Chapter 66: Promises
There was a large bloodstain on Gu Zhichang’s chest. Several IV bags hung from a rack beside him and there was an oxygen machine. There were no doctors or nurses around.
He seemed to be stable. Gu Shi seemed to sigh slightly as she came forward and tapped him. “Dad, We’re at the hospital now, all safe.”
No response. Gu Shi also noticed he didn’t feel right. Shocked, she got closer and lightly lifted the cloth.
Her father’s eyes were slightly open, his face abnormally pale. Blood had clotted in his nostrils.
She couldn’t believe it when she touched his hand. Cold, no temperature. Zhang Chi just then noticed the monitor beside the bed was shut off, the oxygen tubes, hanging beside the bed an the syringe needle from the IV drip already put back in the bag.
Teacher had already passed away!
Gu Shi collapsed onto the bed, staring blankly at that face that had never looked so unfamiliar. She finally, helplessly, burst into loud sobbing. Zhang Chi felt everything go black before him and his knees got weak and he slumped down by the bed.
The hallway and Gu Shi’s entire world was nothing but her crying and Zhang Chi’s constrained whimpers. She even thought it would be better if it had been her father and not Little Wu who had been admitted to surgery.
In the spaces between Gu Shi’s intermittent sobs, Zhang Chi continued to mumble to himself, looking at Gu Zhichang. Only he knew what he was saying to the long-departed Gu Zhichang as tears streamed down his face. He was making three late commitments to Gu Zhichang.
He earnestly took Gu Zhichang as his teacher, even kowtowing painfully on his knees. He promised to look after Gu Shi, as sincere and genuine as if he were facing his future father-in-law. Finally, he resolved to ferret out the murderer. The viciousness of this crime was not just a surprise attack on the police, not just a devastating blow to Gu Zhichang’s loved ones. It was also a cruel deprival of an old cop’s change at retiring and living the rest of his days in peace. This was the price for fighting one’s whole life for the sake of others. Now reduced to silent humiliation and ridicule.
Once these promises were uttered and his tears had passed, his energy returned to him little by little. He didn’t bother with saying all the things he had never had a chance to say before. He already felt words had lost their meaning, that his police uniform was also meaningless to him.
Gu Shi spread her limp body out carelessly over her father’s body. She couldn’t remember how long it was before two arms lifted her off the corpse that had been nearly warmed back up by her body heat, that body that no longer looked anything like her father.
Gu Shi instinctively clung weakly to him, grabbing his arm like a desperate person stranded at sea clinging to a floating piece of wood…
The medical examiner’s report: When the explosion occurred, Little Wu was relatively much farther away from the blast point, so his wounds were not fatal. In the afternoon of the day, however, Little Wu stopped breathing in ICU due to excessive blood loss.
Zhang Chi looked at that face from across the glass. They had just been talking laughing with each other across the water cooler a few days ago. Now, Zhang Chi sat in a corner of the interrogation room, looking like he was just watching aloofly, but he was actually quickly taking notes.
Zhang Chi was supposed to have joined Gu Zhichang’s funeral arrangement group, but he firmly asked to join the case. Captain Liu, ashen-faced, had already dispatched men to handle, but he tacitly consented. Captain Liu caught a flash of ruthlessness in those eyes on that handsome face, like lingering smoke, there for a second, then gone. He finally understood why Gu Zhichang put so much stock in this apprentice; Zhang Chi was not the “refined artist without a trace of a policeman’s vigor” he had imagined.
This surprise attack on the police was the most heinous crime in Zhenghai in the last thirty years. It happened suddenly and caught them off-guard. Only after several times did the police believe it was not a prank call by a civilian.
They were used to jumping into action right after an emergency, so the detectives did not appear flustered. The branch director personally led them in organizing a special investigations team. and the city investigations commissioner were the first to appoint capable people to help out.
By comparison, Captain Liu, the director of their unit, felt a bit like he was fighting a lone battle. His manpower was scarce, having lost two capable people, and half of the remaining were looking after Gu Zhichang’s funeral arrangements, so Zhang Chi getting involved in the case was some much needed, timely help.
Gui Zhichang and them had not been on a normal patrol that day, but had been sent by dispatch to respond to a call. The person who called in said that a taxi driver had been robbed on Beiyang Road and was injured and had lost a lot of blood and was in critical danger.
Beiyang Road. Gu Zhichang searched his memory but could not recall such a road. He was a living map for this jurisdiction, so clearly this road was not common. Turned out that main road was under construction and only part of it was open. They got directions from the person who reported it, otherwise they never would have found it.
The road was secluded. Even after a loud explosion that blew up a police car there was still time for someone to calmly look for survivors. Even though Little Wu’s wound was not immediately fatal, it was still a knife wound, and he had been sliced up pretty good. His mother was rent with grief when she arrived. Everyone felt that Little Wu’s horrible wound was like the criminal’s savage, smiling face, openly taunting them.
The question was, the person who reported the crime was never seen and had used a public phone in an area without security cameras to place the call, and there were no fingerprints on the phone receiver. Who would be so careful and sufficiently intimate to lead Gu Zhichang and Little Wu to their deaths on a normal day on duty when they were not on their guard?
There was the question of who did it, but also who was the target? Zhang Chi asked himself countless questions, which were also puzzling everyone on the special investigations team.
Three groups of specialists combed the scene, but aside from discovering a simple roadblock erected by the criminal——several unusually large stones in the road, there were no other key clues obtained. When he heard this, Zhang Chi couldn’t stop himself from going directly to ground zero of the explosion.
That afternoon, when a group of detectives once again arrived at the crime scene, Zhang Chi finally saw the hidden place of devastation. The blast had occurred between the left rear wheel and rear clutch of the police car. It was a massive explosion that sent the squad car flying nearly eight meters, which was about half the distance away from where Gu Zhichang had left the car. A scrap of the car blown off had pierced him in the legs and severed a major artery.