Pristine Darkness Chapter 16

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A+ A- Chapter 16

It was 5 o’clock in the morning. Fang Qing, who had been dozing in the duty room for a while, got up. After was.h.i.+ng his face, he stood in the corridor smoking and gathering himself.

The distant clouds brightened layer by layer, turning a rosy red. However, the bitter chill lingered in his chest, seemingly trapped and refusing to go away.

He had a sudden sharp desire to talk to someone.

He took a drag on his cigarette, took out his cell phone and dialled a number.

Someone finally answered after more than 20 rings. The voice on the other end of the line was slurred, the person obviously having just awoken. “h.e.l.lo?”

“Hi, what are you doing?” he blurted out, then realised that his voice was especially gentle.

At the other end, Jin Xiaozhe seemed to have been struck dumb for a second before she asked, “Why are you calling me? Is something wrong?”

“Nothing, it’s just that . . .” I’m thinking about you.

“I think you called me the day before yesterday, but I was just leaving the scene of a crime, and couldn’t pick up in time. Was there anything?” he asked casually.

“Forget it.” Jin Xiaozhe replied.

“Oh.”

“If there’s nothing else, I’m hanging up.” Jin Xiaozhe said.

“Jin Xiaozhe, I . . .” he thought about the transfer application that was sitting in his drawer.

“Next time, don’t call me at this time.” She went on coldly, “I attended an evening performance yesterday, and only slept at 4 a.m.. I have a shoot at 8 o’clock today. You have work to do, and so do I.” The line went dead.

Fang Qing stared at the screen of his cell phone, which had just gone black. He badly wanted to say “f**k you*”, yet was reluctant to actually say the words. The morning air was cool, but his heart was on fire. He played listlessly with his phone for a while, unwilling to put it away, before finally replacing it in his trouser pocket.

*T/N literal words used: “我草” (wo cao)

Two people appeared at the top of the stairs. Emerging from the morning mist, they both had precisely the same bright and calm expressions.

Bo

Jinyan and Jian Yao. Fang Qing had asked them to come over first thing in the morning.

——

5 missing persons reports lay in front of the 3 people.

First: 2008

Name of Missing Person: Tang Lian Lian

Age at Time of Disappearance: 24 years

Place of Disappearance: After vacationing in the ancient city, she went to visit other cities and disappeared.

Second: 2010

Name of Missing Person: Tong Sheng

Age at Time of Disappearance: 23 years

Place of Disappearance: After vacationing in the ancient city, she went to visit other cities and disappeared.

Third: 2012

Name of Missing Person: Zhao Manman

Fourth: 2014

Name of Missing Person: Zhu Fanglin

Fifth: 2015

Name of Missing Person: Ning Qianrui

……

Fang Qing said, “I’ve selected these from the Missing Persons database. The 5 victims were all young women who were quite good-looking. Their cases all share common features. Firstly, they all travelled alone to holiday in the ancient city. Secondly, they were all witnessed buying bus or ferry tickets to other cities. Thirdly, their cases were investigated by the police in different cities and provinces, so their cases were never linked. However, at least two of them now have a clear connection to the Yao family. I suspect this is a serial case! A perverted criminal who specialises in the abduction of young women is hidden in the ancient city!”

Jian Yao bit her lower lip, betraying the sense of unease that bubbled up within her. Bo Jinyan’s expression became solemn, and while his eyes were cold, they also seemed to be lit by a handful of black flames. “Let me look at all the details.”

Fang Qing handed them the printouts of the information.

While Jian Yao was examining the information meticulously, line by line, by her side, Bo Jinyan was reading through the information at fast speed, and circling point after point with his pen. Jian Yao looked at the information he was highlighting:

“Introverted.”

“Introverted, not many friends.”

“Both parents deceased.”

“Father died of an illness, mother resides in Hunan.”

“Family financial situation was normal.”

“Family finances were tight.”

……

Finally, he circled the bus stops and harbours mentioned in the 5 cases.

Bo Jinyan raised his head and said, “All the missing persons were of similar ages, and were also of similar

similar appearance and personality – the criminal’s taste is very stable. They were all introverted, with limited social interaction, and not accustomed to the ways of the world. Their family relations.h.i.+ps were simple, and some even had both parents deceased – it would be easier for the criminal to control them, and would therefore be less likely to catch the attention of the police. Poor family financial situation, belonging to a disadvantaged group – these aspects might have satisfied the criminal’s dominant personality. Moreover, the means by which the women ‘disappeared’ were the same in every case. There were also regular intervals between the cases. We can combine these cases and investigate them.

“But . . .” Jian Yao asked, “Why were there witnesses in every case who saw them leaving the ancient city, thus diverting the line of investigation the police had taken?”

Bo Jinyan and Fang Qing exchanged glances.

——

Located in the west of the ancient city, Canglang Wharf was both a tourist attraction and a working pa.s.senger terminal. Added to this, the peak season was approaching, so it was no surprise that the wharf was packed with people.

Bo Jinyan, Jian Yao and Fang Qing stood at a distance, wearing sungla.s.ses. Everyone’s faces showed signs of being in a hurry. They were hurrying to go on vacation, hurrying to board the ferry, hurrying to leave.

“Oh,” Bo Jinyan lamented, “this is certainly different from how people travel in foreign countries. It’s so crowded and noisy, what are the odds that the witnesses actually saw the victims faces clearly?”

Jian Yao’s heart skipped a beat. He meant . . .

Fang Qing also smiled wryly. “The witnesses in two of the missing persons cases were ticket sellers stationed at the ticket booth. However, there are different ticket sellers on duty now, so it’s going to take some time before we can find them.”

Bo Jinyan immediately said, “Whoever it was selected the witnesses very well. The human traffic here is overwhelming, which ensures that the police will be able to find the exact witnesses they are looking for when they come and investigate.”

The three of then walked towards the ticket booth. After

booth. After looking for a while, Jian Yao just stood and stared.

It was because there was no difference between the ticket sellers here as compared to those in any other tourist attraction. The ticket seller sat behind the window with an impatient expression on his face, not even looking up once.

“Let’s do an experiment,” said Bo Jinyan.

Fang Qing nodded. “I’ll go get a female police officer.”

Although Jian Yao could more or less guess at their intentions, still . . . they had only known each other for a few days. How was it possible to have such a deep mutual understanding?

When did Bo Jinyan’s ability to get along with other men become so good? Surely it couldn’t be because of marriage that his aura had changed, until . . . he was incurring the favour of the older criminal investigators?

——

“Hi, I want to buy a ferry ticket to Zhou county.”

“Twenty dollars.”

“Give . . . aiyah!”

On hearing the exclamation, the ticket seller looked up, only to see a girl in a light blue T-s.h.i.+rt, with a hat and sungla.s.ses. She had her head down and was bending over to pick up her money from the floor. A small bra.s.s bell hung from her red satchel, tinkling gently.

The ticket seller once again lowered his head.

The girl took her ticket and boarded the boat. The boat was especially crowded, but she had boarded early and managed to sit near the bow. She kept looking out at sea. The ferry pilot was separated from her by a pane of gla.s.s, and could only see her silhouette. However, she was constantly in his field of vision.

When they reached Zhou county, she pulled down the brim of her hat and disembarked, all the while without removing her sungla.s.ses. She even asked the crew members directions to a hotel. The little bell on her bag tinkled softly.

An hour later.

Tok tok tok. Someone knocked on the gla.s.s. The ticket seller raised his head, and a police identification card was displayed before his eyes. Behind it was Fang Qing’s serious face.

“Has this girl been here?” asked Fang Qing.

The girl in the photograph was wearing a light wearing a light blue T-s.h.i.+rt and carrying a red satchel, upon which hung a small bra.s.s bell. She was slim, with hair reaching below her shoulders.

The ticket seller thought carefully for a while. “Yes, yes! She was just here, and bought a ferry ticket to Zhou county.”

“Are you sure? Did you see her clearly?”

“I saw her clearly, I’m definite it was her!”

On the ferry.

Fang Qing showed the photograph to the crew.

The crew member thought carefully for a moment, then suddenly said, “Yes! She sat in that seat! She was very pretty!”

“Did you see her clearly? Are you sure it was her?”

“Yes! No doubt about it!”

……

In the afternoon, Bo Jinyan, Jian Yao, Fang Qing and the policewoman who had been summoned to join them, sat in a little shop by the wharf eating rice noodles.

The policewoman had already taken off Jian Yao’s clothes, replacing them with her own casual clothes. However, the kind of discovery they had just made brought no happiness to anyone. Instead, they felt helpless.

“We can’t blame any of the ‘witnesses’,” said Bo Jinyan. “When ordinary people remember unfamiliar people, it’s usually because of some key distinguis.h.i.+ng feature or detail. For instance, Jian Yao’s clothes, bag, and even unique ornaments. In the missing persons cases we were looking at, the ‘witnesses’ very accurately described some of the missing persons’ clothes, hair ornaments, and even their physical features. Moreover, when ordinary people are faced with such a major criminal case, if they can be of use, they would definitely have a strong desire to be involved and to partic.i.p.ate as much as possible. This inclination may lead them to place great faith in their originally fuzzy memory. The more they think about it, the ‘clearer’ it becomes, and the more they believe in it.”

“We also can’t blame the police officers investigating the cases that year,” Jian Yao said. “The cases took place in different cities, at different times. Without making the connection between them, there was no way to discover the pattern. In this aspect, the criminal was also very meticulous and careful, so it was very difficult to discern the common issues between the cases.”


Pristine Darkness Chapter 16

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Pristine Darkness Chapter 16 summary

You're reading Pristine Darkness Chapter 16. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Ding Mo, 丁默 already has 81 views.

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