Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
A long time after that, Lin Chen was thinking, ‘If the person who got out of the car and chased Xu Ran was Xing Conglian, what would happen?’
Perhaps he wouldn’t be as silent as he was. With his skills, he probably could’ve reached Xu Ran as early as when she knocked over the newsstands and detained her, or perhaps he would have shouted at the people in front of him to stop chasing wildly. Would he say, “Don’t move” or “Stop”?
If it had been Xing Conglian, perhaps the outcome would’ve been better…
And if it had been better, perhaps Xu Ran would be sitting opposite of him now. She would cry to him about Li Jingtian, and he would hand her a tissue or a glass of water and tell her that everything would pass. He would catch the bad guy.
But now, all Lin Chen could see was the inside of an intensive care unit.
In fact, he was in a face-to-face situation right now, but he was standing outside a window while Xu Ran was lying on the bed.
There were catheters and wires connected to Xu Ran’s body. She laid there lifelessly. A light-yellow liquid medicine was slowly injected into her body, drop by drop, along the hose. Her heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiratory index on the monitor were temporarily stable, but it was only temporary. No one knew when the alarm for her disappearing vital signs would sound again.
Lin Chen looked at Xu Ran’s face, which was mostly covered by the ventilator. The lines of her brows and eyes were deep. She had a typical look of a tormented life. She was only 25 years old, but it looked as if she was aging in reverse.
Because of the car accident, Xu Ran had high intracranial pressure, so a flap of her skull had to be removed. There were brown blood stains and traces of yellow vomit on her face, as if she were the aftermath of a crudely made doll after children had fought over it and in the process had broken it to pieces.
Unfortunately, dolls were different from people. The doctor said it was unknown whether the patient would wake up; she was facing internal organ failure at any moment because she had been run over twice by the truck.
In short, the classic plots of those movies and dramas were always like this. Doctors would always say it would depend on the patient’s will to survive, because in the eyes of screenwriters and directors, they had to be such a hopeless and yet desperate person in those stories. Only passages of full hope could highlight the dramatic conflict.
However, Lin Chen knew well that for Xu Ran, there might not be such a hopeful moment.
The saline mixed with the liquid medicine slowly dripped, as if the life of the girl on the bed was slowly passing.
Lin Chen felt someone patting him on the shoulder. He turned his head and saw Wang Chao. The teenager’s eyes were tender and sad. He saw Wang Chao open his mouth to say something to him, but it was all inaudible.
Strangely enough, seeing Wang Chao’s face made the scene on the sidewalk resurface. At that time, Wang Chao was delayed getting out of the car because he had to put down his laptop, but he felt that the teenager wasn’t far behind him. The wind wasn’t that cold, but when it blew on his face, he could smell the blood. This sense of clarity was terrifying, because he could recall every detail of the scene, such as the few newspapers that were floating in the sky or the plush pendant that smacked a passerby—and, of course, the moment that Xu Ran’s body was crushed. Such scenes replayed back and forth, giving him a headache.
Lin Chen closed his eyes. The ringing in his ears made him unable to hear anything around him.
He knew well that this was a post-traumatic stress response. In fact, the thing about pain was that it was fair to everyone. No matter how many books he read, how many psychotherapy techniques he mastered, and how many great truths he could say, when the time came when he should feel pain, that pain would not diminish.
When Lin Chen opened his eyes again, he realized what Wang Chao was saying to him.
He saw Xing Conglian and the forensic pathologists coming from the end of the corridor. He looked as if he were watching a crime drama that had nothing to do with him. He watched the uniformed policemen push open the door and enter the intensive care unit. They were solemnly doing forensic work as flashes of light would flicker from time to time. Some of them were taking pictures, while others were taking Xu Ran’s fingerprints. Some were checking Xu Ran’s bag, while others had put her bloody clothes that the doctor had taken off during the operation and put it into an evidence bag. Everything proceeded in an orderly manner, as methodically as time passing.
Finally, Lin Chen saw someone hand over a cellphone with a broken screen to Wang Chao.
He didn’t look up, but based on the calluses on the slender knuckles and joints formed from holding a gun, he knew it was Xing Conglian’s hand.
Lin Chen lowered his head. He didn’t know if Xing Conglian had spoken yet, but the symptoms of his tinnitus had temporarily disappeared, and the ward was eerily quiet.
Later, the visitors retreated like the tide, and there was no one in the corridor again.
Lin Chen began to hear the hissing sound of the ventilation fan.
He felt that he should do something—at least not stand here in a daze, deeply immersed in a plot of PTSD, muddled by those flashbacks that made him powerless.
He took out his phone and wanted to see if there was any news or content online; even if it was just some strange entertainment news.
Although he thought so, he subconsciously knew that what he wanted to see wasn’t that. Since it was the top trending post, he once again saw on Weibo the photos of the scene of the car accident.
The annoying asphalt road, the clogged traffic, and the hordes of people…
The faded scene became vivid again as he looked at the photos of Xu Ran lying in a pool of blood, one after another. Although the photos were mosaiced, his memories filled in the blur, and the scene became complete again.
Lin Chen even saw himself in the photos.
It was quite comical. He looked at himself at the scene of the car accident, showing blank, empty eyes from a distance, as if he hadn’t recovered from his inexplicable actions. For the first time, Lin Chen discovered how truly fragile and incompetent he was. People were always fragile and incompetent.
When Xing Conglian exited the intensive care unit, this was what he saw.
Lin Chen was looking at his phone with a mocking gaze. The screen emitted a bluish-white light, which made his face pale.
Xing Conglian clenched the paper cup in his hand and walked towards him.
When he got close, he realized Lin Chen was looking at his own photo at the scene of the car accident. He could see the ridicule in Lin Chen’s eyes, which held some contempt. Lin Chen was mocking himself—at his own incompetence.
Xing Conglian felt he should say something. In fact, from the time he rushed to the scene of the car accident to after Xu Ran was carried into the ambulance, he should’ve said something to Lin Chen.
But he searched his guts and found that he wasn’t the kind of person who was suitable for consoling people. After all, Lin Chen had been doing that job, and he did it well. Just by standing there, as if he were blessed with a soothing aura, he could make anyone temporarily forget the pain.
Xing Conglian thought about it. Of course he could tell Lin Chen not to be sad, that it wasn’t his fault, and all kinds of flowery words, but they were all nonsense. No one wouldn’t feel pain watching a life fly away at their fingertips, even Lin Chen.
He sighed and raised the paper cup in his hand and touched Lin Chen’s cheek.
Lin Chen could feel his cheeks burn.
He raised his head, only to find that Xing Conglian had come back at some point, and they were the only two standing in the corridor. Wang Chao had gone off somewhere; most likely to check on Xu Ran’s phone.
“What are you thinking about?” Xing Conglian asked him as he handed him the paper cup and leaned against the glass window.
Lin Chen stared into Xing Conglian’s dark green eyes as he almost blurted out his answer. “I was wondering why you covered my eyes.”
Such thoughts were obviously abnormal—even unprofessional, given that the victim was lying behind the wall they were next to—but he still asked Xing Conglian, “Why didn’t you let me look at the accident scene?”
This was a fragile test. A kind of test that was common among people who were in love. People who were carried away by love used these questions to test the other’s mind, hoping to get something that would suddenly make them feel happy. In the past, he wouldn’t be so naïve, but now, like those little girls who were dazzled by love, he wanted to use this test to gain hope and was eager to get a response of love from Xing Conglian.
Even if he saw traces of wavering or love in Xing Conglian’s eyes, it would give him great comfort. The desire for love that only little girls had could make him forget the pain, because love was the greatest refuge.
But, alas, this was Xing Conglian, and such a response would be out of character for him.
His gaze was still calm and peaceful, like a deep pool in the mountains. He said, “Because, this time, you don’t need to look at it.”
“It’s fine if it’s only me.”
In an instant, Lin Chen understood what Xing Conglian meant. When Xu Haozhen committed suicide in the previous case, Xing Conglian didn’t have time to rush to his side to witness the tragedy on his behalf. Now, he was here, and he should have seen it.
Although it wasn’t romantic, it was better than romantic.
Lin Chen found it funny. He brought his hot drink towards him and found it was hot cocoa, the kind he had ordered for Wang Chao.
“A friend of mine said that sweets can release dopamine in the brain, which can make you feel better.”
“Your friend is very wise.”
“Indeed.” Xing Conglian looked at him as he responded solemnly.
Lin Chen took a sip of his hot cocoa, feeling a little embarrassed. “Actually, you don’t have to be like this. I’m not the kind of person who never forgets and continues to torture myself whenever I witness a tragedy. I don’t have such lofty ideas of saving the world…”
“I’ve heard similar words last time. What’s wrong with you?” Xing Conglian’s words didn’t sound harsh at all, but it was probably more like he was reprimanding a subordinate. There was no emphasis in his tone. Just looking at his eyes when he said, “What’s wrong with you?” was enough to make Lin Chen honestly explain clearly.
“Some PTSD. I just need to take it easy,” Lin Chen replied.
“You’re blaming yourself, very badly.”
Xing Conglian was serious. He was sharp and saw right through the problem.
“Self-blame is inevitable. If I didn’t blame myself, I’d have antisocial personality disorder.”
Lin Chen gently turned the paper cup in his hand. He still had a pretend relaxed smile.
However, Xing Conglian couldn’t smile. He had never seen Lin Chen like this.
Lin Chen was wearing the same white shirt he had always worn for ten years. His cuffs were rolled up, and the collar buttons on his shirt were unbuttoned, revealing his clavicle, which made him look a little thin. He was leaning against him in a disheveled manner, holding a paper cup with his head lowered, and he didn’t even dare to look him directly in the eyes. Xing Conglian couldn’t tell what was on Lin Chen’s mind.
He remembered that after Xu Haozhen committed suicide, Lin Chen told him that he knew he wasn’t a saint and couldn’t save everyone in the world, so he wouldn’t blame himself too much, but this current situation was completely different from that day. Lin Chen was blaming himself, severely. He blamed himself so deeply that it made his bones ache. If he could exchange his life for the girl lying on the hospital bed, it was possible he would be willing.
“You have no obligation to assume this kind of responsibility,” Xing Conglian said.
“Why not?” Lin Chen almost laughed, though it could hardly be considered a laugh. This was the first time Xing Conglian had seen that Lin Chen’s eyes were red. “This is completely my fault. It’s different from when Xu Haozhen committed suicide. Her psychological problems were something I couldn’t judge at the time, but Li Jingtian is different. After knowing what he had done to Xu Ran, I should have read the file immediately, but I didn’t. What am I doing? Sitting in a store eating ice cream and getting confused by all those comments online. I didn’t understand what was going on at all…”
Although Lin Chen’s eyes were flushed, he spoke every word calmly, as if he were expounding facts from a distance. The object of his accusation seemed not to be himself, but a stranger in a parallel world.
At this time, saying anything was useless. Xing Conglian shook his head. He took the paper cup in Lin Chen’s hand and pulled him in for a hug.
Of course, hugging was a form of comfort and encouragement between comrades-in-arms, but Lin Chen was completely different from the other comrades he had hugged before. Lin Chen leaned against his arms respectfully; his body was ridiculously cold, like a piece of ice or an inorganic substance. He just heard him mumbling about his mood, like on repeat, about his feelings.
“And then what? I was completely entranced by Li Jingtian. You know, for psychologists, this kind of perverted, abnormal individual seems to be extremely attractive to us by nature. Yes, I looked at Li Jingtian and kept analyzing him over and over again. From his fingertips to every strand of his hair. I was excited. I felt that I had caught all the key points, and this proud excitement made me completely ignore Xu Ran. I ignored the real victim. How could this not be my fault? This is my fault… I’m sorry. I’m really sorry…”
Lin Chen’s dull voice sounded in his ears. He heard Lin Chen keep talking, and those whispers seemed to penetrate his heart. It was strange that Lin Chen was clearly blaming himself and confessing to the mistakes he thought he made, but Xing Conglian felt those words were beautiful, just like a rose that was red like fire, a rose that was white like snow. Kind people were truly kind to their bones, and Lin Chen was so beautiful that it almost broke his heart.
Finally, after Lin Chen had apologized multiple times, the hoarse confiding stopped.
Xing Conglian felt strange. The lights were bright, and the surroundings were silent. He was hugging someone of the same sex as he stood in an empty corridor. This hug that was supposed to comfort comrades became complicated. It was mixed with heartache, pain, despair, self-blame, and other unspeakable emotions, and, at the time, he didn’t notice, love.
Xing Conglian felt his shoulder get wet. He lowered his head and looked at Lin Chen’s black hair.
Many times, later on, when Xing Conglian recalled this scene right now, he realized that at this moment, he should have lowered his head and kissed the top of Lin Chen’s head.
But at that time, he just said, “We’ll catch him. I promise.”
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2 thoughts on “Criminal Psychology Ch121”
This broke my heart….thinking of all the accusations LC suffered till now by others and now this….he deserves all the love and care. I hope XC realises his feelings fast.
Thanks for the chapter
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the chapter ~