Volume 9: The Boy In Red Chapter 42: The Corpse Knocking At The Door

Not long after the case of the boy in red, a series of strange child deaths occurred in Shancheng City!

A new ramen restaurant opened near Shancheng Experimental Middle School. Its customers are mainly students. The owners are a couple named Cai. On December 14, around 7:40 in the evening, when it was already dark, the owner of a stationery store nearby ran over to the couple and said, "Hurry up, your child is in trouble."

The couple ran out in a hurry and saw the four-year-old child hanging on the telephone wire of a telephone booth at the door of the stationery store, with his feet hanging 5-6 cm off the ground and unconscious. After being sent to the hospital, the doctor announced that the child was dead. The parents were heartbroken and felt that their only son died inexplicably, so they asked the police to investigate. The local criminal investigation department ruled out homicide and determined that the boy surnamed Cai died accidentally based on external signs. This incident aroused public indignation. Many people believed that the murderer picked up the child and hung him on the telephone wire. The child's jumping ability was limited and it was difficult for his neck to reach the height of the telephone wire.

A few days later, the Cai couple went to the funeral home to arrange the funeral. The workers at the funeral home said to them that the death of their child was a bit strange.

The worker in charge of the cremation said something that made them shudder. This child was the seventh child with the surname Cai who had died mysteriously in the past month!

The Cai couple felt horrified. How could it be such a coincidence that seven Cai children died unexpectedly one after another?

Someone at the funeral home looked at the death certificate and said in surprise, "Your child was born on August 18, 2005, which was July 14th in the lunar calendar, the Ghost Festival!"

Another worker said, Mid-July.

This child was born on Ghost Festival!

Funeral workers have their own secrets. They call the Ghost Festival "Zhongyuan Festival" or "Mid-July Festival". The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese custom. It is said that on the 14th day of the lunar month, the gates of hell open and all the ghosts come out. The gates of hell close at midnight on the 15th day of the lunar month. Children born on the Ghost Festival are called ghosts. People born on this day have always celebrated their birthdays according to the solar calendar.

Among the seven children surnamed Cai, two of them had needle marks on their foreheads. The police concluded that they had died unexpectedly.

These two children drowned, a boy and a girl, living in the same village. On their way home from school, they fell into a pool of water at the bottom of the mountain road and drowned. The police could not explain how the needle hole on the children's foreheads was formed. The other children died of food poisoning, electric shock, car accidents, sudden death from asthma attacks, and the child who hanged himself in a telephone booth, a total of seven.

The seven children surnamed Cai, the youngest of whom was four years old and the oldest was twelve years old, were not related according to the police.

The angry villagers drained the pond in an attempt to find evidence of the murder, but found nothing. The two children who drowned were not cremated, and their parents and villagers carried their bodies to the city government to petition for an explanation.

The people of Shancheng City are in panic. Every day, a large number of parents gather in front of the school to pick up and drop off their children. A series of bizarre deaths of children cast a shadow over the city.

The Shancheng police asked the special case team for help in the investigation. The Shancheng police chief was Wang Lingjun, a well-known anti-crime hero in the police community. He had won numerous honors throughout his police career, including being one of the top ten outstanding police officers in China. He was also one of the few first-class heroes and models alive. In terms of academics, he had made significant achievements. Dr. Li Changyu, an internationally renowned criminal forensics expert, hired him as a special expert. He looked gentle on the outside, but he was iron-fisted inside. His iron-faced and selfless style once shocked the Chongqing police community. The people of Shancheng all gave him a thumbs up when they mentioned his name.

Su Mei said: It seems that Director Wang is in trouble and does not want to bear the stigma of police inaction.

Bao Zhan said: The fact that Chief Wang Lingjun, who is well-known in the police force, bowed his head and asked us for help shows how difficult this case is.

Professor Liang said: I have read two monographs by this person, "Proceedings of the International Association of Craniofacial Forensic Identification in 2004" and "Trace Examination and Investigation and Solving Cases".

Hualong said: This is a real man. He is the only one in the police force in the whole country whom I can call brother.

Wang Lingjun received the special case team with his highest standards. In the past, the special case team was treated like a star. Some local police held welcoming banquets in luxury hotels, and some held press conferences. However, Director Wang Lingjun was different. He invited the special case team to have a barbecue at an open-air barbecue stall near the Public Security Bureau, which was considered a welcome for the special case team.

Several people sat on mats, eating barbecue and drinking beer. The barbecue stall owner used a broken fan to fan the charcoal until it became red hot, and sprinkled chili powder and cumin powder on it. The air was filled with smoke and fire, and the sound of a few mountain city gangs playing finger-guessing games came from the table next to them.

Su Mei said: Director Wang is so stingy, just treat us to barbecue skewers.

Director Wang Lingjun said: This is my highest reception standard. Wearing a suit and tie to eat at a hotel is mostly for socializing, and those who can sit at the night market and drink are accomplices. I treat you as accomplices.

Hualong said: You are really generous. I will change to a bigger bowl to drink with you. This cup is too small.

Director Wang Lingjun said: Boss, bring a few large bowls, I toast to you all, Professor Liang Shuye, I have heard of your great name for a long time, I toast to you.

Professor Liang said: It looks like I won’t go home until I’m drunk today.

Bao Zhan said: I blush and lose my composure when I drink, so I'll just use a small cup as usual.

Su Mei said: Xiao Bao and I both use glass cups, and you use big bowls to show your heroism. Director Wang, aren't you afraid that your sister-in-law will scratch you when you get drunk?

Director Wang Lingjun joked: Girl, you are so beautiful, do you have a boyfriend? Do you want me to introduce one to you?

Su Mei smiled and said: I don’t even know what my future husband will be like.

Director Wang Lingjun said: Your sister-in-law would say this – never marry a policeman.

Everyone burst into laughter. It was not appropriate to discuss the case in an open air environment. A few people at the next table actually started talking about Wang Lingjun, the chief of the Shancheng Public Security Bureau. Everyone listened attentively.

Bangbang are the coolies of the mountain city. You can see some people in the streets and alleys holding carrying poles or bamboo sticks in their hands. These temporary porters are called Bangbang, and they live at the bottom of society.

A gangster said that Director Wang Lingjun wore a bulletproof vest and slept with his gun as a pillow every day, and he had offended many people because of his crackdown on organized crime.

Another guy said that Wang Lingjun often drove a taxi to visit incognito. When he was in the Northeast, Wang Lingjun had supreme prestige among the local rickshaw drivers. Many of these people were laid-off workers and were often bullied and blackmailed by local ruffians. Wang Lingjun ordered that if such ruffians were caught, they should not only be severely punished according to law, but also be asked to take out all the money in their pockets and pay the rickshaw driver as compensation. There is a widely circulated story that one night, Wang Lingjun walked home after work. A driver saw that it was him and quickly pedaled over to take him home. Wang Lingjun refused while walking, but within a few hundred meters, a string of rickshaws followed him, more than a dozen.

Finally, Bangbang said that if there were more officials like this, our society would be peaceful!

The four members of the special case team raised their glasses, and without saying a word, they toasted Wang Lingjun all the way.

No matter what kind of honor an official has won or what kind of distinguished qualifications he has, it is probably just an external phenomenon. The official's monument only exists in the mouths of the people. If the leaders attending the Olympics and Asian Games can understand the difficulties of the people and participate in the Spring Festival travel, the problems of the Spring Festival travel will be solved; those officials who eat and drink at public expense are far better off listening to the voices of the neighboring tables at an open-air barbecue stall than holding a hundred meetings to discuss solving people's livelihood problems, so as to face the public opinion more closely.

Shancheng police are entering the final stage of the special campaign against organized crime. Chief Wang Lingjun is busy with the elimination of illegal guns, solving backlog cases, and chasing fugitives. The case of the boy in red and the death of seven children surnamed Cai have caused the public to question the people-friendly image that the police have established over the years. Chief Wang Lingjun invited the special case team to come, hoping that they can give the people of Shancheng an authoritative investigation conclusion.

The special case team analyzed and believed that among the seven children with the surname Cai, it was certain that five of them died unexpectedly.

In the case of the boy hanging in the telephone booth, the special case team investigated the scene and gave a conclusion. The telephone booth was cylindrical, 210cm high, with three semicircular stainless steel protective pipes at the bottom, 48cm, 30cm, and 11cm above the ground respectively. Trace material tests confirmed that there were inconspicuous traces of trampling on the second steel pipe, and the child should have stepped on it and accidentally strangled to death.

The two children who died of drowning had needle marks on their foreheads, and the boy in red also had needle marks on his head. The causes of death of these three children are suspicious, and the special case team has made these three children the focus of investigation.

After opening the map, the special case team chose a forest police station that was closest to the three children as a temporary office location. Director Wang Lingjun could not allocate more police force, so he sent an assistant named Tang to help the special case team investigate. Assistant Tang told the special case team that the forest police station was very simple and was actually a checkpoint located halfway up the mountain with nice scenery.

On the top of the mountain, there was a Taoist temple filled with pilgrims, the air was filled with smoke, and there were many people praying and burning incense.

There was a temple fair at the foot of the mountain, which was very lively. Assistant Tang and the special case team met a fortune-telling Taoist priest at the temple fair. The Taoist priest was over fifty years old, had a beard, and wore a Taoist robe with a wide collar and sleeves. He sat on the ground, with the I Ching Bagua diagram, oracle bones, copper coins, yarrow and other divination props in front of him. The Taoist priest did not wear shoes, claiming that he traveled barefoot around the world, regardless of age, to make good connections and plant good seeds.

Bao Zhan always respected those who practiced Buddhism as monks, so he told his birth date and asked the Taoist priest to tell his fortune.

The Taoist closed his eyes and concentrated for a while, then said in surprise: I have been hiding in the grass and trees and living in this area. This is the first time I have seen such a bad or great fortune.

Bao Zhan said in a respectful tone: Taoist priest, please give me some advice.

The barefoot Taoist priest said that Bao Zhan had a rough childhood and had experienced many hardships, and Bao Zhan nodded in agreement.

The Taoist priest then said something profound:

Don’t just look at the clouds to forget the vast ocean. There is no way out in the rivers and lakes, so search up and down.

What I saw when I held the branch in my mouth was a man holding a knife, slaughtering sheep.

What I hear facing the wall is the cry of my neighbors and the pity of the people;

In times of peace and chaos, all the stars return to their positions.

The sun, the moon, and the stars can all be contained in a well. If I don't know this, what's the point of living?

The barefoot Taoist priest correctly calculated that the four members of the special case team were police officers who came to solve the case, but there was little hope of solving the case, unless – ghosts knocked on the door at midnight and possessed the body during the day! These strange words surprised Su Mei, and she also reported her birth date and asked the Taoist priest to calculate her marriage. The Taoist priest said some difficult words, such as Zhengguan, Pianguan, Xin Bijian, Wu Zhengyin, etc. Su Mei couldn't understand, and the Taoist priest wrote a word on Su Mei's palm.

Su Mei was shocked and felt it was extremely unbelievable.

When the Taoist priest was writing, the sleeves of his Taoist robe covered Su Mei's hands, so no one could tell what he was writing.

On the way up the mountain, everyone was very curious, and Bao Zhan asked Su Mei what the word was.

Hualong also asked, "Is this the name of your future husband?"

Su Mei’s answer was: I won’t tell you.

It was already evening when we reached the middle of the mountain. We planned to rest at the Forest Police Station for one night and go to the village where the boy in red and the two drowned children died tomorrow to investigate. This police station is a checkpoint. There are police officers on duty during the day and no one lives there at night. The main job is to check passing vehicles and prohibit illegal logging. They also have to patrol the mountains and forests to prevent fire accidents.

The several tiled houses were dilapidated, with weeds growing behind them and wormwood growing on the roofs. The checkpoint looked gloomy and scary at night. At midnight, there was a knock on the door, and the Taoist priest's words came true – ghosts knock on the door at midnight.

Hualong checked and found that there was no one in front of or behind the house.

However, the four members of the special case team and Assistant Tang all clearly heard the knock on the door.

Everyone thought the knock on the door was very strange. When they looked up, they saw a small handprint on the door.

It was a bit cold on the mountain, with gusts of cold wind, and the handprint looked particularly horrifying. The handprint was not a bloody handprint, but a wet little hand that had slapped the door, leaving some liquid on the door, emitting a foul smell. Bao Zhan leaned in to smell it, and he knew the smell of this liquid very well – the smell of a rotting corpse!

A terrifying scene appeared in the minds of the special case team and Assistant Tang:

A rotting corpse stood staggering in front of the door. It raised its hand, which was covered with corpse fluid, and knocked on the door.

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