Volume 13: Last Return
February 24th; today was the Lantern Festival. Lin Qiupu told everyone to go home early to spend time with their families.
Lin Dongxue was thinking about a certain detail of the case she was working on while walking home. As she reached her door, she suddenly exclaimed, “Oh no!”
A few days ago, the landlord had said that her son had been released from prison early and she wanted to take the house she was renting back for him. As an apology, the landlord was willing to refund half a year’s worth of rent. The agreed date for her to move out was today, but she had been so busy the past two days that she completely forgot about it and didn’t contact a moving company.
She opened the door and took a final look at the place she had rented for the past five years. She felt a little bit reluctant to let this place go, but she still looked up the phone numbers of several moving companies. Unfortunately, the other parties all told her that she’d need to make an appointment as they were unable to provide her with their services today.
Lin Dongxue held her cell phone pondering what she should do for a while. The amount of things she had could not be classified as plentiful nor minimal. Who can I ask for help?
Xu Xiaodong? She’d hate to disturb his private life.
Lin Qiupu? If her brother knew that the landlord had breached the contract, he would come all the way over to talk about it. It would turn very unpleasant, so she didn’t want to go down that road.
In the end, only Chen Shi was left. Lin Dongxue smiled bitterly. Besides the little police circle she worked with, she didn’t have a single friend to ask for help.
She called Chen Shi and he asked, “Have you found a new place?”
“No, I’ll have to find a cheap motel first and then slowly find the right place.”
“Then, you should pack up. I'll be right there.”
Lin Dongxue had just begun to pack her things when there was a knock downstairs accompanied by some shouting. “I was released after serving a full sentence! Those places don't want me at all! Don't beg for help everywhere!”
Half a minute later, a middle-aged man with a shaved head wearing a military-green jacket appeared in front of Lin Dongxue's door. Lin Dongxue was a bit surprised as she was just about to carry out a box of her things.
“I... I thought you had already moved away,” the man said embarrassedly.
“I’m just about to move!”
“Aiya, aiya. I’ll help you.”
“Ah, no need.”
The man moved Lin Dongxue’s things to the staircase for her, making Lin Dongxue very embarrassed. The man apologized, “I'm really sorry. I came back so suddenly and forced you to move.”
“It's okay. No problem.”
“Did you hear everything just now? People won’t accept someone like me. My mother used her network to beg everywhere to find a job for me, but everyone just refused her in a roundabout manner. She had to use her hot face to rub on their cold asses. When I see that, it really hurts.” As he was saying this, his eyes became red.
Lin Dongxue didn't know how to comfort him. “You can try freelance work, such as opening an online shop or something.”
“I’ll try.” He responded faintly and went to the house to continue moving everything. In one of the boxes, he saw a textbook from the police academy and asked in surprise, “Miss, what do you do for a living?”
“I'm a police officer.”
“Will you look down on someone like me?”
Lin Dongxue paused and said, “I remember your mother said that you were in for manslaughter, right?”
He sat down in a small chair with his head down. “This is the sentence they gave me in court. In prison, there wasn’t a day that I didn’t regret that. When people are young, they will do stupid things. However, they make up for it with a lifetime.” He shook his head.
“You’ve regained your freedom, so cherish it now. You’re only in your thirties, so that’s not too old.”
He smiled bitterly again as he looked up at Lin Dongxue. His line of sight made Lin Dongxue a little scared. He said, “My name is Wu Xu, how about you?”
“I know this is a bit sudden and it’s difficult to say, but can you do me a favor...” Wu Xu stuttered. “I... I haven't touched a woman for over a decade.”
“What?!” Lin Dongxue backed away in shock.
“No, no, don't get me wrong. I meant to ask if you can touch my head? You can refuse. I don’t want to force people to do something they don’t want to do.”
Lin Dongxue's first reaction was to refuse. However, when she thought about her profession, she realized she was a criminal police officer, part of the same group who sent him to prison. If even the criminal police avoided him, then wouldn’t the words “accepting transformation and reform” be just empty words?
Wu Xu accepted and put his head towards her. Lin Dongxue stroked his short hair on the scalp, and his posture was like a monk kneeling down in confession. In order to disperse the embarrassing and awkward air, Lin Dongxue said, “Don't take the wrong way, alright? I know you'll be facing a hard time, but you have to pull through so you don’t make your mother sad.”
Wu Xu nodded and cried, “Thank you, Miss.”
There was a car honking outside and Lin Dongxue said, “I have to go. You take care of yourself.”
“I'll help you move things.”
A small truck drove by downstairs. The driver was actually Chen Shi. Lin Dongxue asked, “Why did you drive a truck over?”
“I borrowed it from a friend.” Wu Xu, who got out of the house and rushed to move things with Lin Dongxue, said, “Brother, thank you!”
After getting in the car, Chen Shi suggested, “Why don’t you go and live at my house for a few days? There’s a bed there anyway. That way, you can take your time in finding a place!”
Lin Dongxue thought about it. Since Tao Yueyue was there, it didn’t count as a man and woman being in a space alone. Additionally, she was only going to stay a few days. She asked, “Do I need to pay rent?”
“Haha, am I such a stranger? Just treat me and Yueyue to dinner tonight.”
“I haven’t even moved places yet and I need to treat you to dinner? Fine, fine. I’ll invite you guys to eat grilled fish!”
That night, everyone in the task force went home to spend time with their families. Lin Qiupu finished processing several documents in the office, drank the coffee that had already grown cold in the cup, packed up, and got ready to go home. At this time, there was an internal call that had been transferred over from the emergency hotline center.
The person over the phone said, “Captain Lin, I just received a call from the local police station reporting calls for help and the sound of fighting at the electroplating factory plant community in Shuangta Road. The police went and found the body of a middle-aged man.”
“Okay, let me handle it!”
After hanging up the phone, Lin Qiupu wanted to call someone. However, after thinking about it, he decided to handle it by himself. Today was the Lantern Festival and he wanted everyone to rest.
He passed by the forensic department and sure enough, Peng Sijue was still working overtime. Lin Qiupu interrupted, “Old Peng, there is a murder case. Come with me!”
An hour later, the two arrived at the scene where three policemen stood by a door. The policemen briefly described the situation when the body was found. When they entered the house, they saw a blood-stained man lying on the ground in a mess. “It's really sad!” Peng Sijue commented.
“Yeah, a bachelor was killed at home alone.”
“No, I meant us two bachelors investigating here during the Lantern Festival.”
“When did you get so emotional? Let’s get to work!”
The local police had already verified that the deceased was Zhou Taiyang, a 56 year old employee of the former state-owned electroplating factory. After the factory closed, he worked in a private electroplating factory.
He was once married, but had no children and divorced shortly after. Since then, he’d been a bachelor.
Lin Qiupu took out a digital camera to take photos. Peng Sijue cut the thin clothes that the victim wore and found that he was covered in criss-crosses of bruises, which should have been left by a stick or a belt.
In addition, the pants were half-removed, exposing a buttocks full of hemorrhoids. Peng Sijue saw some sticky substance near the victim’s anus.
He dipped a cotton swab on it, took a closer look and said, “It seems to be a lubricant.”
Peng Sijue also noted that close to the neck and ears, there were burns that were received while the victim was alive. There was a soldering iron thrown on the ground not far from the corpse with obvious burnt human tissue on it.
“Could it be sexual abuse?” Lin Qiupu guessed.