“Hey, stop. What are you doing?!" Lin Dongxue scolded.
Chang Juan ignored her and blurted out profanities, insulting Chen Shi in a monotonous voice as if she was reciting ancient poems. Chen Shi wasn’t irritated and remained very curious. This girl was really strange and he wanted to know why.
When Chang Juan had finished scolding, Lin Dongxue said, "Do you know what you’re doing right now? You’ve made a false report and insulted others. I can arrest you right now."
Chang Juan stared at Lin Dongxue blankly for a few seconds, and then said to Chen Shi. "I'm sorry." The tone was no different from her previous cursing.
"I’ll reserve my opinions regarding this matter for the moment. Let's talk about serious business. What do you know about the case of Chunqin's murder?" Chen Shi said.
"The case happened on the night of November 18th last year. My husband and I were in bed when an uninvited guest broke into the house. When my husband called out and asked who it was, he was punched and dragged under the bed. I was so frightened. I curled up on the bed and didn't dare to say a word. They fought and grappled with each other in the dark for a long time. Suddenly, my husband stopped moving. The man came over and turned on the light..." Chang Juan narrated in a calm tone.
It seemed that she was still insisting that she was Chunqin. Chen Shi decided not to pursue this matter for the time being. He said, "What is your husband's name?"
"Li Tiezhu. His childhood nickname was Tiedan."
"What is the name of your dog?"
"Little Black, even though it’s a yellow dog."
"What is your house like?"
"Two rooms and one living room, plus a courtyard. A bungalow, probably..." Chang Juan was dazed for a moment. "It's probably over 100 square meters!"
Lin Dongxue was stunned. These details were completely correct, and only people who were very close to the deceased would know about them. She couldn't help asking, "Who are you?"
Chang Juan pointed to herself. "Right now in this body, Chunqin herself is talking to you."
"If you make this kind of joke again, I will lose patience!" Lin Dongxue was a little angry.
"I told you the answer, but you just don't want to believe it." Chang Juan said calmly, as if she was reciting a lesson from memory. "I can continue to tell you the details of the case until you believe it."
"Okay, you just said that the murderer turned on the light. You saw what he looked like, right?" Chen Shi said.
Chang Juan nodded.
"What did he look like?"
"I can't remember clearly. It's been too long."
"That was the last face you saw before you died." Chen Shi simply decided to pretend that she was the deceased herself. "This face swayed in front of you for two hours. How could you not remember?"
"It didn't linger in front of me for that long. I was raped, but that person basically only did it from behind. I only saw him a few times and I didn't dare to look directly into his eyes because I was so scared."
"Nice sophistry!" Chen Shi sneered, "Then you should still remember little details, right? For example, any distinctive features of his."
There was another silence and Chen Shi suddenly thought that the mysterious gaps of silence in Chang Juan's speech seemed as though she was receiving instructions from someone.
Chang Juan replied, "He was very white. He seemed to have a coat of powder on his body, and he wasn’t wearing clothes. I didn't realize this at first. After talking to you, I remembered that he didn't take off any clothes after entering the house. He had come in naked. He had a lot of hair on his body, but all of it had been shaved off. When he raped me, I could feel the large areas of hard stubble on his legs and chest!"
These details were so exhaustive that Lin Dongxue even felt a sense of discomfort. She remembered a detail mentioned in the file. Some white powder had been found at the scene. The main ingredient was calcium carbonate. The police discovered that someone had broken into a small workshop nearby. It specialized in making century eggs and there was a lot of lime powder there.
How could Chang Juan know about these details? Lin Dongxue was secretly surprised, and immediately considered the possibility that Chang Juan had been to the crime scene or had contact with people related to the case.
Chang Juan paused for a moment and continued, "There’s a long scar on his right hand between the thumb and index finger. . The skin color of his thumb was different from other parts of his body as if the thumb had been grafted on. It left a deep impression on me, because halfway through, that person told me to lick the scar on his hand and suck his thumb. His skin was like sandpaper, and there was a stink of animal internal organs mixed with motor oil in his nails."
Lin Dongxue widened her eyes. This... This was too detailed. Only those who had experienced it would know.
Then she had second thoughts. She might have just made up these details. After all, it was impossible to verify the authenticity. It must be fake!
On the other hand, Chen Shi listened very attentively. He asked, "He ordered you. Do you remember his voice?"
"I do. It's very deep and low, like that of a smoker. My father-in-law is a longtime smoker, and when he speaks, it always sounds like he has phlegm stuck in his throat."
"Did he speak any dialect?"
"His speech was a bit unclear. I can't imitate it."
"When he raped you, where was your husband?" Chen Shi asked suddenly.
Sure enough, Chang Juan went silent again. Her eyes looked confused, as if she was receiving instructions from someone. Then she said, "He was tied to a pillar next to us and forced to watch me have sex with that person. He burst into tears and he never stopped weeping."
Chen Shi observed her ears which were covered up by her hair as well as her hands. It seemed that she wasn’t wearing earphones. Could it be the glasses?
Only a voice that Chang Juan could hear secretly said, "The police consultant surnamed Chen is observing you. Behave naturally!", "Get up, close the window, and don't let him see that you’re in a daze."
"I'm sorry, I'm a little cold." Chang Juan smiled and got up to close the window. Taking this opportunity, Chen Shi whispered to Lin Dongxue, "I suspect that someone is secretly 'giving directions' to her!"
Lin Dongxue raised her eyebrows in surprise. Chang Juan had already returned and asked with a natural facial expression. "Shall we continue to talk about the case?"
Chen Shi gestured "please" with his hand.
Chang Juan stroked her own neck, "I was very scared at the time because there was no one at the scene who could protect me. I only had one thought. If I satisfied that person’s needs, he wouldn't hurt me and my husband again. The whole process was very, very long. When I thought it was about to end, a string was suddenly looped around my neck from behind. He pulled back vigorously, making me raise my head involuntarily. I felt as though my whole head was about to explode. My consciousness became weaker and weaker, and finally... I died!" Chang Juan raised her eyes and stared into Chen Shi's eyes.
Listening to this calm description, Lin Dongxue shuddered. Chen Shi said, "You said that you’re Chunqin. Why do you talk about this as if you are talking about another person's affairs? Chunqin can't be so tranquil, right?"
"You don't understand. I don't have a body right now, so I don't feel emotions like hatred, anger, and pain."
"If that’s the case, why do you need to report the crime? You don't even feel hatred."
"It wasn’t easy for me to borrow this girl's body in order to converse with you. I hope to do something meaningful, such as catching the criminal to prevent more victims." As she said this, the corners of Chang Juan's mouth displayed a faint smile.
1. In Chinese, there’s a different name for each section of the hand. The particular section that the author mentioned is the stretchable area between the thumb and index finger which is called “tiger’s mouth”.
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