Chapter 728: Repeatedly Deceived

Lin Dongxue got up, poured a glass of water, handed it to the uncle, and said, "Don't rush and just speak slowly."

"Thank you..." The uncle wiped at his tears, looking for something on the phone, and said as he looked for it, "This phone is really mine. Linlin bought the Pear phone and gave this used one to me."

"Do you mean Apple?" Lin Dongxue said.

"Ah, yes, yes, Apple..." The uncle's finger stopped swiping the screen. "I suddenly received this one week ago. I didn't want to show it to you because it's shameful."

On the phone, there was a nude photo of Duan Lin with her hands covering up her private parts and a look of shame on her face.

"What's going on?" Lin Dongxue asked.

"Yeah, I also wanted to know what was going on. I called and asked her, but she said that a friend had taken it as a joke. I knew it was definitely not that simple based on her tone, so I bought a ticket and came to Long’an on the 23rd. I kept a cold face when I saw her. As soon as I entered the house, I asked, ‘Linlin, did you make some bad friends outside?’ She said, ‘Don’t ask, don’t ask.’ I asked her how I could possibly not ask? She wasn’t married yet, so if these kinds of photos were taken and they got out, how would the entire family hold up our heads? As we talked, we began arguing…”

The uncle sighed and fumbled for his cigarettes with shaking hands. Chen Shi said, "This is a nude IOU, right?"

The uncle nodded desperately. "Yes, the police officers in the city are indeed more knowledgeable. It’s indeed called a nude IOU. She told me that she owed the loan sharks money and couldn't repay them. The loan sharks sent this photo out. I wasn’t the only one who received it. I lost all my face! I asked her why she owed the loan sharks money when she earned a few thousand  dollars a month working in the city. How could she have such big expenses?! She said she bought clothes, cosmetics and went out to have fun. In the beginning, she borrowed a few thousand, then the interest compounded and it became almost ten thousand. As soon as I heard this, I was about to have a heart attack. What do you think? How did a good young girl become like this after spending a few years in the city? She had never sent a dime back home, and she often asked us for money. I always said, ‘Linlin, you should spend less since you are living out there alone. Don’t always eat takeout food and cook your own meals instead.’ I learned later how she was living and I nearly shed tears. She was actually eating frugally. She ate noodles for every meal and just the addition of an egg would be considered an improvement food-wise. Her entire meagre salary was used to buy clothes, cosmetics, and mobile phones. Her expenses were more what she earned in a month!"

"When we were quarrelling, she said that she had found a boyfriend whose family is rich. She said that she’d be able to enjoy the good life when she gets married in the future. I said she was possessed. Her previous boyfriend had cheated on her and she still hadn’t learned her lesson. I couldn’t talk about this matter. When I mentioned this, she got angry and quarrelled even more fiercely with me, bringing up old grudges. I got agitated and slapped her. I had not hit her since she started junior high. I also told her that I’d pretend that I didn't have a daughter like her after I slapped her, then I took my luggage and left!"

"I bought a bus ticket and prepared to go back that night. However, the ticket was for the next morning, so I stayed one whole night in the waiting room. I thought a lot that night. Maybe every family has a skeleton in the cupboard. It’s not easy to raise a child to begin with. Later, I saw a mother with a child. Her child was tiny, only three or four years old, prattling away adorably in a babyish voice. Looking at her, I was reminded of Linlin when she was a child. I figured I’d let it go. Although she was in the wrong, I shouldn't have hit her, so I went back to look for her. By then, the sky had already started to lighten."

"When I returned here, I found that the door was open and that Linlin wasn’t around. The bathroom light was on and there was a smell of 84[1] which was particularly unpleasant. I called her phone but couldn't get through. I was too tired at the time, so I fell asleep. I figured she’d be back by the time I woke up. Who would have thought that she wouldn’t come back the next day? I finally managed to contact her company. The people from the company said she hadn’t gone to work that day. I figured that things didn’t look good, so I hurriedly reported it to the police. In the blink of an eye, a few days had passed. Then you came to tell me that she was gone..." The uncle covered his face with a large pair of rough hands. "I cried all night when you guys came last time. It must have been my words that provoked her into committing suicide. I am a bastard!"

The uncle wiped his tears away vigorously, sniffed, and waited for Chen Shi's questioning.

"Did she mention anything about her current boyfriend?"

"I learned one thing during the quarrel. Her boyfriend had asked her for money. I knew it was bad when I heard about it. She must have met a swindler again, but she was already too far gone. She insisted that her boyfriend’s foreign assets or something had been frozen and that everything would be sorted out after a while. Then the money he owes her would be repaid."

"You’ve guessed correctly. The police have found out that her boyfriend is a swindler. He’s a veteran in swindling money and sex. You don't have to blame yourself too much. Her death is not your responsibility."

"Thank you. Thank you for telling me this. I just want to catch the person who killed her and have him sentenced, so that he can repay Linlin with his life."

"Don't worry, we will give you an explanation... By the way, what happened with her last boyfriend?"

"I’m not clear. I only found out by accident that she was cohabiting with a man. The man's background was unknown. He lived with her and asked her for money to spend. I’m unsure how they broke up later. Haii, it was too easy for her to be deceived as an immature young girl who came to the city alone. She doesn’t know how to learn from her mistakes either. Her mother and I were both worried sick about this!"

Lin Dongxue and Chen Shi exchanged gazes as a new clue inadvertently appeared. Chen Shi asked, "Do you know anything about the previous boyfriend? Anything will do."

The uncle shook his head. "I don't even know what he looks like or what his name was. She doesn't let us ask about her affairs, and we can’t control her either."

"Oh yes, where did you wait for the bus that night?"

"North Bus Station."

When preparing to leave, Chen Shi's gaze fell onto an open ventilation window above the bathroom. Due to its high position, not only did Chen Shi overlook it, the two forensic police officers who had come previously overlooked it as well.

Chen Shi asked, "Has that window always been open?"

"Huh?" The uncle looked back. "It's always been like this. I haven't touched it."

Chen Shi moved a stool over and stepped on it to discover that the dust on the window frame had been brushed off, and a clear fingerprint had been imprinted on the frame. The texture on it must have been from a rubber glove’s non-slip grip.

He poked his head out to have a look. This was the sixth floor. There was a white PVC pipe next to it. The clamps and expansion bolts that secured the pipe were loose. There was a small piece of fiber stuck in a section’s clamp as well.

"Hey, a major discovery!" Chen Shi let Lin Dongxue come up and have a look.

Lin Dongxue said, "This pipe ends at the second floor. That person had jumped down directly from the second floor!"

"If it weren't for desperation, few people would use this kind of suicidal way to get downstairs!" Chen Shi looked around the house, and the situation here in the middle of the night on the 23rd seemed to reappear before his eyes. He already had a speculation, but he still required technical evidence to support it.

1. Chinese household disinfectant. 


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