Li Wei lay still on the bed in a pool of blood with a pair of scissors sticking out of his chest. I touched the vein on his wrist, and felt a faint pulse.
“He’s still breathing!” I shouted. “Quick, call the ambulance!”
Xiaotao immediately dialed 120. I looked around the house and saw a closet full of girls’ clothes, and on the table were some makeup, combs, false eyelashes and other cosmetic items. Li Wei’s blood was still warm, so the ‘dead woman’ must not have gone that far yet.
I opened my Autopsy Umbrella and borrowed a UV lamp from the forensics team. I asked Dali to hold the lamp up for me while I slowly turned the Autopsy Umbrella and scanned the whole room. Eventually, a set of very faint footprints appeared on the stairs.
Dali and I followed it all the way down and we reached a flower bed in the front garden of the building. Surely enough, there was a woman’s body lying among the flower plants!
The woman was wearing a pink dress. Judging by her height and body size, she was undoubtedly the same woman who murdered Cao Da. As we went in closer to check on her, Dali suddenly exclaimed, “She’s so beautiful!”
He was right. Even in death’s slumber, the young woman’s face was still sweet and demure. Her eyes were round and large like that of an anime character’s. I touched her and found that her body had gone cold. Her pale white skin had become bluish, and I could clearly see the veins underneath it. She had nothing else on her except for the pink dress. Parts of her body were stained with blood. I also noticed that the fingernail of her right index finger was broken.
I checked her pulse and felt nothing.
“Give me my Echolocation Rod!” I shouted to Dali.
“I didn’t bring it,” Dali replied. “Your bag is still upstairs in the room. Is she really dead this time, dude?”
I wasn’t sure myself. I’d never encountered anything like this before.
Moments later, I heard the sound of hurried footsteps approaching us. It was Xiaotao and the other officers. They stopped dead in their tracks when they noticed the dead woman. Xiaotao had brought my backpack with her, so I pulled the Echolocation Rod out from it and began examining the young woman’s body thoroughly.
I detected no heartbeat and no signs of activity from all of the organs whatsoever. I checked her pupils and found that they were completely dilated. To put it simply, she fit the all characteristics of a dead person to a T!
I then noticed an object sticking out between the woman’s legs. I lifted the hem of the dress and found a plastic rod there. Many officers looked away with a deep frown. I pulled that thing out and examined it. It turned out to be a plastic heating rod coated with oil, and it was something that was often used with blow-up dolls.
Li Wei was probably using it to warm up the dead woman’s vagina. To his horror, it caused the young woman to come back to life, and when she saw what he was doing to her, she grabbed a pair of scissors nearby and stabbed him with it to fight him off. Then she escaped through the door and collapsed again on the flower bed. All this must’ve happened in mere minutes before we arrived.
“Give me some room,” I said. “I’ll try to bring her back to life!”
Everyone stepped back cautiously. I inserted the heating rod back into the young woman. I didn’t feel awkward or embarrassed about it at all as she was only a corpse in my eyes at the moment.
I braced myself and waited. Seconds later, the young woman suddenly opened her eyes. Her dilated pupils constricted again, and when she saw me, she grabbed a stone nearby and tried to smash it on my head. I activated my Cave Vision the second she raised her arm and managed to predict her actions through her muscle movements. Xiaotao shouted for me to be careful, and at the same moment, the stone flew out of her hand. I inched to the side, and the stone whistled past me, grazing the tip of my nose.
“Don’t be afraid!” I tried to reassure her. “We’re the police!”
The young woman backed away in panic. She jumped up to her feet and staggered away, trying to escape. Xiaotao ordered the officers to surround her and block her from getting away. At that moment, the young woman’s eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she fell flat to the ground with a loud thud. Everyone was astounded. An officer approached her slowly and put a finger under her nose.
“She’s dead again…” he announced.
“Take her back to the police station!” ordered Xiaotao.
We all returned to the station along with the ‘dead’ woman. No one could say for sure if she was there as the suspect or the deceased. In the end, it was decided that the body was to be put in the morgue, but the air-conditioning would be turned off and two police officers would watch over her at all times.
By then, it was almost at the crack of dawn.
“There’s nothing more to do now,” said Xiaotao. “I’ll drive both of you back to college.”
“No,” I refused. “You’ve been up all night too. We’ll just take the morning bus back.”
Xiaotao must’ve been exhausted herself, so she didn’t argue. Dali and I left the police station and took the bus back to our dorm. When we reached our room, we collapsed and slept till noon.
“Ugh, my back is killing me!” complained Dali when he woke up.
Just then, I received a text message from Xiaotao, which read, “The girl is still dead. I’ve asked someone to track down her identity.”
I spent the best part of the day in the library, trying to get more information on the young woman’s condition, which was something that I’d never encountered before. It was not too uncommon for someone to have symptoms mimicking death. In fact, various heart and brain diseases might cause death-like symptoms. But usually there would be some telltale signs that differentiated these symptoms from actual death. This young woman, however, had a symptom so accurately like death, with no detectable vital signs at all. A case like hers had, as far as I knew, never been recorded before.
I found an author who had written books about uncommon medical conditions and decided to write him an email describing the details of the case and asked for his advice and suggestions.
Even after writing that email, I couldn’t get my mind off the case and wasn’t in the mood to do anything else. It was as if I was in a trance—I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t do anything else but ponder on the puzzling case. Dali, on the other hand, went out and watched a movie with our roommates without a care in the world.
The next morning, I received an email from the author. He explained that there was a disease called Intermittent False Death Syndrome. It had not been included in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases because only two cases had ever been recorded in history. The pathological cause was never determined either.
The author conjectured that people with this disease had a congenital defect in the center of the hypothalamus, which intermittently brought the body to a state of halt before it fell into a condition of false death.
I thanked the author for the information and asked him how one could awaken the patient. He replied by expressing great interest in the patient that I described and asked me who I was and how I encountered the patient. I told him that I was with the police.
“Ah, so you’re a police officer!” he replied. “According to your description of the patient, she would be resuscitated whenever her body is engaged in sexual intercourse. In that case, I recommend injecting 3% epinephrine into her veins to wake her up.”
Apart from that, he also expressed hopes to obtain first-hand research materials from me once the case had been resolved. I understood this feeling very well, so I agreed to discuss the matter with the other officers.
I then immediately rushed to the police station with Dali. When he learned that I figured out a way to wake the girl up, he got so excited as if he was going to meet the angel of his dreams.
“Get a hold of yourself!” I reminded him. “Did you forget the fact that she’s a murderer?”
“She was clearly defending herself!” Dali retorted. “How could a beautiful angel like her ever have a sinister thought in her pure mind? I think you’re the one who should get a hold of yourself, dude!”
I smiled wryly in response, secretly thinking how flawed Dali’s logic was in assuming that beautiful people couldn’t be sinister.
When we arrived, we found the police station to be particularly rowdy. It turned out that the two gangs were at each other’s throats again. The Black Panthers gang members were so anxious to avenge their boss that they stabbed about three people from the Blood Wolf gang.
“Song-ge!” cried Baldy when I walked in. “What a coincidence!”
“It’s only been a few days,” I said. “How did you get caught again?”
“It was all a misunderstanding, Song-ge!” he explained. “We just had a little skirmish last night after a few drinks.”
“A little skirmish, you say?” barked the officer who was holding him. “People were hacked to death and you call that a little skirmish! Come here!”
Baldy was dragged away. Dali whispered to me, “How do you know a gangster, dude? That’s awesome!”
We then found Xiaotao in another room. She’d been very busy since last night and hadn’t had a single minute of break so she was visibly in a bad mood. I explained what I discovered to her and she responded, “Great! You’d better hurry up and solve this case, Song Yang! Otherwise these two damned gangs will throw the whole city into utter chaos!”
Xiaotao ordered a few police officers to take the ‘corpse’ to a conference room, because all the interrogation rooms were now occupied. The corpse was placed on a chair and handcuffed. The young woman’s body was cold and stiff. Her head was crooked to the side. The sight of her on the chair gave the room an eerie vibe.
“Bring Baldy in!” I ordered.
When Baldy came into the room, he was instantly stunned the moment he saw the corpse.
“That’s amazing, Song-ge!” he exclaimed. “Where did you find her?”
“The way you put it,” I replied, “it almost sounded like you know her!”
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