Chapter 153: The Waking Corpse

Dali noticed that we were both looking in the same direction at the same time, so he turned around immediately before I could stop him. When he saw the sitting corpse, he screamed and screamed in fright.

“Dude! Dude! That corpse is alive!”

“Calm down, Dali!” I told him. “It’s just a normal post-mortem spasm.”

Having said that, seeing a corpse slowly sitting up in a dark funeral home was an experience that would petrify anyone. I noticed that even Xiaotao looked really pale.

I explained to them that about six hours after death, the muscles would stiffen and that would bend the spine. At least that was the basic theory behind this phenomenon anyway. In truth, post-mortem spasms like that were relatively rare, and would only occur when the deceased was young and had relatively strong muscle fibers. In this case, the ‘waking corpse’ we saw just now met the criteria perfectly.

In his panic, Dali accidentally pulled off the white sheet that covered one of the corpses. I looked at the man’s face and realized that it was identical to the one I saw in the picture of Cao Da, the boss of the Black Panther’s gang!

Now that I’d found the body, I went ahead and started the autopsy. The first thing I did was confirm the time of death. Judging from the pupil dilation, the rigor mortis, and the livor mortis, the time of death was about four days ago. I then was about to perform Organ Echolocation when Dali interrupted me.

“Dude,” he said, “can’t you make that guy lie back down before you go to work? It’s really creeping me out knowing that a dead body is sitting straight up and staring at us with his dead eyes…”

“You’re so annoying!” I snapped.

I slammed my fist against the dead body’s back, then there was a loud crack and the body slumped back down on the bed.

“D-Did you just break his spine?” stuttered Dali.

“The muscles are completely stiff by now,” I explained, “and there are no hot towels here, so this is all I can do to make it lie back down. Morticians would’ve used the same method as well. In fact, they’d be even rougher than me!”

I then came back to Cao Da’s body and continued with the autopsy. After Organ Echolocation, I found that his heart, lungs, and liver were extensively damaged. I took off his clothes and found no less than a dozen stab wounds on the chest, although the blood had already been wiped off. I put on latex gloves and began to examine the stab wounds more closely.

“These are open wounds,” I said. “The murder weapon was probably a serrated knife. Judging from the shape of the wounds, the murderer stabbed the victim in close range, and was probably right-handed. It seemed that the murderer wasn’t very skilled in wielding knives.”

“But the murderer stabbed him so many times!” Dali commented. “I call that pretty skillful!”

“The surface of the wounds aren’t clean and flat,” I explained, pointing at the wounds near the victim’s heart. “This means that the knife was tilted as it plunged into the victim’s body and when it was pulled out. A professional would’ve stabbed the victim straight on, creating a clean wound that should resemble the mouth of a fish. I’m pretty sure the murderer is an amateur.”

“In that case,” said Xiaotao, “the murderer probably had a deep hatred for the victim!”

I nodded.

“The victim was the boss of an underworld gang,” I said. “He must’ve made more than a handful of enemies in his life. It’s not surprising that someone would hold a grudge against him.”

I then took off the victim’s pants, and immediately the victim’s penis bounced up like a small wooden stick. Xiaotao grimaced and turned away immediately. I flicked it with a finger and exclaimed, “What a surprise!”

“You idiot!” snapped Xiaotao. “You know, it’s like you transform into a totally different person whenever there are dead bodies around.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I just thought that the atmosphere was too depressing. I wanted to liven up the mood, that’s all.”

“Liven up the mood?” Xiaotao and Dali shouted simultaneously.

“Anyway,” Xiaotao continued shyly. “Why is that thing in that state?”

“Blood stops flowing immediately after death,” I explained, “so if there was an erection at the moment of death, it will remain so after death.”

“You mean he was having sex when he died?” asked Dali.

“Not necessarily,” I shook my head. “When a man is suffocated, it is not uncommon that he would have an erection.”

“But he was clearly stabbed to death!” argued Dali.

“The stabbing is only the direct cause of death,” I explained. “The real cause of death still depends on the position of the fatal stab and which organs stopped functioning first. If the fatal stab was in the lungs, the blood could block the trachea and cause the victim to choke to death.”

I then asked Dali to help me bend the knees and arms of the victim while I constantly listened to the movements of the joints to determine the posture of the victim when he died. As we did so, the victim’s penis kept swaying to and fro in front of us. It was a pretty distracting sight.

“Will it ejaculate, dude?” Dali asked with concern.

I listened intently to the victim’s joints and bones and answered, “Yes, be careful!”

Dali immediately moved his face away nervously.

Then I asked Dali to lie down on an empty bed next to the victim. He reluctantly did so. I kept adjusting the joints of the victim’s arms and legs, then finally fixed on a pose.

“This is the posture that the victim was in at the moment of his death!” I declared.

Dali tried to imitate the victim’s posture, bending his legs this way and stretching his arms that way. Xiaotao frowned as she watched on.

“What a strange posture!” she exclaimed.

“Try it upside down, Dali!” I ordered.

Dali turned over and propped his hands on the bed and bent his knees. Xiaotao immediately recognized what it was.

“He was indeed having sex when he died!” she exclaimed.

“Yes!” I replied. Then I used the Echolocation Rod as a substitute for a knife and made stabbing gestures on Dali’s chest. “Judging from the position and distance of the knife, the identity of the murderer is now clear!”

“It’s definitely a woman, then,” said Xiaotao. “But didn’t Hamster tell you there was no one with Cao Da at the time?”

“No,” I corrected her. “His original words implied that there wasn’t a single living person in the room. The wording may be the key to solving the case. But I’ll need to examine the corpse a little bit more.”

“Can I get out of this posture now?” Dali asked. 

“No,” I ordered. “Stay in that posture!”

Then I went under him and he blushed.

“Dude!” he said. “Xiaotao-jiejie is right there! Don’t act like we’re in our dorm room!”

“Shut up!” I spat. “Don’t make it sound weird, okay? I never do this with you when we’re in the dorm room!”

Xiaotao couldn’t help but burst into laughter. I was only trying to reenact the murder so I could get more valuable information. There was an ancestor of mine whose name was Song Xia who would solve murder cases rapidly by putting himself in situations that the victim was in at the moment of death. If he was investigating a case that involved someone being buried alive, then he’d bury himself alive too. If he was investigating a case where the victim drowned, then he would tie a heavy rock to his feet and jump into the water. Compared to his dedication, what I was doing could be considered insignificant!

In order to make the reenactment more realistic, I spread my legs and placed them beside Dali’s legs. Dali instantly became very embarrassed.

“Dude, we must never let anyone else know what we’re doing, okay?” he told me. “If one of our classmates found out about this, they’ll make fun of us and we’ll never hear the end of it!”

“What are you telling me that for?” I shot back. “You’re always the one who can’t keep your mouth shut! By the way, we’re supposed to be having sex here, can’t you move your hips a bit?”

“Shit, dude, you’re taking this too seriously!”

“Shut up! It’s not like I’m asking you to take off your pants! Hurry up!”

Dali began to move up and down awkwardly. I nudged him in the chest with the Echolocation Rod, then an idea flashed in my mind and I told Dali to stop immediately. I got off the bed and examined the victim’s body again, and sure enough, there was a particularly long incision in the diaphragm.

“This is where the victim was first stabbed,” I said. “At the time, the victim was moving up and down just like Dali, and the knife plunged into him as he and the murderer were having sex, catching him by surprise. Judging from the position of the wound, I think the murderer is about 150 cm tall.”

Then I examined the victim’s chest a little more closely and exclaimed, “Wait! Something’s wrong here!”

“What is it?” asked Xiaotao.

The victim was the boss of an underworld gang. Judging from the old scars on his body, he’d been stabbed many times before. Why would he just lay there and let the murderer stab him a dozen more times without fighting back?

I massaged my temples and fell deep into my thoughts. It seemed that the only way to find out was to continue with the reenactment, but when I turned around, Dali wasn’t there. I heard his voice coming from the door saying, “I gotta go to the toilet, dude! I’ll be back in a second!”

“Idiot!” I spat. “Just when I need him to be here!”

“I can replace him!” Xiaotao offered with a smile.

“W-What?” I stuttered, blushing.

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