Chapter 5: Criminal Investigator Han Chen
It’s Sunday morning. There’s a light fog surrounding the area. A couple of officers are standing at the bottom of the building of where the incident happened; it’s quiet everywhere.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan parks the police car at the front of the entrance. Bai Jin Xi takes out her work ID and clips it on her chest pocket. Just when she gets out of the car, he catches a glimpse of her, “Leader, you cried?”
Bai Jin Xi tilts her head and looks at herself in the rear mirror; her eyes are swollen like walnuts.
“Mm……” she hums depressingly while opening the car door, “I dreamt of a killer trying to……” she pauses before continuing, “trying to hit me.”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan lets out a laugh and hurries after her. He doesn’t forget to nag, “Who told you to watch so many gruesome movies and TV series? So what happened? Did you beat the killer up? Your shoulder didn’t get dislocated, did it?”
Bai Jin Xi kicks him, “Get lost!”
It’s an old building that hasn’t been kept well; mainly rented by young people who are working in the area. The incident happened in an ordinary apartment on the second floor.
Bai Jin Xi walks through the dim hallway with ads stuck everywhere on the wall, and stands in front of the door. Police tape is already running across it; a couple of officers wearing gloves and shoe covers are scouting the place.
Bai Jin Xi ducks under the police tape and goes inside. Zhou Xiao Zhuan follows and says quietly, “That Si Si also lives around here.” Bai Jin Xi has always been bad with directions, so nothing comes to her mind after hearing this. She hums, “Mm,” to indicate her acknowledgement.
“Xiao Bai, Xiao Bai,” the criminal investigators greet her.
Bai Jin Xi nods and asks, “What have we found so far?” She gazes at the furniture and other possessions that have been spread across the ground in a mess: The windows are shut in the living room, making the room dark; the coat rack has been knocked down with the clothes on the floor; a vase decorated with red flowers and green leaves is shattered on the floor; the fabric sofa has been sliced open, and a pair of scissors is resting on the coffee table; even the TV has been smashed with a hole in the middle and its liquid crystal fragments everywhere……
“The victim’s name is Ma Xiao Fei. 25 years old. She is a sales associate at the Da Zhou department store, which is less than 1km away. She gets along well with her colleagues and friends. No boyfriend,” a criminal investigator says, “According to Ma Xiao Fei, she hasn’t had any conflicts with anyone recently, and she doesn’t know of anyone who would hold a grudge on her. This is likely done by a stranger. The time of the incident was around 11pm, just after she returned home from work. The offender followed her into the home, and used this to hold her.” He hands her two evidence bags. One of them has a couple of nylon strings in it, and the other has a roll of yellow tape.
They’re both common items that can be easily bought; an average person wouldn’t be able to break free when his/her limbs are tied with these and his/her mouth is sealed.
“Was the victim able to see the suspect’s face?” Zhou Xiao Zhuan asks.
The criminal officer shakes his head, “No. The suspect was wearing a black mask.” He points to the bedroom, “Ma Xiao Fei is currently inside.”
Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan look to where he’s pointing. Through the slight opening of the door, they can see a young woman with a policeman’s coat on her shoulders; one of her hands is covering part of her face as she sits on the side of the bed crying. A female civil police officer is squatting in front of her, consoling her. Ma Xiao Fei’s hair is in a mess, but her refined and light skin complexion can be seen from the side.
Bai Jin Xi gestures for Zhou Xiao Zhuan to stay in the living room while she goes inside.
There’s a short hallway between the living room and the bedroom. The window in the hallway is also closed. A criminal officer is squatting on the ground with his back facing her; he looks to be examining some marks on the ground. Bai Jin Xi was going to pass him without looking, but she couldn’t help but glance over.
The officer’s back seems familiar, but she can’t recall where she has seen him before.
He’s wearing a black jacket; he’s rather tall. Many criminal officers make themselves look short and bulky in the jacket, and never able to show their figures. But he’s different. The great leather and perfect cutting of the jacket show off his wide shoulders and fit waist, accenting his slim figure. His black hair is fluffy and short, revealing the contours of his neck and the side of his face; fair yet tenacious.
He reaches out to touch the mark on the wall caused by an object smashed to it. He is wearing a pair of thin black leather gloves. Bai Jin Xi rarely sees a criminal officer wear this type of glove, which gives off a sense of coolness and smoothness.
Bai Jin Xi glances at him again before going into the bedroom.
“Regarding his face, you weren’t able to see it at all?” Bai Jin Xi asks lightly sitting across from Ma Xiao Fei.
Ma Xiao Fei shakes her head with tears in her eyes, “He had me close my eyes. I didn’t dare open them. Furthermore, he was wearing a mask. But……from his body built, he’s not someone I know……”
Bai Jin Xi nods, “It’s okay. Even if you couldn’t see what he looked like, we will still be able to catch him.”
Ma Xiao Fei covers her mouth with her hands again. Her face is pale and tears flow uncontrollably.
She remembers the shame and fright of it all. When that man dragged her into the bedroom, threw her onto the bed, and tied up her arms and legs, her nightmare began. The man held her arms together and then thrusted himself against her face to face without mercy, causing her to fall into the deepest pit of pain and helplessness.
And then he ordered her to turn around and bend over, where he then started again from behind. She raised her head and looked out the window which she didn’t recall opening; the city blanketed in darkness, the cold moonlight, and the sound of an ancient bell chiming from some unknown place. She was swallowed by despair like a waterfall.
In the end, when she thought it was over, the man suddenly ordered her to lie down again. He kneeled down at the side of the bed and started kissing her inner thighs for a long time. It made her felt even worse and hard to endure.
“Oh I remember……he was wearing gloves,” she recalls this detail.
Bai Jin Xi nods. She gazes at the bruises covering her whole body, “These were made by him?”
Ma Xiao Fei nods with teary eyes, “He kept twisting and pinching me.”
“I see,” Bai Jin Xi continues to ask softly, “Did he say anything?”
“No.” Ma Xiao Fei’s voice is weak like a small animal, “He didn’t say a word……”
Bai Jin Xi is in a bit of a daze as she leaves the bedroom. She doesn’t even hear Zhou Xiao Zhuan calling her.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan immediately stops calling her, and follows her with a serious expression on his face. The other criminal investigators on the team knows her habits and pace in solving crimes as well, so they subconsciously stop what they’re doing and raise their heads to look at her.
Bai Jin Xi walks all the way to the middle of the living room, and then lifts her head to look around her. Just when she is about to clear her throat to speak, she spots that man’s back from before. Among this group of officers with average height, weight, and facial features, he is especially eye-catching.
He is standing in front of the window while touching the half smudged footprint on the wall with his fingers. Bai Jin Xi can’t help herself from noticing his pair of hands wearing a set of black leather gloves; slender, fit, and handsome.
Bai Jin Xi lifts her chin to his direction and asks the young officer beside her in her normal voice, “Who’s this fellow?”
That man continues to examine the mark on the wall without turning his head.
The young officer answers, “Oh, he’s one of us. He’s a friend of the one who called the police.”
At this moment, a civil police officer leads a young woman into the room, “Officer Bai, this is Si Si, who contacted the police. Her recording is done. Do you have anything that you want to ask her?”
Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan are both stunned as they watch the woman walk inside; her long wavy hair, pretty face, and tired spirit. Is that not Si Si, who they met once before? And after Si Si also sees them, she doesn’t seem to be in as much of a shock. She forces a smile.
Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan come to their senses, and turn their heads at the same time to look at the man standing by the window.
“Si Si is Ma Xiao Fei’s friend. She also lives in the area,” the young officer explains, “When the incident happened, Ma Xiao Fei called her first, and then she and this……Detective Han arrived at the scene right away.”
Before he even finishes talking, all the criminal investigators and civil policemen all raise their heads to look at the man by the window with a surprised expression.
“Han……Chen?” someone says, “That can’t be the Han Chen of the provincial criminal investigation team, can it?”
Bai Jin Xi’s eyes are wide open, staring at his back.
With his back facing everyone, that Han Chen stands up, and turns around.
“I’m sorry, I am that Han Chen.”
His voice is deep like a cello in a slow rhythm; charming to listen to.
But his tone is cold and indifferent.
The sun has already risen; light shines through the window, exposing the mess all over the floor, as well as illuminating his body figure and facial features clearly.
The crowd is stunned, including Bai Jin Xi.
It’s a very young and handsome looking face. His eyebrows are dark and thick accompanying his long and narrow eyes. Beneath his tall and straight nose are his slightly pursed lips. It’s just that he’s tall with long legs and wearing a black jacket with a dark shirt while wearing black leather gloves, so his whole aura seems cold and fierce.
He doesn’t look like a criminal investigator. He looks more like a dashing young killer.
He takes a look around and stops his gaze at Bai Jin Xi. Those eyes; they’re deep set and beautiful accompanied with thick eyelashes. His pupils are dark brown glistening with a hint of coolness, as if they have no warmth, yet they’re sharp and clear, penetrating others’ hearts.
Bai Jin Xi is also staring back at him.
His famous name thunders inside of her.
He has solved many complicated cases; there isn’t an experienced criminal investigator in province K who hasn’t heard of him. Only that greenhorn young officer from just now is oblivious.
But no one would have thought that he would be the Han Chen.
Criminal Investigator Han Chen, the number one detective in province K.
The atmosphere has clearly become awkward.
The criminal investigators look at each other as if they don’t know what to say. They’re shocked, excited, worried, and curious at the same time. Since such a big shot has shown up at a small place like this, everyone doesn’t quite know what to do.
That Han Chen takes off his gloves and shoves them into his pocket, “You’re in charge of the scene here?”
He has an authentic Beijing accent. A little bit thick. His enunciation is smooth and rich with a hint of flippantness like a Beijing youth.
“Mm,” Bai Jin Xi answers vaguely. Zhou Xiao Zhuan on the other hand is already showing a strange face of not knowing what to do.
“Come over,” he walks back to the window.
Bai Jin Xi follows.
The others including Zhou Xiao Zhuan watch the two of them leave, and then start getting back to work. But their ears are all standing straight——eavesdropping on what they’re saying.
The sky is blue outside the window, and the sun has already come out of the layers of clouds, revealing its face.
Bai Jin Xi glances out at the old city that’s gradually getting lively again, and then turns to look at him.
The first thing she notices is actually his eyes; long and narrow, deep set, and eyelashes are thin, thick, and black. And then it’s his hand resting on the window sill; pale and slender, making the joints look obvious; accompanied with his dark shirt, they look smooth and cold at the same time.
He’s also looking at Bai Jin Xi.
His gaze is impassive.
“I’ll cut to the chase,” his voice is low and powerful, “There are three main points in this case……”
Bai Jin Xi smiles suddenly.
“This is what you wanted to say?” she interrupts him right away.
Han Chen raises his thick eyebrows and stares at her.
The other criminal investigators have also stopped to look at them. The moment they turn their heads, they see Bai Jin Xi standing right in front of Han Chen with her hands in her pockets. She’s standing straight and tall with her chin tilted upwards full of pride. Her eyes are squinted slightly, looking as full of herself as she can be.
Bai Jin Xi turns her head and doesn’t even look at Han Chen. She returns to the crowd of criminal investigators, claps her hands, and clears her throat, “Alright. I’m going to talk about the case, come and listen.”
Everyone looks at her, and then at Han Chen.
Bai Jin Xi says in a serious manner, “I’ll cut to the chase. Regarding this case, I have already……” she reveals a slight smile, “concluded three points.”
All the criminal investigators are struck dumb the second she says this, and then they all look in Han Chen’s direction.
And then they suddenly feel enlightened!
Who is Bai Jin Xi? She’s Guanhu Station’s number one local detective!
Everybody has seen her solve many cases, which is why they all listen to her. Besides District Chief, all the guys have accepted her as the leader of the team.
Although Han Chen is well-known, it’s still his first day. To these low ranked officers, he is a “legend”; a rather unrealistic myth.
Bai Jin Xi is clearly not respecting Han Chen and is even purposely provoking this mythical person.
Could they not be excited by this?
Bai Jin Xi glances at Han Chen. His expression hasn’t changed. It’s just that his eyes look serene, staring at her calmly.
Those pair of dark, deep set eyes seem to seep through others.
Bai Jin Xi decides to continue neglecting him. She looks around her with arrogance, and then says, “Three concluding points:
1. The suspect lives within 5km of the scene;
2. His work hours are flexible;
3. His occupation is——a housekeeper, driver, or delivery man.”
Chapter 5: Criminal Investigator Han Chen