Everyone was very nervous when they heard that there was a bomb. Chen Shi said, "This kid is bluffing us. He only took leave yesterday. Perhaps he only learned about Xin Bai's arrest at that time. Where would he go to get explosives in a single day? This plot is very familiar. It appeared in Detective of the Abyss. He’s just imitating that segment."
Lin Qiupu said, "The control of flammable and explosive materials in the city is extremely strict. I don't think he can get it all in one day."
"What if he prepared them beforehand? It’s best to be careful!" Lin Dongxue said.
The easiest way was to get out immediately. Everyone moved outside. A call arrived again. Xu Guolong said, "Haha, I lied to you. Were you scared? However, what I want to say next is absolutely real..."
A woman suddenly yelled on the phone, and then stopped abruptly, as if she was gagged by something.
Lin Qiupu asked, "What do you want?"
"Release him and withdraw the case! If you don't release him and don't withdraw the case, for every day that you don’t, I’ll kill one person. The millions of residents in Long'an City are all my hostages."
"We already know your identity, do you think-"
Before Lin Qiupu finished speaking, the call disconnected again. He was so angry that he almost threw away his phone. He couldn’t get through to the other party through any additional calls.
The information department said that the signal couldn’t be tracked because each call happened to be less than 30 seconds. Only the rough area could be located. Now, the signal had completely disappeared.
Chen Shi said, "This is another technique mentioned in the novel. This novel is simply his guide to crime."
"Does he want to threaten us with indiscriminate killing?" Lin Qiupu frowned. The man already had a hostage in his hands.
"Let Xin Bai go. Xin Bai himself didn’t commit a crime, so it doesn't matter if he’s let go." Lin Dongxue suggested.
"We cannot accept a criminal’s terms. This is too passive. I will mobilize all police forces to find the hostages."
Chen Shi had no hope in his heart. Xu Guolong was originally a cowardly and honest person, but now he openly challenged the police to prove that he had "awakened", like a beast rushing out of the cage. Thus, no matter whether Xin Bai was let go or not, people would still die.
We may not be able to save this hostage!
Lin Qiupu contacted criminal police and local police in the district to search each housing community one by one, and posted an announcement on the Long’an Police Weibo to remind the general public to be alert.
All the investigations on hand were put on hold and everyone was running around. Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue were also asking for clues on the street.
After a long day of searching, in the evening, a security guard’s report from a certain housing district said that he saw a man that looked like the suspect entering and leaving the area at about 10:00 in the morning that day.
There were many buildings in the housing community, so they could only ask the people of the community committee to help, and contact each house. During this period, Peng Sijue also brought people there.
"Found it!" A phone call came through to Lin Qiupu and he informed everyone to rush over.
When the door was opened, the room was completely dark. A naked middle-aged woman was lying in the darkness. She was tied to a chair with her face turned up and a towel in her mouth.
Peng Sijue stepped forward to check. "The time of death is probably within five hours."
When the body was taken off the chair and placed on the ground, Peng Sijue found that she had no external wounds on her whole body, and there were no signs of poisoning in her pupils, nails, nose, and mouth. Judging from her respiratory tract, she didn’t die of suffocation.
Facing this corpse, he couldn’t draw any significant conclusions.
"How could this happen? It’s such a clean corpse..." Lin Qiupu said. When he stepped forward, he accidentally stepped on something. It was an electronic fire starter that was removed from a lighter.
He picked it up and took a look. When he pressed it, sparks could still be emitted. However, this item couldn’t possibly kill people!
"Let me see." Chen Shi took it and looked around the body's nipples. "I may know how she was killed. The call time was at 8:00AM, and the security said he left at 10:00AM. In other words, he has been doing one thing over those two hours... He repeatedly electrocuted the nipples of the deceased with the electronic fire starter."
"Is this also a killing method written in the novel?" Lin Dongxue was shocked. "Don't say killing people with this discharge amount, you can’t even kill cockroaches."
Peng Sijue inspected the deceased's nipple with a magnifying glass. "I seem to understand now. It’s a death due to reflex suppression."
"Yes, death due to reflex suppression. I was pondering what the terminology was just then!" Chen Shi said.
Peng Sijue explained to the bewildered crowd that everyone has particularly sensitive parts on their bodies. Some are on the soles of their feet, and some are under the armpits, because these places have a lot of nerves gathered.
If these sensitive parts are repeatedly stimulated to keep the person under a state of high stress and at the same time in a psychological state of fear, the body will madly release adrenaline and catecholamines, causing myocardial contraction until it comes to a sudden stop.
In the Middle Ages, the tickling punishment utilized feathers to scratch the soles of the prisoners' feet, or applying honey onto them for the goats to lick them. These made the prisoners feel worse off than death or even caused them to suddenly die on the spot.
"There are two additional reasons why the deceased died of reflex suppression. The first is that she was tied up and her body kept issuing alarms, but she couldn’t take action to avoid the stimulant. The alarm would continue to escalate and reach an intensity that the body cannot withstand. The second is that her mouth was blocked. People will yell when they’re in pain because yelling can share part of the pain, but the most important thing is that it can release stress. If you can’t yell, this stress will accumulate in the body.” Peng Sijue said.
"The murder technique in the novel is the same. It’s exactly the same." Chen Shi said that Xu Guolong, who had already entered a state of violent frenzy, was holding a book of murder and couldn't wait to try it.
"He’s a complete lunatic. Carefully investigate all the surveillance footage around and look for witnesses. We must find him before he kills the next person." Lin Qiupu gritted his teeth.
"Captain Lin, I think we should still let Xin Bai go." Lin Dongxue suggested, "We will definitely find him since he’s in the city. We need to let him go since we can’t let him kill someone again."
Looking at the corpse, Lin Qiupu sighed, "How can we just let Xin Bai go? We can't contact him at all. Or do you mean that if we let Xin Bai go, he’d definitely know?"
Chen Shi said, "Let's go with it. We’ll let him go and then send a few people to follow Xin Bai. That person will definitely find him."
Lin Qiupu called the bureau, went through the release procedures, and arranged for people to monitor and protect him the whole time without Xin Bai knowing. "If the suspect appears, the safety of the writer should be given priority."
They were still looking for the whereabouts of the suspect on their side. The police called for surveillance footage from the vicinity and kept investigating until late at night. A local police officer came over and brought a person with them. The person said in agitation, "Today, I parked the car outside the hospital and didn’t turn off the car. There was still elderly person in the car. When I got the medicine and came out, the car was gone. I haven’t been able to contact my dad."
"Which hospital and when did it go missing?" Lin Qiupu asked.
"It's the Xiehe Hospital nearby. He disappeared at 3:00 in the afternoon. Please find him as soon as possible. My dad hasn't taken medicine for a whole day." The man pleaded bitterly.
1. Chinese tickle torture was practiced in the Han dynasty but was really only for the nobility. The author may also be referencing recounts of witnesses to Nazi prison camps, where they subjected this torture while inciting fear.
2. I’ve searched and can only find instances in Ancient Rome where feet got dipped in salt solution repeatedly so that what starts as tickling will become extremely painful due to the constant licking.
3. While uncommon, it is apparently possible to die of laughter, specifically due to a heart attack, asphyxia, brain aneurysms or other stress-related injuries. The individual loses control of his or her body and, unable to regulate their breathing and being subdued by stress, the aforementioned issues can occur depending on the intensity and duration of the torture. The author continues to provide reasons why his instance is plausible below.
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