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Chapter 3: Mishap
In a police station.
Luo Yan and Ai Yun were sitting on a bench. A young police officer walked over, saying, “The situation has already been cleared up. The deceased seems to have been frightened. The back of his head hit the wall, and the clock on the wall fell down and smashed his head. It was an accident. The time of death was around 1:30.”
Full of gratitude, Luo Yan told the young police officer, “We’ve troubled you, Yang Su.”
Yang Su was Luo Yan’s classmate in high school. They had lost contact after going to university. No one thought that the next time they met would be in a police station.
However, when Yang Su saw his old classmate, his mood did not brighten up as much as one would expect. He asked, “Did you hear about Jin Shuang?”
Luo Yan couldn’t stop the sorrow from flooding out of him once more. He helplessly answered, “I was standing outside the building at the time and saw it with my own eyes… Did you find out anything new?”
Yang Su replied, “From our investigation of the scene, Jin Shuang was probably frightened by the explosion next door and accidentally tripped over the mop in the balcony, which led to him taking a wrong step and falling. No matter how you look at it, it was all a big accident, but…”
Luo Yan nervously asked, “But what?”
Yang Su seemed to think the matter was a bit unimaginable. Only after considering for a moment did he continue, “Not long ago, Gu Jun also died in an accident. I don’t know why, but I feel like the two have some sort of connection.”
“Accident? Connection?” Luo Yan remembered that Gu Jun was Jin Shuang’s friend. The two had a good relationship.
If the two deaths really had a connection, then what was it?
Yang Su recalled, “Right, Liu Wen was present when Gu Jun had his accident. We originally suspected him, but the results of our investigation indicated that he was not related to the incident.”
“Liu Wen?” Luo Yan couldn’t help thinking of the music box in his pocket.
His expression was full of misgivings as he walked out of the police station with Ai Yun.
She tried to comfort him, saying, “Don’t think too much about it. Jin Shuang’s death was just an accident.”
It was already dusk, and the stream of people on the streets grew. Across the intersection ahead of the two, there was a clothes store renovating its storefront. A worker was climbing a ladder while carrying a pile of tools. The ladder let out a creaking noise. The worker paused and was about to look down.
“Ah Huang, quickly nail down the board. In a moment, we’ll have to paint it.” said the foreman standing beside the latter.
“Okay.” Ah Huang agreed, then continued to climb to the top of the ladder. In one hand, he carried a wooden board that was larger than himself, and in the other, he held a nail gun.
At the other end of the intersection, a group of elementary schoolers was lined up. Two children in the very back of the line were playing with marbles as they crouched on the ground. Teacher Li called out to them, “Ye Ming! Li Shang! Don’t play anymore. Return to the line, we’re about to cross the road.”
The two children agreed, standing back in line, yet Ye Ming occasionally glanced around.
“What are you looking at?” whispered Li Shang.
Ye Ming scratched his head and whispered back, “I lost a marble.”
Without knowing, they had already walked to the intersection. Luo Yan had just stepped onto the crosswalk when he froze. He heard familiar music. With a clear tone and a gloomy melody, it was just like the one from when he was talking with Jin Shuang over the phone. Ai Yun’s cry of alarm startled him awake, and he turned to see a motorcycle speeding over. It would run over him in a split second, but Luo Yan could only stare on helplessly. His body had gone rigid and seemed to stop reacting.
Ai Yun grabbed Luo Yan and used all her strength to pull him back. Following this pull, Luo Yan fell onto the side of the road. The motorcycle hurtled past, just barely missing Luo Yan’s feet.
“Are you blind or something? Look where you’re going!” The first thing the youth riding the motorcycle did when he turned around was start cursing.
Just as Luo Yan was about to get mad, he was restrained by Ai Yun. “It’s a red light right now.”
Luo Yan embarrassedly scratched his head and pretended to relaxedly turn around. He happened to see that there was a nearby clothing store doing renovations.
Ai Yun once again reminded out of kindness, “Green light.”
The motorcycle-riding youth was still cursing as he turned to see a car heading straight toward him. Although the youth was alarmed, his hands did not stay idle. He turned the car around to the right. His skill was indeed good, for he avoided the car without getting a single scratch. The youth was about to be proud of himself when one of the motorcycle’s wheels rolled over a marble. The unsteadiness that followed threw the youth down to the ground. The motorcycle still didn’t stop, running toward the clothes store across the intersection.
The foreman cried out in alarm, “Ah Huang, watch out!”
Ah Huang was carrying a wooden board and unable to move at all. With a rumble, the motorcycle brushed against the ladder and ran into the wall of the clothes shop. Shattered glass flew out in all directions. By now, Ah Huang had recovered from his shock, but he didn’t have the time to take a breath before the ladder underneath him suddenly swayed. Plus, the ladder already had problems. The motorcycle brushing past it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The ladder finally collapsed, and Ah Huang shouted in surprise as he fell. During the moment he lost his balance, Ah Huang still subconsciously held onto the board. It had not yet been completely nailed on, so with this pull, the wooden board the size and shape of a round dining table also came crashing down along with him.
Luckily, the board tilted at an angle and missed Ah Huang. It crashed to the ground and continued to roll.
Luo Yan had seen that the traffic light had turned green and was about to walk forward when he heard Ai Yun shout, “Watch out!”
Ai Yun didn’t explain. She only knocked Luo Yan over, the two falling to the side. Luo Yan didn’t even have the time to react before the round table-like wooden board crushed the spot they were just standing in. It continued to roll until it came to a stop on the middle of the road, letting out a thump. At the other side of the intersection, a group of elementary schoolers was slowly crossing the road. They were all startled when the big wooden board suddenly appeared in front of them, and they only continued walking after the teacher’s urging.
Onlookers gathered, discussing among themselves.
“There seems to be an accident.”
“An accident?” Luo Yan pushed himself up into a sitting position. He felt his arm ache and saw a piece of glass the size of a fingernail piercing his skin. The blood dripped all over the ground.
When Ai Yun saw Luo Yan bleeding, she immediately panicked and hurriedly bound up the wound for him.
After this turn of events, Luo Yan’s mind had become unprecedentedly clear. The last two days replayed over and over in his head, and his train of thought gradually cleared up. He slowly exclaimed. “I get it. Jin Shuang and Gu Jun’s deaths were both accidents.”
Ai Yun stared at him with puzzlement in her eyes. She suspected that he had turned dumb from being knocked to the ground so many times. “Of course they died from accidents. What’s wrong with you?”
He replied, “This was also an accident!”
Ai Yun continued to stare at Luo Yan, only feeling another wave of confusion.
“If this is real… This is too strange!” As he talked to himself, Luo Yan picked up his phone and dialed a number.
“Is this Yang Su? Can you tell me where Liu Wen is right now?”