Chapter 40: A Journalist Makes a New Discovery
Jiang Zhengkai watched as A-Jiao walked into this ordinary residential community. Could it be that there were two completely unrelated people in this world who looked practically identical? Or was he simply seeing things because he missed A-Jiao so much? As A-Jiao’s silhouette rounded a corner and disappeared, Jiang Zhengkai reluctantly started his car before quietly driving away.
Wu Xiuping finally finished up his day and returned to his apartment unit. Despite being out and about the whole day, he didn’t actually end up accomplishing anything. The company with which he had pre-arranged an interview ended up having a last-minute corporate retreat, which caused the interview to be canceled. Unfortunately, no one at that company had bothered letting him know of the cancellation, so he ended up taking a bus all the way out to the company’s suburban headquarters only to turn right around and make the same trip back to his apartment in the alley. Just like that, an entire day was wasted doing absolutely nothing.
By this time of the year, the temperature in the city had become scorching hot. Wu Xiuping first took a cool shower and then turned on his computer once he had finished. When he had free time, Wu Xiuping liked to surf news websites or write on his literary blog. Although a journalist by trade, he wouldn’t mind making the jump to being a book author.
As that old laptop of his groaned its way to life, Wu Xiuping stood in front of his window. From this vantage point, he could overlook the entire landscape of the alley. He opened his window slightly and let out a long yawn. Running around all day and then working late all night would tax even the most energetic spirits out there.
Just as he was about to return to his computer, his caught a glimpse of a man and a woman engaging in strange movements in the building across from his own. Men and women having sex in this “special” alley was something that the local residents had gotten used to by now, but what Wu Xiuping saw was different. The man had completely smothered the woman, and his body was convulsing violently. The woman looked like she had realized there was something wrong with the man, as her mouth opened very wide as she lay on the bed, but not a single sound came out of her mouth.
“My God! Another murder!” His professional sensibilities immediately allowed Wu Xiuping to leap into action. He immediately picked up his camera, which had been right next to his laptop, pointed it at the window where the crime was happening, and started madly clicking away.
Amidst his camera’s repeated clicks and flashes, he finally heard, “Ah! Help!” Apparently, the woman across the alley seemed to have suddenly broken loose from whatever had restrained her voice. Still lying there, she was now screaming at the top of her lungs, “Help! Help! Ahhhh!” which was followed by hysterical laughter, “Hahahaha!”
Below them, the police jumped into action as soon as they heard the woman’s screams. Before long, the room where the crime had occurred was crammed full of people. Wu Xiuping knew that every single person in that room now, no matter if they were a man or a woman, nor if they were in uniform or in plainclothes, was a cop. Suddenly, he realized that he had unwittingly photographed that entire alarming scene as it unfolded just now. Perhaps Wei Xin was looking out for him from heaven and was repaying him for exhibiting the honor and integrity representative of a true gentleman.
A gloomy Jiang Zhengkai was smoking a cigarette right outside Ju’an Estates when he received a call from one of the police officers in the alley. “Jiang! Jiang!” Zhang Nan exclaimed, his voice shrill with excitement, “We’ve got another murder! The man’s dead, but the woman’s alive! And we’ve also got an eyewitness!”
“What did you say? Is that true?” Jiang Zhengkai couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He felt that Zhang Nan’s words had caused his brain to enter a hyperactive state. “I’ll be right there!” he said over the phone. He then started his car and sped like a madman towards the alley.
This time, not only had Jiang Zhengkai arrived on-scene, even Yao Tianyu had rushed there. In front of them was a truly strange sight. The man had turned into a skeleton and was obviously dead. The woman was alive but had gone insane. An unending stream of hysterical crying intermixed with hysterical laughter emanated from her mouth. And for some reason, the two of them were still locked in the position of sexual intercourse.
Two medical examiners were standing between the man’s corpse and the woman’s body, trying to figure out how to separate the dead corpse from the living body. This was actually proving to be quite challenging. Even though the man’s corpse was a skin-wrapped skeleton, for some reason, his package had stiffened and expanded to an enormous size. At the present, the medical examiners had no way of directly pulling the man’s corpse out of the woman’s vagina. By the time Yao Tianyu had arrived, the two medical examiners had already been at it for more than half an hour.
“Come on, let’s go visit our eyewitness!” Yao Tianyu turned around and told Zhang Nan once he had finished viewing the crime scene, “And place this woman in protective custody.” He then walked with Jiang Zhengkai towards Wu Xiuping’s apartment.
“It’s you?” Yao Tianyu felt slightly surprised upon seeing that the eyewitness was Wu Xiuping. It was a small world after all.
“Hello, Commissioner Yao,” Wu Xiuping’s body trembled slightly as he spoke those words. He didn’t know if he was shaking because of excitement or because of fear.
“Tell us what happened,” Yao Tianyu sat down and smiled at Wu Xiuping, “Don’t be nervous.” He then pointed at one of the junior officers in the room, “Hey, you, go get some water for Mr. Wu.” At the present, besides Yao Tianyu and Jiang Zhengkai, four other police officers specifically sent to protect Wu Xiuping were also in his apartment.
“Thank you, Commissioner,” Wu Xiuping said gratefully. “It happened like this…” said Wu Xiuping as he described what he saw in vivid detail. Finally, he looked at Yao Tianyu and stated, “Commissioner Yao, I also took several photos. I haven’t looked at them yet, so I don’t know if they were any good.” He sincerely didn’t know if his camera was able to capture anything in the night’s low-light conditions.
“Could you give us a copy of your photographs then?” Yao Tianyu calmly asked. He didn’t forcefully confiscate Wu Xiuping’s photos because he knew that as a journalist, Wu Xiuping had use for them as well.
“Sure,” Wu Xiuping nodded in agreement. He very cooperatively took out his camera’s SD card and placed it in Yao Tianyu’s hand, “Here you go, Commissioner.”
“This…” Yao Tianyu took the SD card and looked back at Jiang Zhengkai. He then turned around and gave Wu Xiuping a sincere smile, “Thank you, Mr. Wu.” He then got up and extended his hand, “Don’t hesitate to call us if you need anything.”
“Thank you, Commissioner Yao,” Wu Xiuping replied as he shook Yao Tianyu’s hand with both his hands. Intelligent people have no need to mince words. What Yao Tianyu meant was abundantly clear to Wu Xiuping. Although he had lost another opportunity to move up in the world, he had gained the permanent support of the city’s police bureau, and that support would last at least as long as Yao Tianyu remained as the bureau’s commissioner.
The woman’s identity was quickly and easily established. Her name was A-Lian, and she was a prostitute. As for the man, the ID card he was carrying was a fake, so his true identity was still a mystery as of right now. However, it wouldn’t be too difficult to do a thorough review of his cell phone records to figure out his real name. In addition, the pictures on Wu Xiuping’s SD card were indeed somewhat blurry, but one could still clearly see that there were only two people in that room when the crime occurred. Furthermore, Yao Tianyu and Jiang Zhengkai both noticed the pictures had in them a mass of indistinct black spots. They started from behind the man’s back and eventually moved to the window. Based on their professional experience, they determined that the black spots couldn’t have been a person. They looked more like an air mass. At the end, the two of them unanimously believed that the spots were the result of insufficient lighting. Nevertheless, they decided to forward the photographs to their colleagues in the material evidence section so they could further investigate these black spots.
On Monday morning, a piece of disappointing news came from the hospital. Expert psychiatrists had determined that even though this A-Lian woman had survived the ordeal, she was now clinically insane. There was something physically wrong with her brain. Besides crying and saying singular words such as “afraid, help, ah,” she wasn’t capable of saying anything else.
Even so, these recent events were a major breakthrough for the case. However, this breakthrough became a new burden that weighed heavily on the minds of both Jiang Zhengkai and Yao Tianyu. How come they weren’t able to find the criminal inside the room? Was the murderer able to kill people remotely? If that’s the case, then were those black spots some kind of weapon?
As the clock struck six, Jiang Zhengkai was finally freed from the shackles of work. As he walked out of the sub-bureau office building, an image of the young woman named Ren Ziyuan suddenly flashed across his mind. Jiang Zhengkai was very astonished that he would actually think of her. Perhaps he really was confusing her with the A-Jiao he missed so dearly. Although the two women looked very much alike, they belonged to two entirely separate worlds. Unbeknownst to Jiang Zhengkai was the fact that every woman had two sides: the angel and the devil.
Jiang Zhengkai got into his police cruiser and drove towards Uncle Cai’s noodle shop. Perhaps he would run into that Ren Ziyuan over there again? A glimmer of unease, a glimmer of expectation, for the first time since A-Jiao left, Jiang Zhengkai once again had these feelings inside his heart.