Volume 44: Puppet’s Life
"Hello, this is the 110 police emergency platform."
"Hello, I want to make a police report. A woman was killed on Mopan Road in Shiqiao Town."
"Excuse me, when did it happen? Could you please provide your contact information and surname right now?"
"My name is Chunqin. I’m the woman who was killed. I died tragically!"
A strange call broke the peace at the beginning of the new year.
Today was the first day of Chinese New Year. Most of the policemen had gone home for the New Year. Only Lin Qiupu, Lin Dongxue and a few other policemen were at their posts. The main reason was that the two of them didn’t need to be reunited with their family. Lin Dongxue never thought much of New Year. Instead of eating instant noodles at home alone or going to their paternal aunt’s or maternal aunt’s family to join in the festivities, it’s better to earn overtime pay.
During Chinese New Year, every floor in the bureau was empty. When the police officers were not dispatched, everyone would sit in a circle, shelling melon seeds, drinking tea, and chatting. The atmosphere was peaceful.
Chen Shi had also come today and brought her some food, which made her feel very blessed.
When everyone was talking about the Spring Festival Gala show from last night, the front desk officer knocked on the door, came in and said a few words to Lin Qiupu. Lin Qiupu nodded and said to everyone after she left, "The first alarm call in the year 2019. Let's listen!"
After listening to the call recording, everyone was stunned. Lin Dongxue frowned. "This is a prank, right? Someone must have too much time on their hands over the holiday. Shiqiao Town is so far away. Should we make a special trip just to confirm?"
"I also think it's a prank. How could the deceased call the police themselves? It's definitely fake." Old Zhang said confidently.
"Old Chen, what do you think?" Lin Dongxue asked.
Chen Shi said casually, "Isn’t it enough to call Shiqiao Town and ask? See if there’s a dead person named Chunqin."
"Do you think this is true, or do you hope it is true?" Lin Dongxue teased.
"I don't hope for anything. I'm just afraid of that one in ten thousandth possibility." Chen Shi smiled.
Lin Qiupu also agreed with Chen Shi’s opinion. Verifying it wouldn’t take much effort, so he dialed the number for the Shiqiao Town Public Security Bureau. Receiving a call from the criminal police team from headquarters on the first day of the new year, they were both nervous and respectful. Lin Qiupu calmly asked, "Is there a dead person named Chunqin over there?"
"Captain Lin, you... how did you know?"
Lin Qiupu was surprised and turned the speakerphone on. He responded, "Just now we received a police call and the other party joked that she was Chunqin and that she had been killed on Mopan Road in your town. Did such a thing happen?"
"Three months ago, a woman named Chunqin was indeed raped and killed there."
"Has the case been solved yet?"
"Not yet... No. Captain Lin, I think the person who reported it is probably the family of the deceased. In fact, we haven't been idle during this time. We’ve been investigating non-stop, but we just couldn't find anything out."
"Okay, I understand. I'll call you later."
After hanging up the phone, Lin Qiupu crossed his arms on the table and looked around at the crowd. "What's your opinion?"
Old Zhang said, "I think the police officer's guess may be correct. It must be because the family of the deceased suspected that they weren’t handling the case well and used this method to pressurize them."
Another policeman said, "Could it be that the town's public security bureau is up to something fishy, and the family members used this method to petition?"
"What kind of petition is this? We’re on the same level as the town’s public security bureau." Lin Qiupu said.
"Although we’re equal, our resources, manpower, and experience are several levels better than the town's public security bureau." Old Zhang said.
"Can I express my opinion?" Chen Shi said, "That person called 110, right? Where would the call go if they called 110 in a township under Long'an?"
"Here, of course. The entire Long'an’s calls come here, and then it’s allocated according to the jurisdiction." Lin Qiupu answered.
"If that’s the case, I don’t think it’s a petition. This call was just like a joke. The police officer who answered may not even believe it, or may even hang up. This police officer was fairly competent and handed it over to you when she couldn’t make a judgment call so that you can deal with it. The reason it was sent here is because today is the first day of the New Year. You’re the only police officer holding a Section Chief’s rank at the bureau. It can be said that us hearing it is a massive coincidence. If this person wanted to petition, isn’t this method too roundabout?”
Lin Dongxue thought about Chen Shi's words, and then thought of one thing. She asked, "Oh yes, has this case been made public yet?"
Lin Qiupu called the Shiqiao Town Public Security Bureau again. The other party said that because the case was still being investigated, it hasn’t been made public yet. Of course, everyone in the town knows about it. After all, Shiqiao Town is only as big as the palm of a hand. It could be seen from this that the person who called was someone from the town or family of the deceased.
Lin Qiupu told him not to hang up yet, and ordered someone to check the number that had called the police. The caller was a 23-year-old girl in Long'an, named Chang Juan, a graduate student at a certain university.
Shiqiao Police heard the name and said that it wasn’t familiar to them and that she had no connection with the deceased.
"Okay, thank you." Lin Qiupu hung up.
"Call the person who made the call." Chen Shi suggested.
This was indeed the quickest way, so Lin Qiupu dialed the number. Everyone was silent. This incident has already revealed a weird atmosphere. Chen Shi was more excited than anyone else. He seemed to smell a bizarre case.
The call went through, and the other party had a soft girl's voice, "May I know who you’re looking for?"
"We’re from the city’s Public Security Bureau. You just made a police report saying that someone was killed in Shiqiao Town and that you were the deceased, right?"
"That's right." The other party was as calm as ever.
"What's your name?"
"My name is indeed Chang Juan, but the person talking to you right now is Chunqin."
The police officers all responded differently. Some were surprised and some laughed. Lin Qiupu said sternly, "If you call the police in this way, we won't be able to accept it. Do you understand?"
"Elder Brother Policeman, I'm not kidding. Even if you’re all firm believers that only tangible things are real, you can't explain some of the things that happen in this world. Communication with the spirits is one of them. The person talking to you now is the deceased Chunqin. I can tell you the details of the case. Tell you where the police have made mistakes, and even tell you who the murderer is. My address is XXX. Please consider whether you’d like to make a trip over!"
The phone hung up with a bang. Lin Qiupu widened his eyes. "I've never seen a prankster who’s so arrogant. Should we head out and arrest the girl and ask her to spend the New Year in the detention room on the charge of making a false report?!"
After that, he glanced at Chen Shi, and Chen Shi said unusually, "Go. Arrest her. I’m in favor of it!"
"Forget it, we don’t have the time to engage with this kind of prankster." Lin Qiupu shook his head.
"No, go and bring her back. If she really knows the details of the case, how interesting would it be?!" Chen Shi displayed a look of expectant excitement.
1. This could also be a reference to the movie Being John Malkovich as the Chinese characters used here are the same as the ones used for the Chinese title of that movie. The movie is about a puppeteer as well.
2. It’s really small.
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