Chen Shi asked, “Which year was that?”
“09... I think it was the year 09?” The driver lowered his voice. “Wang Zhangyou was killed by someone two days ago. Was it related to this matter? Will that person find me? I swear I didn't do anything.”
Lin Dongxue said, “At that time, the child was only a teenager and an orphan. Your gang of adults went to bully a child and you have concealed it for so many years. Can you guys live with your conscience?”
The driver said, “Who told his brother to kill someone? His brother was arrested by the police, so how could people vent their grievances? ... I’m saying this on behalf of Wang Zhangyou. I swear I didn’t do anything. I just broke a few pots. That’s it. Besides, the child wasn’t a good kid anyway. If the upper beam is not right, then the lower beam would be crooked. According to his school teacher, he usually stole things and so on. He was unpopular in school and everyone avoided him like the plague. Such a child wouldn’t have grown up to be anything good!”
Chen Shi said, “Okay, okay, you won't be held accountable. You have to be careful these next two days.”
The driver said, “I will start burning incense from today onwards and pray that you catch him soon!”
“Which school did that child go to?”
“Thirty-seven High School... You know, that infamous trash high school.” The driver smirked.
“Which middle school do your children go to?” Lin Dongxue asked.
“Experimental middle school and a top high school.” The driver responded proudly.
After saying farewell to the driver, Lin Dongxue looked very unhappy, Chen Shi asked, “What's wrong?”
“I feel uncomfortable whenever I see this kind of naked discrimination. My brother and I were also orphans, and the school I went to wasn’t very good. In childhood, the bullying of others made me miserable for many years. I dare not imagine what kind of psychological trauma would be inflicted when a group of adults violently attacked the child and his house. Today’s Wang Sunxu was created by this group of people!”
“This is the chain of hatred. People standing on each side of the chain consider themselves to be reasonable and victims. So the law doesn't consider the heart;only stopping the violence can stop hatred... Don't be sad.” Chen Shi gently stroked Lin Dongxue's back.
Lin Dongxue smiled sorrowfully, “Those previous words aren’t as valuable as that last phrase.”
“What happened in the past has made us who we are now. We can't change it, but we must learn to accept ourselves!” Chen Shi said, “I love you exactly as you are now. Maybe if even a little thing in the past were to change, we wouldn’t have come together as we have. “
“Okay, okay, enough with the sweet talk... Where are we going next?”
“I want to go to Wang Sunxu's school.”
“To identify the next victim?”
At noon, the two went to the school that Wang Sunxu used to attend. Thirty-seven Middle School only had junior middle school available to students. However, Wang Sunxu dropped out after he graduated from junior middle school. He couldn’t afford the high school fees. In order to support himself, he went everywhere to work and earn money.
When they got to the school administrative office, the person in charge said that he didn't recognize the name at first, but when he saw Wang Sunxu's picture in the student files, the person in charge slapped his own forehead. “This kid. I remember now. Wasn’t he the murderer's brother?”
“Is this the only impression you have of him in your memories?” Chen Shi asked with a smile.
The person in charge said in embarrassment, “It's not discrimination. Us teachers usually talk about our students. Which student has money at home, which student's parents are senior officials, etc. We know all of that. When the child's form teacher talked about what his brother did, it naturally left an impression. After so many years, the fact that I can only remember that he was the murderer's brother doesn’t mean I’m discriminating against him. You must be understanding!”
Chen Shi said, “I'm not here to ask you about these. Was this child in your class?”
“I had him in physics class, but his former teacher was not me, but Teacher Cai.”
“How did the form teacher treat him?”
“The same as everyone else. Although our school's high school entrance rate is not the best in the city, it’s still a public middle school, you can rest assured that there is no corporal punishment for students, unlike XX Middle School...”
Seeing that the teacher was about to start criticizing his peers, Chen Shi quickly interrupted, “This is the situation. This child is killing people everywhere now and someone who bullied him in the past has been killed...”
“No! I did say that this kid wouldn’t grow up to be a good bird!” The teacher was shocked and then noticed that the beautiful-as-a-fairy female police officer standing beside Chen Shi was casting a scornful look at him. He instantly felt really embarrassed.
Chen Shi continued, “We’re not here to listen to good words. We just want to determine whether he was abused in school, because this may have a bearing on the next murder case and the life of someone you know! Of course, I will keep everything you say secret. Please also keep everything I say confidential.”
The teacher scratched his head awkwardly and said, “I can assure you that the class didn’t abuse him, but... There was a bit of special treatment. You should understand. After all, we are all just normal people. Who would want to be involved with a murderer’s brother?!”
“What special treatment?”
“Just letting him sit in the back row, sitting next to that trash can. He basically didn’t change seats for three years. And then as for classroom duty days, electing class reps, going to self-study, etc., whether he participated or not, we basically didn’t care... When I went to class , I had seen a student sleeping in the back row, so I threw chalk at him. I can’t forget even now the stare of the child, it was as if he wanted to kill me. Later, the form teacher told me that I didn’t need to bother about the child. That he’s the murderer's younger brother and to just let him be. Since then, I have ignored him. There were forty-six people in the class, but I would pretend there were only forty-five. When it was exam time, no matter what mark he got, I wouldn’t announce his marks. I would just put it on the podium for him to pick it up himself. When it was roll-call time, I didn’t read his name out and just pretended like this student didn’t exist.”
“All teachers didn't care about him?”
“We just pretended like he was air!”
“Do you know he had been forced onto this dark path because you all ignored him like this and only treated him as a murderer’s brother?”
The teacher said awkwardly, “We are also just ordinary people. We can even say that us teachers are even more afraid of things than ordinary people. Let’s take this beauty here. If your brother was a murderer...” Noting the change in expression in Lin Dongxue's eyes, the teacher hurriedly corrected, “Take the sweeper below, for example. If there was a murderer in his family, we definitely wouldn’t associate ourselves with him and will avoid him. You say it’s discrimination and I do admit that it’s a bit discriminatory. However, this kind of person can’t be treated equally, because I also have a wife and children. It doesn't matter what happens to me, but what happens if trouble befalls my family?”
Chen Shi thought sadly that “the murderer’s xx” for ordinary people is like “The Scarlet Letter” in Hawthorne's novels. It is a cursed identity. Avoiding them was for preserving one’s own safety. People only care about others when it is safe to do so. When everyone acts the same way, the whole world would be a hell full of indifference and discrimination to the victim.
He himself was also charged with murder. When he changed to this face, the Internet was full of insults and reprimands aimed at Song Lang. On the TV, arrogant experts analyzed the reasons why Song Lang took to the path of evil. At that time, he had also felt this chill of loveless indifference in his bones.
1. When those above (“upper beams”) behave badly, those below (“lower beams”) will do the same. Describes subordinates or juniors imitating their superiors or elders.
2. A good person.
3. Students are on a roster to perform duties such as cleaning the classroom and helping the teacher etc.
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