"You've found the killer‽" Chen Ge jumped up immediately. "Okay, I'll be there in a minute!"
Chen Ge grabbed his jacket and dashed out of the Haunted House. The first date in his life had been at a haunted school with a Red Specter. There had been no excitement or joy during his first date, but he did familiarize himself with the sad past of a girl. Falling from a high building, lying in the pool of her own blood. Pain had assaulted her from everywhere, but death had taken its sweet time to arrive.
Looking at the killer walking away from the scene, the truth had thus been buried. Her ballet shoes had slowly been dyed red, and the kind girl had morphed into a malicious specter. Zhang Ya had told Chen Ge everything, and the only one who could speak on her behalf was him. Chen Ge took a taxi to the police station.
Ah Yong, who waited outside, recognized Chen Ge at first glance. "Inspector Lee is in the room on the left."
The office was small, and Inspector Lee was in it alone. "You're finally here, take a seat."
When Chen Ge saw that there was only Inspector Lee in the room, he had a very bad feeling. "Has the killer been confirmed? Didn't you say the pool of suspects still has three people?"
"Nah, it's been confirmed. It's him." Inspector Lee picked up a file from the desk to retrieve a photograph. "The man's name is Zhu Xiu. He was the manager for the equipment room at Western Jiujiang's Private Academy. There was nothing to his name. At the same time, he was the headmaster's youngest son and the ex-husband of the dance teacher, Sun Meijing."
The picture had been taken from a surveillance video. A thin man was captured in the picture. He sat at a roadside stall. Many beer cans crowded the dirty table.
"Are you sure?" Zhang Ya had once replayed the original scene using the mirror in the dance studio. Chen Ge had not gotten a good look of the killer's face, but he did have a sense of the man's physical body. The killer in the mirror was large, completely different from the man in the picture.
"Initially, we also only saw him as one of the suspects. Our focus was on the physical education teachers and guest teachers of the Private Academy. When we did our interview, Zhu Xiu's ex-wife, Sun Meijing, accidentally revealed an important detail to us."
"What did she say?"
"Her lips were tight and refused to say anything, but we discovered a picture that she had posted online many years ago." Inspector Lee took out his phone, and it was the picture of a couple that he showed to Chen Ge. The woman looked normal, but she kept her figure tight and fit. The man looked younger than the woman, but he was large. He appeared to weigh about 180 kilograms.
"This man is Zhu Xiu from five years ago." Comparing the man in the picture and the man in real life, they were completely different. "In five years, Zhu Xiu has lost about 60 kg; this attracted our attention. When we investigated deeper, we discovered that this man has no stable job but has a great spending habit, and most importantly, he appears to be a hoarder."
Inspector Lee took out another photograph. "After Zhu Xiu's father passed away, Sun Meijing filed for a divorce. The house went to Sun Meijing, and he has been living inside rental home. We found his landlord, and using 'fixing an electrical line' as excuse, we looked around his room. His place was a huge mess and absolutely reeked. There were several pairs of female shoes hidden underneath his bed."
The last picture was taken in secret, and it captured the situation inside Zhu Xiu's room.
"His occupation, physical stature, and obsession match perfectly! It is ninety percent certain that he's the killer!" Chen Ge hissed. This kind of person should be locked behind bars, awaiting the judgement of the law.
"But we only have circumstantial evidence. He had the motive and ability to commit the crime, but that doesn't prove he's the killer. We need more concrete evidence." Inspector Lee rubbed his temple. "Now, I have good news and bad news-which do you want to listen to first?"
"Bad news," Chen Ge said.
"Based on the clue you provided, we found that the other girls who were Zhu Xiu's accomplices in forcing the girl to commit suicide have all mysteriously died. We do not have any living witnesses."
Chen Ge could not do anything about that. The witnesses whom Inspector Lee wanted had been cursed inside chairs, and one of them had been made into candy and eaten.
"We couldn't do anything to him without witnesses?"
"No, as long as we have concrete proof, we'll get a guilty verdict as well. However, this case happened four or five years ago, so all the physical evidence has been ruined. Most importantly, the coroner's report states that the girl committed suicide, and there was no sign of a physical altercation before her death."
"That was because she was forced to jump! The bastard cornered her at the window! This is definitely a murder!" Chen Ge had seen that scene for himself in the mirror.
"That is not for me or you to decide. We need evidence." Inspector Lee put away all the pictures. "Now, do you want to listen to the good news?"
"Somehow, Zhu Xiu found out we were onto him. On the second day of our investigation, he disappeared." Inspector Lee removed the remaining pictures from a document.
"How is that good news?" Chen Ge could not understand. He turned to look at the pictures on the table.
"Refusing to cooperate and obstruction of justice enable us to take more forceful advances like asking for aid from other stations." Inspector Lee said many things, but they fell on deaf ears. Chen Ge picked up one of the pictures, and his eyes were shaking. "Why is this picture here?"
Inspector Lee glanced at it. "That is the last picture we have of Zhu Xiu. Apparently, he disappeared inside this building."
"Why would he go there?" Chen Ge narrowed his eyes. The building in the picture was the third building of Fang Hwa Apartments!
"We're also wondering about that." Inspector Lee did not know why Chen Ge was acting this way. "After further investigation, we realized that this was not the first time Zhu Xiu visited Fang Hwa Apartments. We pulled the surveillance footage for the most recent three months and realized that Zhu Xiu has visited the third block three times, and interestingly enough, his visits were all at midnight, Tuesday midnight to be exact."
"How long does he spend there each time?"
"About ten minutes."
"Can you give me an exact time frame?"
"He would arrive at Tuesday night 11:50 pm and then leave right after midnight. No one knows what he is up to." Inspector Lee stated his suspicions. "The man seems to know that his sin will be exposed sooner or later and thus is finding an escape route for himself."
"After the midnight of Tuesday, it would be Wednesday." Chen Ge placed the picture down. The number three kept appearing. Now, he suspected that Zhu Xiu had received the flyer from the ghost stories society. The man tried to search for the society but had failed so far.
"Fang Hwa Apartments is now the focus of our investigation, but the main city is currently dealing with a big case, and we do not have enough manpower to cover the whole building." Inspector Lee had his own difficulties. "We might need to wait another few days, but don't worry. Catching him will be easy, but the difficult part will be collecting enough evidence to charge him."
"I understand." Chen Ge memorized all the pictures on the table in his mind. "Thank you, Uncle Lee!"
"What are you thanking me for? I'm just doing my job." Years of experience made Inspector Lee realize that something was wrong with Chen Ge's tone.
"Okay, if there's nothing else, I'll be leaving."
After leaving the station, Chen Ge reached his hands into his pocket to pinch at the flyer inside it.
"After today, it'll be Wednesday."