A World of Sand 7
Yan Jia Street wasn’t that far from Chun Shui Street.
It was actually within walking distance.
The rainstorm still raged outside, and the thick dark clouds turned the boundaries between day and night vague.
Influenced by either the typhoon or the homicide, few shops were open on Chun Shui Street.
The heavy rain had washed the ground clear of the blood.
The air was fresh and clean.
So refreshing that people wanted to slow their steps.
Lin Chen walked slowly, and he didn’t have an umbrella.
Instead, it was Cong Lian who held an umbrella for him.
He didn’t know why, but Xing Cong Lian felt that Lin Chen was young.
Although Fu Hao called him “Big Brother,” Lin Chen seemed to be younger than Fu Hao.
He was at the age of a fresh graduate, but he behaved like an old man, decadent with no particular expression of joy or sadness, indifferent.
He could make deductions calmly and lie under a corpse with no change in his expression.
Xing Cong Lian wanted to know what could change it.
They continued slowly, and before long, they arrived at the fruit vendor’s stall.
Since the accident that day, the store was closed.
No one was there, and the door was shut tight.
Lin Chen stood in the same place Yan Qing stood that day.
It was cloudy, and the rain fell now, unlike then.
The sun hadn’t set yet, and the smell of fish lingered on both the people and in the air.
Then, there was a riot, and everyone focused on the fruit vendor attacking a woman.
No one noticed the long-dead old man in front of them.
When the said woman rushed into the store, and the old man fell without a sound, the fear of death magnified.
Everyone felt as if there was an invisible hand grasped their throat.
They were no longer a bystander, they were now witnesses.
Who was the murderer Why did someone do those strange things in the morgue Why did they watch the entire thing that happened here
What did she want and what did she see standing here
Lin Chen looked up and closed his eyes, letting the rain wet his face.
Cong Lian felt uneasy.
After looking around for a while, he patted Lin Chen’s shoulder.
Lin Chen opened his eyes.
Cong Lian pointed at the surveillance camera posted at the end of the street and said, “That was installed a few years ago.
For the safety of the merchants, they said.
But in fact, it’s only for appearance’s sake.” Then he pointed to the other side of the street, “That one’s already broken.”
“There were no surveillance cameras at the park or the morgue” Lin Chen asked.
“The park is too big.
There’re always blind spots.
As for the morgue.
even if they installed one, no one would dare look.”
“Well, there is a problem.” Lin Chen paused.
“The criminals seem to know the distribution of the cameras well, and they avoided them when committing the crimes.
Isn’t it strange Yan Qing was always caught by the surveillance cameras”
“That makes sense.
.” Cong Lian laughed.
“But technology is a dead thing while humans are alive.” He looked around and walked to the neighboring stall.
It was a hardware store.
“I’ve heard psychological profiling is interesting.
I’ve always wanted to see it,” Cong Lian whispered into Lin Chen’s ear.
The owner of the hardware store was a middle-aged man in his early fifties and mostly bald with grey sideburns.
When Cong Lian took out documents, the man rubbed his hands on his apron, tone indicating he was familiar with this kind of thing, “You came to ask about that day again.
I really can’t see what happened across the street.
You see, there were many things in front of me.
I don’t even know when the old man opened the shop.”
The shop owner spoke fast like he had repeated the words many times and was impatient.
“No, please answer his questions.” Cong Lian pointed at Lin Chen beside him.
Lin Chen took a half step forward and moved the things in front of the shop owner aside.
He said in a tone akin to an umbrella stretching out in heavy rain, “You don’t need to think about what happened, just tell me what the weather was like that day.”
His voice was calm, and his eyes were peaceful.
Without instruction, the shop owner reflexively closed his eyes and look like he was sinking into his thoughts.
“The weather was fine, the sun hadn’t set yet, but the vegetable market was gloomy and dark.”
“You took a deep breath, and there was a little noise around you.
People were walking around, can you smell anything”
At Lin Chen’s suggestion, the shop owner really took a deep breath and mused, “Yes, the smell of dan gao, raw meat, and fish.”
“Listen carefully, the noises are growing louder, and so do the footsteps.
Try to hear their voices.”
Lin Chen’s voice grew softer.
Outside, the rain was a melodious flute.
The shop owner was silent for a few moments, then he spoke again: “Crying, someone is crying.
The street is chaotic, shouting everywhere and the woman crying ‘Help, help,.
but I dare not move, I was too frightened to move!”
“How do you feel”
Not of the people; I have a knife.
If he started with me, I’d cut him down.
But when the old man fell, and I saw him lying there.
His face was sinister.
He was smiling.
I thought of my father’s death, and that terrifies me…”
As he spoke, the shop owner’s face tightened, and he clenched his fist.
Suddenly, a calm voice rang out, like a thin stream of water, and slowly pried open his closed heart.
“You saw a piece of paper in front of you.
Very long and wide, it falls from the sky and slowly wraps up the whole street.”
The voice was really gentle and unhurried.
The shop owner noticed that a piece of paper really did appear in his mind.
Rolled from one end of the street to the other, wrapped around everything, leaving him in a blank space for a brief moment.
He frowned slightly as if to perceive something.
The voice rang out again.
“Now, please stretch out your hand and slowly rub the paper that is falling.
There are a lot of things on its surface, so be careful.
Following the gentle instruction, the shop owner’s hands hung in front of his trouser pockets.
His fingertips trembled.
Xing Cong Lian was almost in a daze.
His eyes drifted between Lin Chen’s face and the shop owner’s from time to time.
Lin Chen spoke again, “Please hold the paper ball in your hand.”
The shop owner clenched his fist.
“Picture it in your mind, raise your hand high.
Even higher, until your arm’s above your head.
Your hand’s a little tired, but the ball inside is growing lighter and lighter.
Now, with all your strength, please throw it.”
In the shop owner’s mind, he really did threw the paper ball.
He felt himself raising his head.
Watching until the white spot disappeared from sight.
Then, he felt someone pat his shoulder.
He instantly opened his eyes.
A young man stood in front of him.
The young man wasn’t that tall, he was slim and wore a damp white shirt.
His face was calm, and his eyes were as clear as a stream under the sun.
A familiar voice resounded in the shop owner’s ears.
“Thank you very much.”
The young man paused, looked directly into his eyes, and said, “And, that is all in the past.”
The sky was still grey.
They bid goodbye to the shop owner, and Cong Lian leaned towards Lin Chen’s umbrella.
“What was that just now Hypnosis”
Lin Chen shook his head, “Psychology isn’t as wondrous as you think.
No one can hypnotize you just by looking at you.”
“Then what was that”
“It’s one of the treatments psychotherapists use to help their clients cope with terrible memories.” Lin Chen looked at him then silently moved his gaze away.
Cong Lian didn’t know what to say.
Lin Chen treated trauma while questioning the witness.
This kind of service was too thoughtful.
“Well, what did you get”
The preparators seemed to deliberately create the atmosphere.” Lin Chen appeared pensive.
The quiet fear under the stretcher in the morgue, the old man who suddenly fell on this street, the young man who died at the park, all of them having something to do with fear.
As if he had suddenly found a clue, Lin Chen suddenly said, “Call Fu Hao.”