“Sit tight.” says Ouyang Lin as his foot slams on the accelerator.
Because they are travelling in a high speed, the car swings to one side as they are turning the corner. Bo Jinyan puts his arm around Jian Yao’s waist so she can be more steady. They manage to catch up to the black Porsche. They are just behind him.
“Oh no!” says one of the officer that has joined them in their car: “It’s the Sai Kung night markets ahead.”
They have left the highway. They are now driving on a road with more traffic. There’s also pedestrians walking along either side of the road. Soon they lose track of the black Porsche.
Obviously, he has his escape route planned.
“I have asked for road blocks to be set on the fifteen exits that the road might lead to.” Anam says as he quickly types on his laptop.
“That’s of no use.” says Bo Jinyan: “He will abandon his car and walk. Have your people guard the entrances to the night market.”
Ouyang Lin nods. They are so close to catching him. They can’t let him sneak into the night market. It will be very hard to find him amongst the massive crowd.”
They are now in an area full of people and cars. Ouyang Lin has to reduce the speed of the car. He takes out his phone and calls the other officers: ”Get a team over here and guard the west end of the market entrance…”
“Boss!” says the officer on the other side: “We have an emergency situation here. There is a bomb.”
Everyone looks ahead to the end of the street. A wave of people are suddenly rushing down towards them. Suddenly, the place is in chaos. There are people everywhere.
It’s too late. He has caused chaos.
“What’s happening?” Ouyang Lin asks the officer over the phone: “Have you notified the bomb squad yet?”
The officer replies: “Yes, we have. They should arrive in 5 mins. There’s a man strapped with a bomb in his body. He is lying in the middle of the road. We are evacuating the people and residents in the area.”
Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao are holding each other’s hand tightly. Bo Jinyan is scanning through the crowd. Jian Yao knows he is trying to find No.1.
“I just received the news that the family has been rescued from the villa.” says Anam: “They have injuries on their bodies, but none of them are fatal.”
Jian Yao is relieved.
Then she pauses. If the whole family is rescued, then who is the ‘human’ bomb lying on the ground?
She starts walking towards the site, Her palms are sweating. By now, the crowd has dispersed. Her eyes are blocked by the police cars and officers that surround the street.
A man is lying on the ground, motionless.
There are wounds on his body. He is only wearing a dirty singlet, and a pair of torn trousers. His hair looks like it hasn’t been cut for a month. It’s covering half his face.
“Is that him?” Bo Jinyan asks.
Jian Yao feels like there is a lump in her throat. She answers: “It’s too far away. I can’t tell. But from the shape of the body…. yes.”
It’s him. Something in her heart tells her.
An officer next to them passes her a pair of binoculars. She puts it to her face and looks.
His wounds look worse in close up view. A familiar and handsome face that has obviously lost a lot of weight…
Jian Yao puts her hand over her mouth. Her vision blurs as tears fill her eyes.
“He is still breathing.” says Bo Jinyan. He holds her hand tightly.
The bomb squad is here. Two experts wearing protective gear walks towards Li Xunran. When they are close enough, they examine the bomb, then they leave him and get back behind the safety line.
Jian Yao’s heart starts to sink.
One of the expert takes off his helmet. He shakes his head and says to Ouyang Lin: “We can’t dismantle it in time. The set up is complicated, we will need at least an hour. But there’s only 5 minutes left on the timer. Unless the person who assembled it stops it by remote control, we can’t save him.”
Time passes slowly. Even though it’s only a minute, it’s like they have gone through a few incarnation and live several lives already.
Great sadness overwhelms Jian Yao. She stands there looking at Li Xunran. Her face is pale as a sheet of paper.
“Sorry, we can’t save him.” He quietly tells Bo Jinyan. Ouyang Lin has been informed of Li Xunran’s identity.
“Anam, get ‘his’ phone number from the family that’s just been rescued.” Bo Jinyan says.
Jian Yao and the others turn to him. They watch as Bo Jinyan reaches to his jacket pocket and takes out his phone.
He wants to speak with ‘him’?
Jian Yao looks up at him. Is ‘he’ going to answer the call?
Even at this critical moment, Bo Jinyan looks calm and fully in control.
The phone rings - Do…Do… Do… He manages to get through. Anam quickly connects his phone to his laptop. He is trying to trace the location of the phone. He gives Jian Yao a pair of headphones so she can listen to the conversation. Ouyong Lin looks at his watch. He signals to Bo Jinyan - We have 4 minutes before the bomb will explode.
Everyone is holding their breath.
After about five rings, there’s a click sound. Then a background noise of traffic and people talking in the street.
“Hi.” says Bo Jinyan
The other end is silent for a moment before he also says Hi.
“Have you managed to escape yet?”
Like he is talking to an old friend.
The man on the other end of the phone laughs: “Oh…. almost.”
Everyone is tensed up. Ouyang Lin looks at his watch: 3 minutes and 30 seconds. He looks at Anam. Anam is looking at his computer screen. But he doesn’t look very happy. Obviously, he is encountering difficulty with tracing the location of the call.
“Let’s trade. I have something for you in exchange for Li Xunran’s life.” He says slowly, like he is chatting to a friend.
Everyone is amazed. What does he have to trade?
On the other end of the phone, ‘he’ is curious as well: “Oh… tell me…”
The area surrounding Li Xunran is empty and quiet. The officers standing at a distance is waiting for the final outcome. Is a miracle going to happen?
Hundreds of metres away, there is a huge crowd standing in the streets. Some of them are quickly leaving the area. Some of them are standing around to find out what’s going on. A lot of them are on phone, updating their friends of the events happening. A tall man wearing a trench coat is also holding his phone. He walks towards a quiet lane in the side street.
Some policeman is holding a sketch of ‘him’ based on the descriptions of the rescued family. They are scanning through the crowd to see if they can locate him by any chance.
“He” walks into another side street so that he is away from the officers with the sketches. Then he says to Bo Jinyan: “Just wait a second. I have to take another call.” ‘He’ looks around and makes sure he is alone. Then he tears off two fake thick eyebrows, a fake beard and a silicon patch on top of his nose. Suddenly he looks like a different man.
He shoved those brows etc into his pocket. He then picks up the phone again. He leisurely walks past the police officers, and talks to Bo Jinyan at the same time: “My apologies. You may continue now.”
As he walks past the officers, they took a look at him, looked at the sketch again, and let him pass.
Ouyang Lin signals Bo Jinyan again. 2 minutes and 50 seconds left.
Bo Jinyan sweeps him a look. He says faintly: “Tomorrow, every newspaper will reveal that a budding writer named Mei Yuanjun is a psychopathic killer.”
‘He’ smiles: “That’s great.”
Bo Jinyan continues: “Human beings are curious. You will become their favourite topic of conversation. Everyone will read your book. You didn’t gain the favour of the judges from the Galaxy writers competition. But it doesn’t matter anymore. The public can make up their own mind about you. They will find that you are a gifted and talented writer. That’s always been part of your aim. You’ve succeeded. Congratulations.”
Everyone is confused. What does this have to do with bargaining with ‘him’?
But ‘he’ continues to chat leisurely to Bo Jinyan: “Are you trying to suck up to me?”
Bo Jinyan smiles: “No. I am threatening you.”
Everyone is stunned. Then they hear Bo Jinyan continues: “Our game is fair. I won’t interfere with the attention you will get from the media. But if Li Xunran blows up before me, then I have to change the rules of the game.
I am sure the media is interested in hearing your hidden and secret stories from a world renowned criminal psychologist.”
For the first time, ‘he’ is quiet. They can only hear his breathing from the other end of the phone. Slow, calm and deep.
There’s not much time left. Bo Jinyan continues: “For example, how you were abandoned by your mother when you were young. But when you became an adult, you physically abused and killed her to vent your anger. And of course, I cannot leave out the fact that during your teenage years, you had an incest relationship with your aunt over a long period of time.
I don’t mind telling them that you have had sex with both men and women of different age group and ethnicity, as well as with animals. This is perhaps more than what they can bear.
But they will be most disappointed to find out that you dropped out from university, A budding talented writer who didn’t even finish his studies…. If these things are made known, what do you think the public’s reactions will be?
Oh, I know. Human beings are curious. But there is a line of morality that you can’t go past. Once you have past that line, you are no longer a legend. You are a disgusting piece of garbage. People will only think of all the awful and dirty acts of yours whenever they see the name Mei Yuanjun. No one will remember you for your writing talents. Is that the legacy you are after?”
Ouyang Lin signals Bo Jinyan again. 60 seconds left.
‘He’ speaks again, with an icy smile: “What a pathetic threat.”
Bo Jinyan cuts him off: “Oh yeah, you wanna bet?”
Bo Jinyan starts to walk towards Li Xunran. Jian Yao rushes out after him. He turns around and says to her: “Don’t worry. Go back.” Then he turns to Ouyang Lin and says: “Take her back.”
Ouyang Lin is stunned too. He pulls her back and hands her to another officer. Then he steps forward and says to Bo Jinyan: “Don’t go over, the bomb will get you too.”
Bo Jinyan signals him to go back. Ouyang Lin pauses for a while. Then he stands back. He calls the bomb squad team. One of them rushes forward to put a protective top and helmet on Bo Jinyan. He doesn’t even look at him. He just asks him to leave. Then he stands next to Li Xunran.
Jian Yao is held back by a few officers. Her heart is pounding hard. She is breathing very heavily. Tears start to run down her cheeks.
She knows what he is doing. She knows he will win. But she can’t bear the sight of him risking himself in such dangerous circumstances.
She hears through the headphones. “He’ is speaking again: “Do you want to die with that police?”
Jian Yao takes the binoculars. She can see Bo Jinyan bending down and placing his mobile phone on top of the timer of the bomb. “Click… Click… Click…” They can all hear it. ‘He’ can hear it.
Bo Jinyan gives a small laugh and says to ‘him’: “I am right next to the bomb. I won’t die. I know it. You are not going to blow the bomb up. Because I understand you. ‘Mei Yuanjun’ is an important identity for you, you treasure it like you treasure your life. Also, I think I understand you more than you think… Oh… You have 10 seconds to consider. Good bye,”
“Click…” Bo Jinyan hang up on ‘him’!
The officers there are dumbfounded. They can’t believe what’s happened. Jian Yao is shaking. She has a smile on her face, but her tears are still streaming down.
Only Bo Jinyan remains calm. He stands besides Li Xunan, looking at them.
Ouyang Lin’s face is pale. He is counting: “8 , 7, 6, 5, ….”
Jian Yao holds her breath. She fixes her eyes on Bo Jinyan.
“3, 2, 1!”
Bo Jinyan curls his lips to form a smile.
Suddenly there’s applauses from the officers.
The bomb didn’t go off.
Everyone looks excited. The bomb squad hurries to Li Xunran again. Jian Yao runs towards Bo Jinyan and throws herself into his arms. Bo Jinyan holds her tightly. She is back to his warm and familiar embrace. She hears his strong and steady heartbeat. Her heart seems to melt into one with his.
One hour later.
Bo Jinyan is holding hands with Jian Yao. They are standing next to the ambulance. Li Xunran is still unconscious. He is put on a stretcher.
“He is very weak, but his vital signs look good. We will need to do further examinations when we get to the hospital to be certain.” says the medic.
Jian Yao nods and watches the ambulance drives off.
The surrounding roads are still blocked off. The police are still busy screening people. Even though he managed to escape tonight, at least they have rescued the family and Li Xunran. It’s a huge breakthrough. And they have a lot more information about him. It shouldn’t be long till they capture him.
It’s late at night. One of the officers drive Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao back to the hotel.
The two of them are sitting at the backseat. Jian Yao looks at him. A burst of unspeakable bitterness fills her. Everyone thought Bo Jinyan was using the pressure of the media to ‘trade’ with ‘him’. And that Bo Jinyan is so brave to stand with Li Xunran.
But she understands why Bo Jinyan did that. He used himself to trade with ‘him’. ‘He’ wanted Bo Jinyan as his partner, so he won’t blow Bo Jinyan up. The only way Bo Jinyan could be sure that he would win is to put his own life on the gambling table too.
But why? Even she knows that in her head, her heart still feels so painful?
In another corner of this city.
A black Cadillac is waiting at the roadside.
After a long wait, a man in uniform gets out of the crowd and gets into this car.
“Drive.” He leans back, loosens his tie. He sounds tired.
“Yes, sir.” The driver answers.
The car leaves the busy town area and drives to a villa in the country side. This is one of the most affluent areas of Hong Kong, where all the rich people reside.
The security guard opens the door of the car and greets the man: “Sir, welcome back.”
He walks in slowly.
He is sitting on an expensive and extravagant sofa. He opens a bottle of red wine and pours himself a glass. On the TV, it’s showing the news of the serial killer. They are showing images of officers at the night market.
The man kept smiling until the image of Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao appears on TV. Then his smile disappears. He throws his glass on the ground and walks leisurely down the corridor. He opens the thick metal doors of the last room. It’s a secret chamber. He whistles as he walks in.
It’s dim place. A man is chained in his hands and feet. He is swatting on the floor. His handsome eyes look empty and unfocused. When the prisoner saw the man come on, he tenses up.
After a while.
The edge of the knife is pushed into the prisoner’s flesh. He yells in pain. But all the sound is well contained within those specially sound proofed walls.
The man who is torturing is excited by his prisoner’s response. He continues to cut him with the knife.
“I… thought.. we are friends…” his prisoner begs him: “Please let me go. I’ll give you anything.”
The man suddenly freezes his smile. He lifts his knife and chop off one of his prisoner’s fingers.
The prisoner screams painfully.
The man throws the knife aside. He looks at his prisoner and says slowly: “Do not be mistaken. I only have one friend.” Then he lifts up his head and mutters to himself: “But he won’t come to me right now.”
Then he smiles: “But soon. When I destroy him, he will belong to me.”