Chapter 26: A Series of Inferences
“I am a killer.
I have been one for five, eight, or ten years? The time is not relevant.
I have a lot of money. I have never made a mistake. Otherwise, I would already be a prisoner captured by the Chinese police.
I can buy whatever I desire, and play whatever I want. Although I’m not extremely wealthy, I don’t have any financial stress.
My finger is used to pull the trigger; I feel nothing while looking at each of the dead bodies. All that comes to my mind is that I would receive another big sum of money.
I’m far away from the lives of ordinary people. But when I don’t have any requests, I must live among them. Even when I walk into the crowd, I don’t feel my own existence……”
“Wait——” a voice interrupts.
He looks at Jin Xi, who’s standing by the window with her head down murmuring, “Little Sister Bai, although you’re pretending that you’re the killer to fathom his mind and it sounds quite interesting, would a killer be this emotional deep down inside? Like walking into the crowd and can’t feel his existence……it sounds like a poem……”
After his ramble, he only gets Bai Jin Xi rolling her eyes in return.
“Nonsense,” she hops and sits on the window sill, “Please make note that although we have encountered the first psychotic and professional killer in the history of China, he cannot escape the fate of a psycho——he must be emotionally distressed, on top of his emotional outbreak from being provoked by a certain incident. The incident is an outside factor, while the start of it all is always from within his inner self.”
Xiao Zhuan adds, “Which means that he has been suppressing his feelings for a long time.”
“Yes,” Jin Xi answers, “Otherwise, there are so many professional killers and none of them are psychotic except for him? There has to be a certain deciding factor in the appearance of an exception.”
It’s already 4 or 5pm; the setting sun is shining diagonally from the window. A crime scene of yesterday is left in silence today.
Jin Xi lifts her head. Xiao Zhuan is standing the closest to her; still a face full of seriousness and admiration. Cold Face is expressionless, while Chatterbox is thinking hard to digest her words.
Standing farthest from her is Han Chen, who’s wearing black gloves and has both of his hands in his pockets. When he doesn’t smile, his aura is always cold. His eyes shift towards her every now and then.
Jin Xi looks down.
In the past, she has always made inferences based on logical analyses and experiences to come up with the results.
Pretending to be the serial killer to get a sense of what goes on in his mind and even imitating his every word and every move——she has never done this kind of inference before. But for some reason, she started getting the hang of it today.
Could it be that only serial killers can trigger her deepest and most sensitive nerve that is hidden inside of her?
And she actually feels quite natural about making inferences this way?
Thankfully, besides Chatterbox, no one else thinks she’s crazy.
“Due to my work, I often need to change where I live, but the housing prices are quite high these days. Even though I’m a professional killer, I cannot afford buying too many apartments, so I usually rent. I would rent a mid-range apartment in a not too busy but not too isolated area. I would drive the most common kind of vehicle in the city. That way, I can keep myself hidden. And the most common car in City Lan is a Citreon. I would buy a Citreon Elysee that’s around 100,000 RMB, or a C-Quatre,” she says, “but I lean more towards a C-Quatre because it has a better exterior appearance. It would be in black because it would make it harder to spot at night.”
Cold Face makes a “heh” sound and says, “You even know what brand and colour the car would be. Incredible!”
Jin Xi smiles, “Writing poems is the most enjoyable part in criminal psychology. It’s because——” she lowers her voice, “every move the killer makes becomes very simple to read in our eyes.”
The others don’t comment.
The woman is sitting on the windowsill leaning on one hand pressed against the edge while holding a cigarette in the other. Her long hair is tied into a ponytail at the back of her head, making her look especially refreshing. Her face is slightly lowered and her eyelashes are rich black and plump. Yet when she says such arrogant words in a calm tone, it actually doesn’t feel out of place.
Han Chen stares at her side profile as he lowers his head to put a cigarette in his mouth. Realizing that they are still at the crime scene, he retrieves the cigarette. He holds it between his fingers just like her; his slender fingers in black gloves spinning the cigarette casually.
Jin Xi also realizes that her words sound a bit arrogant, but the way she blurted them out without thinking is another familiar feeling rushing into her heart again.
She quickly continues with her inference, pretending as if nothing has happened just now, “Because of the loneliness and desires in my heart, whenever I stay in a city, I would look for a normal job. It can’t be too professional as I don’t have the time to go to school and study, but it can’t be too basic either as I would disdain it. I would find a technical type of job and make it my interest, which would let me seem like a normal person, living among the crowd. Therefore, I might be an instrument repairer, or a computer technician. I might even have a certificate from Beida Jade Bird (large enterprise group that’s affiliated with Peking University).”
She’s playful in the way she speaks, but the others are not laughing. Instead, they are listening to her attentively.
Jin Xi takes a deep breath, and closes her eyes. The following image of a young man surfaces in her mind:
An average figure, skinny yet fit. He might be wearing a pair of glasses, a shirt and casual pants, and carrying a laptop bag, making him look like an IT personnel that can be seen everywhere in this city.
He doesn’t walk too fast because that would prevent him from observing his surroundings; this is a habit of his profession. But no one notices him because his footsteps are so light that you can barely hear them.
He goes to and leave work on time every day; living an ordinary life that doesn’t capture anyone’s attention. But when he has an assignment, he would take off his glasses and his shirt. His actions are definitely slick; he would feel a familiar feeling of success whenever he completes a task. But this feeling of success can never be shared with anyone. As a result, he feels a tremendous sense of emptiness and increasingly secluded.
What is it that has made this killer no longer able to suppress himself? What has made him let go of his pride and come face to face with the conflicts of his inner feelings?
Jin Xi opens her eyes slowly, “It’s overturning.
It’s because something that he cherishes has been broken. His ability to balance his feelings all this time has now been completely overturned. It has been overturned to the point where he is taking revenge on the society.”
She hops down from the windowsill, “I’m done.”
Cold Face is the first to speak, “What does ‘T’ stand for?”
Jin Xi answers, “In a serial murder case, this kind of special mark that’s left behind by the murderer usually means one of two things.”
Chatterbox gets excited, “Which two?”
Jin Xi smiles, “The murderer himself, or ‘it.’ A marking that stands for himself makes perfect sense. Which serial killer doesn’t love himself? And ‘it’ is something that he is persistent about. It could represent anyone or matter. Or maybe our killer has always loved the letter T since he was little. Perhaps the person he loved was killed by being stabbed with a nail. The ‘T’ could also mean Tuesday……It’s still too early to understand what’s in his mind.”
She turns around and looks at Han Chen, “Xiao Zhuan has discovered something that I think is useful——both victims don’t contribute much to the society, are not motivated, and are living a low life. Could this be the reason for picking them as targets?
But since there are only two of them, whether they were picked for a reason or at random and coincidently had the same qualities, we cannot make any conclusions yet. After all, there are quite a lot of these kinds of people.
And from experience, serial shooters from the domestic or abroad usually pick targets at random and won’t choose anyone on purpose. It’s because they are simply satisfied from the pleasure of sniping and the feeling of being in control. Therefore, they don’t need to pick and choose.”
The rest of them all nod their heads; even Cold Face is showing agreement.
But Han Chen places the cigarette on his ear, takes off his gloves, and throws them to Xiao Zhuan.
Xiao Zhuan has already gotten used to catching them; he folds them and puts them away for Leader.
Jin Xi thinks inside: this Young Master of Beijing sure knows how to order others around.
Han Chen looks at her, and says, “No. They were definitely chosen.”
Jin Xi is a little stunned. But her instincts are actually also leaning towards believing that they were chosen. However, there are only two victims so far, so it’s too early to make conclusions.
“At both sniping locations, the ground was carefully wiped clean,” he repeats what Cold Face had found before.
Jin Xi, Xiao Zhuan, and Chatterbox are all struck dumb. Cold Face nods on the other hand, looking like he understands what Han Chen is saying.
“The killer had a full set of professional equipment. He must have worn gloves and shoe covers, so that he would leave no fingerprints or footprints. Wiping the ground clean was unnecessary,” he says, “There’s only one explanation. What he wants to wipe away is his sweat.”
Jin Xi gets it right away, “This means that he had been waiting on the rooftop for a period of time, so that’s why he dripped a lot of sweat and needed to wipe them away.”
Chatterbox adds, “Yes, yes. Therefore, the victims were chosen. Because if he was killing at random, there would have been many people down below at noon, so he could have fired shots casually and be able to kill people that way. But yet he especially waited for such a long time to kill these two people!”
All five of them are silent.
Jin Xi can’t deny that Han Chen has once again make her feel the attractiveness of traditional investigation methods.
Her criminal psychology uses the criminal’s actions to infer that person’s personality and distinctive features.
He on the other hand, intricately captures all the details that seem irrelevant at first glance and uses them to find loopholes; it could be an area on the ground that should not have been wiped clean, or the sound of a bell that should not have been chiming in the middle of the night. He uses these clues to infer the most accurate explanation.
Should she start calling him the King of logic?
But to her surprise, Chatterbox thinks the same as her this time. He exclaims, “Leader, you are absolutely the King of logic! No wonder your math is so good!”
Xiao Zhuan agrees, “Yeah, yeah!”
Han Chen smiles.
As if he notices her gaze, he lifts his eyes towards her.
His dark brown eyes seem to look intimidating, carrying a hint of coldness, just like when he pulled her up from the ground in the afternoon.
Jin Xi smiles calmly.
He shifts his gaze away, “There’s still one point that doesn’t make sense——bullet shell.”
Chatterbox takes over, “Yeah. I was thinking about that just now. After the shooting, it must have taken a least ten minutes for the district station to arrive at the scene. We’ve tested that it takes less than five minutes to go from the rooftop to his parking spot. He definitely had enough time to collect the bullet shell, so why didn’t he?
The rifle he uses is not a common one domestically, and it’s also not widely available on the black market. Now that we have the bullet and the shell, the station should be able to give an accurate report within ten days: telling us what kind of gun the bullet was fired from, the age of it, or even where it’s made, which year, where it could have been bought from, and if there were any previous cases that involved this firearm…..this leaves behind too much evidence. We have a very good chance of being able to find out who he is from all these clues.”
Han Chen closes his eyes slightly, and says indifferently, “A professional killer would not make such careless mistakes. There’s only one reason why he didn’t collect them——he didn’t need to. He doesn’t care anymore.”
The four of them are stunned.
Han Chen retrieves the cigarette from his ear, and puts it into his mouth.
“This is a logical paradox,” he says, “He wipes away his sweat because he doesn’t want us to be able to collect his DNA. If he were to leave behind some sweat, we would have been able to confirm his identity. But then he left the bullet shell.”
Jin Xi feels a sudden shock in her heart, and says without thinking, “This means that he doesn’t care about being caught by us eventually. He just hopes that we don’t catch him too soon.”
Han Chen looks up and his eyes meet with hers, “Mm. He’s not only killing people for pleasure or taking revenge on society. He has a complete plan that he will accomplish in ten days.”
Chapter 26: A Series of Inferences