Thus, we rushed back to the station. On the way there, Luo Youyou apologized, "Song Yang, I’m sorry. I may have revealed the store address."
She explained that the murderer must have found the information on her cell phone after checking the Taobao purchases and Meituan takeaway she often used. Her default address was the store. I waved my hand, "It doesn't matter. You don't have to blame yourself. In fact, it’s a good thing the murderer made the first move!"
"Is the store seriously damaged?" I turned to Dali.
"You broke a few shelves, but it's okay. We sell sanitary napkins and it’s not like they’ll be broken," assured Dali.
Back at the station, we gathered in the conference room. Xiaotao spread out a map of Nanjiang City’s High-tech Zone on the table, that is, the area across the river where the murderer escaped.
I scanned the map and noticed two main roads in the area with the river in the rear.
"It should be easy to seal the area off. I’ll assign officers to watch the main road and send a patrol boat on the river," said Xiaotao.
"The murderer has been shot,” I added. “Please send a few officers to guard the only hospital in this area."
"With his intelligence, the murderer wouldn’t go to the hospital unless he’s crazy!"
I laughed, "I know, we’re just putting on a show for the murderer to see. If he’s shot, he’ll stop the bleeding immediately. But after tonight, the wound will definitely get infected, giving him a high fever. So he needs anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. You can send young officers to pharmacies in this area to dress up as shop assistants."
"Smart boy!” Xiaotao arched an eyebrow, “Using his own methods to deal with him! Are you waiting for the prey to fall into your trap?"
"We’ll get him to lower his guard, and then, aha!" I grinned.
"The officers might be recognized. I’ll contact the police academy and send some cadets," suggested Xiaotao.
"They have to look like honest, decent folk who can do no harm. Take Dali for example," I remarked.
Dali tsked, "Don't always use me as an example!"
Xiaotao made a phone call to the police academy. When the cadets heard they could participate in an arrest, they were eager beavers who couldn’t wait to get started. The instructors chose more than twenty cadets who soon arrived and awaited Xiaotao’s screening. In the end, only fourteen of them were left. Those selected rejoiced while the rest slumped with sadness. "Don’t look so glum,” I consoled. “I’ll call again next time we have a task."
It was a race against time and we had to get in touch with more than a dozen pharmacies immediately. I hoped they would cooperate with the police. There was no time for training. These cadets would have to head to the respective pharmacies to learn how to be a shop assistant.
It was already 3:00 am though we were too excited to sleep. "Let's take a two-pronged approach and analyze the murderer’s identity!" I proposed.
From my personal encounter with the murderer, his height, size, and age matched my speculations. He spoke with a Jiangxi accent and might have a criminal record, all of which could be used to screen chemical plant employees.
Xiaotao and her team stayed up for overtime while the rest of us waited in the conference room, too preoccupied with the load on our minds to speak.
The exhaustion gradually got to me so I took a nap at the table. When I opened my eyes, it was already dawn. My legs were cold and stiff, like stones. Bingxin spoke to me, her voice sounding nasaly.
"Do you have a cold?" I asked.
Bingxin sneezed, "I might!"
"I'll get you some cold medicine," I said.
I headed to a nearby pharmacy and purchased some cold pills. Looking at the mineral water bottles and ice packs on the shelf, an idea suddenly crossed my mind.
At 8:00 am, Dali said, "I’m going back to the store. It’s a mess and l’ll have to clean it up."
"I’m not going to the store today,” I replied.
"No problem. Let me know when you catch the murderer. I must give him a punch!" fumed Dali.
In the afternoon, the officers finally found a suspicious man named Xiao Dawei, aged 47, who used to be an employee of a local chemical plant and was born in Jiangxi Province. He was previously incarcerated for battery and didn’t resume any work since he was released. It seemed like he was an idle man.
Upon seeing his photo, I was 100% sure it was our guy. But there wasn’t much in his case files. "There must be more than one case file on this guy," Xiaotao opined.
This day was spent in anxious waiting, and no news came from the pharmacies.
"Did he see through your plan?" asked Xiaotao.
I wagged my finger, "No, he’s very cautious. He would rather endure the pain than come out to buy medicine."
"What can we do then?" cried an anxious Xiaotao.
"It doesn't matter,” I smiled. “Onto the second step then! It’s time for drastic measures!"
I drew a circle on the map, "Contact the waterworks and cut off the water supply in this area tomorrow without prior notice."
"Exhausting his supplies! It's a vicious plan, but I like it!" commended Xiaotao.
"If I were in his shoes, I’d rather die," Bingxin said, taking a sip of water.
For a man down with a high fever to be denied water, the agony was unimaginable. But this wasn’t all to my plan. “Call those cadets who didn’t make the cut yesterday and a few others,” I ordered. “Send them to various convenience stores, internet cafes, tobacco shops–anywhere you can buy water."
Xiaotao nodded, "Alright, I’ll get to it now!"
There were more cadets coming to the station, flocking to us like excited puppies as soon as they heard about the mission. The difficulty of their task was relatively low. Because there were too many of them, heading out together would only raise suspicions. Thus, Xiaotao instructed them to drive, take a bus, or go on bicycles and move in batches.
By 8:00 am the next day, our personnel were in place. Xiaotao immediately contacted the waterworks and cut off the water supply for an entire day.
We waited anxiously as the day gradually passed. When it turned dark, I glanced at my watch. "It’s about time. I think we’ll be able to arrest him in three hours tops!"
Xiaotao looked surprised, "Are you so sure?"
"It’s human nature to avoid the dark. But the night will give him a sense of security. After waiting all day, he’s bound to come out at night,” I analyzed.
At 8:30 pm, a phone call came in. "Captain, we caught him!” a cadet shouted with glee. “He looks just like the photo!"
"Report your location!" ordered Xiaotao.
We tore hell for leather to run over and arrest the suspect. When we saw Xiao Dawei, he appeared absolutely miserable, lacking all spirit, lips chapped and eyes swollen. He walked unsteadily, requiring the help of two officers to remain standing.
It took no effort to catch him. He fell on the steps when attempting to escape.
Xiao Dawei rubbed his chapped lips together and begged, "Give me water! I need water!"
I purchased a bottle of mineral water and handed it to him. Like a man trekking through the desert for several days, he unscrewed the lid with trembling hands and poured the water down his throat with barbaric eagerness. His uncoordinated movements caused him to choke and cough violently.
Even someone as kind as Bingxin had no sympathy for him. "You deserve it!" she scolded.
After the suspect was sent to the hospital, Xiaotao clapped her hands and said, "Call all the cadets who participated in the operation. Tonight’s dinner is on me!"
While everyone else cheered, I quietly nudged her, "It’s more than a hundred people. Can you afford it?"
Xiaotao scoffed, "I’ll be happy to, even if it were a thousand cadets!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter