On July 30th, the funeral of the deceased, Song Yuwen, was held at the parents’ home. Chen Shi called all the police involved in the case to go on standby nearby and went to the funeral with Lin Dongxue and Xu Xiaodong.
Lin Dongxue kept asking him, "Are you sure the murderer is among the people coming today?"
"It’s actually Ms. Song?"
Chen Shi made a gesture to signal her to be quiet. "Don't be so obvious, even if you know it in your heart. Be careful not to hit the grass and startle the snake."
Song Yuwen’s parents and younger brother were in front of Song Yuwen’s casket. The mother had swollen eyes from crying so much. Whenever someone came over to mourn, the family of the deceased bowed down to return their respects. Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue also wore black clothes and bowed before the casket and altar. They bowed three times and burned three incense sticks.
The Song family’s house was very large. The living room was enveloped in a sad atmosphere, but the other rooms were different. Chen Shi walked back and forth and saw some relatives in the master bedroom chatting together, talking and laughing. From their clothes, they seemed to be middle-class.
There were also some relatives outside the door, including Ms. Song and Mr. Shi. Everyone smoked while talking and laughing. Judging from their clothes, they were not well-off.
Lin Dongxue commented in a low voice, "Poor relatives and rich relatives will always conscientiously divide themselves into two groups. The segregation between the rich and the poor is able to block familial affection more than blood relationships."
"Relatives are nothing more than strangers who are related by blood," Chen Shi said.
At this time, Song Yuqiang came out and said, "Officers, you’re here!"
Chen Shi asked, "Don't you need to keep watch besides your brother's casket?"
"My dad asked me to rest for a while and told me to greet you. All of the people here today are relatives. You don’t know them, so it’d be awkward to be standing here yourselves."
Chen Shi smiled at Lin Dongxue. "It's okay. I'm with her, so I don't feel embarrassed no matter where I go."
"Hah, you two are really well-matched. Oh yes, the matter I talked about before."
"Let’s talk somewhere else!"
There were people in every room of the house. They could only go to the kitchen. Even the kitchen had several uncles smoking inside. When they saw people coming in, they moved aside. Song Yuqiang took out a tablet. "This is what you wanted to see."
Lin Dongxue leaned over to have a look. "What?"
"I asked Yuqiang for them. They’re all pictures of his brother from childhood to adulthood." Chen Shi took the tablet and looked through them.
Song Yuqiang was very attentive to Lin Dongxue. "Officer Lin, do you want to drink anything? I'll get it for you."
"No need. I need to ask you something... There are many relatives in your family."
"We do have quite a lot. After all, there’s two grandpas. My grandpa and great uncle. They’re brothers and have over a dozen children.”
"I noticed... Uh, it may be inappropriate to say this, but the segregation between the rich and the poor among your relatives is very obvious."
"Haha, you’re indeed a police officer. So insightful." Song Yuqiang's flattery was very unskilled. “The wealthier uncles and aunts that you see are all from my grandfather's side. The poorer relatives are from my great uncle’s side."
"It seems that the root cause happened in your grandpa's generation."
"Yes, my family was poor before the country was liberated. My great grandfather could only let one of the brothers go to school. The two brothers drew straws, and my great uncle drew the good straw..."
"Did I hear wrong? Wasn't your grandfather the one who had the opportunity to study, so all his future generations would have such a different fate?"
Chen Shi interjected, "Didn’t you see what era his grandpa was living in?"
Song Yuqiang continued, "This is what my father and uncle told me. At that time, it was my great uncle who went to school. My grandpa had to stay home to farm. Later, during the Cultural Revolution, my educated great uncle was criticized and forced to live in a cow shed. His children followed after his bad luck. My grandpa escaped because he belonged to the category of peasants who owned little or no land. He cut off his ties with his brother to avoid a similar fate and his children were all assigned to good jobs because they were considered as good elements. My grandpa said that fate plays tricks on you. Great uncle had good luck in the first half of his life, and he had good luck in the second half of his life. Sure enough, if he used up his luck early in his life, he would have had bad luck in the second half of his life. Because of this history and some special variables, people on my grandpa's side have always been doing better compared to my great uncle’s side."
"One small thing can change a life and even the destiny of future generations. Things in life are really unforeseen." Lin Dongxue sighed with emotion.
Chen Shi handed over the tablet and pointed to a group photo. "When did your brother take this picture?"
"His eighteenth birthday."
"Is this you?"
"This is that younger female cousin?"
"What about this boy?"
"Younger male cousin."
"Why was an 18th birthday celebration so grand? Isn't a big celebration generally for people turning 20?"
"My brother’s birthday is in summer. It happened that he did well in the college entrance examinations that year. Since he had turned 18, he took us out to have fun and booked a holiday villa in Moon Bay. We stayed there for a few days."
"It seems that your family is really rich. You could book a villa for a birthday after doing well in the exams... What did you do there?"
"We drank. My brother had just reached adulthood and suggested that everyone drink for once. We drank red wine but we all got drunk."
"My male cousin and I went out to go on the Internet. We were teenagers and our minds were all filled with playing online games. Whenever we had the opportunity, we went online. The two of us played all night before going back."
"So your brother and Cousin Wanjun stayed behind alone in the villa? And they drank alcohol?"
Song Yuqiang's face changed. "Fuck! Aren’t your thoughts too dirty? We’re cousins, how could it be possible..."
"I didn't say anything. What are you thinking?" Chen Shi observed the subtle changes in Song Yuqiang's expression. "Or do you actually know something?"
Song Yuqiang bowed his head and didn’t say anything. Chen Shi said, "Your expression has already told me everything."
"That..." He said, "My brother was indeed a bit weird when we left the villa. He asked me if the other party would get pregnant if he had sex with a girl... I didn't think much about it. After all, we usually talk about these things when we were together. Now that I think about it, something might have happened between them."
"Wanjun was obviously from the side with the poor relatives, but you were often together."
"Because my second aunt had taken care of my brother in the past. At that time, Wanjun was also in school. Since my second uncle had to work, she often came over to my house to eat. So we were often together when we were young. My brother also said often that he wanted to marry her when they grew up..." Song Yuqiang's expression changed. "You don’t think that she killed my brother, do you?!"
Chen Shi avoided answering the question. "Finally, I will ask you one last question. Have you ever met her in person since the villa trip?"
Song Yuqiang answered in a daze. "We’ve talked over the phone. We also chat on QQ. We’ve also played games together online..."
"I’m asking if you’ve met her in person."
"I don’t think so."
Lin Dongxue's eyes widened. She seemed to have understood. Chen Shi said to Song Yuqiang, "Call your parents and your second aunt and uncle to go outside so we can have a good talk.”
1. Here’s a chart for reference that I had to use because Chinese terms are on a whole different level with different terms based on whether they’re derived from the mum’s side or father’s side and standing. https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/fzmzqdu46zj92varuqxj.jpg
2. The author used xx due to censorship.
3. People who were educated, had higher status, landlords, rich and the like were considered as outliers and “bad elements” during the Cultural Revolution.
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