The two families were called downstairs, and the police lying in ambush nearby also gathered slowly. Ms. Song and Mr. Shi seemed a little nervous, but still asked calmly, "Why have you called us to come down? What is it that we can’t talk about while inside the house?”
Chen Shi looked around at everyone. "What I want to talk about today is the truth about the death of Song Yuwen. It will take up some of your time, but no one has any objections, do you?"
Song Yuwen’s mother took out her handkerchief and began to wipe her tears away. Her husband patted her arm to calm her down. On the other side, Ms. Song furrowed her brows before relaxing them again. A trace of contempt flashed in her eyes. She didn’t seem to think that Chen Shi would be able to come up with the truth.
"We need to start from 12 years ago, when Song Yuwen was 18 years old. He and his cousin Shi Wanjun drank some alcohol in a holiday villa and the two spent the night alone. They may have had sex with each other--"
"What?!" Song Yuwen's father exclaimed in surprise. He looked at Song Yuqiang. "Weren’t you there back then as well?"
Song Yuqiang admitted with embarrassment, "Our other cousin and I went out to play online games all night."
"Then... This..." The father obviously couldn't believe it, but Ms. Song and Mr. Shi were silent. Ms. Song kept clenching her fists tightly. From this reaction, it was clear that they both knew about it.
Chen Shi continued, "It has been 12 years since the incident, so it’s impossible to know whether Song Yuwen forced her at that time, or if it was consensual. But in any case, Shi Wanjun was a minor and his behavior broke the law. After returning, Shi Wanjun was very anxious because she was afraid of bearing sexual consequences. Perhaps she did have some symptoms, or perhaps everything was just psychological. These can no longer be known. I can only tell you the result. She committed suicide!"
"This... This is impossible!" Song Yuwen's father shouted. "We don't know about this at all."
His wife clenched his arm tightly and looked shocked.
At this moment, Ms. Song and Mr. Shi seemed overly calm, and just looked down at their shoes. Lin Dongxue noticed that Ms. Song's eyes were already damp and that she was deliberately trying to cover up her tears.
Chen Shi went on to say, "However, Shi Wanjun's death was not publicly disclosed. Her parents secretly cremated her. Perhaps the husband and wife experienced countless quarrels, bouts of crying, and fits of resentment, but in the end, they decided not to tell anyone. Because this incident would hurt the harmony of the two families. Song Yuwen’s family had been providing financial assistance to their family for a long time and the relationship was unequal. Perhaps there were just some casual lies said at family gatherings at the beginning, such as ‘Why didn’t Shi Wanjun come?', 'She's at school.' and so on. Gradually, the small lies turned into big lies. In order not to let your relatives find out that she was dead, and in order to not break the harmony, you had to make up a lie that she had gone abroad to study. At the same time, you got an Australian number, forged her Weibo, circle of friends, and even used voice changers to make calls to Song Yuwen and others, letting everyone think that she was still alive.”
"Your disguise was successful and deceived everyone. Song Yuwen, who had a guilty conscience, even gave you some money to help his cousin who was studying abroad. Of course, you saved this money, but your family is very poor, and your husband’s illness exposed you. You had no choice but to use these savings. Perhaps when you went to family gatherings and everyone talked and laughed, there may have been a stabbing pain in your heart. When you pretended to be your long-dead daughter behind the phone calls and QQ and chatted with the person who had killed her indirectly, your heart would have been in extreme pain. The root of all this was your poverty. You were afraid to hurt the harmony between your families, especially these relatives who often helped you. You used ten lies to back up one big lie. A hundred lies to back up ten big lies. And finally, you actually created a ghost. That was your dead daughter. In this world, only you two knew that she’s no longer alive. No... When you lie often enough, in the instant, maybe you yourselves will believe that she’s still alive!"
Ms. Song clenched her fists tightly with tears dripping down her face. The shock and terror within her heart was probably something that no one could even imagine. Song Yuwen’s father widened his eyes and asked, "Cousin, tell me, is this true? Is Wanjun already…"
At the moment when Ms. Song was about to confess, Song Yuwen’s mother suddenly screamed, "Did you kill my son to avenge your daughter?! You’re the murderer?! Officers, is that the case?”
The light in Ms. Song’s eyes disappeared again and was concealed by her usual worldly-wise slyness. She said, “This policeman is speaking nonsense. He’s just being ridiculous. My daughter is clearly studying in Australia. She’s even called you, Yuqiang. I was next to her when she called you as well. How could we have faked it? Look, this is the photo she took with us during New Year last year."
Ms. Song took out her mobile phone and showed it to everyone. In addition to the group photo she showed to Chen Shi the day before yesterday, there were also photos of her daughter putting up a New Year decoration and pictures of the family eating.
Chen Shi smiled grimly. If she hadn’t come up with this "evidence", things wouldn’t have been complete. But all the pieces could be fitted together now.
Chen Shi also showed a photo to them, "Doesn’t this decoration seem very familiar?"
"Where did you... No, what do you mean?" Ms. Song looked at him in surprise.
"Your photo was taken on the evening of July 28th. I found the props used to take the photo later in the trash bag that you threw out. Your superfluous actions actually confirmed my deductions instead."
"You’re spouting bullshit!" Ms. Song shouted, and spit landed onto Chen Shi's face. "This is obviously my daughter. Look, everyone, look. Isn't it her?"
"That's not your daughter. It's a girl named Ye Xiaoling. Her age and build are similar to Shi Wanjun’s. Photoshop can be learned by watching some simple tutorials. Just ask a model to pose and change her face. I’ve carefully checked all the photos that Shi Wanjun posted in her circle of friends and Weibo. I found that all the faces came from a few photos in common. For the photos that she had posted about 10 years ago, at the time your forgery skills weren’t yet perfect enough and signs of skin color mismatching are clear... Yes, as for the model you hired, you two had worked in the same factory previously."
Ms. Song was speechless as she looked at Chen Shi. Song Yuwen's family also stared at her, both looking forward to the truth and fearing the reality.
This was the seed that the two families planted together. In the end, the flower of tragedy was born, and they couldn’t bear the weight of this reality.
Chen Shi stared at Ms. Song. "Actually, when you had imitated your daughter long enough, she had also ‘come alive’ in a certain way and became your hidden personality. Otherwise, on the day you killed Song Yuwen, you wouldn’t have deliberately put on a cute, pure white dress, am I right?"
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