Chapter 63 Family
I had been standing at the site for quite some time, unsure of what my next move should be. It must have looked suspicious, because a policeman came over and looked at me up and down before asking, "What are you doing here?"
I turned my head around and looked at the officer: "I am a friend of Wu Jian's. I heard he was missing. I'm here hoping I'll find a clue."
By his reaction, I could tell that the officer definitely knew Wu Jian. My words softened his expression, and he solemnly said: "Who told you about that? Don't stick around here, leave it to us, we'll find him as soon as possible."
I nodded. I wanted to tell the police about the text message I had received, but I ended up decided against it. Something felt off, and I had a feeling telling the police wouldn't lead to much.
The officer realized that I had no intention of leaving. He didn't try to drive me away or anything, but he did take the time to remind me not to go past the yellow caution tape before turning around and heading back to his post. It was daytime still and it would be risky to try and disobey his orders now. I planned on asking Sister Hua for some time off that night, I'm sure I could get Xiao Lingdang to come with me to check things out. All I'd have to do is give her some barbecue and she'd happily go along with anything I'd ask her to do.
My phone began to ring, I picked it up and took a look at the caller ID. It was Huang Xiaolong. I hadn't talked to him or seen him for quite some time. Last I heard anything about him was from Wu Jian, who said that he had gone back to his hometown.
Once the call had gone through, Huang Xiaolong immediately began talking about Wu Jian's disappearance. I was a little shocked and confused by his sudden involvement, seemingly out of nowhere. "Don't act rashly. Wait for me before you go barging in there, we can meet up tomorrow.
I did trust him, so I promised that I wouldn't go in before tomorrow. I didn't promise however, that Xiao Lingdang wouldn't go in, so I I was still ready to let her go and check it out at night. Wu Jian's disappearance was really strange. I was worried that more terrible things would continue happen and I couldn't just wait around and do nothing.
I hung up with Huang Xiaolong and took a look around before leaving the area. I briefly considered talking to neighbors, before I decided it would be futile, since I'm sure the police did this countless times already. The best thing I could do was find the root of the problem and take care of that. The best way of getting to the root of the issue was to find the victim, in order to do that, I needed Xiao Lingdang.
I had been anxiously waiting for a while before I summoned the courage to ask Sister Hua for some time off. Though she was usually understanding, she was still my superior. Once she agreed, I went over to Xiao Lingdang to coax her into helping me out at the scene of the arson by promising her some BBQ.
Xiao Lingdang was very excited about the barbecue, though to make sure we got things done, I told her that we would go as soon finished the task at hand. She was so motivated, she went on ahead and snuck onto the premises before I had even arrived. Although it was very late, the scene of the crime was still being guarded by the police. I pretended to pass by the arson scene inadvertently, and went past it towards the night market stall. Once I was there, I ordered some kebabs, packed them up to go, and waited for Xiao Lingdang to return so I can reward her with her bribe.
She returned surprisingly fast. We went off to a more secluded area, handed her the food and asked about the situation in the burned down house.
She "ate" quickly, only taking short breaks to inform me that there was no sign of any ghosts whatsoever. There wasn't even a trace of Yin Qi, the place was completely normal. She took a couple more sniffs of the food and told me that there was no sign of Wu Jian either.
I must admit, Xiao Lingdang's report was nothing like what I was expecting. People had definitely died here. Where did their ghosts go? I rushed back to the ghost house together with Xiao Lingdang.
The ghost house had a large network, as long as ghosts existed, I would find Wu Jian sooner or later. I returned to the ghost house with a dissatisfied Xiao Lingdang and told Sister Hua everything. With Sister Hua's help, we managed to send a message in a way only she knew how. Unfortunately, no one replied to the message until the ghost house was closing for the night.
Well, at least I had learned something new about the arson. The reply held some information about the family that had been burned to death. The family was made up of three people, the male owner named Jiang Kun, the woman named Jiang ping, and their kid Jiang Mingming. None of them were locals, they had moved here more than ten years ago.
Although it was strange that the man shared the same surname as his wife, I didn't think much of it. After all, society was not very particular about rules that demanded people with the same surname couldn't get married. Many people shared the same last name.
What caught my attention was how they were allowed to live in the old house even though they weren't local people. According to old ghost who went us the message, the family didn't rent the house, they owned it. How could people who weren't locals own a house in this area?
I couldn't figure it out and the informant had nothing to say about it either. Laws had been passed in the area that didn't allow the house to be sold, so only the local government would be able to purchase that land. It didn't make any sense.
I left as soon as I realized there wasn't any more useful information for me. Huang Xianlong had told me that he would be here today. Perhaps once we were together and had discussed everything, we could figure it all out.
However, the day passed and Huang Xiaolong still hadn't called me straight through to the next day. Just before I was going in to work I decided to try calling him. To my surprise, nobody answered. I tried to call Wu Jian again, only to end up being questioned by police. Since he had been missing for a long time, it seemed the police was dedicating significant resources towards finding him.
Later that evening, I lured Xiao Lingdang into going to the crime scene in the same way I had the day before. She still couldn't find anything and the ghost house hadn't gotten any new messages either.
What I had learned about the family wasn't very helpful so far. All I knew was they kept low profile, they weren't fond of going out, and they were good people, with a warm heart. Though this wasn't particularly useful, I still wrote it down.
As soon as I noticed that Sister Hua had some free time, I asked her: "Where do ghosts go if they don't stay in the same place they died?" Her answer ended up just making me more confused. She said that ghost would linger in the place where it died and that it wouldn't leave for forty-nine days.
The problem was Xiao Lingdang couldn't find any of their ghosts.
Huang Xiaolong sent me a message as soon as the ghost house closed. It was surprisingly similar to the text Wu Jian sent before he disappeared: "They were families."
I called Huang Xiaolong back and the call went through, but no one answered on the other end. The next day, I learned that police had found a phone in the arson scene. It's owner? Huang Xiaolong.
Since I had called Huang Xiaolong several times the past few days, the police decided they should call me in for questioning. That was when I learned that there was no record of a text being sent from Wu Jian's or Huang Xiaolong's cell phones.
I wasn't released until the next day. They still asked me not to leave the county, though to be honest, I didn't have the time or the reason to kill anyone right now.
I wasn't going to be leaving the county. After all, Wu Jian and Huang Xiaolong were missing. My plan was to go to the scene at night. But before I did that, I needed to make preparations- barbecue.
I hadn't been to work for a whole day. Sister Hua didn't seem upset and she didn't blame me for it. I mustered up the courage to tell her my plan. She thought it would definitely be possible. As long as Xiao Lingdang was obsessed with barbecue, it could work. For the sake of our safety, I persuaded Xiao Lingdang to ask Sister Tan for help. It was always helpful to have one more person involved; well, more like one more ghost.