Chapter One

Translated by: Claire Li

'Hello, is that police ? There, there's a wh.. white thing.. someone murdered, in.. in the water hole outside the district hospital.'

'Who is it, please? Who is this?'

'You... you guys come here as soon as possible.'

'Calling number 6, number 6. This is 5. Please answer.'

'5, this is 6 receiving. Go ahead.'

'Hurry to the hospital. Got it? Go to the hospital now.'

'Got it.'

Jiang Shuiqing and Sun Mei were in the first car out of the station yard. After they arrived at the hospital, the rest of the investigation team arrived and one by one took up their roles. One of them told Jiang and Sun all that was known about the case: shortly before 10 pm a man had been walking past the district hospital water hole when he noticed someone push something white into it and run away. The man had gone closer to look: the thing in the water seemed to be a body..

The crime scene was a big water hole outside the back wall of the district hospital. To be more exact, it was the hospital rubbish tip, with a diameter of 60 to 70 meters. Years ago soil had been excavated from the site for construction of the hospital, and after the building was finished, the pit was left unfilled. The rains and polluted water from the hospital made it a dead stagnant pond. In winter it was a slab of dirty ice, and in summer it stunk. As currently it was the end of Summer,it was pretty stinky near the pit.

On the west side of the pit was a path with a North-South orientation. It ran between the hospital to the North, and the hospital's western residential district to the South.

From the account of the person who made the phone report, Captain Wang Jing immediately ascertained that the man had been a witness to the murder, and had actually seen the whole thing take place. It had only taken him four to five minutes to hurry home and one to two minutes to call police. According to this analysis, no more than around eight minutes could have elapsed since the criminal fled the crime scene. They should seize the opportunity and try to seal it off immediately. Wang ordered the on-duty staff to tell the bureau to notify all police at once to block all the roads and be vigilent in order to keep the criminal from leaving the Yuanshan area.

By the time Wang Jing and the team hurried to the pit, the cadres from the security section of the hospital already had electric wires installed as Wang Jing had asked. Vice manager Meng and a doctor who was on duty were present too. An electrician was hastily rigging up some lighting.

Although the moon was bright, it was still nighttime. A few floodlights illuminated the pit and the body dressed in white floating on the stinky water. After the technician had quickly taken a few pictures, two policemen removed their trousers and waded into the pit to drag the corpse to the edge. People on the bank and in the pit worked together to get it out of the water. When the security section cadre saw the face of the body dressed in white he couldn't help letting out a gasp: ' Isn't that doctor Yao Ping from our high pressure oxygen room?'

Vice manager Meng and the doctor also said, 'This person is from our hospital, but we can't think of her name. The cadre said, 'I'm sure, it's Yao Ping from the high pressure oxygen room. How could it be her though? She always seemed so normal!' The team member Wei An pressed his ear to her chest for several seconds. It seemed like he wasn't reconciled to her fate, and he put his hands in her mouth. The doctor saw Wei An's intention; he squatted on his heels and and pressed on Yao Ping's chest, coordinating with Wei An's attempts at artificial respiration.

Although Yao Ping was already dead, Wei An and the doctor still gave it a final effort. Meanwhile, Wei An did a preliminary check on her body under the bright light. He asked the cadre how old Yao Ping was. He said she was around 26 or 27, graduated from medical school and unmarried.

Yao Ping's body was skinny. She was 157 cm tall, dressed in a doctorís white gown with a moonlight-colored blouse underneath and a white bra inside. She wore a plain checked skirt and yellow panties. She was at her time of the month, as a sanitary napkin was sticking to the inside of her panties. Her skin was without any damage except for a clear mark that encircled her neck.

Wang Jing said to hospital Deputy Hospital Director Meng who was standing by and watching:, 'Deputy Director Meng, please get a few people to carry her to the hospital, the body needs dissecting. Before you cut her up, make sure to get someone from the hospital to do a formal identification. We'd better make sure it is her. Deputy Director Meng hurried off to organise this.

Wang Jing and team members found the place where Yao Ping had entered the water on the north side of the pool. A rubber-soled white canvas women's shoe was deeply sunk in the mud, where a number of footprints were evident. This shoe must have belonged to the dead woman, since she had the same one on her left foot. A different type of footprint discernable in that spot was also flat-soled, the same as the white canvas one, and was the same size of 23 cm. However, it was not rubber soled but more like hard or foamed plastics. According to the print the sole of the foot had a mesh pattern and didn't have much wear. The technicians mixed up some plaster and prepared to take a cast.

Wang Jingís attention was attracted by a stone about one meter away. He walked around the stone several times. The stone must have weighted more than 10 kgs, and was smooth and round. Wang Jing did a circuit of the pond, apparently looking for something, before returning to the stone and carefully lifting it, using gloved hands. He had a look under the stone, and then asked the technician to come over. After the technician had taken some pictures they carefully moved the stone away: under the stone was a ball of black electricity wire..

Meanwhile,Yang Li was questioning the witness, a man in his 40s. He pointed to the path and said: 'A friend called me at 9:20 and said they were one person short for Mah Jong, and I was in a restless mood so I came this way. Usually people from round here don't walk on this path, especially at night. For one reason, it stinks; and for another, we don't want to violate a taboo. The hospital throws everything here, even dead aborted babies have been thrown in. Thatís why weíd rather take the long way round.

was eager to play, and my friend was waiting, so I wanted to get there as soon as possible. I'd just got to the edge of the pit when saw I glimpsed something white rolling into the water on the far side. After the splash, a person stood up, turned around and ran off towards the hospital buildings to the north. That person was not tall, but I couldn't say the color of the clothes: it was either black or blue, or grey, anyway it was a dark color. The head was white. The way that person ran was like a woman. It must have been a woman. The way women run is different from menís even though I canít say exactly how they are different. They just are.

'At first I thought, surely this isn't the hospital throwing away dead babies again. But after a moment I thought, it couldn't be that.. The hospital usually does that during the daytime, and it was 10 pm. Also why did that person have to run away? I mustered up my courage and walked round to the other side of the pit. It was bright on the water, so I realised that the white shape floating in the pit was a person. My scalp was tingling, and I dared not get closer. I didn't feel like playing Mah Jong and I hurried home to call the police.'