Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Yanjia Lane wasn’t very far from Chunshui Street. It was within walking distance.
The heavy rain was still falling. With dark, heavy clouds looming, the boundary between day and night was no longer clear.
Whether it was due to a typhoon or murder, Chunshui Street was sparsely crowded, and many stores weren’t open.
The rain splattered on the streets over and over again. The bloodstains that were once there had long since been gone, leaving behind a clean ground and a refreshing air. It was so fresh that it made people want to slow down.
Lin Chen walked slowly and didn’t have an umbrella with him. Xing Conglian propped up a black umbrella and followed closely behind.
For some reason, Xing Conglian had a feeling that Lin Chen should be very young. Although Fu Hao referred to him as shixiong, he seemed younger than Fu Hao.
He had the obvious look of someone who had just graduated from college, but his demeanor was as decadent as an old monk; indifferent without any sorrows or joys.
He could make conjectures calmly or lie beneath a corpse by himself without any particular emotion, and even after he came out, there was no change in his expression.
This made Xing Conglian want to know more and find something that could move Lin Chen.
The two walked slowly. When they arrived at the fruit stall where the crime occurred, there was no one there. The roll-up door was tightly closed.
Lin Chen stood in the place where Yu Yanqing was standing that day.
At this moment, there was a dense overcast and the rain was heavy, not similar to the environment of that day.
At that time, the sun had not yet set and there were many people about, breathing in the fishy smell in the air.
Then, suddenly, the riot started. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the crazed fruit stall shopkeeper. They watched him slash at an innocent woman. No one was paying attention to the old man who had long been dead that was sitting in front of them.
When the woman rushed to the door of the shop, causing the old man to fall silently, the fear of death was amplified indefinitely. Everyone was breathless, as if they were being strangled by a pair of invisible hands. They were no longer bystanders but became witnesses.
Who is the murderer? Why did they choose to take such strange actions in the morgue? Why did they watch this scene here?
That person stood here. What did they want? What did they see?
Lin Chen raised his head slightly, closed his eyes, and let the sporadic rain fall on his face.
Seeing this scene, Xing Conglian became uneasy. He looked around and patted Lin Chen on the shoulder.
Lin Chen suddenly opened his eyes.
Xing Conglian pointed to the surveillance camera at one end of the street and said, “This camera was installed a few years ago. We say it’s for the safety of the vendors, but that’s actually just a pretense.” As he spoke, he pointed down the long street. “The one on the other side has been broken for some time now.”
“Is there no surveillance in the park and morgue?” Lin Chen asked.
“The park is too large, so there would always be blind spots. As for the morgue… Even if it’s installed, no one dares to look at it.”
“Then, that is a problem.” Lin Chen paused, then said, “The criminal seems to know the surveillance system very well and can always avoid them when committing crimes. This begs the question, isn’t it strange why Yu Yanqing is always caught on camera?”
“That makes sense…” Xing Conglian laughed. “But technology isn’t living, while people are.” He looked around and walked diagonally opposite of the fruit stall towards a hardware store.
“I heard that psychological profiling is quite amazing. I’ve always wanted to see it.” Xing Conglian whispered softly into Lin Chen’s ears.
The owner of the hardware store was a middle-aged man in his early fifties. He was balding and had gray hair around his temples.
Seeing the documents Xing Conglian showed him, he rubbed his hand on the apron and addressed them as if he was familiar with this procedure. “You’re here to ask about that day again. I really didn’t see what was happening on the other side. You see these things hanging in front of me? I don’t even know when that old man opened his shop.”
The shopkeeper spoke very fast. There was some impatience in his words, as if he had repeated this many times.
“No, tell him about it again.” Xing Conglian interrupted him and pointed to Lin Chen.
Lin Chen took a half-step forward and moved away from the items in front of the shopkeeper. His tone was gentle, like an umbrella propped up in the middle of a heavy rain. “You don’t have to think about what exactly happened. I want you to tell me what the weather was like that day.”
His voice was calm and collected, and his eyes held a peaceful gaze. Without needing any instructions, the shopkeeper closed his eyes unconsciously, as if he was lost in his thoughts.
“The weather was pretty good. The sun hadn’t set yet, but the market was overcast and gloomy.”
“Take a deep breath. There were some sounds around, and the crowd was walking about. Did you smell anything at that time?”
Following Lin Chen’s voice, the shopkeeper took a deep breath, then slowly said, “Yes, there was the aroma of bahulu, raw meat, and something fishy…”
“Listen to the sounds around you. The voices and footsteps around you are getting louder. Work hard to hear those sounds more clearly.”
Lin Chen’s voice became softer. Combined with the sound of the rain, it was like a melodious flute.
The hardware shopkeeper was silent for a while before he spoke again. “Crying. I heard crying. The street was very chaotic. There was crying and shouting everywhere. A woman was shouting. Help, help… But I dared not move. I’m too scared to move!”
“How do you feel?”
“I’m very scared. I’m not afraid of being attacked. I have my own knife. If he dares attack me, I’ll attack him back. But then the old man across from me fell down, and I saw him lying there motionless. His body was very dark, but there was a smile on his face. It brought back memories of when my dad died. It was so scary…”
As the shopkeeper spoke, the muscles on his face tightened. He clenched his fists tightly. Suddenly, a peaceful voice, like a very thin stream of water, slowly but forcefully washed away his closed heart.
“You suddenly find that in front of your eyes, a piece of paper appeared. That piece of paper is very long and wide. It fell from the sky and slowly wrapped around the entire street.”
The voice was soft and spoke slowly. The shopkeeper found that in his mind, a piece of paper had really appeared. That piece of paper rolled from one of the streets to the other, wrapping everything, causing him to fall into a brief blankness.
He frowned slightly, as if perceiving something. There was a short pause before the voice spoke again.
“Now, please stretch out your hand and rub that piece of paper slowly. There are many things in it, so when rubbing it, please do it carefully and slowly…”
Following the instructions of the soft voice, the shopkeeper stood blankly in place. His hands hung on the sides of his pockets, but his fingertips started to slightly tremble.
Xing Conglian was stunned.
His gaze would shift between Lin Chen’s calm face and the shopkeeper’s face, who still had his eyes closed.
Lin Chen said, “Please hold the ball of paper.”
Hearing him say this, the shopkeeper clenched his fists.
“Imagine. Raise your hand. Keep raising it higher and higher until your arm is over your head… You feel a little tired, but the thing in your hand is light, very light… Then, please use all your strength to throw the ball of paper.”
Somehow, in the shopkeeper’s mind, he seemed to really throw the ball of paper. He felt himself raising his head until the snow-white point disappeared from sight.
Then, he felt a slap on his shoulder. He suddenly opened his eyes. He looked at the young man who was standing in front of him.
The young man wasn’t tall, a bit thin, and was wearing a white shirt. The shirt was soaked and stuck to his body. His face was calm, and his eyes were as clear as a stream under the rising sun.
In the shopkeeper’s ear, a familiar voice sounded again.
“Thank you very much.”
The young man paused, looked directly into his eyes, and said seriously, “Also, that’s all in the past.”
The sky was still gray and overcast when they left the shopkeeper’s store. Xing Conglian leaned his umbrella towards Lin Chen as he lowered his voice. “What was that just now? Hypnosis?”
Lin Chen shook his head. “Psychology is not as weird as you think. You can’t just hypnotize people by looking at them.”
“Then what is it?”
“It’s a psychotherapy method used by therapists to help patients get rid of some excessively horrible memories.” Lin Chen looked at him, then silently averted his gaze.
Xing Conglian didn’t know what to say. When Lin Chen asked about the case, he ended up treating someone’s trauma as well. This service seemed too thoughtful.
“Then, did you get anything?”
“It’s very strange. The perpetrator seems to be deliberately creating a certain atmosphere.” Lin Chen pondered for a moment.
The silent fear under the bed in the morgue, the old man who suddenly collapsed in the shop on the street, the young man struggling as he was dying under the still rings; all this brought out the fear of death…
As if remembering something critical, Lin Chen suddenly said, “Call Fu Hao.”