the bumpy ride.
“We are almost there.” Nick noticed Jiang Chen waking up and looked at the phone screen. “GPS shows that we are only 40 kilometers away from Tikrit.”
The roaring engine noise filled his ear as the vibration of the engine almost made Jiang Chen lose the feeling in his back. He wiped his face with his hand as dust filled his palm. He was slightly shocked before he quickly realized.
This is definitely not a place to stay.
“That’s good, I can’t wait to take a hot shower… and then sleep.” Jiang Chen stretched as he forced a smile.
The battery in his phone was almost drained. To prepare for the unexpected, he decided to shut it down.
“I have a bad feeling.” Nick frowned as he touched his black backpack. His M27 was in it.
“I hope you are wrong.”
“Hopefully.” Nick closed his phone as his phone was about to die as well.
Ayesha raised her head to look at the two foreigners before putting her chin between her arms and closing her eyes.
[Looks like we won’t get to Turkey.]
Being born among the chaos, she was too familiar with this smell.
The smell of death.