I snapped out of it, and with what I had learned from school, I immediately concluded that this was a criminal case.
And with that thought in mind, it seemed that the event wasn’t that scary.
After looking at it, I pulled aside four people – Uncle Zhang, the village chief, the Monk, and Fifth Grandpa – and told them my findings.
Both the Monk and Uncle Zhang were skeptical.
But the village chief believed me and asked me directly, “Xiao Xu, who do you think did it?”
”I don’t know, Uncle, but I saw someone’s blood under Fang’s fingernails. It’s possible that when she resisted, she scratched the person who caused it. Then that person must have a wound on his body. Since it is yesterday’s scratch, no matter how small the wound is, it will not be healed today, so–”
Not waiting for me to finish, the village chief immediately went to the front of the crowd and said sharply, “All the men, immediately take off your clothes!”
Everybody didn’t know what was going on, but a small group of people immediately took off their tops as the village chief had said.
The other half, however, were somewhat reluctant and asked successively, “What’s wrong, village chief? What’s the point of taking off our clothes?”
The village chief said with a stern face, “Cut the crap, hurry up and take it off!”
Saying that, he also unbuttoned his shirt. Even Fang’s father took off his shirt.
The rest of the group also had to do as they were told.
Sure enough, Zhang Wen Lian’s body had dozens of long bloodstained scratch marks.
The village chief went straight over and held him down.
Zhang Wen even loudly begged for mercy, while saying “not me, not me—-”
The village chief gritted his teeth and said, “You son of a bitch, I haven’t even said what’s going on and you already say it’s not you! Tell me honestly, what did you do?”
Zhang Wen Lian was shivering with fear and repeated, “I didn’t hurt Xiao Fang, I didn’t hurt Xiao Fang—”
“You son of a bitch, so you won’t confess yourself, did I say it was about Fang Fang? No wonder you were so scared yesterday!”
After saying that, the village chief had already slapped him several times in the face. Two young people brought a rope to tie him up before the village chief asked, “What did you do yesterday afternoon?”
”I-I, yesterday afternoon, le-left for the corn field to hoe, what, did not do anything-”
”Who saw it?”
”I went by myself, on my own, and no one saw me.”
”Then what about the wounds on your body?”
”I don’t know, maybe, maybe it’s the corn leave’s scraping-”
”Bullshit! You don’t know that it would hurt if you were scraped? Why did you get so many scratches? Besides, it’s so hot, who goes out to work in the middle of the day? What exactly did you do? Tell me honestly!” After saying that, he kicked Zhang Wen Lian in the stomach.
Although Zhang Wen Lian was afraid, he insisted that “Uncle, I really just went to the corn field to hoe the grass, I did not do anything, really!”
The village chief then explained to everyone, “Just now, Fifth Uncle asked Xiao Xu to check Fang Fang’s body. Xiao Xu found that Fang Fang was defiled by someone, and we almost accused the maiden for doing it!”
Everyone seemed to be relieved that as long as it’s not the maiden, it’s not that scary.
The village chief continued, “And Xiao Xu found that Fang Fang’s nails were covered in someone’s blood. Xiao Xu deduced that when someone defiled her, she might have grabbed onto that person, and the injuries from yesterday certainly cannot be healed today. That’s why I just let everyone here take off their clothes.”
At this point, everyone understood what was going on.
The village chief went over and slapped him again, “You son of a bitch, say it, what the hell did you do?”
Xiao Fang’s parents also came over and kicked Zhang Wen Lian.
Zhang Wen Lian was lying on the ground while begging for mercy, explaining, “This is really the corn field’s scraping, U-Uncle, I really left to work in the corn field!”
Third Uncle Zhang cursed, “You motherfucker! You went out to work at noon on a hot day? Who the hell saw you doing work in fields?”
But no matter how much he scolded, Zhang Wen Lian insisted that he just went to work and did not see Xiao Fang.
Although it is already the nineties, we all understand in our hearts that in our small, extremely remote village, if a person really died, as long as the village people do not say it, no one will really know about it.
“Zhang Wen Lian is a twenty-nine-year old bachelor and his parents are long gone, so he must have seen Xiao Fang alone and then got horny for a while— after the deed was done, he decided to frame the Saffron Maiden, thinking that God did not know. If not for Xiao Xu, we were really close to being cheated—”
Basically everyone agreed with this conclusion of the village head.
And in our case, the village chief is the police station chief and court president as well as the head of the prison and the judge of the king of hell.
So whether Zhang Wen Lian admits it or not has nothing to do with it!
Although I said to report to the police, our trip from out here to the nearest police station will take at least three days, and Zhang Wen Lian cannot live three days. It is really not certain–
Moreover, the vast majority of the people in the village did not want to be in contact with people from outside.
The village chief called a dozen respected people in the village to study for an hour and voted unanimously to approve a plan.
That is: kill him!
The method was also very simple for everyone. Zhang Wen Lian had the guts to frame the Saffron Maiden, then let the maiden personally clean him up. Tie him up and throw him to the Maiden Ridge.
Even if the maiden does not strangle him, he himself will be scared half to death.
But in addition to Zhang Wen Lian, I also disagreed with the village chief’s conclusion. Because this thing seems a little wrong, and Zhang Wen Lian’s behavior does not appear to be in accordance with it.
And in the afternoon, when Fang was buried, I checked the body again and on her body, I actually found a hair.
And Zhang Wen Lian and Xiao Fang, including Xiao Fang’s mother’s hair were not that long.
But it is true that Zhang Wen Lian was the only one who had wounds on his body and was unable to say where he had gone.
On the way to send Zhang Wen Lian to Maiden Ridge, he still kept pleading all the time, kept saying that he definitely did not hurt Xiao Fang and that we had wronged a good man.
But he was still left at the Ridge, leaving him to fend for himself.
On the way, the adults were praising me for my intelligence and ability, and Fang’s parents were thanking me profusely for almost letting Fang die in vain if not for me!
Also, we all narrowly accused the Saffron Maiden.
But I kept wondering about that hair. What the hell is going on?
Although I am only a student, I still firmly believe that no matter what the case is, we must be rigorous!
A good man must not be wrongly accused and must not let a bad man go!
As long as there are still doubts about the case, it must not be hastily closed.
Lying in bed, I thought carefully about the men in the village and there are only two with long hair, but on the one hand, both are old people who are not likely to do that kind of thing and yesterday, both old people were present, both took off their clothes, and both were clean and dry.
Maybe I thought too much. At night, I actually dreamed that Zhang Wen Lian dragged half of his body all the way down from the Ridge, crying and howling, crawling to my bed and sleeping beside me, looking at me–
After waking up from the nightmare, I suddenly felt that simply by the scratch marks on Zhang Wen Lian’s body, to conclude that he is the murderer, is indeed a bit far-fetched.
And the time I met the Saffron Maiden during my childhood, I was also scratched by corn leaves with dozens of scars, and human scratches seem to be about the same—
The third day, in order to thank everyone for their help, Third Uncle Zhang invited the whole village to eat together.
We still retain the old traditions here, generally whoever has something to do with the family, they will go to help out. They will also invite everyone to dinner.
The meal is said to be an invitation. Because the living conditions are not especially good, other people also bring some rice and vegetables and so on to go; the women of each family also go to help.
It’s so hot today! It’s so stuffy that people can’t breathe!
The men gathered together to curse Zhang Wen Lian, while the women washed vegetables and cooked together.
As they were chatting, Third Aunt suddenly asked, “Hey, Li Ju, why aren’t you wearing that little flowered coat? You look so good in that!”
When the Third Aunt said this, several women looked at Li Ju together.
Seeing everyone’s gaze, Li Ju looked a bit flustered and she obviously said somewhat unnaturally, “I washed it and it’s not yet dried…” After that she seemed to unconsciously glance at me.
I did not deliberately look at her, and the woman next to me, after hearing her answer, stopped asking questions and shifted the conversation to other matters of parental interest.
Li Ju was obviously relieved.
This is when I took a closer look at her on the side.
Li Ju is about thirty years old and relatively beautiful. I also have some impression that she has a small coat of flowers that is quite beautiful. Previously she would wear it whenever there was something in the village, as long as people gathered.
Even last year, there was an overcast day and the temperature was a bit low. She still endured the cold to wear it and later caught a chill from the cold, and it was also rumored for a while as a laughing matter.
But today, she is uncharacteristically not wearing it, but rather on such a hot day, wearing a thick, cloth long coat, and also with hand sleeves.
Originally, in the summer when it is hot, women are afraid to get hurt or sunburnt when working or afraid of getting dirty, and it is considered normal to wear a sleeve.
But Li Ju will not, because she is afraid that others cannot see her white–
Moreover, I noticed that her hair was very long!