Volume 1: Case 502 — The Intoxicated Frozen Corpse
“Unhurriedly, Yan Xie finally pulled the fatal trigger.”
Edited by Beth
“You used fake Adderall to bait students into taking drugs, and we’ve also retrieved many fingerprints from the drug-manufacturing tools on the roof of your rented place. We’ve caught you red-handed, what else do you have to say?!”
“Sir, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Those things are just pieces of junk I’ve picked up. I didn’t know they could be used to make drugs.”
“Stop giving us these useless excuses. If you confess now, you could still receive a lenient sentencing. But if you insist on talking nonsense, then no one can save you!”
“Hahah. Sir, are you trying to increase your end-of-the-year result? Making and trafficking drugs is a capital offence. Are you trying to lure me into giving a false confession?”
Behind the one-way glass of the interrogation room, Yan Xie stood wearing a Bluetooth-earpiece with his back facing the whole scene.
Under the spray of rushing water, he undid the bandage on his hand and placed the finger, of which the skin had split open, under the tap. The clotted blood dissolved immediately into a red stream and flowed down his finger.
The icy pain was like thousands of needles penetrating into the bone. However, it was as though he couldn’t feel anything, as his brows didn’t even twitch. With great attention, he was listening to the conversation coming from his earpiece.
“If you real the identity of your accomplice, the one who was sitting in the backseat during the evening of Case 5-0-2, and provide us with a lead, the court will give you a lighter sentence!”
“What accomplice? I just happened to be driving them, I didn’t know them at all.”
“If that’s true, then you can tell me the gender of this person you just so happened to be driving, or their age, or anything distinctive about their appearance. How about how they made their payment to you?”
“I’ve forgotten already, I can’t remember a thing.”
“Fuck— this bastard’s damned tight-lipped,” Ma Xiang was angry. “We’re exhausted from interrogating him for eight hours straight. He either doesn’t know or forgotten. I really want to—”
Yan Xie didn’t even look at him, “What do you want to do?”
Ma Xiang swallowed. Seeing that Qin Chuan was the only outsider alone in the room, he secretly shot Yan Xie a look. “I’ll get that intern to disconnect the CCTV. Yan-ge, let’s employ some special treatment?”
In the reflection of the glass, Qin Chuan looked up with a laugh. “Hah, I didn’t hear anything, alright?”
“Special treatment,” Yan Xie snorted amusedly, wiping his hand slowly in a white towel. “What sort of special treatment do you have in mind?”
“Tsk. Let’s put a pillow over his stomach and beat him! If we handcuff his hands behind the chair, he can spend the night sitting there! I heard that this way there won’t be any marks left behind. In less than a night, he’ll definitely—”
Yan Xie cut him off. “This is the special treatment you’re talking about?”
Ma Xiang blinked his big, innocent eyes.
“Let me tell you what real special treatment is,” Yan Xie spoke. “Mix cuttings of his hair into milk tea and force him to drink it whole, shine a blinding light into his eyes that prevents him from sleeping for three days, stab his armpits and the crook of his knees with a hot needle— you won’t see any wounds but they will be pure torture. If that’s not enough, then take two high-wattage light bulbs and heat-up his temples on the left and right side. Or you could use the methods the Americans use on their captives, which is water-boarding their suspects. This was once used before.. but after that..”
All the muscles on Ma Xiang’s face had stiffened, and he started trembling. “..after that..?”
Yan Xie gave him a furious slap. “After that came October 1949, when the New Republic Of China was established! Idiot!”
A burst of riotous laughter came from Qin Chuan.
“Stop looking through those rubbish newsfeeds!” Yan Xie reproached the quaking Ma Xiang. “We’re not some remote police station, but a city bureau of a sub-provincial organisation! There are many pairs of eyes watching us, so you think by disconnecting the CCTV that no one would know? What a joke!”
Ma Xiang felt extremely aggrieved. “Then what can we do if he insists he knows nothing?”
“Ignoring the fact that a confession brought about by such methods can’t be trusted— in that tiny probability that Hu Weisheng is truly innocent, and the drug-making tools were actually just junk he picked up, and that it was also someone else who murdered Feng Yuguang… if this was the case, many years down the line, who would pay for this case of injustice? Will it be you or me who ends up paying their life for him?”
Ma Xiang didn’t dare to respond, instead quietly grumbling, “Getting a testimony within an hour.. In any case, I’m not the one who said that to Chief Wei…”
Yan Xie was about to scold him when the door was thrown open. Gou Li ran in with the deftness incompatible of a man his size; raising a paper bag as he did. “It’s here, it’s here! Hurry up and take a look at the magical weapon you’ve been seeking that is now ready!”
Yan Xie immediately took it, his eyes sweeping through the contents of the bag.
Ma Xiang asked curiously, “A magical weapon?”
He craned his neck to look, even Qin Chuan couldn’t resist looking over, only for Yan Xie to shove them both away with his hands. Grabbing the paper bag, he gave Gou Li a raised thumb. “Great job, my little Gou1. This is good work, so now who’s going to open that door and let me in?”
Gou Li answered modestly, “Everything’s good, Old Wei.”
Yan Xie, “…”
Qin Chuan patted Yan Xie on the shoulder. “Hurry up and go in, Old Wei.”
Yan Xie, “You guys…”
Ma Xiang, “I have faith in you, Wei-ge2.”
Yan Xie exploded, “You’re the Viagra!”
The door opened. Hu Weisheng raised his head, revealing a pair of bloodshot eyes.
The policemen interrogating Hu Weisheng stood up, greeting Yan Xie with a “Yan-ge”. Yan Xie waved them off. He pulled the folding chair over from the table and sat on it while tossing a cigarette onto the table.
“Have a smoke.”
Hu Weisheng moved, but did not accept the cigarette. He laughed hoarsely, “Why, sir? Is the bad cop taking over?”
Hu Weisheng had been taken into the police station many times, so he was more than likely very familiar with the current interrogation techniques— more so probably than many policemen. Yan Xie knew how much time had been wasted talking, so he didn’t bother feigning politeness. Instead, opting to be direct, “My last name is Yan, and I’m the Deputy Division Chief of the Municipal Bureau Of Criminal Investigation. I’m in charge of this task force.”
Hu Weisheng narrowed his eyes.
This man was only just over forty years old, but had accumulated many wrinkles. Each and every one of them concealed by fatuous slyness and cruelty.
“Don’t be nervous, smoke the cigarette.” Yan Xie also lit one up, sucking deeply before casually exhaling a stream of smoke. “I’m not going to harm you. This is such a big bureau that even if someone wanted to slip you a hallucinogen, they wouldn’t dare to. So relax.”
Yan Xie’s voice was deep and powerful, filled with masculinity and a strong magnetism. However, there was also an innate indolence to it, as though he was apathetic about everything.
The muddled light in Hu Weisheng’s eyes wavered slightly. Although a little doubtful, he eventually picked up the cigarette and lit it with a shaky hand. With much satisfaction, he inhaled deeply.
“A good cigarette,” he muttered. “You public servants all smoke such branded cigarettes?”
Yan Xie huffed, “If I had relied solely on that pittance of a salary, I’d have starved to death the day after I received my pay.”
—those words were truly misleading. Hu Weisheng believed he was implying something, but he never expected a policeman to confess something so audacious inside of an interrogation room filled with cameras. So he was unable to help his look of surprise.
Yan Xie did not explain, but gave a devil-may-care smile.
“Ah, you know as well that you won’t be acquitted. So now the only question is, is whether you will get probation before your death sentence, or you’ll face a gun. To be honest, Feng Yuguang died consuming the drugs that you sold, so now the main responsibility befalls on you and your accomplice— as long as you give us a truthful testimony, I can guarantee the rest of your life spent in prison, you’ll be smoking these branded cigarettes. However, if you continue to protect your accomplice, I’ll personally send you to the execution grounds.”
“What accomplice? I’ve already told you that I only gave him a ride!” Hu Weisheng responded unnaturally.
With a cigarette between his lips, Yan Xie was unperturbed. “Don’t be stubborn, we’ve already caught the individual.”
Hu Weisheng froze.
“—you definitely want to ask: why after catching him do we persist on interrogating you?”
Yan Xie sighed, looking a little sympathetic. “That’s because there’s no point in interrogating him, since he can no longer speak. Here, take a look for yourself.”
From the paper bag, Yan Xie plucked a photograph and tossed it across the table. Hu Weisheng looked down and moments later his pupils constricted and words burst from his mouth, “How is this possible?!”
— the photo was one taken by a forensic pathologist at a crime scene set on a highway. The body had been driven over countless times so the person’s identity would be impossible to determine!
“Fuck.” Behind the one-way mirror, Ma Xiang clapped his hands together. “Yan-ge’s move is that of a master!”
“Impossible! This is not.. you guys— you!”
The metal of the handcuffs clanked together. Blood rushed to Hu Weisheng’s face as he exerted enough force that nearly had him falling out of his chair. The policemen wanted to rush into the room, only to have Yan Xie cover the photo with his hand as he signalled, with his eyes, for them not to budge.
“Who is that? I don’t know them at all!” Hu Weisheng miraculously calmed down as his voice rang out, loudly. “I’ve.. I’ve never seen this person before! You policemen randomly found a photo from another case and intend to use that to scare me into giving a testimony— I’m going to sue all of you!”
Ma Xiang piped up, “Damn, this ass is pretty smart. What are we going to do?”
“Don’t panic.” Qin Chuan had his arms folded over his chest, and behind his glasses his eyes glimmered oddly.
“Scare you? There’s no need to do that.” Yan Xie faintly smiled. “Guess who silenced him?”
“…” Hu Weisheng’s chest heaved as he became like an old and extremely guarded fox.
Yan Xie leaned back in his chair, his chin raised as his legs naturally spread apart. He knew this body language was of someone looking very comfortable and relaxed. But what this attitude clearly communicated was an invisible, imposing aura, as well as an unshakable confidence that could suppress everything.
—this was something he had learnt from Jiang Ting himself.
The only difference being was that Jiang Ting usually had the drive to support his casual confidence, and that was from the psychological advantage he possessed from having information on his side. Yan Xie, on the other hand, knew he did not have the information he needed to make Hu Weisheng believe his claims.
“Silenced…” Hu Weisheng was unaware that he had spoken out loud.
“Yes,” Yan Xie said. “Although we are missing some evidence, the police have already confirmed preliminarily that the motive of the killer has something to do with it.”
Hu Weisheng’s gaze could not help but dart to Yan Xie’s hand that was reaching into the paper bag. In the next instant, he watched as Yan Xie slowly retrieved a sealed evidence bag with a light blue powder within.
“What is that, drugs?” Ma Xiang was puzzled. “Hasn’t the evidence been snatched away by the criminals already?”
Gou Li answered, his expression cold. “It’s copper hydroxide.”
Ma Xiang, “…”
Qin Chuan held his forehead in his hand, “You guys are really quite unscrupulous…”
“Carefully hiding this bag of drugs on the rooftop; actions taken by someone who couldn’t just be cautious of the police.” Yan Xie lifted up the evidence in front of Hu Weisheng’s lifeless eyes and waved it slightly. His tone was relaxed and calm, “Old Hu, do you think that just because you weren’t caught in the act of drug trafficking that you will get off lightly, like in Gongzhou? If I were you, I’d quickly give up my accomplice then get the sentencing for a life imprisonment where I can live comfortably in prison for twenty years. It would be better than walking out of the detention centre and suddenly getting ran over and turned into paste, don’t you think?”
Hu Weisheng had already gone rigid when the evidence suddenly appeared. His face was extraordinarily pale.
The cigarette continued to burn silently, the embers falling lightly onto his hand.
If the success rate was 50/50, then Yan Xie now knew he had the advantage.
But it still wasn’t enough.
To completely shatter a person’s psychological defences, a threat alone wasn’t effective enough. The law was the last defence when it comes to morals, but people who were able to commit crimes were already psychologically different from the average person. Just scaring could potentially work, temporarily, but once they regained their wits they would become even more desperate— even more ‘tenacious’.
Yan Xie slowly leaned forward, watching Hu Weisheng’s pupils closely.
“It’s also very exhausting for us police, dealing with matters like this. Our superiors have been on our asses about cases like yours, and there’s really no benefit to dealing with them. No matter which department handles it, they’re all reluctant.” Yan Xie paused, watching every subtle change in Hu Weisheng’s expression. He spoke lightly, “However, it’s fortunate that your accomplice is already dead. After all, a dead man’s much easier to deal with than an alive one. If you’re smart enough, you’ll be obedient and record your testimony. Don’t make me waste my breath, you’re well aware of how to record a testimony.”
Qin Chuan tapped the mirror of the interrogation room with his index finger, quietly instructing Ma Xiang, “Go to the control room later and tell the technician that I’ve asked them to cut away this part of the recording.”
Ma Xiang lowered his voice. “Why? Everyone knows that Yan-ge is only employing a psychological tactic…”
Qin Chuan cut him off with a sharp look. “Just do as I say!”
Ma Xiang immediately stood up straight. “Yes!”
Hu Weisheng forcefully averted his eyes, but just by his body language it was evident that he was engaged in an internal battle. However, Yan Xie didn’t press him, instead casually leaning back in his chair again, putting distance between them. He was like an old, cool experienced hunter.
“I don’t believe it..” Hu Weisheng’s lips quivered. “You’re extorting me! The police always want to extort me…”
“If you refuse to cooperate, it doesn’t matter. Do you still remember the Liu Xue case?”
Hu Weisheng’s face abruptly changed. “You want to–“
Yan Xie spoke, “Liu Xue is in my hands.”
Yan Xie was like an experienced hunter approaching the trap with a hunting rifle in his hands. From afar, he was watching the prey that had nowhere to run— hopelessness gradually welling up and yet it was still struggling for its life.
“What else do you want? That girl’s case was closed.” Hu Weisheng squeezed the words out through his dry, cracked lips, his voice a little unsteady. “Yes, I’m driven by lust, but I’ve already explained everything to the Gongzhou police! Also, I’ve done my time in jail, what more do you want? Huh? Do you public servants work by randomly implicating people?!”
“—closed.” Yan Xie smiled, speaking derisively. “A case that has been closed, can it not be opened for re-trial again?”
If Yan Xie hadn’t become a policeman, with the good-looks bestowed upon him by his mother, and some of his family’s money, he would have no trouble becoming a singer or an actor. However, it would have been difficult for him to become popular as his appearance and aura were all too aggressive. Even when smiling, he looked like a wolf lazily licking its claws after bloodshed. Too unbending and razor-sharp, people wouldn’t be too keen on him.
Hu Weisheng had already stopped smoking. His chest rose and fell haggardly, veins pulsing on his sweaty forehead. With Yan Xie’s experience, he could even estimate his current heart rate just by monitoring his breathing rate.
“What crime have I done? I’ve explained it all to the Gongzhou police already, don’t even think about threatening me. I’m innocent, I don’t know anything, and the lead investigator can prove that I really didn’t rape that girl…”
Yan Xie spoke, “The lead investigator? Are you referring to Jiang Ting?”
Hu Weisheng’s expression was as though a barrel of a gun was pressed right up against his head.
“Jiang Ting is dead.” Yan Xie seemed to be very happy, a smile gradually spreading across his face. He rapped the knuckle of his middle finger on the photo lying on top of the table. The sound rang out, like the fatal bullet shot at a prey.
“–he died in this manner as well. On the highway, he was rolled over several times.”
“Who is Jiang Ting? Who did Yan-ge say killed him?” Ma Xiang’s eyes were glued to the interrogation room, his belly full of questions. “Also, who is Liu Xue? Is Yan-ge uncovering this Hu fellow’s previous records?”
Qin Chuan’s face looked rather peculiar, but he did not answer.
“Little Ma,” Gou Li patted Ma Xiang’s shoulder, sighing. “Why don’t you stop working in criminal investigation, and come do some odd jobs in the forensic office? It’s pretty good there…”
The temperature of the interrogation room was not warm, but Hu Weisheng’s sweat could not stop dripping. Soon, his entire back was soaked.
Considerately, Yan Xie handed him another cigarette and a lighter. “Another cigarette?”
Hu Weisheng stared at that cigarette for a long time, just like a drowning man staring at the last and only straw that could save his life. An unknown amount of time passed, and he finally moved, as though having made a decision in the chaotic situation, lifting his hand up and accepting the cigarette.
The cherry of the cigarette glowed red, Hu Weisheng exhaled a long stream of smoke.
“… If a retrial happens for the Gongzhou case, I’m going to be silenced in the detention centre.” A murky laugh sounded from Hu Weisheng’s throat, and it was not clear if the laugh was mocking or bitter.”
“What I did was already quite magnanimous. That girl was already like that, and I didn’t do anything to her, even sending her to a clinic– if I had dumped her at some random corner, which bastard would have been able to catch me?”
A deep sense of obtuseness and outrage could be detected in the second half of Hu Weisheng’s words. However, Yan Xie seemed to not have noticed it, and even supported his words. “It’s this reasoning exactly.”
“Hey,” Hu Weisheng again laughed. “Officer Yan, no wonder your rank is higher than that Jiang fellow. You’re much more reasonable than him.”
Yan Xie did not tell him that Jiang Ting finally became one of the members of the task force. “Oh, why is that so?”
”Jiang’s tricks were like a woman, cruel and sinister. He wouldn’t beat you, nor scold you, but liked to torture you at a temperature slightly above normal– in the middle of winter, he broke the compressor of the air conditioner. As the refrigerant was being pumped out, the tube would freeze, and ice shards would be blown into your face from the outlet. In the interrogation chair, the impact would make you unable to even breath… if he was the interrogator, even the most hardened criminals would be afraid.”
“If you’re willing to speak, his mood would be a little better. Treating you like a dog, he’ll toss you a bone. If he’s not in a good mood, he’ll have all sorts of tricks up his sleeves. Still treating you like a dog, he’ll just do whatever he wants to you.” Hu Weisheng looked up at the air outlet, narrowing his eyes. He suddenly asked, “He died? Is there a photo?”
Yan Xie did not answer this question, but asked another, “It was through Jiang Ting’s efforts that you were charged with attempted rape only. He was helping you, why did he still want to torture you?”
Hu Weisheng burst out, “Bullshit! The one who wanted me executed was him! If not for his buddy–“
Next, Hu Weisheng seemed to have realised something, and he fell silent.
“His buddy?” Yan Xie’s eyelid twitched slightly. “Jiang Ting had a buddy?”