While bringing Tao Yueyue home, Chen Shi saw Gu You pruning shrubs at the door and said, “Miss Gu, these flowers and plants all belong to the the community. Are you trimming them as volunteer work?”
Gu You smiled, “I saw yellow leaves through the window and felt uncomfortable, so I came out and cut them. I have minor OCD.”
Tao Yueyue stood at the door and pulled faces at Chen Shi and Chen Shi did the same to her before Tao Yueyue went back in.
Chen Shi really wanted to ask Gu You something. He had just shown off a psychoanalytic theory in front of Peng Sijue and Lin Dongxue. He was not an expert himself, so he said to Gu You, “I have something to ask you.”
“Please go ahead.”
“What details can you use to determine that a man is sexually repressed?”
“Is there a brightly-colored towel in his bathroom?”
“Why do you say that?”
“The bathroom is a very private place. Excretion and bathing are all related to sex. If you live alone, it can reflect a person's subconsciousness. If a man wipes his body with a brightly-colored towel, there is an implication of sexuality in it, indicating that he is very eager for sex.”
“You really are an expert!” Chen Shi felt a lot of respect for Gu You.
“Are you talking about your friend or yourself?”
“No, no, my friends and I were making a bet while chatting, thank you!”
“You're welcome.” Gu You smiled elegantly.
Chen Shi texted Lin Dongxue confidently, “Is there a bright towel in Xu Nianqiang's bathroom?”
Later, Lin Dongxue replied, “Hey he does, why? Does it have something to do with the case?”
“It seems that my analysis is correct. I’ll tell you the rationale behind it later!”
Chen Shi walked into his own bathroom and suddenly saw a brightly-colored towel. He secretly said “Ah fuck” and immediately pulled it off the towel rack. Tao Yueyue poked her head in from behind him and said, “Uncle Chen, why are you taking my towel?”
“Uh... Sorry for taking the wrong one.” Chen Shi hung it back again.
Chen Shi made dinner like an expert and prepared a bento for Lin Dongxue. When he thought of Peng Sijue's sour face, he couldn’t leave him out, so he prepared another one. However, there was only one poached egg in tomato sauce left and he didn't know whose box to put it in.
He wavered between the two bento boxes and Tao Yueyue, who was sitting on the opposite side of the table, saw the hesitation, “Uncle Chen, who else is as important in your heart as Elder Sister Lin?”
“Just go back into your room and do your homework.”
“Be careful, I’ll tell Elder Sister Lin!” Tao Yueyue threatened before leaving.
“Do you dare... Ah, right, don't go out at night. I'll call when I get back.”
Chen Shi decided to give it to Peng Sijue, but he couldn’t let Lin Dongxue find out, so he carefully covered it with vegetables so that the two looked similar before covering them up with lids.
Chen Shi went to the bureau and everyone was still at work. Peng Sijue had just finished the autopsy and was discussing the case with Lin Dongxue in the office. Chen Shi said, “Is there anything new?”
“The liver temperature was measured. The deaths were at 8 o'clock last night and 7 o'clock this morning. The injuries were caused by the same weapon. The male body in the apartment had slight marks of beatings, which were left after death. “
“Clearly in revenge for Lai Wei's abuse.”
“From the autopsy of the middle-aged man, he did not have the habit of smoking or drinking but he was in a state of sudden high stress. It seemed that he had been experiencing some major life change lately. The injury on his body was left by a single murder weapon. He was already dead by about the fourth wound; the more than ninety wounds afterwards were all just for venting the murderer’s anger.”
“I told you that this person was really stressed. Have you checked his lower half? Did he not have sex for a long time?”
“Get lost. There is no such procedure in an autopsy!”
“Come and eat. I brought you guys a portion each.”
Opening the boxed lunch, Lin Dongxue said with admiration, “You were only gone for two hours but you made so many dishes?”
“Haha, the pork ribs were stewed beforehand. Try and see if they’re soft enough?”
“They’re delicious...” Lin Dongxue picked up the first ribs and found an egg underneath. “And poached egg. I love to eat this.”
Chen Shi thought, oh no, I gave them the wrong ones!
Peng Sijue, who had already eaten half silently, gave Chen Shi a meaningful look.
Even if he said that the poached egg was for him, it would only offend both at the same time. Chen Shi had no choice but to roll with his mistake and said, “Old Peng, save some face for me, we’re all superficial adults. As long as you understand in your heart.”
“It's okay. Thank you for the meal.”
“Are those your true feelings?”
“Adults are all superficial. As long as you understand in your heart.”
Lin Dongxue laughed so much she spat out some rice and quickly covered her mouth, “How embarrassing. Rice is spraying out from my nose. I'll go to the bathroom.”
With only two people left in the office, Peng Sijue asked, “Are you two dating?”
“Why do you think so?”
Chen Shi was secretly surprised. Peng Sijue had such keen eyes that he had noticed even the subtle changes in distance between the two when they talked. He said, “Are you secretly watching us?”
“Does Dongxue know your secret?”
“She doesn't know anything. A blank piece of paper...” With that said, Chen Shi felt sadness wash over him again. As the case progressed, the moment the secret will be made public will come.
But what else can I do? What needs to come, will come. I just need to cherish the current moments.
These fond memories will warm his lonely heart no matter what happens in the future. Just like the withered apple in the hands of the desert traveller. Sometimes, what supports a person to live on is just that light.
Lin Dongxue was the warm light that he had found in three years of darkness.
“I won't run away this time. I will face everything!” Chen Shi said.
Peng Sijue chewed the food in silence and suddenly said, “Number!”
“The deceased died at 7 o'clock, and witnesses at the scene said that they saw Wang Sunxu at 6:30. The victim dialled a number after 6:30! I just saw it on the cell phone of the victim and didn’t realize this. This number was dialled while the victim was facing the killer.”
“Then it must be very important. It’s likely that the deceased was trying to warn the next victim.” Chen Shi said.
Peng Sijue immediately put down the lunch box, put on his jacket and packed his tool kit up. Chen Shi asked, “From your attitude, are you preparing to go and do an autopsy right now?”
“According to Wang Sunxu's killing frequency, do you think this person is still alive?”
“Don’t decide that arbitrarily!”
Lin Dongxue ran in from the outside and asked, “What happened?”
Peng Sijue said, “We might have figured out who is the next victim. Go to the information department to locate an address for the number...”
“No need!” Chen Shi held his own cell phone in one hand and the cell phone of the deceased in the exhibit bag in his other hand. “I got through... Hey, we are the police. Do you know Xu Nianqiang?”
The voice on the other end of the line was a girl’s soft voice. She slowly said, “He was my junior middle school teacher.”
“He called you this morning, didn't he?”
“Yes, I was still sleeping at the time. It was very sudden. He cried so much on the phone and he apologized to me.”
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