Chapter 33: That Poor Woman
There was a slight hint of warmth and humidity in the air; summer wasn’t far off for this city. There hadn’t been any more murders in the last month, which meant prostitutes gradually returned to ply their trade in the alley, and the johns naturally followed. Business was starting to boom once again in the alley.
Inside the municipal police headquarters’ conference room, Yao Tianyu was not at all happy that the sex trade had returned in force to the alley. This was exactly the type of illicit business activity that the police were supposed to crack down on. However, in order to guarantee the safety of local residents, he had no choice but to look the other way.
“Commissioner Yao, I recommend we pull our officers out of the alley,” suggested the Deputy Commissioner for Vice, Zheng Yueshan. “We are currently experiencing severe manpower shortages that are preventing us from accomplishing day-to-day operations in many other departments.”
“Jiang, what’s your take on this?” Yao Tianyu declined to give his own view and instead deferred to Jiang Zhengkai.
“I… I recommend we not pull out just yet,” Jiang Zhengkai replied. “Perhaps we could make appropriate reductions in our force levels, but the fact that there hasn’t been any new murders in the past month means our efforts are paying off.”
“I also think we shouldn’t pull our forces out right now!” Yao Tianyu nodded in agreement after hearing Jiang Zhengkai’s recommendation. “The fact of the matter is, we still haven’t apprehended the suspect, and we don’t know for certain why he hasn’t struck again. Now that more women have returned to the alley, it is entirely conceivable that he has another target in mind.”
Zheng Yueshan paused for a moment before asking, “How about this? We will continue with our current force levels for another month, but if no new murders occur in that time, then we should consider reducing our force levels appropriately.” Deputy Commissioner Zheng was under quite a bit of pressure. He had to stamp out the sex trade in all other parts of the city, so it could all flow into the alley.
“Alright, I concur,” Yao Tianyu agreed straightforwardly. Once the meeting was dismissed, Yao Tianyu pulled Jiang Zhengkai aside for a private conversation. “Jiang, tell your people to pay extra attention to everything going on in the alley in the coming days. I have a feeling something bad’s going to happen soon.”
Jiang Zhengkai could only nod in response to Yao Tianyu’s instructions. In fact, his estimations mirrored that of Yao Tianyu’s. Although there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the previous cases when they were all put together, Jiang Zhengkai nevertheless felt that one commonality among them was that the killer did not act at random.
A-Jiao now experienced both the ups and downs of having a regular job. Looking after the children occupied virtually all of her time. After a full day’s work, she had practically no free time left. Still, she rather liked this new life of hers, an unending stream of activity. Only by feeling needed could a person feel truly alive.
Her new Gifted and Talented art class was quite the success. Parents these days were more than willing to spend money on their children, but they also wanted good returns on the investment in their children’s education. So if a qualified teacher came along, then of course money wasn’t an issue.
Feng Lina was one such parent. She had enrolled her daughter in A-Jiao’s GT class. Seeing her daughter acquiring a new skill naturally made her smile from ear to ear. The only issue was that A-Jiao’s class was in such demand that the only opening available for her daughter was in the evening.
Feng Lina worked as a hotel manager. She received a phone call from her husband saying that her mother-in-law fell ill and so couldn’t go pick up her daughter from preschool. Since her husband had to work late that evening, responsibility for picking up her daughter fell squarely on her shoulders. Still, it wasn’t that much of a burden for her. Her home wasn’t that far from A-Jiao’s preschool. The only problem was the road connecting her home and the preschool had been blocked off due to construction. That meant the closest route between the two locations was through the alley.
Feng Lina didn’t normally walk through the alley. Just like most women, she felt the place to be unclean. However, her shift at the hotel ended later than normal due to the unexpected workload. If she didn’t take the shortcut through the alley, she will be late picking up her daughter by almost twenty minutes. Not wanting to keep her daughter waiting, she decided to use the alley shortcut once she had reached its entrance.
Even though Feng Lina was the mother of a four-year-old child, she nevertheless maintained her looks due to the nature of her work. Even now, she looked like a beautiful young girl, especially with that tall and slender figure of hers. So when she walked through the alley, she caught the attention of quite a few of the men who were there to sample the “wares.”
Realizing she had caught some unwanted attention, Feng Lina quickened her pace. Her high heels made a string of rapid tapping sounds as they struck the pavement. She quickly made her way through the alley and let out a long sigh of relief. I safely made it through, she thought to herself. She adjusted her composure before proceeding towards the preschool.
She walked for about another two hundred meters before the heel broke on one of her shoes. She looked around and saw a building not too far away. She limped over to the building and leaned on its wall in an effort to fix the shoe. Apparently, that fast-paced walk in the alley must have dealt some damage to her high heels.
“Ai!” she sighed. “That’s the problem with stilettos,” she muttered to herself. Just then, a man quickly swooped over and viciously struck her on the head with a bat…
“Ms. Ren, why isn’t Mommy here yet?” asked a little girl who stood next to A-Jiao, anxiously awaiting her mother.
“Dont worry. She’ll be here soon.” A-Jiao squatted down and spoke to the child. “Look, Ms. Ren has a piece of chocolate! Would you like to have it?”
“Ms. Ren, didn’t you tell us that eating too much chocolate is bad for our teeth?” Yunyun cutely asked. “You’ve already let me eat four pieces today.”
“Oh really? Then… will you let Ms. Ren tell you a story?” A-Jiao pouted her lips after hearing Yunyun’s response. Looks like she’d have to switch tactics.
“No!” Yunyun shook her head. “I want to hear you sing. Mommy loves singing to me.”
“Sing?” A-Jiao winced at the thought, but decided to go for it. “Alright, why don’t you sing along with me? You know how to sing Little Bunny Foo Foo, right?”
But while these two girls sat in the preschool’s hallway singing nursery rhymes, the little girl’s poor mother was being subjected to the most inhumane of abuses.
The man brought Feng Lina to the same construction site where he had violated Wei Xin. He bound Feng Lina in his signature frog-like pattern. He reached down to feel her body in the usual place, but drew back his hand with a disappointed expression. “Fuck, this one’s not a virgin!” Obviously, his standards had gone up after his encounter with Wei Xin.
Even so, Feng Lina could not escape the physical torment that the man had in store for her. Under the pale moonlight, evil once again reared its ugly head at this abandoned construction site. The man’s silhouette was projected faintly onto one of the half-torn-down walls, the shape of his body moving up and down, while underneath him lay Feng Lina, who could only make muffled screams with her gagged mouth.
In the night, the construction site’s surroundings were deadly quiet. Feng Lina’s faint screams pierced the night sky, carrying far into the distance. Unfortunately, the surrounding areas were completely deserted, so no one could possibly know what was going on in this place.
“Ai! What time is it? Why isn’t she here yet?” A-Jiao said to herself as she checked the time on her cell phone. It was almost eleven in the evening. Could something have happened to the girl’s mother? A-Jiao uneasily thought. Yunyun had already fallen asleep in her lap. She looked up to see if the light was still on inside the preschool’s second-story office, but alas, the light was out, which meant all of her colleagues had left for the evening. It looked like the only thing she could do was to go to the office herself and see if she could pull up Yunyun’s parents’ telephone numbers. At that thought, A-Jiao started heading up the stairs with Yunyun in her arms.
At the construction site, the man had exhausted himself and lay down next to Feng Lina. However, he wasn’t done with her just yet. A new evil plan hatched inside that twisted mind of his. Since she’s not a virgin anyway, then perhaps I could try something new with her, the man thought. He proceeded to flip Feng Lina so that she was facing the sky, before reaching his fingers out towards Feng Lina’s body once again.
“Mmm… mmph… uhmm… uhmm…” Under the man’s continuous assault, Feng Lina made a string of weird noises. It was obvious that her body could not tolerate such inhumane treatment. What the man did was now well outside the scope of what could be considered human behavior. Even animals would rarely engage in such cruel acts.
“Mmph, uhmm…” Feng Lina let out a final miserable whine. The man had finally finished what he wanted to do and proceeded to mount her again.
“Yes! That felt good,” the man shouted loudly. Right after, his movements on top of Feng Lina started picking up speed, while Feng Lina’s body went from twitching to trembling.