Baldy shrugged off my question and clammed up. Xiaotao slammed the table and shouted, “Speak up, bastard!”
Baldy remained unmoved.
“I can’t reveal the boss’s secrets!” he insisted.
“What secrets?” I asked. “Everyone here knows that your boss is a necrophiliac!”
Baldy’s eyes widened in horror. It was clear that I’d hit the nail on the head. Cao Da might seem to have a fearsome persona to the general public, with being the ruthless boss of a powerful gang and all, but behind his back, it was rumored that he was useless in bed. Some alleged that he was completely impotent, some said he might actually be gay. But the top crust of the Black Panthers gang knew that he was in fact not attracted to living people!
As Cao Da’s close friend, Baldy would often sneak into hospital morgues late at night where someone would hand him a big sack for him to deliver to the boss. Once, Baldy even saw a human hand slipping out of the sack! Gradually, he realized what was really going on, but he was loyal to his boss and would never reveal his secret even if it meant losing his life!
On the night of the incident, Baldy was at the nightclub with a friend. Then the boss suddenly entered and ordered him to carry something from his car. When he got there, he saw a female corpse all dolled up and wrapped in a blanket which he was supposed to carry into the boss’s room.
Baldy guarded his boss outside the door all night. At around two o’clock in the morning, a gang member smelled a heavy stench of blood coming from the room. That was when they realized something had gone horribly wrong.
They kicked down the door and found the boss lying lifelessly in his own pool of blood while holding a knife in his hand. His body had been stabbed so many times that he looked like a sieve!
Besides the boss, only the female corpse was present at the scene. Some people suspected that she faked being dead, so they punched and kicked her, but she did not respond at all. They knew that the boss would never commit suicide, so only one explanation made sense to them—an assassin somehow killed their boss, and it was most likely related to the Blood Wolf gang, who was fighting for a piece of land worth hundreds of millions of yuan with them at the time.
And that was Baldy’s confession. It was consistent with my deductions, except for one little detail—where did the knife drenched in snake venom come from?
The ‘dead’ woman couldn’t have brought it with her. I asked Baldy about it, and he slapped his forehead and replied, “Ah, that! Well, every time the boss is doing his ‘business,’ he’ll swallow the snake bile as an aphrodisiac. The snake had to be freshly killed for the bile to be effective, so the boss would usually bring a knife and a live snake into the room with him.”
So now everything fell into place.
Baldy still didn’t know why I had brought the corpse there. Xiaozhou was also eagerly anticipating my next move.
“I bet even your illustrious family hasn’t performed an autopsy like this before, Song Yang!” remarked Xiaotao.
“Let’s begin!” I said.
Xiaozhou injected epinephrine diluted with normal saline solution into the female corpse’s spine, and we waited for a few minutes. Suddenly, the corpse took a sharp breath and opened her eyes. Everyone was taken aback. Even Baldy was so scared that he hid behind a police officer, shouting, “It’s a ghost!”
“Calm down, idiot!” shouted Xiaotao. “That’s the woman who killed your boss!”
The young woman looked around confusedly. She tried to raise her hands, but they were handcuffed to the chair.
“Where am I?” she asked. Her voice was timid. The dress that she wore was skimpy, leaving much of her body exposed. Her skin was almost transparent and the blue of her veins were very vivid. Many police officers blushed and turned their eyes away, not daring to look straight at her.
“You’re at the police station,” answered Xiaotao. “What’s your name?”
“Chu Yan,” the girl replied.
“What an angelic name!” cried Dali, obviously wonderstruck. I glared at him.
“Explain to us how you murdered those men,” said Xiaotao.
“What?” Chu Yan shook her head frantically. “I don’t know! I was born with this strange disease, and I collapsed in the shopping mall. When I woke up, I found myself with a man doing disgusting things to me. There was a knife nearby so I stabbed him with it. Then I collapsed again, and when I woke up I found another man doing disgusting things to me again, so I hit him with an ashtray. And then I became unconscious. When I woke up again, I saw a weird man smiling at me. It shocked me so I stabbed him with the scissors without thinking.”
“You do attract lots of weird men!” sneered Xiaotao.
Then Chu Yan pointed at me and said, “When I woke up the fourth time, this guy was touching me in a weird place, so I hit him with a stone!”
Not all of the police officers in that room were at the scene that night, including Baldy, so they all turned to me with accusing eyes.
“You’re misunderstanding me!” I argued. “I’m not like those other perverts!”
Chu Yan tried to raise her hand to scratch her head, but realized that her hands were handcuffed.
“My mind’s still a blur,” she mumbled. “I can’t remember all the details. Can you please take me home?”
We all went silent. I noticed that all the men in the room looked at Chu Yan with eyes full of sympathy and compassion. Chu Yan’s big round eyes, angelic face and delicate body made them feel protective of her. Xiaotao and I were the only ones who didn’t fall into that trap.
I had been watching her closely all this time, and I knew that none of what she said was true.
“You’re lying!” I said, slamming the table. “Tell us the truth!”
Tears welled up in Chu Yan’s eyes. “I told you the truth!” she insisted between sobs. “I could never hurt anyone on purpose!”
The room was filled with sympathetic sighs. Almost everyone was moved by her pleas and tears. And then, Chu Yan’s eyes suddenly rolled back, and she collapsed and died again.
“Inject her with the epinephrine again,” ordered Xiaotao.
“But, Huang-jie!” Xiaozhou protested. “It’s too dangerous! I mean, look at her! The poor girl has suffered enough!”
“That’s right, Huang-jie!” echoed the other officers. “How could such a girl murder anyone?”
“What she did was self-defense! It’s all those perverts’ fault!”
“Dude,” Dali chimed in, “she’s obviously not a cold-blooded criminal! Can you not be so harsh on her?”
Even Baldy, the hardened gangster who was supposed to avenge his boss’s death, was moved to tears by Chu Yan.
“You idiots!” snapped Xiaotao. “Have you forgotten your duties as police officers? Just because she’s pretty doesn’t mean that she can get away with killing people! Wake her up now!”
Everyone’s face turned sour and no one took any action. At that moment, I felt it was crucial that I stand by Xiaotao.
“Xiaozhou,” I said, “do you want to remain a member of the task force?”
Xiaozhou shifted on his feet nervously, then reluctantly injected the epinephrine into Chu Yan’s body. In a few seconds, she woke up and gulped for air. She looked around with sorrowful eyes, to which Xiaotao sneered, “That was a well-timed death!”
“It always happens when I get very emotional,” she answered, biting her lips.
“Now tell us the truth!” Xiaotao urged her.
“But I’ve told you everything I know!” Chu Yan argued, getting more and more agitated. “I never meant to hurt anyone! Please take me home!” Then she started to breathe with difficulty, as if she was going to collapse again.
Everyone in the room glared at us. They probably thought that we were too cruel to the girl. Xiaotao didn’t dare to speak too loudly after that for fear of over-stimulating her. As Chu Yan’s breathing slowly recovered, I whispered to Xiaotao, “I think we’ll have to take it easy on her.”
Xiaotao nodded. I asked Chu Yan a few simple questions like whether she remembered the date, which school she attended, and who her parents were.
She told us that her father was a businessman. Because of her illness, she had never gone to school before. Her father was often away for work. She usually spent her days at home reading books and drawing pictures.
I told her that she could go home if she promised to answer a few more questions. She nodded in agreement. I showed her the photo of Cao Da from my phone and asked her, “Do you remember this man?”
Chu Yan shook her head.
“Why did you go out that day?”
“To buy some sanitary pads,” she replied.
“What were you wearing?”
“A dress, a pair of flats, and I was carrying a small bag…” she answered. “But they’re all gone now.”
“Aren’t you afraid that some perverts would follow you if you go out alone?” I asked. “Do you know how to defend yourself?”
“No,” she shook her head.
“Okay,” I said. “That’s all for now. You can go home now.”
“Thank you!” she cried. Her eyes lit up. “Oh, I’ve really misunderstood you. You’re not a bad guy at all!” Her sweet voice made the men around me stare at me with envy.
“Should we really just let her go?” Xiaotao wondered.
I nodded. Once the officers took her away and everyone else had left the room, I told Xiaotao, “None of the answers she gave was the truth. I’m sure what she did was not purely self-defense, but premeditated murder!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter