The southern winter wind is damp and cold. But winter does not linger for long. It makes its presence known and leaves like a traveller hurrying to its next destination.
A few days till the New Year. The temperature is gradually rising again. As the snow melts, the town looks clean without those greyish white patches on the ground. People are spending more time outdoors. The city seems more lively and vibrant again.
Jian Yao walks slowly. Unlike the crowd, her heart is still heavy and filled with grief.
Bo Jinyan says the killer should be captured by the police today. There are already rumours going around. People are anxious. She sees several people standing outside a shop, chatting.
”I hear he target boys.”
“What a bastard. Can the police find him?”
“Can’t allow my kids wander by themselves anymore.”…
Today, Jian Yao is visiting her stepfather. She’s about to enter the house when the phone rings.
It’s Li Xunran.
"Jian Yao! We’ve found the boy!” Li Xunran sounds tired, ”He is still alive. We are rushing him to the hospital now. But the killer escaped. We’ve sent every man we have on a city hunt.”
Jian Yao jumps onto the first available taxi. She calls Bo Jinyan.
Must be another late night. His voice sounds muffled: “Ah… I will be there immediately. Tell them not to temper with the crime scene.”
Jian Yao arrives at the farmers market. According to Li, the killer lives in an alley behind the market.
The market usually closes around noon but because of the forthcoming New Year, there are more people than usual at this time of the day. Jian Yao walks to the seafood section. Fresh fish is sold out, so there are less people in this part of the market. She stands beside the fish tanks, waiting for Bo Jinyan to arrive.
The place smells of the salty sea water and blood. She takes a look around. Jian Yao calls Li. He says he’ll be there in a few minutes.
The breakthrough was found by the community police. According to them, there is a small hardware shop next to the market. The owner’s name is Sun Yong. He fits the description of the killer’s profile. They went to his house, but no one answered the door. However, they heard some noise coming from the inside.
The police acted decisively. They broke in and saw a boy tied up in a corner. He was using his body to hit the floor to alert the police.
Li Xunran arrives at the market. The place is still packed. He works his way pass the crowd and heads towards the back entrance. From his peripheral vision, he notices a slim man of medium height, walking towards the back entrance steps. He has one hand in his pants pocket. The man seems to be very nervous. He looks at the ground most of the time, but every now and again, he looks up and checks out what’s going on.
Li’s police instinct kicks in. While his eyes are closely following every move of this suspicious looking man, he calls his mates nearby for assistance.
The young man suddenly looks back over at Li’s direction. Li Xunran pretends to examine the vegetable in front of him. But when he looks up again, the young man is no longer in sight.
Immediately, Li Xunran yells out: "Sun Yong, stop!"
As he has expected, a figure froze, which made him stand out from the crowd. Then he starts to run. Li Xunran runs after him, while yelling to the crowd: “Out of the way, police at work.”
But the place is packed, both of their paths are blocked by people at times. Sun Yong pulls out a dagger from his trouser pockets and starts waving it around. The frightened pedestrians quickly moved out of his way.
Sun Yong runs towards the side entrance, which is next to the seafood section.
Everyone has moved aside, standing at a distance observing what’s happening. None of the people dares to stop Sun Yong. He is getting closer and closer to the door. .
From the corner of his eyes, Li Xunran notices a person standing by the fish tank. That person did not move away like the rest of the crowd.
Jian Yao sees Sun Yong running towards her direction. Some people are yelling out to her: “Stand back! Stand back! The police are trying to arrest the person.” Not far behind, she sees Li Xunran trying to catch up to Sun Yong.
Jian Yao looks at Sun Yong. He is the guy described by Bo Jinyan. She suddenly remembers all the experiments she did with the blades, cutting up the corpse and the human models. This is the man. He killed and dismembered those teenagers.
“Yao yao, don’t listen to your mother. Of course policemen get tired, but we can still catch the bad guys. Daddy loves his job.”
Jian Yao looks up. Not far from the entrance comes a man in his black suit and jacket. He is wearing a hat and a mask.
But she is too busy to greet him. She picks up a wooden stick next to a pillar. The stick is usually used by the fishmonger to hit the fish unconscious. She clenches the stick, stands next to the glass tank and waits.
"Girl! What are you doing?" Concerned shoppers behind her shout out.
"She is so brave! She is going to help catch the guy.”
Jian Yao waits until Sun is coming closer. He’s almost parallel to the fish tanks. She uses all her strength to break the glass.
A loud ‘bang’.
Water came gushing out from a large tank that’s about one metre high. Broken glass, fishes, oxygen pump and lots of water rush towards Sun Yong. He uses his hand to block most of it. But the floor is very slippery. He skids and falls to the ground.
But he only stayed down for a few seconds. He struggles up again. He looks at Jian Yao angrily.
Someone takes the wooden stick from Jian Yao’s hand from behind.
She looks up to see a familiar tall figure. He walks towards Sun Yong.
The next scene took Jian Yao completely by surprise. Bo Jinyan, looking prim and proper in a suit, calmly raises the stick and hit Sun Yong in the back of the neck.
Sun Yong falls unconscious to the ground.
Bo Jinyan throws the stick to the ground. He takes out a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes his hand.
Li catches up. He crouches beside Sun Yong to briefly examine him. He looks up at Bo Jinyan: " Why did you knock him unconscious?”
Bo Jinyan: “What? Do you expect me to overpower him with my own strength and pin him to the ground like a police officer?”
Li Xunran turns around and looks at Jian Yao: "Well done!"
Bo Jinyan also turns to look at her: “Why didn’t you just hit him directly? With the speed he was going, even a gentle wave with stick is enough to knock him out.”
Jian Yao takes a glance at Bo Jinyan - She has never scolded anyone before, let alone hitting. She does not have the nerves to confront him head on.
Sun Yong is taken to the police station for interrogation. The alley near Sun Yong’s house is surrounded by police cars and police officers. Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao walks through the blockade into Sun Yong’s property.
Then Jian Yao stops: "Wait a minute."
She walks over to Li’s car and takes out a first aid kit.
There are two small pieces of broken glass stuck in her right hand. They are not serious cuts, but they’re still painful. She stands near the vehicle, pulls out the pieces of glass and coat the wound with a layer of iodine.
While she is doing this, Bo Jinyan stands waiting with his hands in his pocket.
She reaches out to him, then hands him the Band-Aid: “Help."
Bo Jinyan takes his hands out of his pockets reluctantly.
Even though he’s not the patience and caring type, his touch is soft and gentle. Facing her, he holds her wrists. Her hand is on top of his wrist. She rests her fingers on his arm. He feels the cold skin of her fingers...
“Don't tickle me." He suddenly whispers a sentence.
Jian Yao is taken by surprise:”Ah? I didn’t tickle you.”
Bo Jinyan raises his dark looks to look at her. He lets go of her hand: “Come on, let’s not waste anymore time.”
Jian Yao looks that the smooth Band-Aid on her hand.
Sun Yong's house is a single storey dwelling. The place is damp and dark, with old and outdated furnishings. The forensics team has completed what they needed to do.
Earlier, a young community police arrived on the scene and found that everything in the house is as described by Bo Jinyan - the killing machine, violent videos and books, eroded bloody blades…
They walk up to the killing machine. As Bo Jinyan has predicted, the machine is very rough compared to the one Bo Jinyan assembled. The blades,though, looks sharp and deadly.
Jian Yao is about to take some pictures with her camera. Bo Jinyan takes off his coat, and lies down beneath the blades on the killing machine.
Jian Yao: "What are you doing?"
He closes his eyes: “ To feel…”
Jian Yao is speechless. She takes a few pictures and passes the camera to Bo Jinyan.
He gets up, and smiles at her. His slender eyes shining like a star.
He reaches his arms to grab Jian Yao’s wrist. Jian Yao’s heart jumps because of this unexpected move:” What are you doing now?”
He pulls her closer towards him.
He replies with a straight voice: "Obviously I'm too big. You are about the same size as the victims. You lie down here so that I can take a look.
Jian Yao breaks away from him.
Just as she is about to protest, the young community police comes over to Bo Jinyan: “Professor, I also found some words scribbled in blood underneath the bed.”
Bo Jinyan takes a look. It looks like a set of random numbers.
Bo Jinyan asks: “Anywhere else?"
One of the police officers replies: “We will do a thorough inspection of the entire house."
Bo Jinyan nods: “Let me know once you have done the search.”
Jian Yao thinks to herself. Bo Jinyan mentioned before that Sun Yong dreams of being a killer machine. Perhaps these numbers are part of his fantasies.
Two days later.
They just received a call from the detention centre. Sun Yong developed a high fever while in custody. He died this morning. Apparently, he’s suffering for some serious illness all this time.
His sins, his fantasies, his killing machine, those mysterious figures. These are all things of the past now.
Bo Jinyan Interviews the survivor. His statement added more questions to the case. He told the police he has been begging Sun Yong not to kill him. And strangely enough, Sun Yong obliged. There was once he was put under the killing machine. Out of desperation, he told Sun Yong: “Sir, if you don’t kill me, I will take care of you like you are my father. When you die of old age, I will be your son to organise your funeral.” And it is this statement that saved him from the blades.
Everything is back to normal, but this case will leave a scar in this little town that is usually peaceful and quiet.
The case has officially closed. Jian Yao’s job as Bo Jinyan’s assistant has come to an end.