Bingxin stood by the table and began to concoct a mixture of chemicals. Since the jars were empty, we had no idea what she was mixing. She spent about fifteen minutes doing this, during which I swept my eyes across the whole room. There was a shelf full of empty drug containers. They were obviously stolen from the hospital. I quickly took pictures of them with my phone.
“Dude, I think you should wake Bingxin up now!” Dali suddenly exclaimed.
I turned back to Bingxin and saw her undressing!
“No,” I said. “Not yet.”
Bingxin didn’t take all of her clothes off. She left her underwear on. I still felt guilty about this, but it was absolutely crucial to the case that she continued. Otherwise, we’d be stuck at a dead end and possibly never find Qu Tingting.
Bingxin put on Cheng Yahui’s white coat and lay down on the bed. She then started to grope between her thighs and grinded her hips together. Then I heard a low moaning sound coming from under the mask. At first I had no idea what she was doing, but then I realized that she was masturbating!
We all turned our eyes away from Bingxin as it felt wrong to keep watching her. She continued to masturbate about five to six minutes, then collapsed onto the bed and started to weep bitterly. The sorrow and desolation in her voice were not lost on us. It turned the atmosphere into something very tense and depressing.
Suddenly, I saw her pull a dagger from underneath the pillow and aim it at her arm.
“Wake her up now!” I shouted.
Xiaotao ran to Bingxin and shook her awake. When Bingxin finally came to, she shrieked when she saw the knife in her hand and dropped it on the ground. Then Bingxin collapsed into Xiaotao’s arms and cried and cried.
Xiaotao stroked her shoulders gently to comfort her. Bingxin wasn’t actually crying because she was scared, she in fact felt deep sympathy for Qu Tingting because people who participated in Murder Reenactment could feel exactly what the person felt.
“This girl has been through so much pain, Xiaotao-jiejie!” Bingxin muttered between sobs.
“I know…” Xiaotao comforted her.
We actually failed to get any clues about Qu Tingting’s hideout, but it would be remiss to mention it at this moment. Besides, there was no way I could just continue with the process while Bingxin was hurting herself.
Once Bingxin stopped crying, she suddenly stood up, opened a drawer, and took out a piece of paper.
“When I became Qu Tingting just now,” she told me, “a thought flashed in my mind.”
She then handed over the piece of paper to me. It was a pamphlet that tried to recruit volunteers to an orphanage in Nanjiang City.
“This could be where she is hiding!” I exclaimed.
“Judging from the series of actions we just saw,” Xiaotao commented, “she didn’t seem to have any plans to escape. It’s getting really late now, so let’s go back and rest and we’ll go find her at the orphanage tomorrow morning.”
We all agreed. As we were leaving the hospital, Bingxin did not say a word the whole time. She’d just gone through a psychologically harrowing experience after all, so she would need some time to recover.
“I’m sorry, Bingxin-meimei,” I told her. “I’ll never involve you in such a dangerous procedure again.”
“No!” Bingxin shook her head. “It was an incredible and unforgettable experience for me. I didn’t mind it at all. It’s just that I feel really sorry for this girl…”
“The murders she committed were still inexcusable though,” Xiaotao remarked.
Early the next morning, we all gathered at the police station and immediately headed off to the orphanage. We arrived there at about 9 am when the orphans were playing in the yard. Qu Tingting was wearing the caretaker uniform and she was helping a girl fold a paper boat. The smile on her face was bright and genuine.
When she noticed us, she quietly and calmly approached us and said, “I knew you’d find me.”
“Why did you choose to hide here?” asked Xiaotao.
“Hide?” she shook her head and smiled. “I never thought about hiding. This orphanage is where I grew up. I always come here and volunteer whenever I have time. When Dr. Cheng was arrested yesterday, I knew there was no escape for me. I came here so I could help the children here one last time before I get arrested.”
“If it weren’t for the evidence,” said Xiaotao. “I never would have thought that you were the kind of person who would murder four people.”
“Four?” Qu Tingting’s expressions changed. “Isn’t the florist dead?”
“We saved her in time,” I replied. “I must admit, your scheme was very clever!”
“Why did you do it, Miss Qu?” asked Bingxin.
Qu Tingting told us of the ridicule that she had to endure all her life because of the birthmark on her face. She never had any friends; she had never been in a relationship; and she spent every day of her life alone and isolated from other people. She felt like she was just a walking corpse.
That was until she met Cheng Yahui. He brought a ray of light to her life because he was the only man to ever smile at her and thank her. She knew that he was merely being polite, but he was nevertheless the bright shining sun that transformed her once dull and grey life. She couldn’t help but fall in love with him. However, she soon found out that Dr. Cheng was a promiscuous man who never lacked a woman to sleep with. What’s more, those women were all very beautiful. Qu Tingting realized that she would always be the nurse that he barely ever talked to or even noticed. It was like they were living in separate dimensions.
All she could do then was secretly collect his possessions—his old clothes, his hair, his used tissue paper… She would hold these objects and think of him. When her loneliness and misery became too unbearable, she would often slash her arm with a knife.
Qu Tingting pulled her sleeves and revealed her arms which were full of scars. There were so many cut scars that they overlapped each other.
She would often tell herself that although these women came and went, she was the only woman would always stay by Dr. Cheng’s side. Seeing Dr. Cheng’s smile every day was more than good enough for her.
But one night, about four months ago, Dr. Cheng was upset for some reason and was in an irritable mood. She was the only left in the department at the time. Dr. Cheng suddenly told her to take off her clothes. She complied eagerly and they went on to have sex. That night was the height of Qu Tingting’s life. She believed that her dream had finally come true.
However, Dr. Cheng made no mention of the incident the next day or ever again afterwards. Qu Tingting’s illusions were shattered. She realized that Dr. Cheng just used her to vent his frustrations.
Later, Qu Tingting found out that she was pregnant. She couldn’t bring herself to confront Dr. Cheng directly about it, because she knew that he would pressure her into getting an abortion. So, she sent him an email without revealing her identity. Dr. Cheng got very upset when he received the email. He called the five women that he slept with one by one to ask them about it, but he never thought of asking her. It was as if nothing happened at all that night!
The pain pierced through her heart. It also gave her an idea—what if all the women around Dr. Cheng were dead? Would he then turn to her? The memory of their liaison gave her confidence and courage. If Dr. Cheng turned to her once, then he might not be as unattainable as she thought he was after all!
So, she began to put her medical knowledge into practice. When she was in nursing school, she studied pharmacology for three years. She spent extra time revising what she learned all those years ago, then began her frenzied hunt to eliminate the five women.
When Qu Tingting reached this part of her story, I could hear the distinct excitement in her voice. Her eyes betrayed the deep infatuation that she felt for Dr. Cheng. To her, the four lives that were lost because of her were completely worthless!
“What did you think you’d accomplish by killing those women?” scoffed Xiaotao. “You know what Cheng Yahui is like. He’d just go find another woman!”
Qu Tingting bit her lips and shouted, “Then I’ll kill that woman! And if he finds another one, I’ll kill her too! I’ll do it until he notices me! He’s inseparable from me anyway, because I poisoned him and I’m the only one who has the antidote!”
“You would go to such lengths just for that scumbag?” Dali retorted.
“You’re not allowed to insult him!” she yelled at him. She lunged towards Dali to attack him, but Xiaotao blocked her path just in time. Qu Tingting was a petite woman, but she had a fire raging inside of her that made her as fearsome as a lioness. Dali might have been bold seconds before, but he was cowering in fear now.
“I understand you, Miss Qu!” cried Bingxin. “No matter how flawed someone is, if you love them, they’re perfect in your eyes!”
Qu Tingting nodded.
“No matter what reason you had,” said Xiaotao, “murders are still wrong and indefensible. You must pay for what you do, Qu Tingting!”
“You can’t arrest me,” sneered Qu Tingting. “I’m pregnant!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter