“You’ve found yet another murder case?” Inspector Lee’s tone on the other end of the phone was puzzled to say the least.
“Four years ago, a female student by the name of Zhang Ya jumped out of the building, but there is more to her death than suicide!” Chen Ge said firmly.
“Wait a minute, let me go look at the files first. If the victim’s family had asked for an autopsy, we should have the record of it somewhere.” Inspector Lee didn’t hang up as he turned on the lights of the records room to search for the files. He finally found something five minutes later. “Wait, why does Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy sound so familiar? Xiao Chen, get out of that school now!”
“I’m already heading for the gate, what’s wrong?”
“That school is just weird; I can’t explain it to you in just a few sentences, but I can give you a number. Six people committed suicide within the span of two weeks at that school, and their deaths were all very weird.”
The sound of paper flipping could be heard through the phone as Inspector Lee looked through the files.
“That sounds about right! That number fits what I’m thinking.” The school gate was within Chen Ge’s view—he could exit the place soon.
“Fits what you’re thinking? What exactly is happening over there?”
“Don’t mind that, check whether the name of the first suicide victim is Zhang Ya or not.” Chen Ge was in a hurry to confirm his suspicion.
Inspector Lee double-checked the records before replying. “Indeed, the name is Zhang Ya, but she did die from a fall. It is a suicide because the mortician did not find any other wounds on her body. On the day of the discovery, the police did visit the crime scene for investigation. The girl fell from the fourth floor’s dance studio; the window she fell from was undamaged, and the soundproof foam around it wasn’t showed no signs of cleaning. So, from this, we confirmed Zhang Ya jumped out of the building without outside influence.”
“Without outside influence? Inspector Lee, have you considered that she was forced to do so? If she didn’t jump, she would have been raped!” Chen Ge relayed the scenes he had seen in the mirror.
“We considered that as well, and there are testimonies from Zhang Ya’s roommates in the records. All five girls said that they didn’t know anything. Zhang Ya jumped off the building after their class was over, so Zhang Ya was inside the studio alone. According to their testimonies, Zhang Ya had always suffered from high stress, was prone to solitude, and was perhaps even mentally unstable. To confirm their testimonies, the police at the time even verified their accounts with the girls from the class, and everyone agreed.”
“Zhang Ya is definitely not the person they described; they all banded together to frame her!” Zhang Ya was feeling indignant on Zhang Ya’s behalf. He did not expect that the whole class would gang up on Zhang Ya; the girl didn’t even do anything wrong.
“What kind of person Zhang Ya was, you and I will never know, but the evidence doesn’t lie.” Inspector Lee didn’t understand why Chen Ge was so agitated. “In any case, get out of that school as soon as you can. We’re sending our men to come fetch you.”
“They were all lying! Take a closer look at Zhang Ya’s time of death, it should be before the class was over! They lied on the time of death, so those five girls were accomplices!” The volume of Chen Ge’s voice inadvertently increased.
“That’s where you’re wrong. Zhang Ya’s time of death was between 6 pm and 8 pm. Those five girls left school at around 5.30 pm, their usual time of departure.” Inspector Lee didn’t know how happened to Chen Ge at the school, so he stood from an outsider’s perspective to analyze the situation.
“It is indeed possible. The mortician conducted a detailed analysis based on livor mortis and rigor mortis. Zhang Ya’s time of death is indeed between 6 pm and 8 pm. The cause of death was a broken spine. Other than that, there were wounds to her skull, calcaneus, and hipbone, all common injuries suffered by suicide victims that died from falling.”
Chen Ge had no way to retort. He stopped where he was. “If Zhang Ya did jump off the building before the five girls left, this means that she didn’t die instantly after the fall. However, due to the broken bones that incapacitated her body, she could only lie in a pool of her own blood as she waited for death to come, tortured by pain and heartache until she truly died around 6 to 8 pm.”
“Your hypothetical scenario is possible, but you have forgotten one thing. If the girl still had a breath in her after she fell off the building, why wouldn’t the five girls who were there save her? Even if they had their own reasons not to save her, other people at the school would have discovered her.”
“It was a holiday, and the school was deserted other than the six of them who were at school to practice for the upcoming state-wide competition. Their teacher had already left beforehand, and even if there were guards or someone of the sort, isn’t it possible that they were sent away by people with ill intentions?” Chen Ge posed a differing opinion.
“I’m not going to argue that with you; after all, it is a moot point arguing whether Zhang Ya died from suicide or murder. You believe those five girls were the real murderers in Zhang Ya’s death and collaborated with each other to provide false testimony, but two weeks after that, these five girls died one after another. The real murderers you assumed are now dead, so how are we supposed to investigate this case?” Inspector Lee was more worried about Chen Ge’s safety.
“Inspector Lee, I never said that these five girls are the murderers; they are merely accomplices! The real murderer who caused Zhang Ya’s death is a fatty that is 1.8 meters tall with a slouched back!”
“That’s quite a detailed description, mind telling me how you came to that conclusion? Four years ago, the security at Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy hadn’t been completed yet, and all the witnesses are now dead. But you’re telling me there’s a real murderer on the run… how do you expect me to believe you?”
Inspector Lee had worked overtime for the past few days already thanks to the Ping An Apartments’ case. It was why he was still at the station even at 2 am. Lethargy could be heard laced in his words.
Chen Ge could discern the suspicion in Inspector Lee’s voice. “We can start by investigating the people who are related to Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy from four years ago; we have to find this person! He was at the crime scene!”
“Chen Ge, starting a police investigation is not a game. Do you know how difficult it is to reopen a case that was closed four years ago? Even if you can convince me, it’ll be pointless if you cannot convince my superiors. What we need is actual proof—not suspicion, not speculation.”
“Everything that I’ve said is the truth.”
“That is according to you.” Inspector Lee had started rearranging the files to put them back where they were. “Do you mind telling me why you are suddenly so interested in this case? You don’t give me the impression of a young man who is filled with a sense of justice.”
Why am I so insistent? Chen Ge was startled by this sudden question from Inspector Lee. He was reminded of the aid that Zhang Ya had lent him when he was trapped inside the wooden hut as well as the chilling loneliness coming from his back when Zhang Ya was standing behind him inside the dance studio.
“It’s nothing. In the current circumstances, the only person who can help her and come to her aid is me.” Chen Ge looked at the black phone.
“I still don’t understand what you’re saying.” Inspector Lee continued after a long pause. “But holding up justice is the job of law enforcement. Since you’ve brought up the suspicion, after the case on Ping An Apartments is wrapped up, I’ll personally help you look into this.”
“Thank you, Uncle San Bao!” Chen Ge sighed in relief. “Capturing the real murderer, I suppose is giving Zhang Ya some kind of release. With regards to this godforsaken place, I really don’t want to return again.”
He hung up the phone and turned to look at Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy one last time.
To his shock, Red Specter Zhang Ya was just standing behind him!
There were about three meters between them. Fresh blood dripping on her school uniform, Zhang Ya looked at Chen Ge with her head tilted. This time, she didn’t move closer, and her expression was a bit weird.