IHAS – 22

Chapter 22: Arc 1: Rural Love: Chapter 22 – Uncomfortable

There were more than a dozen families in the village; all of them were neighbors.

Although they did not gossip any lesser, make false accusations and spat at each other, at times when something happened to any family, they would all lend their hands.

As soon as the village head made the announcement on the radio, the big guys put down their work and started searching. They searched back and forth, but they didn’t find the missing person, so they didn’t go on searching.

After all, it was so late already. Every household had young and elderly. They were still waiting for their dinner.

Just as everyone was resting, they suddenly heard a cry that sounded extremely sorrowful. The people who heard it felt themselves getting numb and grew apprehensive.

The moment they heard the sound, they rushed to Wang Yue Mei’s house and were shocked by the situation in the yard.

After looking for such a long time, they still couldn’t find a paralyzed person. Some people made bad guesses, but they just didn’t say it out loud.

But when they saw Wang Yue Mei, who laid motionless on the ground, they still weren’t able to say anything.

Following the village head’s yell, everyone shivered before showing a complex expression on their faces.

Wang Yue Mei, who had lived more exquisitely than anyone else, had died dubiously.

Dying on such an ordinary day, with such a dubious death.

Apart from Huang Dan and Li Gen, no one else knew that Wang Yue Mei did not die in the house where the sundries were kept, but in the smelly little chicken coop.

Huang Dan knew the reason for Li Gen’s concealment; it was because he didn’t want thoughtless remarks to be made even after his mother’s death.

If others knew about it and spread the news out, some people would certainly make comments, would cry, and would ridicule behind their backs.

Look, that Wang Yue Mei was someone who paid countless attention to her appearance when she was alive. There’s no need to talk about her attire, she always wore flowers; jasmine, honeysuckle and so on, on her head whether she was twenty, thirty, or fifty years old. She dressed herself very well.

She was even more arrogant; she looked down on this, looked down on that. She blindly pursued perfection to the point that she even disliked her biological younger son. She was so partial that everyone could not stand it. Whoever tried to advise her would be met with mockery and ridicule.

When it came down to death, was she any different from an animal?

Unfortunately, that was not the only thing people would think about. Those people would even bring out the chicken den and spit at it1. Chicken2, what was the meaning behind it? Wasn’t it obvious? Wang Yue Mei’s grand history: it was too suitable.

So Li Gen would not mention anything. He would not let his mother be a laughingstock of others during their leisure time.

Huang Dan just couldn’t figure out who did it.

He had not been in contact with Wang Yue Mei for a long time. By combining his understanding, together with the memory of the original owner, including the pieces of information he had from others, he could associate what kind of person Wang Yue Mei was.

Demanding of others, even more so to herself; unable to tolerate any blemish and taint.

The murderer shoved Wang Yue Mei’s body inside such a dirty place and it was an enormous humiliation to her. That proud and arrogant life she tried so hard to live was forcibly covered by filth and odor, and it would follow her forever.

With Wang Yue Mei’s character, when she goes to the netherworld, she would not be able to lift her head up no matter what.

How much hatred, disgust and vengeance was there?

Huang Dan frowned. During the day, he still believed that Wang Yue Mei was the most likely person to kill Li Da Gui. He was ready to fill in the answer and submit the task results.

He didn’t expect her to die.

Huang Dan felt that he had walked into a dead end, he was even pushed inside by a big and invisible hand.

Was it possible to exclude Wang Yue Mei just like He Wei?

Huang Dan’s eyebrows scrunched together.

All he saw and heard was aimed at Wang Yue Mei. Now her death was too sudden, which made him fall into a chaotic situation.

Wu Cui Ling, who came back from the river farm, stumbled around Wang Yue Mei and cried loudly, “Mom… What’s the matter with you… How could this be…”

Huang Dan just came back to his senses.

After seeing the second suspect Wu Cui Ling, he lowered his eyelids and who knew what he was thinking.

Wu Cui Ling cried so much that all of her tears were running down her nose. She was panic stricken. Someone was pulling her. Someone was trying to persuade her. All of it was a mess.

There was a depressing sadness in the yard.

The chickens had all returned to their nests. They gathered together and pecked their wings happily. They only knew that the person who had occupied their nest was finally gone, but they didn’t know that it was a dead person.

Li Gen didn’t say a word after the initial outburst.

He was so quiet that it was frightening.

Huang Dan went back and said to Chen Jin Hua who was sitting on the threshold, “I’ll go to Ge’s place to sleep tonight.”

Chen Jin Hua wiped her tears. “Okay, advise Li Gen more, tell him to think positively.”

Huang Dan scooped up a ladle of water from the water tank, squatted on the ground and poured it on his hand. “Mom, what do you think is going on? When I saw Aunt Wang in the afternoon, she was still fine. “

Chen Jin Hua sighed, “Life is impermanent. People, they can be gone anytime.”

There was disapproval in her voice, “This one and that one weren’t around to accompany her. I really don’t know what they were thinking in their head. Your Aunt Wang’s body doesn’t permit anyone to leave her alone!”

Huang Dan said, “Both Sister Cui Ling and Ge were busy with their things. They didn’t know that Aunt Wang would meet an accident.”

Chen Jin Hua wrung out her snot, flung it on the ground and wiped it with the sole of her shoes before using the hem of her gown to wipe it twice. “If one of them had put in more effort, could this sort of thing happen to Aunt Wang?”

“A good living person died like this and we don’t know who did it…” She gasped while pressing on her stomach. Her complexion was very bad. “Forget it, don’t say anymore.”

Huang Dan asked, “Mom, is your stomach hurting again?”

Chen Jin Hua leaned against the door frame. “When you are old, you have many small problems. There is no big deal. Just let me rest for a while.”

Huang Dan said, “Where is the medicine? Where did you put it? I’ll get it for you. “

Chen Jin Hua’s expression was kind of weird.

Huang Dan guessed something, “Is it’s finished?”

Chen Jin Hua didn’t speak.

Huang Dan had a headache. “Mom, if the medicine is finished, why didn’t you tell me?”

Chen Jin Hua said, “The medicine is very expensive. A small bag costs several yuan, tastes bad and isn’t effective. Mom thinks that drinking more water and paying attention to myself is better than taking anything.”

Huang Dan took back his probing eyes. Chen Jin Hua was waiting for death.

His brows were pressed together and he walked back and forth in the same area. “Tomorrow I’ll go to town and buy you some medicine.”

Chen Jin Hua said, “Mom won’t eat them even if you buy them.”

Huang Dan said, “Then just throw them away.”

Chen Jin Hua said angrily, “You are getting more and more bold. Now you even dare to threaten your mom!”

Huang Dan put the water ladle back into the water tank. “Mom, your health is the most important thing. Look at Aunt Wang, she’s gone all of a sudden. Ge lost his mother abruptly. I don’t want to be in the same situation as him.”

Chen Jin Hua patted the ash on her gown. “You’re old enough to take care of yourself.”

Huang Dan stared at the woman in front of him.

Chen Jin Hua stood up with the support of the door frame. She turned around and walked inside the house. “There are boiled peanuts in the pot. Take some and bring them there with you. You can eat them when you are hungry at night.”

Huang Dan stood in the same spot, looking at the figure of the woman who was limping. His eyes narrowed and he said, “Mom, I know that Aunt Wang is gone, and you must be feeling terrible, but the dead can’t be revived, you don’t have to be too sad.”

Chen Jin Hua’s footsteps halted, and she said, “Mom knows.”

Huang Dan went to Li Gen’s house with peanuts. The village chief and the rest had gone back. The pigs in the sty were hungry and were arching on the wooden railings in anger. Because of the pigs’ accumulated strength, this lifeless atmosphere was broken.

No one cared about the pigs despite their efforts. They were doomed to go to bed hungry tonight.

Huang Dan went to the room, put the peanuts on the table, grabbed a handful of them and handed it to the man sitting at the bedside, “Ge, have some peanuts.”

Li Gen smoked.

Huang Dan’s hand was becoming numb, so he switched hands. He sat at the bedside, not knowing what to do. Even in the face of a mountain of drawings and staying up late to work overtime for quite a number of times, he was never so powerless.

The smoke in the room was strong, close to irritate the nose.

Li Gen pinched off the cigarette butt and went to get a match. He lit another one and then smoked. He didn’t cry, didn’t make a sound, and was suppressing his emotions by smoking.

Huang Dan peeled and ate the salted peanuts in his hands before getting up to go to the kitchen.

The two big pots were cold, with white rice in them, beans with shells on the stove, sweet potato leaves in the basket, and some small sweet potatoes wrapped in a circle of soil.

Usually it was Wu Cui Ling who cooked. Now that she had almost fainted from crying, it would be impossible for her to make dinner.

Huang Dan’s daily life had always been managed by a housekeeper. He couldn’t cook. He couldn’t even distinguish soy sauce from vinegar. When he crossed over to this world, he then learned how to start a fire and many other things.

Looking at the pothole, Huang Dan saw a lot of dry firewood and a big bamboo basket of dry straw. He went to fetch water, wash rice, wash the pot and cook porridge.

He sat by the pot hole and managed the fire, “Mr. system, Wang Yue Mei is dead.”

System, “This humbled one is synchronized with Mr. Huang’s task progress.”

Huang Dan said, “Then do you know about the matter that happened between Li Gen and I in the corn field?”

The system said it didn’t know, “All the intimate contents are blocked.”

Huang Dan breathed a sigh of relief. He was still very shy about doing that kind of thing. It was best if it didn’t know. According to a normal murder’s approach, Wang Yue Mei’s death allowed her to get rid of her suspicion, right? Otherwise, his task wouldn’t still be in progress, likewise, he did not receive any prompts.

“Mr. system, this time I’m in the wrong direction. No one is capable of hurting their own children. It is most likely that Wang Yue Mei was overly partial towards her eldest son, Li Gen. She just thinks that he is the biggest bright spot in her life, and placed all her hopes on him. As for Li Da Gui, her youngest son, she thinks that he is useless. The fortune teller said that he was doomed to bring misfortune to the eldest son, so Wang Yue Mei hated her youngest son even more. She might have said that it would be good if her youngest son was dead, but that doesn’t mean she will do it.”

“Sometimes, some words are just spoken casually, but it might not necessarily be put into action. If the deed was really done, then, instead, nothing will be said.”

Huang Dan guided the tongs to collect firewood and felt that he had failed. Up till now, his mind was still in a mess. He couldn’t make sense of anything. He didn’t know where the thread was. He had to rely on death as the only way to eliminate the possible murderers.

[Mr. Huang, your guardian sent you a “a hug with love”. Would you like to receive it?]

“No.”

System, “…”

Huang Dan said, “Mr. system, we are neither relatives nor friends, actions such as a hug with love is not suitable.”

System, “This humbled one is rude.”

Huang Dan said, “If you want to comfort me, encourage me, or cheer me up, you can change the methods.”

System, “I can give you a chrysanthemum essence for free.”

“Thank you. Please put it in the Housefly Cabinet for me.” Huang Dan said, “Chrysanthemum essense is really a good thing, I have personally experienced it, but if Mr. system has painkillers, or can paralyze my pain nerves for a long time, I would prefer it more.”

System, “Sorry, this humbled one can’t help you.”

Huang Dan said, “It doesn’t matter.”

There wasn’t any other choice, chrysanthemum essense was also good, at least when he was in convulsing in pain, shedding tears all over his face, hovering between life and death, and coming back from death only to die again, there wouldn’t be a bloodbath.

After cooking the porridge, Huang Dan went to the cupboard to get a bowl, and loaded half of the bowl with porridge. Then he took a little bit of salted vegetables and brought them to Li Gen.

On the way, Huang Dan turned and went to Wu Cui Ling’s room. He stood at the door and shouted, “Sister Cui Ling, I cooked porridge. Would you like some?”

Wu Cui Ling’s voice came out of the room, with a slight sob, “No need…”

Huang Dan raised his eyebrows.

Wang Yue Mei and He Wei were both dead. Only Wu Cui Ling, Zhang Ying Xiong and Chen Jin Hua were left. The murderer was amongst these three.

Huang Dan didn’t say more.

When he entered the room, the smell of smoke was stronger than when he had left. He couldn’t even open his eyes.

Li Gen was still leaning against the head of the bed. It was the same posture as before. His eyes were half closed, and his whole face was covered by smoke. Yet, that sadness penetrated through the smoke and caused people to panic.

Huang Dan blew the porridge and handed it to him, “Ge, be careful not to scald yourself.”

Li Gen pushed the bowl, that was in front of him, away.

Caught off guard, Huang Dan’s hand shook, and some of the porridge in the bowl fell on his hand.

At that moment, he cried in pain, and the bowl fell on the mat. The porridge was boiling hot and steaming. It was scattered everywhere.

A string in Li Gen’s mind was pulled. He quickly snuffed out the smoke, dragged the young man to the kitchen, and pressed his hot hand inside the water tank.

Huang Dan hissed, and the burning pain was slightly reduced. At this time, he was sweating and tears were all over his face.

Li Gen wiped the young man’s tears with his other hand, his lips pursed tightly.

Huang Dan saw that the man had gone out only to come back very soon. He crushed an unknown grass and smeared the juice water on his red skin.

Li Gen’s voice was hoarse, “I can’t, Ge can’t do this.”

Huang Dan said, “What do we do with Aunt at night?”

Li Gen lowered his eyes. “Let’s put her in the hall.”

When Huang Dan saw that the man was about to leave, he stretched out his hand and pulled him. He hadn’t paid attention and used his burned hand. It hurt again and it hurt deeply. He took a breath. “Ge, I won’t go back tonight.”

Li Gen didn’t say anything.

The grass could treat burns. Huang Dan’s hand didn’t get any blisters. He ate two bowls of porridge by himself, scrubbed the pot and squatted in the yard to think about the problems.

He squatted until his legs felt numb, but Huang Dan still did not come up with any accurate answers. He went to Zhang Ying Xiong’s house only to realize that their lights were off.

It was not too nice to wake people up at such a late timing.

Huang Dan wandered around in front of the door and went back to Li Gen.

The moon on the sixteen was rounder than the one on the fifteen. Tonight was the sixteen of the month. The moon hanging high in the night sky was round and big. Its light seemed to have fallen on the treetops and all the plants and trees in the village could be seen clearly.

Huang Dan wasn’t afraid of ghosts.

But when he thought of how Wang Yue Mei’s body was stuffed in the chicken coop as he walked alone in the village, and smelled the grass, the earth and a little bit of chicken excrement, he grew scared.

There was a slight noise behind him, and Huang Dan turned around in an instant, “Who’s behind?”

There were no dogs, no cats, nothing at all.

It must be the wind.

This dead night was brewing such a big wind. Leaves, withered grass and so on, there certainly would be noise.

Huang Dan’s heart was thumping loudly. He licked his dry lips and didn’t stop to comfort himself much more before he hurriedly stepped away.

He had eaten porridge at night, so the number of times he woke up wasn’t little.

Huang Dan knew that it was not right to hold your urine as it wasn’t good for the bladder, but it was a special case. After holding it in for a while, he still couldn’t endure it.

Originally, he wanted to ask the man to go with him but Huang Dan just couldn’t open his mouth. He thought that it wasn’t appropriate. The person had just lost his mother but he didn’t cry and had suppressed his feelings in his heart.

When Huang Dan went out, he passed by the hall. Wang Yue Mei’s body was placed on a board, covered with a piece of cloth with her head showing.

He swallowed his saliva and summoned his courage to walk forward. When he got to the chicken coop in the yard, he unconsciously turned his head to look.

It was clear that it was those sleepless chickens that were making those cooing sound, but Huang Dan’s hair still stood up. It seemed that at the next moment, the door of the chicken coop would be pushed open, and Wang Yue Mei, with a twisted body, would climb out of it.

Shit, why was he scaring himself?

Huang Dan took a deep breath. He didn’t do anything bad. He was not afraid of ghosts knocking on his door. He had a clear conscience.

The latrine was behind the yard. When Huang Dan was peeing, he heard the sad cry of a woman. It was Wu Cui Ling. It seemed that she did not sleep either.

Wang Yue Mei was dead. Wu Cui Ling’s sadness was certainly strong and long.

She was a mother-in-law who had no blood relationship with her. Her husband was no longer here. She also deliberately made things hard for her in her daily life by mocking her and disdaining her using all sorts of pattern. Even if she was just drinking water, she could still find faults. It wasn’t like it was her biological mother who had died, was this that hard for her to accept?

Or was Wu Cui Ling too soft and kind-hearted?

Huang Dan put on his pants and leaned against the wall to listen. If only he could know how Wu Cui Ling’s son, who was under one year old had died, then that would be good. Maybe it would even be a key clue.

It was a pity that when Huang Dan went through the memory of the original owner and also inquired of the villagers including Chen Jin Hua and Zhang Ying Xiong, they all said that the child had died of an accident.

This showed that there were few people who knew the truth at that time, and they did not spread it out. Only the child’s family members might know the truth.

However, there were many kinds of accidents, some of which could be man-made.

Huang Dan scratched his neck. In the countryside, if a daughter-in-law had a son, even if the mother-in-law did not like the daughter-in-law, she wouldn’t do anything to her grandson.

Because there was a saying called skipped generation.

Following this inference, if the death of the child was related to Li Da Gui, then as a mother, Wu Cui Ling had the biggest motive to kill people.

Huang Dan’s task was to find out the murderer who killed Li Da Gui. As for who killed Wang Yue Mei, and how the murderer designed his/her plans, hid it from everyone and stuffed the corpse into the chicken coop, this wasn’t his task.

The crying in the room stopped for a while and then started again. Seeing Wu Cui Ling’s attitude, it seemed like she wanted to cry for Wang Yue Mei in advance.

Huang Dan rubbed his arm and went back to see the man taking out a package of unopened Qixi cigarette. He immediately caught his hand, “Ge, don’t smoke anymore.”

Li Gen’s jaw clenched. “Give it to me.”

Huang Dan said, “You’ve been smoking all night. If you continue, you’ll lose your voice. You won’t be able to speak tomorrow.”

Li Gen raised his eyes and his eyes were sharp. “I’ll say it again. Give me the cigarette!”

Huang Dan said, “No.”

Li Gen’s long arm swung past.

Huang Dan instinctively covered his head with his hands.

Li Gen’s breathing stopped, the cruel aura at the bottom of the eyes and the blood color had disappeared. “Don’t be afraid, Ge isn’t hitting you, Dong Tian, be obedient, give the cigarette to Ge.”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, you promised me.”

Li Gen wiped his face hard. His hand dropped down and was clenched into fist only to be opened again. “Yes, Ge said that he would smoke less in the future, but now Ge’s heart is very painful.”

Huang Dan looked at the man worriedly.

Li Gen leaned back and his head knocked onto the wall. “Don’t worry, Ge is fine, just feeling a little uncomfortable, really.”

There were suppressed sobs produced in his throat, his fingertips were slightly shaking, and his eyes were gradually reddening, “Ge doesn’t have a mother anymore. Dong Tian, Ge doesn’t have a mother anymore.”

Huang Dan patted the man’s back. He hadn’t experienced the feeling of his relatives passing away. He didn’t know what it was like and he couldn’t come up with the right words to relieve the man’s grief in such a short time.

Thinking about it, he didn’t think this could be relieved. There wasn’t any other choice but to let time slowly engulf this pain.

Li Gen buried his face in the young man’s neck.

Huang Dan felt a warm liquid flowing onto his skin. One drop, two drops, there were more and more. His heart felt a little choked up, “Ge, you don’t cry.”

Li Gen held the man in his arms, his arms tightening further, as if he was desperately trying to circle the only thing he had. He could not lose anything more, or he would have nothing else left.

Huang Dan didn’t know how to smile. He didn’t understand emotions, but he cried easily, and got hurt easily. It seemed that his emotion was a very big inaccuracy.

Sounds of the man’s restrained cries rang in his ears, and his tears followed.

When accidents happen, people become stupid, and there would be nothing in their mind. When it would be the time for them to respond, a sadness as big as a boulder would come pressing down onto their heart. They need to cry for a while so that they could vent.

After crying, Li Gen was more calm. Instead of looking for cigarettes, he went to sleep with Huang Dan in his arms.

Who knew how long after it was, but Huang Dan woke up and realized that the man was not by his side. He yawned and put on his shoes.

There was no kerosene lamp in the hall. The moonlight slanted in from the door. He could see the man sitting on the floor beside the board, looking at the corpse in front of him. This scene caused a chill to run down his spine.

Huang Dan stepped closer and smelled the stink. He looked at Wang Yue Mei. She was wearing some honeysuckles on her head. There were some chicken droppings on the flowers. He didn’t know whether someone had placed it or it got accidentally rubbed when she was crammed into the chicken coop.

A moment later, Li Gen said, “Who do you think it is?”

Huang Dan said, “I don’t know.”

Li Gen said, “The village is so large but there aren’t many people. If there are outsiders who came into the village, it’s not possible that no one will know.”

He said to himself, “Then it must be one of the villagers who did it.”

“Who will be…”

Huang Dan’s brows scrunched up. At the moment, the man’s expression was terrible. Once he knew who had killed his mother, he would definitely stab that person to death. He pursed his mouth, “Ge, report the case.”

Li Gen sniffed and said, “Two years ago, when Da Gui had an accident, I asked for a leave from the company to rush back, and then I knew that it was not an accident due to a slip, but he drowned while being hit hard on the back of his head, and fell into the pond.”

He said with a wry smile, “I went to report the case that day. They sent two people to ask about it. They checked Da Gui’s wounds. They said that Da Gui was arrogant and had a quarrel with others. That’s why the enemy was killed. Then, it was over.”

Listening to this, Huang Dan said, “Didn’t you ask around again?”

“Ask, why didn’t you ask again, you say? After I went to work, I called every three to five days and sent someone to see. There was still no progress.”

Li Gen sneered. “Last year, it was found that Da Gui had slipped and fell, and the back of his head hit the bluestone board near the pond. When he stood up, he didn’t pay attention. He accidentally fell into the pond. That’s how the case ended.”

Huang Dan, “…”

“I know it’s not just that they’re afraid of trouble, they don’t have that ability.”

“In the countryside, it’s not so serious for a person to die. There are many people who drink pesticides, eat rats, hang themselves, jump into the river, be killed or commit suicide every year. There are many people who haven’t heard of it. There are even more cases that are not reported.”

His eyes moved away and stayed on Huang Dan. “There is not enough knowing of a person’s heart. Even couples who have been sharing a bed for many years do not know what each other is thinking about. They are likely to smile at each other only to be stabbed by  the other party in their sleep, letting them die in their dream.”

Huang Dan met the sharp eyes of the man, “Ge, you are only talking about the dark side. Everything has many sides.”

Li Gen tugged at the corners of his mouth. “You’re right.”

Huang Dan went back to the topic, “But we have no choice but to report the crime.”

He wanted to use the hand of the police to find the right thread and untie the wool.

Li Gen didn’t answer, he just said, “Go back to sleep, Ge will sit down for a while.”

Huang Dan said, “I’ll accompany you.”

Li Gen was removing the mud in his fingernails. When this accident had happened, he was plowing in the field, turning over the loach and placing them in the basket. He even wanted to call the young man in the evening and eat fried loach together.

But heaven kicked him and made him fall flat.

Life was impermanent.

This was the fifth time that Li Gen had realized the cruelty of these three words.

The first time was when he was very young. His father had died suddenly in the house. The second time was when his younger brother had an accident. The third time was when the long haired woman, who was carried back in a sedan chair, had died in it. The fourth time was when the skinny woman, who had been married for several days, had drank pesticide. This was the fifth time.

His relatives left one by one.

Li Gen’s breathing was tight. It was said that his life was cursed and he would bring misfortune to his wife.

His wife was not the only one he cursed, but also the people surrounding him.

Huang Dan was aware of the man’s abnormality. As soon as he wanted to speak, he was caught by his hand in a powerful grip.

There were two living and one dead being in the hall, but in a flash, they entered into a dead silence.

It was not until Huang Dan made a sound of pain that Li Gen weakened his strength but he still held on to it.

Huang Dan’s face was pale, and he couldn’t get rid of the grip.

Li Gen’s breathing was chaotic. Why did this happen? How could a life be gone so easily?

“It’s said that the soul will still be in the place where it has been before the ghost comes.”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, Aunt is looking at us.”

When he finished speaking, he felt the wind coming in.

Li Gen said nothing.

Huang Dan endured the pain, “Brother Da Gui left, now aunt has also left, Sister Cui Ling has been crying, she must be thinking of her child.”

“Ge, why is the child gone?”

Just when Huang Dan let go of any hope, he heard the man say, “I came back from winter vacation to know that something had happened to the child. He was buried.”

“I heard that Da Gui and his mother said that the child choked on food and didn’t survive.”

Huang Dan, “Oh.”

He doubted this statement, but did not ask in detail, because Li Gen was in a bad mood and it was not suitable for further discussion.

It was a hot day. The door of the hall was not closed. In the middle of the night, there was a strong wind and the door clanged.

Huang Dan’s head was covered with something. He opened his eyes and saw that it was a piece of white cloth, the one that was covered on Wang Yue Mei’s body.

“…”

What was this? Wang Yue Mei hated him for breaking the incense stick of Li family?

Or thought that he was Li Gen’s stain?

You couldn’t fake being a corpse, could you?

Huang Dan pulled the white cloth down. He looked at it and found that it could be possible. He put the white cloth into the man’s arms. “Ge, cover it up for aunt. It’s cool at night.”

Li Gen saw the young man shaking. “Are you cold?”

Huang Dan said, “A bit.”

Li Gen asked Huang Dan to go to sleep in the room. Huang Dan didn’t want to go no matter what. Originally, he had the intention, but now it was gone. He was afraid that when he turned around in the bed, he would see Wang Yue Mei standing by the bed.

Huang Dan sat down and accompanied Li Gen until dawn.

The rooster crowed as usual, and the sun rose from the east as usual. It wouldn’t change because of the disappearance of a life.

Wu Cui Ling came out of the room. She cried for a long time last night. Her eyes were swollen and her face was haggard. She was still wearing the same clothes. She didn’t looked like she had even laid down on her bed.

“Big Brother, Dong Tian, were you in the hall all night?”

Huang Dan responded with an “en”, his back was aching.

Li Gen sat on the chair. “Cui Ling, where did you go after I left yesterday? Why were you not at home? “

Things happened all too fast, he didn’t have time to ask any questions. Last night, he pondered the whole incident over and over again. He had suspicion on someone in his heart, it was just that he couldn’t believe it.

Hearing Li Gen’s words, Wu Cui Ling stopped tying her hair. “Ge, not long after you left, mother said that she wanted to go to sleep.”

“You know, mother can’t sleep if there are any noises, so I didn’t stay at home. I went to the field to water the vegetables.”

Li Gen was silent.

“After a while, Ying Xiong came to me.” Wu Cui Ling said, “I went to his house after watering the vegetables.”

Li Gen asked, “What were you doing at his house? Who had witnessed this?”

Wu Cui Ling raised her head incredulously. “Ge, you are doubting me?”

Li Gen’s face was expressionless. “Answer me.”

Wu Cui Ling’s lips trembled. “Ying Xiong said that he would like to go to school again next year. He asked me to teach him some math problems.”

Her voice was dry. “No one saw it, because there was a family on the river farm that was getting married that day. Everyone went there in the afternoon to have a good time.”

Li Gen didn’t say anything.

Huang Dan’s glance followed Wu Cui Ling, hoping to find out the clues to whether she was lying.

The atmosphere in the hall was strange.

Wu Cui Ling’s face was white and fragile.

Li Gen suddenly got up from his chair and strode out to Zhang Ying Xiong’s house.

When Huang Dan passed by Wu Cui Ling, he said, “Sister Cui Ling, Ge isn’t targeting you. He is like this to everyone. He also asked me last night.”

Wu Cui Ling’s smile was even uglier than when she was crying. “You don’t have to comfort me, whomever Ge will doubt, it will never be you.”

Huang Dan’s eyelids twitched.

Wu Cui Ling’s eyes swept over his wrist.

Huang Dan gulped and put the snake bone chain down. Wu Cui Ling shouldn’t know.

“I’ll go took a look.”

Wu Cui Ling was left in the hall. She went to the board and squatted down. “Mother, you often say that my head is dirty. Now you are even more dirty. It must be hard to bear it.”

Followed by it, was a sigh.

Zhang Ying Xiong was having breakfast. He was absent-minded. The chopsticks almost poked his nose several times.

As soon as he turned his head, he saw Li Gen entering the door, and his chopsticks fell on the table. He quickly grasped them and continued to eat salted duck eggs.

Li Gen was right on the point.

Zhang Ying Xiong ate egg yolk and his voice was slurred. “When the radio rang, Sister Cui Ling was giving me a lecture.”

Li Gen asked, “Were your parents at home?”

Zhang Ying Xiong said, “My parents went to my second aunt’s house, Sister Cui Ling was teaching me a subject.”

His face changed. “Ge, how can you doubt Sister Cui Ling? She doesn’t even dare to kill a chicken! “

Li Gen said, “You know quite well.”

Zhang Ying Xiong rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that what we all know?”

He looked behind Li Gen. “Right, Dong Tian?”

Huang Dan said, “En.”

Zhang Ying Xiong took a sip of porridge, his legs shook, it was obvious that he had relaxed, “Ge, I know that you are very sad about Aunt’s accident, but you shouldn’t be rash.”

Li Gen said indifferently, “Then let’s get the people from the police station to investigate.”

Zhang Ying Xiong said, “Those people are useless. There are so few of them that they can’t even form a table to play mahjong. I heard that they still haven’t solved cases that were from ten to twenty years ago.”

Li Gen frowned.

“I think the most important thing at the moment is to let Aunt rest in peace,” Zhang Ying Xiong said.

Li Gen asked Huang Dan, “What do you think?”

Huang Dan glanced at him and then at Zhang Ying Xiong. “Aunt died unknowingly. This matter must be found out.”

Zhang Ying Xiong sighed, “That’s right, we shouldn’t let this matter pass.”

Li Gen stared with an unknown implication.

Zhang Ying Xiong seemed to have no clue. He went to the kitchen to take the porridge.

From Zhang Ying Xiong’s house, Li Gen suddenly asked, “Your mother usually comes to talk with my mother. Why didn’t she come yesterday afternoon?”

Huang Dan said, “She was cutting peppers in the yard.”

Li Gen asked again, “What about you?”

Huand Dan turned his head.

Li Gen said, “Ge isn’t doubting you.”

Huang Dan said, “I know.”

He said, “I went to see you after lunch yesterday. I went to catch loach in the field with you. After that, you told me to go back first as it was hot.”

“When I went back, my mother just brought the pepper to the yard. She didn’t ask me to help, so I went back to the house and slept. When I woke up, I went to the kitchen to boil the water.”

“How long did you sleep?” Li Gen’s footsteps paused.

Huang Dan said that he wasn’t clear on the specific time but it should be for a while.

Li Gen asked, “Your mom is still cutting the hot peppers?”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, my mother’s health isn’t good, her legs aren’t good. It’s hard for her to even walk.”

He made the response that a son should have when his mother was suspected, “I understand your feelings, but I hope you can respect my mother.”

Li Gen said heavily. “I’m sorry.”

Huang Dan said, “I’m going back.”

Li Gen kicked on the wall and breathed deeply. His eyes were filled with resentment and grief, rolling over and over.

Huang Dan didn’t go far before Li Gen had caught up with him.

“Let me see your hand. Has the swelling reduced?”

“It’s almost recovered.”

Li Gen pulled him, “Dong Tian, don’t take it to heart, Ge is very confused.”

Huang Dan said, “The truth will come to light.”

He retracted his hand. “Don’t let people see you.”

Li Gen said, “Go back. Don’t come to my house today. There are too many things going on.”

Huang Dan said he understood.

Everything slightly bigger in the village would be blown up and become known to every household, from this village to that village.

In the morning, relatives came over with meat.

Wu Cui Ling was a daughter-in-law. Whenever a relative came in, she tore apart her throat and bawled.

This was wailing at a funeral.

The relatives would also cry as it was an etiquette.

At the back, Wu Cui Ling cried until she was out of breath, and her tears did not stop. Who knew how painful she felt inside, it was very sorrowful.

Sending the relatives off at the doorstep, Wu Cui Ling’s voice had become hoarse. She put the meat in the kitchen and went to the hall with the gift money collected in the morning.

“Big Brother, there’s a total of two hundred and seventy-six yuan.”

Li Gen didn’t even take a look.

Wu Cui Ling said, “It’s too hot. Let’s send mother away tomorrow. I’ll tell the village head to find some people to carry the coffin.”

Li Gen said, “Keep the money with you first.”

Wu Cui Ling was shocked. “Let me take care of it? Big Brother, aren’t you short of money? “

Li Gen lifted his eyelids.

Wu Cui Ling hurriedly said, “I mean, this money is from mom, mom is not here anymore, it should be Big Brother who should take it.”

Li Gen got up and went out.

Wu Cui Ling put the money under the jar and had it pressed down. She was in a trance.

In the afternoon, Li Gen went to the police station.

The next day, a young man came from the police station, it was an outsider named Liu Dong Lai. He had just graduated and was assigned to come here. He was full of vigor and energy, not yet contaminated with the smell of corruption.

Liu Dong Lai took a rough look at Wang Yue Mei’s house. He didn’t find any traces of struggle or any useful clues. It was an acquaintance who had committed the crime.

He asked about it and focused on the woman in the yard. “Who is that?”

Li Gen said, “My sister-in-law.”

Liu Dong asked, “Where’s your brother?”

Li Gen said, “He died two years ago.”

Liu Dong Lai didn’t understand this situation. He just came here last month. “How did he die?”

Huang Dan who was aside lowered his eyelids. He listened to Li Gen talking about Li Da Gui’s case.

Liu Dong Lai’s expression changed, “Nonsense!”

He was pacing back and forth in the hall, angry at his colleagues’ hasty conclusion of the case. At present, he had to find out about Wang Yue Mei’s death first, “Call your sister-in-law.”

Li Gen yelled for Wu Cui Ling.

Liu Dong Lai looked her up from top to bottom. When he was close to her, the expressions on this woman were different from those on the villagers; she was afraid.

“Your husband died two years ago. Why didn’t you remarry? Why did you stay at Li family to serve your mother-in-law?”

Wu Cui Ling said, “Since I’ve married into the Li family, I am Li family’s person.”

Liu Dong Lai’s eyebrows rose, “Where were you when your mother-in-law had an accident the day before yesterday?”

Wu Cui Ling still gave the same answer. She was teaching Zhang Ying Xiong. There was evidence for her alibi.

When Liu Dong Lai came to inquire questions, Li Gen and Huang Dan didn’t make a sound. They exchanged glances and each had their own thoughts.

“Take me to your room.”

Wu Cui Ling pushed the door open.

When Liu Dong Lai went in, he found that the room was not as big as Li Gen’s, but it was kept clean.

He pointed to the red leather suitcase under the bed. “What’s in it?”

Wu Cuiling said they were some clothes.

Liu Dong Lai asked her to open it.

Wu Cui Ling’s face showed a look of panic. “There’s nothing else in it.”

This sort of behaviour clearly showed that she was guilty.

Don’t mention about Liu Dong Lai, even Huang Dan and Li Gen could tell.

The clothes in the suitcase were forcibly poured out and a bankbook dropped out. It was Wang Yue Mei’s.

Wang Yue Mei was in charge of the management of the family’s expenses. She wouldn’t have given her bankbook to others, let alone Wu Cui Ling, who was an outsider to her.

The bankbook was Wang Yue Mei’s life, unless it was robbed.

Li Gen looked at Wu Cui Ling.

Huang Dan also looked at her.

This was very strange. If Wu Cui Ling took the bankbook, why didn’t she hide it somewhere else after Wang Yue Mei had died?

If she didn’t take it, what was she panicked about?

Or was there something else in the suitcase?

If Huang Dan thought about it, so did Li Gen. This might be the only breakthrough.

So both of them didn’t say anything to declare their standing.

Wu Cui Ling kept shaking her head. She was very frightened. “I don’t know why this thing is here.”

Li Gen’s expression was ugly. “But this is your room and you said you don’t know?”

Wu Cui Ling’s body swayed. “Big Brother, you have to believe me. I didn’t steal these things.”

She wanted to grab Li Gen’s hand but was waved away.

Liu Dong Lai’s eyes swept over Wu Cui Ling and Li Gen, thinking deeply.

He went as per the procedure and took Wu Cui Ling back to make a statement.

According to reason, if you do not have any guilty conscience, it would just be a simple matter of asking some questions. At most, it would just induce a little idle gossip.

However, Wu Cui Ling’s reaction was extremely impassioned. She struggled vigorously to retreat, and seemed like with this step back, she wouldn’t be able to come back anymore.

Li Gen’s face was expressionless. “Cui Ling, what are you afraid of?”

“I… I’m not afraid… ” Wu Cui Ling said incoherently with a pale face, “It’s not me, Big Brother, it’s not me… No, I didn’t kill mother… “

Li Gen looked at her. “Then what would happen if you just go there?”

Wu Cui Ling’s whole body shook, she could not say a word as she trembled.

Chapter 21 | Chapter 23

TN: I swear the women in this novel love to subtely mock each other. haha

4 thoughts on “IHAS – 22

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