Chapter 35: The Death of Wei Xin
Half an hour later, Wei Xin returned from Yao Tianyu’s office with a big grin on her face. Clearly, her colleague had not lied to her.
“What happened? Did Commissioner Yao commend you on a job well done?” her colleague glanced at her and warmly asked.
“Yeah, pretty much. Oh right, did you find your microSD reader?” Wei Xin asked, since she saw there was still another microSD reader in her desk drawer.
“Yup, I found it and gave it to the local television station already,” her colleague said offhandedly. “Alright, I have to go stand watch now. Talk to you later! Bye!”
“Bye! Be careful out there!” said Wei Xin. She took out the microSD reader in her desk drawer and checked to see if the microSD card was still there. Thankfully, it was.
That evening, Wei Xin took the microSD reader and card back to her barracks room. Unlike some of her colleagues, she had a private room in the barracks, which meant she didn’t live in open bay berthing. She plugged the reader into her laptop and opened the file on the microSD card. Unfortunately, she didn’t hear the moaning and groaning noises that she had expected. The file on this card was a transcript of the police bureau’s latest press conference. Obviously, she had taken the wrong microSD reader.
Wei Xin had forgotten one important detail. Her reader was government-issued, so it looked just like the many others that belonged to the police bureau. After realizing her mistake, it wasn’t tears streaming down her face, but rather the room spinning all around her.
“Yup, I found it and gave it to the local television station already,” her colleague’s words repeated non-stop in her ears. Wei Xin started hyperventilating and decided to lie down on her bed. That helped her from collapsing onto the floor, but she still felt the world spinning around her.
The journalist who’d received the microSD card reader was named Wu Xiuping. He’d come to the station to conduct follow-up interviews regarding the Feng Lina case. Although he was quite certain the police were not going to provide him with any valuable information, he could still count on them giving him some outdated source materials in the name of “community outreach.” As such, Wei Xin’s colleague had copied some of the materials he had requested onto an SD card and allowed him to view it within the confines of municipal HQ.
Unfortunately, Wu Xiuping had forgotten to bring his own SD card reader, and he needed to finish his story by the end of the evening. That was why Wei Xin’s colleague had agreed to loan him the reader. However, they’d both overlooked one important detail: namely, the reader had mounted within it a small microSD card.
Wu Xiuping returned to his rented apartment. He wasn’t a native of this city. Like many other recent college graduates, he had chosen to come to the big city to pursue his dreams. The apartment he rented was right inside the alley. Because of the string of murders in the alley, property values had taken a nosedive. For a struggling journalist with little in the way of a support network, the apartment’s cheap rent was very enticing indeed.
He’d heard about the murder cases in the alley. However, he was neither a john nor a prostitute, so he wasn’t at all worried that he might end up dying in the arms of a woman in the middle of having sex.
He turned on his computer and stumbled upon Wei Xin’s microSD card. The unseemly images inside immediately excited his nerves. His occupational instinct told him that this card contained important evidence, and that the police had unintentionally given it to him. Right now, if he were to turn this card over to the local TV station, then a bonus, a raise, and a promotion would all be waiting for him.
When he finished viewing the content of the microSD card, he fell silent again. He sensed that the woman in the images was none other than the police officer who’d given the press conference yesterday. Since he lived in the alley, he had heard there was a case involving a missing policewoman, but he had no idea that the one in question had been Wei Xin. Now that he had seen what was on the microSD card, everything became clear as day.
Right now, Wu Xiuping had in his hands a truly explosive story. As long as he released the story, then he would become famous overnight. However, the price of his fame was to doom Wei Xin to everlasting suffering. He sat in front of his computer and thought about his next move for a long time. Finally, he chose to be a good human being rather than a good journalist. In the end, his conscience conquered his desires for fame and fortune. When opportunity knocks, not everyone answers. Perhaps Wu Xiuping would never become a world-renowned journalist, but on this night, he exemplified what it meant to be a gentleman.
Unfortunately, there are far too many nasty men in this world, and they have caused far too much suffering to the women of the world. Even though Wei Xin had happened upon a true gentleman, she nevertheless did not live to see the next sunrise.
“You’re very early, Mr. Wu,” Wei Xin’s colleague politely greeted Wu Xiuping upon seeing him.
“Good morning to you, too. Could you tell me when those two usually come into the office?” Wu Xiuping pointed at the desk where Wei Xin and her officemate worked.
“Wei Xin is usually here early. Maybe she had something going on today,” the police officer replied. “She might have taken the morning off, since she was on the night shift last night.”
“Oh, alright, thank you,” said Wu Xiuping. A few moments later, he asked uneasily, “Do you have Officer Wei’s telephone number?”
“Her number? Yeah, of course,” the officer casually replied. “Our phone directory is pinned to that wall. Her cell phone number should be on it.”
“Okay, great! Thank you so much!” Upon hearing this information, Wu Xiuping felt like he had finally found the lifesaver he was looking for. He immediately looked up Wei Xin’s phone number in the directory and dialed it on his cell phone. As the phone rang, he felt a sense of dread in his stomach.
The phone rang for a long time, but no one answered. “Umm… could you tell me where Officer Wei lives?” Wu Xiuping asked, sweat starting to drip down his forehead.
“What’s going on? Did Wei not report for work today?” Yao Tianyu asked; he had happened to walk into the External Affairs office.
“Commissioner Yao, you have to come with me quick! I’m afraid something bad happened has happened to Wei Xin!” Wu Xiuping exclaimed as he forcefully grabbed Yao Tianyu’s arm. With Yao Tianyu here, Wu Xiuping felt like he finally had a glimmer of hope of finding Wei Xin.
“What are you doing? Come to my office if you have something to say,” responded Yao Tianyu. He keenly sensed that this young man had discovered something, and he had a feeling that what Wu Xiuping had discovered should not be discussed in public.
“Commissioner Yao! Yesterday, they mistakenly gave me this,” Wu Xiuping told Yao Tianyu after the two of them had entered the latter’s office. He took out the SD card reader and shoved it into Yao Tianyu’s hand. “I’m afraid Wei Xin’s in grave danger!”
Yao Tianyu didn’t say a word. He simply took the SD reader from Wu Xiuping and plugged it into his computer. Soon, Wu Xiuping saw those revolting images appear in front of Yao Tianyu.
“Come on! We need to go to the barracks right now!” barked Yao Tianyu. He pulled the reader from his computer, locked it in his desk drawer, and then ran out of his office with Wu Xiuping in tow.
By the time a police cruiser ferried Yao Tianyu and Wu Xiuping to Wei Xin’s barracks, she was already lying stiff on her bed. She’d committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. This young woman had left this world forever. Perhaps if she could’ve just waited a few more moments, if she could’ve felt just a bit more reluctant to leave this world, then perhaps she would still be alive and well.
Very soon, Jiang Zhengkai rushed over to Wei Xin’s barracks as well. Inside her barracks room, Yao Tianyu, Jiang Zhengkai, and Wu Xiuping quietly recovered Wei Xin’s corpse. On the other side of the door stood dozens of police officers, but without Yao Tianyu’s explicit orders, none of them dared to enter. They all just stood there in silence.
Finally, Jiang Zhengkai turned his gaze towards Wei Xin’s body. She looked like she was peacefully asleep, but the white-colored remnants of the sleeping pills that hung to the corners of her mouth and the purple complexion of her cheeks told a different story, one that said she’d spent her last moments in great agony.
Jiang Zhengkai found a note inside Wei Xin’s hand. On it, written in beautiful handwriting, were the words, “A-Jiao came back. Be good to her.” Apparently women really did have a sixth sense when it came to matters of love. Wei Xin had known of Jiang Zhengkai’s secret a long time ago; she’d just never said anything out loud.
Jiang Zhengkai finished reading the note and then numbly handed it over to Yao Tianyu. Yao Tianyu glanced it over, then rubbed his nose and said, “Alright, you guys can carry her out now.”
Because Wei Xin had committed suicide, she would not be eligible for any posthumous awards. As a matter of policy, the police bureau couldn’t even give her a funeral with full police honors. Nevertheless, every single one of her colleagues in the police bureau attended her funeral. This was the first time since the police had started standing watch in the alley that it was devoid of any officers. All of them who’d been acquainted with Wei Xin attended her funeral, including Yao Tianyu himself.
They came to honor a comrade in arms. They came to honor a diligent young girl. They came to honor someone who had made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and serving the people of this city.
Wei Xin was laid to rest in the police cemetery. Even though she did not die in the line of duty, her death was nonetheless the result of her service in the police force. This small honor was perhaps the only thing the police bureau could do to acknowledge her sacrifice.