Old Town

The young people have all left, and it is difficult to see a few young people in this western town. Even the security officer at the town's police station is an old man who has retired. No young people are willing to come to this village, and there are no security issues here anyway. In the past, there were often city people who came to the town to sell inferior goods, but gradually, because the purchasing power of the old people in the town is limited, and they are mostly only interested in food, the number of salespeople has decreased. After all, the old people from the surrounding villages bring their own grain and vegetables to sell, and the city people cannot sell theirs.

The old people in the town often feel confused: where have all the young people gone?

Of course, they know very well where their own young people have gone. There are jobs in the city that can support them, and there are other young people to socialize with. Maybe they will come back when they are old, but there is nothing here in this town. They are used to city life and are probably never going to come back.

Except for one thing.


But in the town, no one uses the word "death" anymore, they call it "passing away".

The old people in the town take care of each other. Once an old person passes away, they have to help make the phone call to the deceased's descendants, as indicated on the phone number posted by the old person's bedside, to have them come back and handle the funeral arrangements. Only at that time does the town become slightly lively, with the sound of gongs and drums, and music. After the funeral, the room becomes completely quiet, and gradually, the town becomes quieter too, with even fewer old farmers selling grain and vegetables.

But Iron Han's bedside does not have a phone number posted because he has no descendants. The people in the town have already discussed it and decided that when Iron Han dies, the other old people in the town will handle the funeral arrangements. For a person, death becomes the biggest event after birth, and it cannot be taken lightly. The people here believe that it will affect their fate in the next life.

Iron Han himself does not feel sad or sorrowful about not having any descendants because he often listens to the radio. He knows that sadness and sorrow will harm his body and shorten his life. Now he is counting the days, and any reduction in his lifespan is something he cannot bear. But the other old people in the town do not think the same way. Because of the lack of young people, the other old people in the town always have a worried and sad expression. They only become slightly happier when the young people return to the town. Iron Han has told them many times that it will harm their bodies, but those old people don't care, and some of them even wish to pass away sooner.

Over a decade has passed, and there are now only around sixty old people left in the town, with Iron Han being the healthiest among them. Iron Han has also started to worry because if he is the last one to pass away in the town, there will be no one to give him a proper burial, and there will be no one to take care of his final affairs.

Recently, after the radio finished playing an advertisement for a mountain snow aphrodisiac, a new health expert appeared. This health expert not only promoted the same health products as the previous expert but also introduced a new term: longevity!

The previous expert had always talked about how to avoid reducing lifespan, while this health expert talked about how to increase longevity.

"Dear listeners! Dear listeners! What good does it do to prevent reducing lifespan? Your lifespan is already limited, isn't it? But with longevity, think about it, you were supposed to pass away but didn't. Isn't that what you really want? Dear listeners, how can we increase longevity? I believe it starts with our attitude towards life. First, you need to be happy, right..." The health expert talked about life attitude, habits, and finally led into nutrition and health care, naturally leading to the health products he wanted to sell to the "dear listeners".

Iron Han knew that the old people in the town didn't have the money to buy those health products, and their habits of several decades couldn't be changed either. He could only try to make them happy.

A few days later, Old Mrs. Liu passed away. She was the oldest among the old people, already ninety-five years old. Her descendants were called back. She had three sons and one daughter, and now she even had great-grandchildren. They were considered a large and prosperous family. Their descendants were busy preparing a feast and invited all the old people in the town to eat at the funeral. The old people were very happy to see so many young people, and they were even more delighted to see several children running around innocently.

Old Han pulled a little boy over and pointed to the coffin, asking him, "Do you know who is inside there?"

The boy shook his head, "I don't want to know."

"Hey, that's your great-grandmother! You probably haven't seen her before," Old Han said, and he even touched the boy's smooth and tender face.

The rough hand made the little boy uncomfortable, so he struggled and ran away.

The old people sitting around burst into laughter, as if they had suddenly become much younger.

Iron Han thought, the expert was indeed right.

Iron Han made a rough calculation. A complete funeral ceremony would require about eleven people. He planned for thirteen people, so as long as he dies before the other thirteen people, it would be fine.

After Mrs. Liu's funeral, the town was happy for a while, but gradually, they had already talked about everything that could be reminisced several times, and the old people in the town fell back into the cycle of sadness.

Not long after, Old Wang also passed away.

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