Miss Forensics – Chapter 59.1

Orange

A police car with its turn signal on swiftly made a turn on the bustling street, heading towards another road.

And that was the way to the Jiangcheng City Hospital Family Residence.

A man was pushing a wheelchair along the sidewalk.

The person with the hat turned around and said, “Don’t you want to notify them?”

While out and about, the man was also wearing a mask and a duckbill cap, looking just like an ordinary family member of a patient.

“How come, have you become soft-hearted?”

The person sitting in the wheelchair gripped the armrest tightly and said, “I…”

“Don’t forget who abandoned you,” the man pushing him across the pedestrian crossing said in a subdued tone.

A nearby traffic police officer, on duty at the intersection, rushed over to help them lift the wheelchair onto the platform.

The man’s eyes revealed a hint of genuine gratitude and he said, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Feel free to seek our help anytime you need it.”

The man smiled, pushed the wheelchair away, and in that instant he turned around, his gaze turned cold. That smile seemed to float on thin ice, devoid of any warmth.

“She owes you, owes Xinye. I’ve already allowed her to live for so many years, which is already a favor. Now it’s time for her to repay the debt.”

He affectionately touched the child’s head in the wheelchair. “Besides, without her blocking the police’s view, how could we have gotten away so easily?”

“Alright, now it’s time to complete the final task.”

* * *

Wei Lihong had been feeling unsettled these past few days. She hurried back home to prepare lunch for her son as soon as she got off work.

While waiting for the water to boil, she helped her son get up from the bed and washed his body. Despite being in his early teens, his illness had made him thin and weak, with arms and legs so slender and soft that he looked like a seven or eight-year-old child.

Her heart ached, and she turned away to wipe away a tear. Her son had a drool hanging from the corner of his lips and when he saw her crying, he clapped his hands and laughed.

Helplessly, Wei Lihong gently pushed him back to lie down and gestured for him not to move.

Just then, the phone rang, and she picked it up, holding the receiver to her ear, saying, “Hello?”

A sinister and terrifying laughter emerged from a man, saying, “Wei Fengzhen…”

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As soon as she heard this name, she shivered almost instinctively, and goosebumps covered her entire body.

However, as she looked at her foolish son, who was staring from the hospital bed, she forced herself to focus, saying, “Last time, didn’t you say you found a suitable kidney donor?”

“Yes, too bad you won’t have the chance to see your son lively and jumping around anymore.”

The man’s voice was rough, piercing, and it seemed to emanate from everywhere through the receiver.

The woman’s growing sense of unease in her heart intensified, and she abruptly turned around, slightly out of breath, surveying her own room.

“What… What do you mean?”

“My meaning is…”

The man smiled faintly, and in the midst of a prolonged pause, the doorbell rang, accompanied by a knocking sound.

“Is someone there? Police, open the door quickly.”

The woman hurriedly stepped back, knocking over a chair, and the knocking on the door outside paused for a moment before growing more urgent.

The devilish voice on the receiver continued, “Do you want your son to live? Do you? If you do, you know what to do.”

Dial tone…

The phone line was cut, and the police broke in.

Wei Lihong voluntarily extended her hands, saying, “I surrender.”

* * *

Inside the iron bars.

Wei Lihong, with handcuffs, sat with her head hanging.

Zhang Jinhai walked in, sat in the main seat, and called her by her original name, “Wei Fengzhen?”

She nodded, her eyes dim and lifeless.

Zhang Jinhai examined her and asked, “Are you Li Hai’s wife? Why did you change your name?”

Wei Lihong licked her chapped lips, her voice hoarse, “Li Hai and I eloped. When we left Xiaohe Village and registered in Jiangcheng, we changed our names.”

Several criminal investigators exchanged glances, and one of them pushed a photo toward her, asking, “Do you know Yu Xinye?”

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In the black and white photo, Yu Xinye was still young, with thick eyebrows, big eyes, and regular features, making him quite a handsome young man.

But she seemed to be pricked by something, suddenly shrinking back, lowering her head, unable to look any longer. “I… I know him. He… He’s my ex-husband…”

A typical guilty evasion psychology, Zhang Jinhai calculated in his mind.

“At the time, you were newlyweds with Yu Xinye, and you had just given birth to a daughter for him. Why did you still run away with Li Hai?”

As soon as this question came out, Wei Lihong’s complexion changed.

* * *

Winter of 1988.

Xiaohe Village.

“Younger brother, look, the official documents from the county have arrived. Our group of educated youth can finally return home!” Li Hai, drenched in sweat, rushed over to his side, holding a thin sheet of paper.

At the mine, they were on a lunch break, and Li Yang was sitting, resting. In his hand, he held half a dry steamed bun, and Yu Xinye brought over two bowls of cold water.

“Oh, that’s good news! You can go back to the city and enjoy your life now!”

Li Yang dipped the steamed bun in the cold water, elongating his voice lazily, “What kind of good life awaits us back home? My dad will keep pushing me to take the medical college entrance exam. I’m not interested. I don’t want to take it. It’s easier to just dig coal here.”

“Why don’t you care at all? This is a good thing!” Li Hai, taking advantage of Yu Xinye’s distraction, quietly nudged him.

“In our group, there are only two slots available. You better buckle down a bit for me.”

“Hey, Old Yu, it’s time for dinner!” A woman stood at the entrance of the mine calling out, and Yu Xinye ran over like a cat that smelled fish, lifting her up in his arms.

“Why did you come? Weren’t you supposed to be at home looking after the little one?”

“The baby is sleeping. I was just thinking, worried that you might not get enough to eat at the mine. There’s some leftover lunch I cooked, so I brought it for you.”

“Alright, alright, there are so many people watching. Put me down quickly!”

“I won’t put you down. You’re my wife; let them watch!”

Yu Xinye not only didn’t put her down but also lifted the woman up and spun her around.

The woman in her flower-printed dress blushed with embarrassment.

Li Yang, with a piece of dogtail grass in his mouth, leaned against the rocks, saying, “Brother Yu and Sister-in-law have such a good relationship. Brother, when you go back, should Dad arrange a marriage for you too?”

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Li Hai’s eyes were fixed on the woman, and it took several calls from Li Yang to snap him out of his thoughts.

“Huh? What’s wrong? What did you just say?”

Li Yang spat out the dogtail grass and teased, “Brother, have you gone crazy thinking about women?!”

Li Hai, whose face was usually fair and refined, blushed bright red and retorted, “Nonsense! Let me tell you, when we finish work tonight, come with me to the commune for registration, got it?”

Li Yang hoisted the hoe and headed towards the mine, drawling, “Got it, Brother. You’re so talkative.”

Li Hai shook his head; there was no changing him. Being the eldest son in the family, their parents had high expectations for him from a young age, and they had been less strict with Li Yang, their younger son. That’s why he had grown up with such a carefree personality.

Even after all these years of toiling in the mountains and the countryside, he couldn’t shake this stubborn trait.

However, when he thought about going back…

Li Hai turned his head to look at the woman in the red dress, her figure still curvy from recently giving birth, licked his lips, and then entered the mine as well.

In the evening, terrible news arrived.

Wei Fengzhen was busy cooking at the stove, and her one-month-old daughter lay in the bed, babbling and cooing. She was humming a country tune while tending to the fire.

An elderly man from the same village rushed over and said, “Fengzhen, go take a look. There’s been a mine collapse!”

Wei Fengzhen froze for a moment, then rushed outside. She had lost one of her shoes in her hurry, and her child started wailing.

She returned, secured the baby to her back with a piece of cloth, and ran barefoot to the mine.

In Wei Fengzhen’s memory, winter had never been so cold.

Heavy snowflakes fell from the sky as she walked barefoot on the rough gravel road. The ground beneath her feet was half-frozen.

The scene was chaotic, with the mine’s entrance collapsed, and the mine shaft no longer visible.

Some villagers had come to the scene to help rescue people, and they lifted one lifeless body after another from the pile of rocks.

She held her child and asked one by one, “Have you seen Xinye?”

“No, no.”

The villagers shook their heads as they passed her, continuing to dig out the next person.

Wei Fengzhen ran to the area where the bodies were placed and knelt down. Trembling with fear, she lifted the plastic sheet, only to find that the person underneath had been crushed beyond recognition.

With a horrified gasp, she vomited.

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That day, she had stayed at the mine until late into the night, searching through seven or eight bodies but still couldn’t find Xinye.

It was only when the rescue team and experts from the county arrived.

She held her child, shivering in the cold wind. As soon as her tears and runny nose started to flow, the wind would whisk them away.

Villagers tried to persuade her, “Go back, go back. The child is most important. If there’s any news about Xinye, we’ll let you know.”

In a daze, she felt like someone was crying in her ear. When she snapped back to reality, her child had lost the strength to cry. The baby’s face was as pale as ice, and her whole body was frozen.

She took off some of her clothes, wrapped the baby in her arms, and with her feet covered in blood, she stumbled her way back home.

* * *

After she finished speaking, the detectives in the interrogation room remained silent for a moment before saying, “So, in the end, you and Li Hai, who miraculously survived, left Xiaohe Village. What about your one-month-old daughter?”

When it came to her daughter, Wei Lihong waved her hand, covering her mouth as she choked up, “Couldn’t… couldn’t afford to raise her.”

It was the third day after the mining disaster.

In 1988, there was a severe drought, followed by a deep winter blizzard, with no harvest in the fields.

The Yu family had lost their labor force, yet they still had two mouths to feed at home.

Wei Fengzhen no longer had breast milk to feed the child.

Yu Yi brought over the last bit of millet they had at home.

“Auntie, this can’t go on…”

“It’s tough…” Hearing about Yu Xinye’s accident, Yu Yi’s hair had turned completely white in a single night, and she washed her face with tears every day.

“My family doesn’t have much food left. You and the child can make do for now. Xinye is gone, and if anything happens to you or the child, how can I go on living?”

The elderly woman wiped away tears, and they both held their heads and cried.

On the fourth day after the disaster, she left her home, carrying her child, and went to the mine first.

“They’re still digging, still digging, but I don’t think there’s any hope…”

That’s what the construction workers told her.

As she was leaving, a friendly-looking police officer in a large padded coat stopped her, saying, “Hey, take this, for you and your child to eat.”

She took it, which was a rare sight at the time, a half package of biscuits. The woman smiled gratefully and tears welled up in her eyes as she said, “Thank… thank you… benefactor…”



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