Chen Shi left the community. He stopped every so often and used his fingers as a frame to make sure that the “shi” in the air was still visible.
The little monk's drawing was very clear. The window was in the shape of “tian”, and the word “shi” occupied the upper left corner.
Xu Xiaodong sent a text message every few minutes to ask him, “Is it done?”
After walking for an hour, he lost count of how many times he had climbed up buildings. Chen Shi suddenly found an old residential building about six stories high. Although it was old, it was painted with a new layer of paint and had a “For Rent” sign posted downstairs. The rent was quite cheap and it seemed like people had taken ownership of the building as a rental investment.
Chen Shi ran over to each unit over six stories. In the stairwell window of the fourth unit on the sixth floor, he could clearly see the “shi” swaying in mid-air, and the position was very close to the picture.
Chen Shi went knocking on the door but found that no one answered the door. In order to save some time, he looked around. There was no surveillance monitor here, so he removed two wires from the wire window, poked them into the keyhole and after three tries, the door was opened.
This house had not been rented out yet and had just been renovated. There was the smell of formaldehyde. The door led to a hallway with a bathroom and kitchen next to it. In the front was a bedroom with an empty bed frame inside. The balcony had been sealed.
Chen Shi looked through the window and the word “shi” appeared perfectly in the upper left corner of the window. He was excited for a moment but did not forget that he was currently breaking into a private dwelling right now.
Thus, he wiped his footprints off with a napkin, went back out, and contacted the landlord.
The landlord came up and said, “Officer, what case are you investigating? It won't affect our renting business, right?”
Chen Shi said, “It's an old case and won't affect you... Can I ask what this building was previously used for?”
“Employee family housing!”
“Which units were part of the employee housing scheme?”
“In the past, it was a family housing for an automobile factory. Because there weren’t enough employees living here, the factory rented it out to some migrant workers. I used to be an employee of the automobile factory. After retirement, I took over this place and rented it out. I can even get a sum of money if the building gets demolished. I won’t make a loss!”
“You're very business-minded. Excuse me, but can you open this house for me to have a look?”
The landlord was obviously a person who was afraid of problems. After taking out the key, he said, “Officer, there won’t be any dead people in the house or anything, right? I want to declare that although I’m the landlord, the people living here have nothing to do with me and I’m not responsible for anything they do.”
“Don’t worry, I’m clear on that!”
Upon entering, Chen Shi took a picture of the cross on the window and sent a message telling Xu Xiaodong to pack up and come over. Then, he asked the landlord, “Can I rent this unit?”
“Oh, I understand. You need to find the bad guys, right?”
“Yes, yes, what’s the shortest time we can rent this place for?”
“If you want to rent, you have to rent it for the quarter.”
“Can we rent it for a month? We’re not living here. It will be vacated in less than a month. The police will definitely not cheat you out of your money.”
The landlord was still hesitant, so Chen Shi urged, “I will add on an extra half month’s rent.”
“Okay then, as my support for your work,” the landlord said happily.
He immediately transferred the money over to him via WeChat and Chen Shi took the key. Xu Xiaodong rushed over and looked around. “This is really the place? Brother Chen, fuck. We actually found the crime scene from 13 years ago!”
“Don't be too happy yet. Look at the wall and floor. I don't know how many times it has been renovated; the evidence may be long gone.”
Chen Shi thought that he should call the little monk. On one hand, the little monk could identify whether this was the right place. Additionally, he might be able to recall something after revisiting this place.
Chen Shi called and asked about Lin Dongxue’s progress. Lin Dongxue responded, “I still need some time! I’ll contact you guys soon!”
Since it was noon, Chen Shi and Xu Xiaodong ate a simple meal and called the little monk from the hostel to come to them at three in the afternoon. As soon as he entered the door, the little monk looked blank. “The layout is correct, but the environment seems to be…”
“Thirteen years have passed and the external part of the building has been rebuilt many times. All the reference materials have been changed long ago.”
The little monk checked around. When he felt a dent in the wall, he burst into tears and nodded desperately. “It's here! It's here! I saw my father was hurt by the bad person. I was very scared. In my hands, I held a nail and subconsciously made a hole in the wall.”
The dent was less than one meter above the ground, which was in line with the height of a child, but it was relatively close to the door. The bedroom would not have been visible from there.
Chen Shi asked, “Did you walk forward?”
“I did. Otherwise, how would I have seen the light on the window?”
“Your father was already...”
“At that time, he had already been stabbed numerous times and his blood was all over the glass, on the ground, and on the wall.”
Chen Shi looked around the bedroom, imagining that dark night. A madman cruelly killed his father in front of the young monk and the whole room was dyed blood red like hell, echoing the madman's laughter.
Chen Shi shook his head. “The amount of bleeding indicates that it’s very likely that your father was dead at that time. The murderer might have been dividing the body up. Even if he was still breathing at the time, he wouldn’t have been able to speak to you. There is something wrong with what he said to you. Why did he say, ‘Chen Xuan, hide! Hurry up!’? Does he usually call you by your full name? The layout of the house is clear at a glance. What would the point in hiding be? In that kind of environment, shouldn't he just tell you to run?”
“That's what I remember!” The little monk wept as if he was being attacked and his volume suddenly increased.
“What about your mother? What was she doing at the time?”
“Tied up by the bad guy and thrown on the bed. Over there!” The little monk pointed to the wall on the left side.
“What does your father usually call you?”
“What about your mother?”
“Chen...” The monk suddenly looked up. “I'm sure my father was the one who shouted that!”
Chen Shi shook his head again. “Is there any difference whether your mother or father shouted that sentence? Why do you insist on saying that your father was the one who shouted it to you?”
“This is the truth!”
“I’ll make a more contextual hypothesis! This sentence was shouted by your mother. She was not tied up at the time and was hiding in the bathroom. When you walked to the bathroom door, you could see the bedroom and your mother could see you. The bad guy only cared about dividing the corpse. Because of the light outside the window, he didn’t notice you going forward, so your mother told you to hide.”
“Not like that! It’s not like that!” The young monk desperately denied. “You haven't experienced it at all. What would you know?!”
“Human memory shouldn’t be counted on. I agree with Old Peng on this point very much. Sometimes, people will subjectively modify their memory in order to maintain their opinion or image of important people... When you came in, your mother was not controlled at all. She was still able to move and she stood by as your father was killed.”
“You’re spouting lies! You’re spouting lies!” The little monk cried, turned around, opened the door and ran away.
“Fuck, why so impulsive? Should we chase him?” Xu Xiaodong asked.
“Let him calm down for a while. He's already an adult so he won’t get lost.” Chen Shi lowered his head and lit a cigarette before continuing to inspect the room.
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