After a whole full minute, Doctor Pei finally spoke. He looked at Jiang Xiaohu on the bed, and his expression was curious.
"From how I see it, the whole family is sick, and I don't mean it in a demeaning way-that's just my professional prognosis." Doctor Pei stood up and walked around the bed. "Three years ago, Jiang Xiaohu's mother came with his sister for his illness. I can remember that day like the back of my hand. His mother's name is Zhang Chuyu. She was very pretty, and she wore a thick mist of perfume.
"From head to toe, there were many branded clothes, but I couldn't feel a trace of happiness. She was thinking about something because she kept spacing out during our conversation. After a brief conversation, I had a rudimentary understanding of the family's situation.
"The sister, Jiang Bai, suffered from paranoia. She felt like everyone was out to kill her, like everyone was a murderer.
"Jiang Xiaohu's illness was rather curious. He would often do things that were very dangerous like turning on the stove on his own, splashing water on the electrical socket, playing with fire, and so on.
"Zhang Chuyu had scolded him more than once, but it did nothing to stop the boy. After her husband, Jiang Long, found out, he beat the boy several times, but the violence did not improve Jiang Xiaohu's condition. If anything, it only exacerbated his condition.
"Reckless, irritable, and often getting into fights with his classmates. Sometimes, it felt like he was possessed as he tried his best to harm the people around him. That was my first time running into a patient like that. Considering his young age, I did not write a prescription for Jiang Xiaohu but encouraged his parents to communicate more with him.
"I was only being concerned for the child's future, but Zhang Chuyu disagreed with me. She was adamant that since her child was sick, he needed the medication. There was a disagreement with the treatment method. As a psychiatrist, we're always misunderstood, so I did not mind that.
"The change in a child's personality often has much to do with his environment. From how I saw it, Jiang Xiaohu's illness had plenty to do with his parents. To treat Jiang Xiaohu, I had his mother and sister leave the room so that I could communicate with the boy on my own. From our conversation, I realized something incredibly creepy and scary."
Doctor Pei did not show concern for Jiang Xiaohu, who was within earshot, and he continued. "When I was talking to Jiang Xiaohu, the boy accidentally revealed some information to me-his mother was lying."
"Lying?" Chen Ge was confused. "The mother lied to send her child to an asylum? That's unlikely. Perhaps it was Jiang Xiaohu who was lying."
Doctor Pei shook his head. "I also could not tell the authenticity of his claim at the time, but after Jiang Long got into the car accident and passed away, I realized that perhaps Jiang Xiaohu wasn't lying to me."
"What did he tell you?"
"Jiang Xiaohu told me in confidence that he did not want to do those dangerous things. He had been forced to do those things by his mother to create the impression that he had gone mad!"
"The mother forced her boy to do dangerous things?" Chen Ge got even more confused. "Then what was her purpose for doing that?"
"The purpose was to kill Jiang Xiaohu's father-Jiang Long." Doctor Pei looked at Jiang Xiaohu, and his eyes were swirling with complicated emotions. "The boy told me that the one that had gone crazy was his mother, Zhang Chuyu. After his mother found out that the husband had a mistress, she planned to create an accident to kill the father, collect the insurance premium, and consume Jiang Long's company."
"It's hard to imagine a child would say such things. Things shouldn't be that simple, right?"
"Yes, I had the same thought as you." Doctor Pei leaned against the bedside, and his eyes were dark. "I didn't think a boy could understand so many things, and perhaps someone told him to say these things. In this family of four, the father spent most of his time working outside, and the mother couldn't have implicated herself, so the most possible candidate who could teach these things to Jiang Xiaohu was his sister, Jiang Bai."
Chen Ge did not interrupt and allow Doctor Pei to finish.
"Then, I called Jiang Bai in to have a private talk with her; the result was unexpected as well.
"Jiang Bai told me that the real madman was her father-Jiang Long. After Jiang Long invested in the Ming Yang Residence project, she felt that her father had changed. He would often return late and do things that she could not understand. The way that he looked at his family had changed as well.
"One time, after Jiang Long got drunk, he got into an argument with the mother. Jiang Long, who had always been a gentle spirit, raised his hand to hit Zhang Chuyu and then ran into the kitchen to grab a knife.
"He waved it in the air and scolded at a spot where no one was standing. He was like a completely different person. After that, Jiang Long returned home even less. No one knew what he was up to. He even bought an apartment for himself in Eastern Jiujiang's Li Wan City and moved out to live on his own.
"If that was all, Jiang Bai would not have thought that her father had gone mad, but something happened later that made Jiang Bai fearful of her father.
"It happened one month before they came to me for treatment. When Zhang Chuyu was pouring water for herself, Jiang Xiaohu accidentally ran into her, and they were both injured by the hot water. Jiang Bai sent both of them to the hospital. She called her father on the phone, but there was no answer. Then she ran to Jiang Long's home in Eastern Jiujiang to see him in person.
"When Jiang Long heard that Zhang Chuyu and Jiang Xiaohu were injured, he grumbled a few words before saying that he was busy, so he wouldn't be visiting them. Jiang Bai was angry when she heard that. She stayed at Jiang Long's house and would not leave until her father agreed to come with her to the hospital. That night, Jiang Long received a call and left in a hurry, leaving Jiang Bai alone at his place.
"After midnight, Jiang Bai heard movement inside the house. She thought that it was mice. She followed the sound and found a secret room behind the closet. Entering the place, she saw a steel cage, and there was a large doll trapped inside the cage!
"There appeared to be someone sewn into the doll. The person couldn't speak, and the body was weak. When the person heard the door open, they started to curl up in the corner due to primal fear.
"Jiang Bai did not go in. She was spooked. She closed the closet and ran back to the hospital that night. She told her discovery to Zhang Chuyu and Jiang Xiaohu.
"Jiang Xiaohu was too young to understand anything, but Zhang Chuyu's reaction was weird. When she heard there was a large doll trapped inside a steel cage, she laughed happily.
"Based on Jiang Bai's description, both her parents were mentally unstable, but here is the problem. Zhang Chuyu said that Jiang Bai suffered from paranoia, so everything that she saw was just her imagination."
Doctor Pei finally finished the story. "In any case, that's the situation with the family. The mother said that the brother and the sister are both crazy, the brother said the mother is crazy, and the sister said the mother and the father are crazy. I'm not afraid of you having a bad judgment of me, but even today, I cannot tell for sure who was really lying."