Jiang Zhengkai led a group of police officers to rush into the rented apartment. The door on the left was already ajar. From the vantage point of the living room, they could clearly see what had happened. On the bed, the man and woman were frozen in their final acts of lovemaking. In fact, Wu Xiuping's mummified body was still trembling slightly. Simultaneously, beneath him, A-Hui’s body was rapidly shrinking as she released a deep and terrifying scream. Similarly, in the living room, another woman was lying on the floor. They couldn’t see her expression as her back was facing them. However, based on her rapid spasms, they could surmise that she had been thoroughly traumatized by the scene inside the room.
Jiang Zhengkai and Lu Xiaoqiang were standing in the living room along with the police officers, dazed. Jiang Zhengkai was eventually the first to recover and leaped over the woman on the ground as he rushed straight into the room. Lu Xiaoqiang followed right behind him while the rest snapped out of their stunned state and successively sprung into action. All of a sudden, the entire place was bustling with clamor.
“Separate the two of them!” Trying to preserve the remaining vitality of A-Hui, Jiang Zhengkai hastily grabbed her shoulder with one hand while placing the other under her nose. “Speak! Can you talk? Who did this?” He yelled at the woman in vain.
Lu Xiaoqiang followed Jiang Zhengkai, wanting to pull the man off of A-Hui, but to no avail. Their lower halves were firmly dovetailed together and could not be pried apart. “Come help me!” Lu Xiaoqiang yelled helplessly at the frantic policemen behind him. Several brave officers reacted to Lu Xiaoqiang’s plea and came over but even together they lacked the strength to separate the two.
“It’s too late.” Jiang Zhengkai removed his hand from A-Hui’s body. “Only her bones remain.” Disappointed, he stared at the woman and man on the bed. This time, they had practically turned into skeletons under their eyes.
“Are you ok?” A-Jiao stepped into the living room and bent over to wrap her arms around the woman on the ground. This woman’s body was unusually cold. From her non-stop trembling, it could be seen that she was clearly terrified by the scene in the room to the point that she didn’t even register A-Jiao’s action. A-Jiao scanned the room and ultimately landed on A-Rou. “Girl! Fetch some hot water for her! Quickly!”
“O… Oh!” A-Rou stumbled her way into the kitchen, so anxious that she nearly tripped over the kitchen’s doorstep. After five minutes, A-Rou finally managed to pour a glass of water and bring it back to the room. “Po… Police… Sister, wa… water… water!” Stuttering, she delivered the glass of water to A-Jiao.
“How is it? What’s the situation like?” Zhang Nan hurriedly inquired the moment he rushed in and saw that the room was filled with police officers.
“Still… still alive! Inspector… Inspector Jiang is inside.” Still visibly shaken, the policeman by the door managed to report a brief summary of the situation to Zhang Nan. Not all policemen were as brave as Jiang Zhengkai and Lu Xiaoqiang. Zhang Nan harshly glared at the policeman. Then, he walked past the woman on the ground and A-Jiao, entering the room and standing next to Jiang Zhengkai. “Jiang, how is it?”
“Dead! She died in front of my eyes!” Jiang Zhengkai glanced at Zhang Nan and then shifted his gaze back to the corpses. “How’s the situation outside?”
“There’s nothing out of the ordinary!” said Zhang Nan as he gazed at the two corpses. “Everything is normal outside. There was no movement in or out of the building.”
“Tell them to carefully search the entire building!” Jiang Zhengkai shook his head at the skeletons on the bed. “Ah! I’m getting a headache. Help me take care of this.”
“Ok, Jiang.” Zhang Nan left after patting Jiang Zhengkai on the shoulder.
“Aii!” Jiang Zhengkai sighed. He then lifted his head and noticed Lu Xiaoqiang standing to the side with a dazed expression. “Give Mu Mingyuan a call. Tell him to hurry up and get his team over here.” Jiang Zhengkai turned around and faced the door again. “Is that A-Ping?”
“Oh! Yes, Inspector Jiang.” Lu Xiaoqiang nodded his head dejectedly as he thought, ‘Witnessing the victim’s death and feeling helpless to prevent it is an awful situation for any policeman.’
“After you call Mingyuan, go and comfort her. I’m going to stay here for a bit longer.” Jiang Zhengkai waved his hand, gesturing for Lu Xiaoqiang to leave. Then he grabbed a chair and sat down next to the bed to carefully examine the two skeletons.
How did the killer enter and leave the room? Why did the man who came in with A-Hui feel familiar to him, and why did he have no shadow of his own? How did the killer mummify the man in just a few minutes? Could the killer have injected a poison into them? Even if he did, when and how did he do it?
Twenty minutes later, Zhang Nan returned to the room and declared in a low voice, “Jiang, we checked everything in the rooms. There’s nothing out of the ordinary. While there is a man and woman in the room across from us, I don’t think they did anything. When our people stormed in, they didn’t even have their clothes on. For now, we are monitoring them closely.”
“It can’t be them.” Jiang Zhengkai shook his head, “Either the killer was already in the room or they followed A-Hui and the man into the room. Have we identified the deceased male yet?”
“He was Wu Xiuping,” Zhang Nan replied.
“It’s him?” Jiang Zhengkai looked at Zhang Nan in shock. “How is that possible? I saw him enter the alley.”
“But these are his clothes, backpack, and identification.” Zhang Nan confidently responded.
Heh!” Jiang Zhengkai let out a long breath. “This killer moves quite quickly! Right, did the officers who were standing guard on either side of the alley notice whether Wu Xiuping had a…”
“There shouldn’t have been anything unusual, I saw his shadow while you were getting updates in the surveillance room.”
“But, we didn’t see one on the surveillance camera…” Jiang Zhengkai stared at Zhang Nan. “Could there have been someone or something behind him?”
“I didn’t notice anything!” Zhang Nan answered shockingly. “I didn’t see anything unusual while they were walking. By the time we got in contact, they were already next to the apartment.”
“Ok. Go take a break, Zhang.” But Jiang Zhengkai merely stood up and pointed to the chair in response. “How much longer before Mingyuan and his team arrives?”
“I just called to ask. They are right outside the alley.”
“Ok. I’ll first check on the woman outside.” And with that, Jiang Zhengkai left the scene of the crime.
The couple in the other room were escorted out of the apartment by the police officers. Only A-Ping, A-Jiao, and Lu Xiaoqiang were left in the living room. Under A-Jiao and Lu Xiaoqiang’s attempts to soothe her, A-Ping grew a lot calmer. However, her body was still trembling slightly.
“You’re A-Ping?” Jiang Zhengkai asked as he walked into the living room and sat down on an empty seat.
“Y… Yes!” A-Ping replied shakily. As she spoke, her body violently shivered with every syllable. Next to her, A-Jiao saw this and wrapped her arms around A-Ping. “Sister, don’t be scared! Don’t be scared! He’s a police officer. He’s here to solve the case.”
“Oh, I’m feeling be… better…” A-Ping shot A-Jiao a grateful look and simultaneously leaned closer to her. Although A-Ping’s body was still shaking, she was more willing to cooperate now.
“Don’t be nervous! A-Ping, he’s Inspector Jiang. He’s the investigative task force commander leader.” Lu Xiaoqiang attempted to comfort A-Ping as well. Although A-Ping most likely desired his shoulder the most, he couldn’t provide this type of comfort for her. After all, his feelings toward her hadn’t developed to that level yet.
“It’s fine! Let A-Ping rest a bit longer. We’re in no rush.” Jiang Zhengkai shot a warm smile at A-Ping as he soothed, “Don’t be scared. We will definitely catch the killer!”
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So scary yo... anybody creeped out?