Zhou Xiao, who saw the "ghost", hurried back into his house, held his head as he lay on the ground, and muttered, "May the blessings of Heaven’s Officials be upon you and all taboos stay away!"
"Hey, what do you mean by that?!" The aunt rushed in. "You’re cursing me to death early in the morning? Pei, pei, what bad look... Look at what's going on in your house. It's like a pigsty."
"Ah!" Zhou Xiao looked back and screamed in horror. "The ghost has come in! It has come in! Don't look for me. For every debt there’s a debtor. Find the murderer."
"Mr. Zhou, did you hear wrong then?" Lin Dongxue walked in and asked.
"Can you see it too?" Zhou Xiao looked back and forth between Lin Dongxue and the angry aunt's face.
"What's the matter?" the aunt asked.
Zhou Xiao responded, "A murderer came last night and killed your entire family. I know you think you’re alive, but you’re already dead. You are just repeating what you would normally do. This is called a soul echo."
"You bastard!" The aunt frowned and took out a stick of green onion from the basket. She went over and hit him with it. Zhou Xiao squirmed around while holding his head. She slapped the green onion at him while saying, "Who are you cursing?! Your family is the one that’s dead. Your whole family is the one that’s dead!"
Xu Xiaodong tried to stop her, but the aunt was tough and she shoved his arm away. "Don't stop me, I must kill this bastard." Xu Xiaodong staggered and almost fell.
Zhou Xiao screamed and ran around the room. The aunt’s usual grievances were brought up. She chased and shouted, "Smelly boy, you usually listen to songs in the middle of the night, call takeaways at three in the morning, spit on my air conditioner, and your rubbish is piled up outside every day without taking it to the bin. The little worms born in summer would fly into my house. I’ve tolerated you for a long time!”
"Aren't you dead?"
"Say it again!!!"
"Understood. You’re a zombie. A zombie is biting people!"
"Oh, what kind of scene is this?!" Chen Shi's voice came from the door as he watched the drama with a smile.
Hearing Chen Shi's voice, Lin Dongxue's heart felt hot as though her savior had arrived. He was a driver who often chatted away with uncles and aunts. As expected, he stopped the aunt with a few sweet words. The aunt sat on the bed and panted away. Squatting in the corner, Zhou Xiao’s clothes were torn open, revealing his white shoulders, and a vegetable leaf hung on his face. He looked very pitiful.
"...That's the situation." Lin Dongxue relayed.
The aunt’s anger hadn’t dissipated yet and she pointed at Zhou Xiao angrily. "Your family are the ones who are dead!"
"Auntie, don't be angry. Zhou Xiao, did you mishear, or was it another resident?" Lin Dongxue said. She deliberately called Zhou Xiao's name to see Chen Shi's reaction.
"Wait, what was his name?!" As expected, Chen Shi had a massive reaction.
"Zhou Xiao. Xiao as in smile."
"This... this, the same name and the same last name?"
Zhou Xiao asked blankly, "Why do you all act weird when you hear my name? Is there also a celebrity with this name?"
"Let’s go back to talking about the serious matters!"
"I didn’t hear wrong. There are six households on this floor. Except for me and her, there’s a young couple next door. On the opposite side to the left, it’s an old man…”
The aunt corrected, "On the left side, there are two old men living together."
"Two... two old men living together?" Chen Shi looked surprised.
Zhou Xiao went on to say, "In the middle lives a cat and its slave. The household on the right has a dog. It must not be the case. It’s just her..."
"Point at me again!" The aunt glared at him.
"I heard it. I really heard your whole family..."
"Say it again!!"
"Auntie, let him finish talking first." Chen Shi said.
"I heard the voices yelling so miserably. I was shocked at the time."
"You’re nuts!" said the aunt. "My husband went to work in the morning, and the child went to school. This kid has a problem with his head. You should send him to a mental hospital to have a check."
"Auntie, why don't you go back first? Your fish isn’t going to be fresh anymore," Chen Shi suggested.
The aunt snorted and left. To vent her anger before she left, she kicked the garbage bag at the door. "Take out the garbage. Are you saving it for the New Year?!"
Zhou Xiao recalled everything he knew. When they left, the three of them went downstairs and each threw two bags of trash out for him. Lin Dongxue said, "I think this witness isn’t reliable. Most people don’t remember things wrong to that extent.”
"Could there be any mystery behind it?" Xu Xiaodong asked. Chen Shi was present and he wanted to hear Chen Shi's opinion.
"Where is the mystery? It must be that he remembered it wrong. But why did he remember it wrong? I think we can look into it a bit deeper. I noticed that he’s a bit neurotic. Could he have a mental illness? We should check his background!"
Back at the scene, the corpses had been sent away. Peng Sijue told Chen Shi, "This time, the murderer is very ‘generous’. They left footprints and fingerprints behind."
"How big is the footprint?"
"Oh, it's a big and tall man. They’re at least 190cm..." Chen Shi looked up, as if imagining looking up at the murderer. "Such a person must be very conspicuous in a crowd... By the way, send some subordinates to me to check if that person had entered the housing complex."
It was only 7:00 in the morning. The footprints on the stairs may still be found. The forensic police inspected it step by step and found blood and a pair of huge footprints. Finally, the footprints stopped in front of Zhou Xiao's door.
Chen Shi glanced at the next room and asked, "Would you like to go in and investigate? We’re all the way here anyway."
"If you insist," said the forensic police officer.
"Let’s check it!"
Knocking on the door, the aunt looked upset. "What are you doing here again? You really believed the kid's nonsense? It was impossible for anyone to come in last night!"
"We’re investigating just in case."
"Are you that free?"
Chen Shi saw that aunt had fish scales on her hands and said, "Are you preparing fish? I'll help you!"
"Aiya, is that true? You’re a policeman but you still do this?" The aunt laughed happily.
"I'm good at cooking. Let me do it."
The aunt let Chen Shi into the kitchen. Chen Shi rolled up his sleeves and started to clean the fish. The aunt said with a smile, "Kid, that's not bad. There aren’t many young people like you."
"Thank you for the compliment. This grass carp is relatively small and has many bones. It can be fried with flour and the bones will be so crispy that children can eat it."
"Haha, then I'll give it a try."
Taking this opportunity, the forensic police carefully inspected the ground and found no footprints outside of the family’s.
Xu Xiaodong went in to report. Chen Shi said, "Go to Zhou Xiao's house and check it too!"
"It's not necessary. If the murderer entered, how could he not kill him?"
"Check it out!" Chen Shi insisted. Zhou Xiao's memory was messy, which meant that investigations were needed to fill in the truth. So, they had to confirm all possibilities.
Xu Xiaodong brought the people away, and the aunt said, "A murderer really came up last night? God, that's terrible!"
Everyone adopted the mentality of conducting just a routine check, knocked on the door of Zhou Xiao's house, and checked it. They didn’t find anything. Lin Dongxue said, "Check with the reagents."
Although they were reluctant, the forensic police still did as they were told. After all, Lin Dongxue's police rank was relatively high now.
When they sprayed luminol reagent and saw that there was no response, they began to close up as blue-green fluorescence slowly appeared on the ground. Lin Dongxue said, "Look!"
When everyone turned their heads. They saw a pair of bloody footprints on the ground. Size 45.
The murderer had been here!
1. Touch wood.
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