After picking up A-Jiao from the preschool, Jiang Zhengkai, Lu Xiaoqiang and A-Jiao all entered the hospital together. Liu Na and the other assigned policemen were already there, having arrived long ago. Once they passed through the thick wooden doors, they entered a hospital room where A-Lian had been sitting there alone. After her previous outburst, A-Lian had not shown any more mentally unstable tendencies. Hence, the hospital lowered its vigilance. Otherwise, she might have been placed in solitary confinement.
“The patient’s condition is considered stable. We diagnosed that she most likely has a kind of clinical depression that will gradually ramp up in severity. After she was suddenly provoked, everything just erupted within her,” said Dr. Liu, A-Lian’s principal doctor.
She continued explaining her condition. “Based on her current state, it is not possible for her to completely return to normal. Should there be sudden stimulus, she may temporarily regain her memories and state of mind. However, that may be a long term setback for her, as it is too early to tell whether this will be detrimental to her mental health.
“Thank you, Dr. Liu,” Jiang Zhengkai said. “Honestly, we do not wish to agitate her again either; however, she is the sole surviving witness to one of the murders. I hope that you understand. In order to prevent more mishaps, we must—”
“In short, I hope you guys won’t agitate her needlessly too much!” Dr. Liu cut off Jiang Zhengkai’s speech midway. “I understand where you’re coming from. But as her doctor, I must put my patient’s well-being first.”
“Okay. Well, I would like to test her with some simple exercises first. In the evening, we will gradually increase the intensity of the stimulation. What do you think?” Jiang Zhengkai’s initial plan had been to find a policewoman with similar features as A-Xiu’s to directly incite a reaction from A-Lian. Naturally, Dr. Liu turned down this idea as she was worried that A-Lian would react adversely to such intense stimulation. Finally, Jiang Zhengkai accepted Dr. Liu's recommendation. He would use visual aids for assessment. Depending on A-Lian’s response, they would then plan their next course of action. Though this method was slow moving, it was the best option for A-Lian’s mental health.
Dr. Liu inserted a key and unlocked the heavy wooden door leading to A-Lian's ward. Jiang Zhengkai blocked A-Jiao’s way before opening it. “Honey, please take a seat by the bench and wait for me. Only Xiaoqiang and Liu Na will follow me in.”
“Oh, okay! Be safe.” A-Jiao nodded understandingly. She turned and sat down on the bench along the corridor. It was not that A-Jiao did not wish to see A-Lian, but rather that she understood that her presence might break down A-Lian’s fragile state of mind. “A-Lian, you have some visitors.” Dr. Liu walked towards A-Lian and bent down to whisper, “A-Lian, be good. Do not be afraid, okay?”
A-Lian sat on the hospital bed unresponsive, as if she had not heard Dr. Liu’s words. She stared blankly at the floor, her lips half opening and closing as if she were talking to someone.
“Officer Jiang, you may begin.” Dr. Liu decided that A-Lian would be able to withstand the questioning after she had run a check on A-Lian and concluded that both A-Lian's condition and vitals were stable. Dr. Liu then retreated to a corner of the room.
“A-Lian, do you recognize these people?” Liu Na assisted Jiang Zhengkai and displayed the portraits of women from the alley. They were all drawn by A-Jiao. One by one, these portraits steadily flashed by. There were no changes to A-Lian’s expression and she continued to move her lips, slowly half opening and closing them. However, the moment A-Xiu’s portrait was placed in front of her, A-Lian’s languid eyes stirred. Her gaze focused onto the portrait of A-Xiu and her lips stopped moving. Jiang Zhengkai studied her expression and placed the portrait in her hands.
A-Lian mechanically grasped the portrait. After staring at it for approximately three minutes, her entire body began to quiver. Next, her lips moved and out came a low groaning sound. After A-Lian’s reactions began increasing in intensity, the portrait slipped out from her hands.
“A-Lian, do you recognize her?” Dr. Liu walked from the corner of the room towards her. Placing one hand gently on A-Lian's back, she waved the other before A-Lian's now vacant again eyes.
A-Lian remained unresponsive. Although the portrait had slipped out from her hands, her eyes remained fixated on it. Her body continued to quiver and gradually retreated backwards. When she could move back no more, she weakly raised her arms and her head began to twitch unnaturally to one side.
Jiang Zhengkai stood by the side, noting all of A-Lian's reactions. Then he looked towards Dr. Liu and exchanged looks with her. She nodded in the direction of the portraits. Jiang Zhengkai picked up the portraits from the floor and folded them. A-Lian’s eyes continued to follow Jiang Zhengkai’s every move. When A-Xiu's portrait was out of sight, A-Lian's varied bizarre reactions gradually came to a halt.
“Dr. Liu, a portrait shouldn’t be able to generate such a strong reaction, right?” Jiang Zhengkai softly consulted Dr. Liu who was now standing beside him.
“Perhaps the portrait is too realistic?” Dr. Liu hesitantly suggested and shot a look at Jiang Zhengkai, “It seems that A-Lian’s insanity is related to this lady. Otherwise, she would not react to just that one particular portrait.”
“If we were to go along with the initial plan, then A-Lian…” Jiang Zhengkai stopped himself from elaborating further because he was not sure if Dr. Liu would agree to his methods. Although A-Lian’s response was within his expectations, it was still not his ideal outcome.
“I am willing to allow you to test it out. However, should A-Lian show any adverse reactions, you must immediately stop.” Dr. Liu hesitated before answering affirmatively. Truth to be told, Dr. Liu was deeply conflicted inside. She understood that A-Lian would surely react strongly to this experiment, possibly to the extent of shattering her already fragile mental state. However, should she disapprove, there would never be any change to A-Lian's deteriorated state. As a medical professional, she did not wish for her patients to deteriorate or even remain slumped at a standstill. After all, she was a psychologist, not just any doctor. She didn’t believe in the idea that maintaining homeostasis was a success.
“Okay, let us prepare! Tonight, we shall start the experiment.” Jiang Zhengkai turned and gave instructions to Liu Na before he sprung around to face Dr. Liu again. “Shall we have dinner together?”
“No thanks!” Dr. Liu shook her head. “You guys go ahead, as I am needed at home. I will be back at 8pm sharp tonight. Please make your preparations accordingly!”
“Alright!” Jiang Zhengkai nodded his head. “Xiaoqiang will send you home in a bit. He will also pick you up later.”
“Alright then, you are too kind.” Dr. Liu grinned and nodded. Later at night, Jiang Zhengkai made dinner arrangements for all of the policemen on duty in the hospital canteen. Of course, this also included A-Jiao. Jiang Zhengkai and A-Jiao found a relatively secluded spot in the hospital and sat down to quietly enjoy their dinner.
”Honey, are you still dissatisfied with the results from earlier?” Since A-Jiao had not been in the ward, she was unaware of A-Lian's expression and the reactions earlier.
“It was alright.” Jiang Zhengkai shoved a mouthful of rice into his mouth and turned to A-Jiao next to him. “Amongst your sisters’ portraits, A-Lian only reacted to A-Xiu's, but she did not say anything.”
“Then what should we do?” A-Jiao placed an egg into his lunchbox. “Have some more food; it will be a long night!”
“Tonight, we will put on a play for her.” Jiang Zhengkai gave A-Jiao a smile. “Hopefully, this will be the breakthrough in the case we’re searching for!”
The moment he removed his gaze from her, a sudden thought occurred to Jiang Zhengkai. “After dinner, I want you to meet someone!”
“Okay!” A-Jiao nodded in agreement. She didn’t know who Jiang Zhengkai was referring to. All she cared about was staying close by his side.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Killer Nights is back!! Why do you think A-Lian has such a strong reaction to A-Xiu's portrait?