After waiting for about half an hour, Bingxin came in scratching her, "Song Yang, I didn't find any anesthetics in her blood, but I did find alcohol."
I looked at the body thoughtfully while Xiaotao asked, "Song Yang, why do you think the victim was drugged?"
"To fake a suicide, the victim must lose the ability to resist, and narcotics are the best choice. Moreover, after our analysis, the victim had been shaved before death. If she was conscious at the time, why didn't she resist immediately? After all, her chest and abdomen were shaved."
"Was she drunk on alcohol?" asked Xiaotao.
"There wasn’t that much alcohol in her blood, certainly not enough to render her immobile."
I suddenly recalled that many anesthetics were used together with alcohol, and the victim might have been drugged.
I proposed we dissect the body. All we had to do was examine the stomach and liver. An eager Bingxin removed the victim’s stomach. As the fat officer watched on, he turned ashen and immediately reported an urgent errand he had to run, fleeing from the scene.
Xiaotao shook her, "I’ve certainly grown accustomed to this picture."
Bingxin gently opened the stomach, revealing the stomach contents. Not all the food residue had to be tested since some of them could be identified by the naked eye–shredded pork, celery, tomatoes, duck, and laver. Xiaotao’s cheeks twitched imperceptibly, but fortunately, there was no mention of avoiding any foods in the future.
Bingxin swabbed up some whitish substance and placed it under the sunlight, " Is it yogurt?"
I sniffed, "No, it's semen!"
"I regret staying behind for the dissection,” interrupted Xiaotao. “Next time you open the stomach, I’m not watching."
“Xiaotao—this is important evidence, the murderer's DNA!" exclaimed Bingxin.
I threw the cotton swab away and shook my head, "It's useless! It has been more than four hours since death. Coupled with the heat and humidity of the stomach, the DNA has been destroyed."
Having said that, Bingxin still took some samples. Judging from the degree of digestion, the victim’s last meal was six hours ago. It was likely that the two ate together, so we could inquire at restaurants near the crime scene. In addition, I caught a whiff of alcohol.
Under careful inspection, I found traces of corrosion and bleeding in the stomach wall, which were relatively recent. It seemed like toxic substances were ingested in this meal.
"Come on,” I said. “Let’s use the elimination method to get a general idea of a poison. What substances can hurt the stomach wall?"
Bingxin replied fluently as if answering a teacher's question, "Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine, phenol, corrosive alkali, formaldehyde, mercury, thallium, and cyanide!"
"No, if the dose is enough to burn a hole in the stomach wall, this person would’ve bled to death, so what you just said can be ruled out," I shook my head.
Frowning, Bingxin turned to look at the victim’s eyelids, "Did the victim really fall to her death?"
"I’m a hundred percent sure about that. She was poisoned, but she didn't die of poisoning. So I think the poison only hurt the stomach, but didn’t act on the digestive system itself... I didn't find any signs of diarrhea," I replied.
With her head tilted to one side and brows wrinkled, Bingxin proposed we continue with dissecting the liver.
In fact, my understanding of poisons was basic at best. I was hoping our discussion would inspire Bingxin with the answer.
Upon dissecting the liver, we noticed patches on the liver at once. "I think I know what it is,” shouted Bingxin. “I’ll test it right away!"
She left after taking some samples. The fat officer entered the morgue smelling of smoke. "Have you come to a conclusion?" he asked.
"Almost, let's head out first!"
Before leaving, I covered the victim with a white cloth and burned some joss paper. Outside of the morgue, I briefly explained our findings to point him to a general direction for the investigation. As for the test, Bingxin required some time.
The fat officer left us with words of gratitude and his contact information, saying we could contact him if necessary.
Since we couldn’t leave Bingxin here alone, Xiaotao and I headed to the laboratory. After fiddling with some bottles and cans, Bingxin suddenly yelled, "Sure enough!"
Testing wouldn’t take long if we had the right direction. "What is it?" I asked.
"Chlorpromazine hydrochloride!" Bingxin replied.
"Oh! A sedative used to treat vomiting."
"Why didn't you find it before?"
Bingxin explained that the murderer had actually made a mistake. Chlorpromazine could kill once it reached a certain dose, but it had to be injected intravenously. However, the murderer mixed it into the victim’s food. As a result, the medicine entered the intestinal tract and burned the stomach wall, while the liver dissolved the rest. Hence, the victim didn’t die, but fell into a coma.
My eyes lit up, "The murderer originally thought that the victim was dead and began shaving her hair, never expecting the victim would regain consciousness halfway. The two had an altercation and the murderer pushed her down off building."
Tapping her chin, Xiaotao said, "Looks like the murderer isn’t adept with drugs. So what was his original plan? Collect human body hair to create a writing brush?"
I shrugged, "Let’s leave that for the fat officer!"
"How rude of you!” laughed Xiaotao.”He has a name."
"What's his last name?"
Xiaotao's face sank, "I can’t recall!"
Bingxin wrote down the lab results and placed them next to the body. The three of us left the station, only to find that it was getting dark.
Perhaps I enjoyed staying busy. With this new case, I felt very much at ease. In the evening, we decided upon dinner at the roadside stall. Without Sun Tiger watching her every move, Bingxin ordered up a feast–claypot frogs, sea cucumber with pickled peppers, stir-fried snails, duck’s blood and beef tripe in spicy soup, and other foods that her father usually forbade.
"Miss Sun, take it easy, will you?” Xiaotao chided. “Are you trying to get a stomachache?"
"Other people get to eat this all the time, but not me!” Bingxin mumbled with her mouth full. “It's delicious! How can there be something so yummy?"
Song Xingchen had a cup of jasmine milk tea in his hand, while Wang Yuanchao sipped on a large glass of draft beer. Courtesy had no place here. We were having dinner like any other family.
As night fell, the small county town lacked the brilliance of thousands of lights in Nanjiang City, but it had a clear, starry sky. Looking up, Xiaotao smiled, "Living in a small town like this when you’re older isn’t so bad."
"If you live here, you’ll be bored to death. You might as well stay here for a while and never come back," Bingxin retorted.
"What about the case?" chuckled Xiaotao.
I thought to myself while Bingxin patted me on the shoulder, "I believe that with Song Yang-gege’s Conan-like senses, clues will come knocking on the door!"
"Nonsense,” I laughed. “What you mean is, wherever I go, someone dies! For the peace of the human world, I shall banish myself to an uninhabited island."
Right then, someone shouted, "Murder!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter