We knocked on Old Huang’s door with a heavy heart, but there was no reply. Zhang Ai anxiously kicked the door open and stormed into the house.
As soon as the door opened, a thick burning smell came to our nostrils, which made our scalps tingle.
I glanced at Senior Shu, who then looked at Zhang Ai and shook his head. I knew that he wanted me to stop Zhang Ai because the scene inside might be a horrible mess. He didn’t want Zhang Ai to go in rashly.
I hurried to stop the worried Zhang Ai and made her stay put.
Senior Shu approached the bedroom and placed his ear to the door, trying to listen to the commotion inside. Then, he knocked on the door five times. Three knocks were long, and two were short.
However, there was only deadly silence; not a single sound was heard.
Senior Shu exhaled in relief and opened the bedroom door.
The moment the door was opened, a thicker burning smell exuded.
Although Zhang Ai had carefully covered her nose and mouth, she couldn’t help but throw up.
A person lay quietly on the bed; it was Old Huang. He was naked, with a quilt covering the left side of his body, and he looked fine. There was nothing strange about his body. There were no burn marks, either.
I couldn’t relax as everything looked too normal. If the dead body wasn’t burned, where did the smell come from?
Senior Shu suspiciously scanned the room. There weren’t any burned or charred spots. We didn’t even see a wisp of smoke.
Finally, Senior Shu gritted his teeth and walked forward, resolutely lifting the quilt.
What we saw under the quilt frightened us.
The part of Old Huang’s body that the quilt had covered was hollow, and his bones were charcoal-like. His flesh had turned into ashes and was now stuck to the bones. At first glance, he looked like a pile of coke.
The right side of his body had intact flesh, while his left side was burned into ashes. This extreme contrast was too much to bear. My stomach twitched and churned. I turned around and puked.
Li Mazi had it even worse. He landed on his butt and shrieked, “Holy moly!”
Zhang Ai’s reaction was better than mine. Perhaps she had already prepared herself and only looked a little pale. She silently gazed at the burned body, and teardrops started falling from her eyes. In the next second, she burst out crying in front of us.
Senior Shu said helplessly, “All right, don’t cry. Since half of the body was burned, half of the soul would be damaged as well. This kind of ghost will go crazy and attack everybody. If we don’t deal with this matter right now, things could get bad real quick.”
Li Mazi and I comforted Zhang Ai. We asked her to report the case to her superior. A policeman was murdered. This wasn’t a small case anymore.
Zhang Ai was very worried. “What if they ask me why we were at Old Huang’s place this late at night? They won’t believe that a ghost killed him.”
We also had a headache because of this. In the end, I decided to bet everything on the Zhang family. If they could arrange Zhang Ai to work in the police station, I was sure they had someone in the higher-ups. I called our contact.
The gold-toothed man picked up the call. I briefed him on the situation, and although he was surprised, he reassured us, “Don’t worry and do what you need to do. I will talk to the leaders of the police station. Just wait there.”
Soon after, two leaders from the police station arrived. Zhang Ai called one of them ‘Bureau Chief.’ It seemed the Zhang family had great influence over this local police station.
The Chief was very polite and greeted us warmly, apologizing for not coming earlier. I told myself that this Chief was probably involved in some shady business. One of his policemen was murdered, and he was still in the mood to fawn over us.
I didn’t point this out as he was being polite. After a quick greeting, we urged him to deal with Old Huang’s case.
The Chief nodded and bravely walked into Old Huang’s room. However, as soon as he saw the tragic scene, he shrieked in horror. If we weren’t here, I guessed he would have vomited his insides out.
The Chief tried to refrain himself from vomiting. It took him a long time to adjust his mood and get himself together. His face gradually regained color.
Senior Shu said, “Old Huang’s soul has fallen into a frenzied state and is full of resentment. After twenty-four hours, he will adapt to his new condition and start harming people. I suggest we cremate his body as soon as possible. Although it will kill his soul, it’s the only way to prevent him from harming others.”
The Chief kept silent. Eventually, he said with a reluctant face, “Sir, I totally agree with your idea. However, Old Huang was a policeman at our department for quite a long time, and he had a very strange death. Our superiors will request us to investigate this case thoroughly. If we cremate his body now, it would look really suspicious. That’s fine by me as I would only lose my position, but the others might not be this lucky.”
His righteous words weren’t enough to deceive us. The truth was that he didn’t want to get involved in this mess. It definitely wasn’t for other people’s well-being.
At the same time, his words were somewhat reasonable. The victim was an old-timer. If we burned his corpse right after his death without a thorough explanation, we would receive a lot of criticism.
After contemplating for a while, Senior Shu compromised. “In that case, clean the scene and move the deceased to the morgue. Tonight, I will find a way to make Old Huang’s soul ascend.”
I knew that Senior Shu just wanted to comfort the Chief as there was no way to pacify Old Huang’s soul. Since his soul was incomplete, we could only destroy it.
The Chief nodded and said that he would call a special investigation team to deal with the scene once we had left.
At this time, it was almost 4 AM, and the sky was getting brighter. We were exhausted, but Senior Shu didn’t bring us back to Zhang Ai’s apartment to rest. Instead, we went to the morgue. On the way there, we grabbed the Wordless Heavenly Book and brought it to the morgue as well.
There were several souls in the morgue that had been murdered by the Wordless Heavenly Book, so the book had the power to subdue them to a certain extent. We didn’t need to worry about these souls causing trouble.
We rested in the lobby beside the morgue. Before the sky brightened, the Chief called and asked us to open the morgue. “They took photos of Old Huang’s remains, and everything has been dealt with. As promised, we’re sending him to the morgue now.”
I glanced at Old Huang’s corpse. The undamaged half of his body was stiff and had turned purple-brown. The remaining half of his face had also twisted, with his eye rolling backward and gazing at the ceiling.
It was a sign that he was about to become a zombie, which kept me worried.
Having dealt with Old Huang’s body, the Chief invited us for lunch to celebrate.
However, we weren’t in the mood for a party right now. “Thank you, but we’ll have to refuse. We have to watch the morgue for twenty-four hours. We don’t want anything unexpected to happen.”
The Chief didn’t want us to stay in that cramped, filthy place filled with corpses. He cleared a room in which we could have a view of the morgue through the window.
After the Chief left, I asked Senior Shu, “Why was only half of Old Huang’s body burned?”
Senior Shu sighed. “Otherworldly items hate to be cut in half the most. Old Huang had used a pair of scissors to cut the paper into two pieces, which had also cut the soul that lived in the page into two pieces. Although only half of the soul was left, it didn’t affect its power. Quite the contrary, it made it crazier and more resentful. That’s why it murdered Old Huang. Also, since the soul was halved vertically, it could only attach half of its ‘body’ to Old Huang’s. That’s why he died in such a strange way.”
Something suddenly popped up in my mind. “Senior Shu, it seems we haven’t found the evil soul that murdered Old Huang yet. Will it go around and kill more people? We can’t let it run wild.”
Senior Shu explained, “That’s why we need to go back to Old Huang’s place to find that piece of paper. Earlier, I was worried that we would provoke the soul, so I didn’t ask you guys to search for it. But now, it’s broad daylight, and the soul must be sleeping. It’s time to look for it.”
Zhang Ai led us back to Old Huang’s house, and we started searching for the page.
Eventually, Li Mazi found the piece of human skin paper inside Old Huang’s working files.
Senior Shu carefully wrapped the piece of paper in a cloth. We then hurried back to reattach the piece to the Wordless Heavenly Book.
Next was a long wait for the night to fall. Only at that time would ghosts show up, and only at that time we could deal with them.
Our main mission was to lure out Old Huang’s soul and destroy it to prevent it from harming more people.
It had been a very busy day. I rolled around in bed and couldn’t fall asleep. The Wordless Heavenly Book kept appearing in my head.
Since so many strange things had happened, Zhang Ai was traumatized. She didn’t dare to go home and decided to stay with us in that small office.
Around noon, when I started to feel sleepy, the Chief called us, asking us to join him for lunch.
Senior Shu and I hated these kinds of socializing meals, so we didn’t want to go. However, the Chief kept begging us, and since Li Mazi also wanted to go, we had to agree.
The leaders of the Public Security Bureau also joined the lunch. It was enough to show how much importance the Chief attached to this matter. At the same time, I was curious about the power of the Zhang family. How strong were they, after all? How could they make the Chief pay so much attention to this case?
I tried to pry and learned that the Chief didn’t actually know the Zhang family; perhaps he lacked the qualifications. He had received the order directly from the Provincial Public Security Department.
It was startled. I had never thought that the Zhang family could influence even the Provincial Public Security Department.
Still, even with such power, the Zhang family couldn’t openly deal with the Longquan Villa. It seemed that the Longquan Villa was even stronger and far-reaching. If possible, I didn’t want to provoke either of them.
Then, I remembered the trainee that had gifted Zhang Ai the shoes. That person must have come from the Longquan Villa. I asked the Chief if he knew about the trainee.
The atmosphere suddenly turned awkward. The Chief forced a smile. “Actually, that trainee was an impostor. We noticed only after they resigned.”
“An impostor?” I was startled. “Sir, what happened?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter