Chapter 1: Rainy night ghost

The rain outside the window kept falling.
Wang Mei held a flashlight and pushed open the door of the private room to do the routine night inspection.
The hotel where she worked was located near a remote national highway, and it had a very bold name called “Shengshi Hotel1“.
In the five-story building, the first and second floors were used as restaurants, and the third to fifth floors were accommodation rooms.
The neon lights on the roof of the hotel were always on all night, and it was the most “high-end” hotel in this area.

After the inspection of private room 201 was over, Wang Mei withdrew and closed the door.
But just as she looked up, her whole body trembled, and all the fine hair stood on end.

At the end of the long and quiet corridor, there stood an old man in a Chinese tunic suit.
He was short and thin, and above him was a sensor light.
In order to save electricity, the lights used here were of the minimum wattage.
Under the dim yellow light, the old man’s face was not clear.

But Wang Mei knew that his expression must be ferocious.
His eyebrows were raised and his face was straight, just like what many colleagues on the night shift had described before.
His cloudy eyes were shining, as if he was looking at some target.

There have been rumors of ghosts in the Shengshi Hotel for more than half a month.
At twelve o’clock in the middle of the night, when the yin energy was at its peak, an old man in a Chinese tunic suit quietly appeared in the corridor and disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Several of her colleagues had seen it with their own eyes and were frightened.
Two of the waitresses even resigned voluntarily, not daring to continue working here.

Wang Mei froze in place.
Her hands and feet were cold, her palms were sweaty, and the flashlight in her hand fell to the ground.
All the sensor lights turned off one by one, and the corridor was instantly enveloped in darkness.
She let out a shrill cry, which turned on the sensor lights in the entire corridor, but there was no one at the end of the corridor except for her.

Hearing the screams, the security guard ran up.
Wang Mei trembled all over and grabbed his arm tightly, so frightened that she couldn’t stand still.

“There is a ghost, there is a ghost! It’s that old man!”


He Wei was driving a car and saw the red and blue police lights and ambulance lights flashing alternately a few meters away.
It was raining and the vision was poor.
The windshield wipers had just wiped off the windshield, and another layer of rainwater rushed up, forming wavy water patterns, and the lights in the distance also swayed into double shadows.

He parked the car in front of the gate of the Shengshi Hotel and got out of the car with an umbrella.
The scene had been cordoned off, and a dozen or so passers-by stretched their necks to look into the courtyard gate, and some even came wearing pajamas to join in the fun.
This should be the time when everyone was sleeping soundly in the dead of night, but the lights in every house around were lit.
It was obvious that they couldn’t fall asleep because of this murder case.

Holding an umbrella in one hand, He Wei took out his police ID card from his pocket, walked over from the side of the crowd, raised the cordon, and stooped to enter the courtyard gate.
Just as a local police officer was about to speak, he raised his hand, revealing his ID card——

He Wei, head of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Shengzhou Public Security Bureau.

The police officer opened his mouth and hurriedly saluted, watching the young man enter the murder scene.

The rainproof shelter had been set up in the courtyard, and the officers on the site were now collecting evidence.
Zheng Youqing, wearing a mask and holding a camera, took pictures of the shoe prints in the mud.
When he saw He Wei, he raised his eyebrows and said, “Captain He, you are here.” 

He Wei nodded, looked left and right, and asked: “Where is the corpse?”

Zheng Youqing pointed to the five-story building behind him: “It’s at the back; you have to turn around.
Captain He, do you like Sichuan cuisine?” 

“It’s alright.” As He Wei replied, he had already put away his umbrella and put on the transparent raincoat and plastic gloves handed over by his colleagues.
Zheng Youqing stuck out his tongue: “That’s good, Sister Lan said there was mapo tofu, Brother Chong had supper before coming, and he almost spit it out.

The corners of He Wei’s lips were curved, and he walked over while wearing a mask.
The moment he went around the corner, he saw Xia Liang in the group wiping the corner of his mouth while holding the wall.
He raised his head and met He Wei’s eyes, complaining with a distorted face: “Sister Lan told me that the scene wasn’t ugly.
That’s called not ugly? Some parts have to be brought back with a shovel.” 

He Wei raised his head to measure the height of the floor, and then he glanced at the flower bed not far behind him.
It was very likely that the ground was red and white.
According to the part of the bodies that hit the ground and the geographical location where they landed, different people who fell from the building have different situations.
Some might fall from more than a dozen floors and only break their limbs, whereas others might be unable to be rescued after only a few meters.
According to the reactions of Zheng Youqing and Xia Liang, the deceased who fell from the building tonight must have died on the spot, and the ambulance was superfluous.

“Generally, the high-falling victims have minor external injuries and severe internal injuries, which is really not that ugly.
You have been going on the sites for three months; why haven’t you adapted yet? If you can’t bear it, you can think of something else to divert your attention,” He Wei patted his face, “Such as strawberry yogurt.”

Xia Liang’s expression changed, and his stomach, which had just been emptied, began to convulse again.
He Wei asked him to rest for a while and drink a glass of water while he walked to the flower bed by himself.

The scene at the flower bed was not so tragic.
All he saw was a pool of blood and a corpse covered with white cloth.
“Mapo Tofu” and “Strawberry Yogurt” were spread on the stone steps of the flower bed, which was flown to the ground along the colored bricks.
The constant washing of the blood diluted the bloody smell a lot, and it didn’t look too disturbing.

“You missed the most exciting part; do you regret not staying in the bureau and going home tonight?” Du Ruanlan stood aside, took off the blood-stained gloves, and handed them to assistant Luo Ying, saying, “It’s okay.
Go back to the bureau; I’ll call you during the autopsy.”

“Fortunately, I don’t have the hobby of admiring corpses like you, but I can still seamlessly encounter cases on the way back home.” He Wei squatted down, lifted the white cloth, and took a look, asking, “What’s the situation?”

“The deceased was a male, 175 cm tall, and weighed about 65kg.
He fell from the building and died at 12:20.
The skull was deformed, and there were two lacerations on the occiput.
The brain tissue overflowed; there was a small amount of bleeding from the mouth, nose, and external auditory canal.
There is a contusion and laceration on the right elbow and exposed bone, which is consistent with the characteristics of a high fall injury.
All the details will not be known until the autopsy after returning to the bureau.”

“This building was five stories high, about 13 to 15 meters.
The distance between the landing point and the building is about one meter, and he landed on the flower bed, so there should be some external force.” He Wei picked up the corpse’s shirt with his gloved hand, saying, “The tear marks on the clothes don’t look like they were caused by the pressure of the high fall.”

“Yes, to be able to cause damage to this extent, it must be at least the twentieth floor or above.” Du Ruanlan pointed to the roof, saying, “Chongzhen and Hu Songkai are on it, they should be able to find clues.” 

“Were there any witnesses at the scene?” He Wei covered the white cloth again, and Du Ruanlan took off the mask, revealing her beautiful face, and smiled: “Yes, this is the main reason I called you.
You know what she said?”


“She said…” Du Ruanlan smiled even more, “It was a ghost.”

The atmosphere at the scene suddenly became strange as the chilling night wind blew.
He Wei frowned, feeling that this case of falling from a building wouldn’t be simple.


“It’s true! There really is a ghost!”

Wang Mei was trembling with a water glass in her hand, sitting on a wooden chair in the lobby on the first floor of the hotel.
Yun Xiaoxiao comforted her while taking the statement: “Repeat the specific situation at the time of the incident.”

He Wei walked into the hotel lobby and saw the witness shaking like a sieve, describing the scene of the crime:

“I was supposed to be on the night shift today, but I ran into a ghost while checking the private room and was too scared that I couldn’t make it through 12 o’clock.
So, I asked for leave with the manager and wanted to go back early.
But as soon as I walked to the back door of the compound, I heard a loud bang behind me.
I turned around and saw a person falling on the flower bed.
I walked over to have a look.
It was the manager… His head was bleeding a lot, a white substance was flowing down the flower bed’s edge, and his eyes rolled a few times…” 

She closed her eyes suddenly, obviously recalling the terrifying image of the brain shattering.
Yun Xiaoxiao caressed her back.
Wang Mei took a sip from the water glass and continued: “Then I looked up, and there was an old man standing on the roof! It was the ghost I met at night.
He must have killed the manager.
This hotel is not clean.
There is really a ghost here! I’m quitting; I want to go home!”

She became agitated and stood up to rush out.
Yun Xiaoxiao and another policewoman hurriedly grabbed her and appeased her softly, and then took her to the private room to rest.
He Wei called Yun Xiaoxiao over: “Are all the statements recorded?”

“Yes, they all said it was a ghost.” Yun Xiaoxiao pointed to two other hotel employees who had panicked expressions in the lobby: “According to them, most of the staff in the hotel have seen the old man with their own eyes, and just now the security guard was out of his mind, saying that it was raining and the gate of hell was not closed properly, so the old man took the manager on the way.”

 “On the way?” Xia Liang opened her eyes wide, feeling speechless, “It was a human life; and on the way? Is it grocery shopping?” 

“How can there be so many supernatural events, and didn’t you study science?” He Wei ordered, “Xiaoxiao, record all the features of the ‘ghost,” as they said, and ask for more details.”

Yun Xiaoxiao agreed, and He Wei and Xia Liang found the stairs.
There was no elevator in this building.
The floor structure was simple, with only one staircase leading to the upper floor.
He Wei raised his head, noticed the camera, and turned his head, saying, “Xiao Xia, go to the security guard to check the surveillance and see who has been up there during the time of the incident.”

He climbed up to the fifth floor alone and pushed open the door leading to the rooftop, which was also covered by a rain shelter.
Two of his colleagues were carefully collecting all suspicious traces.
Chong Zhen pressed Hu Songkai and simulated the scene of the deceased falling from the building at the railing.

“Look, we are fighting hand to hand, and I will press you against the railing,” Chong Zhen held Hu Songkai’s collar and let his back stick against the railing, “Look around; move left and right.” 

“Handle the case; why’re you saying words like this? If that scratch came from this way, what about the fingerprints on the railing?” Hu Songkai grabbed the rusty railing behind him with both hands, “The fingerprints of the index finger and middle finger are at the bottom of the railing, and the lines go inward.
It is a pronated grip.
Even if it is held with the backhand, the position of the fingerprints will be different.”

Hu Songkai pushed Chong Zhen, and the two changed their positions so that Chong Zhen was facing the railing and Hu Songkai’s hands were pushing him on his back: “He should be facing the railing like this.
The deceased was looking down, leaving fingerprints in his pronated grip, and then someone pushed him from behind.
Don’t you think it makes sense.” 

“It seems, since there is still a half-shoe print on the step, and with your inference, this posture should be like jumping over the railing?” Chong Zhen turned his head, saw He Wei, and waved at him, “Old He, come and judge! Erhu suspects that the deceased went down the railing!” 

“…Did I say jump over the railing?! I made a preliminary judgment based on the traces of the landing spot!” 

“Don’t ask me to judge; I don’t want to join the debate between you two.” He Wei took a small flashlight and turned it on, “Have you seen everything on the scene?”

Chong Zhen said: “Look at the roof; there is no obstruction except for the stairwell and the ventilation ducts above.
If you look to the end, you have already seen everything at a glance without missing any corner.” 

He Wei held the flashlight and went to check the jumping spot, which was surrounded by a yellow mark.
He saw a scratch about ten centimeters long on the rusty railing and half a blurry mud shoe print on the steps.
He squatted down and saw a group of fingerprints that had been marked by the technical team.
The roof was a concrete floor, and it was raining again.
There was only a half-shoe print left on the ground, which was from stepping on the dirt accumulated at the base of the wall.

“The door lock was intact, and there were traces of struggle at the jumping spot, but no one was injured, and no blood residue was detected.” Hu Songkai waved, and Xiao Chen from the technical team handed over a ziplock bag, “Looking for half a day, the only valuable thing we found is this button with half a fingerprint on it.”

He Wei took it over and took a look: “The shirt worn by the deceased has white buttons, and the trousers have black buttons; this one is navy blue, and there is a thread on it, which may have been torn off during the fight with the murderer,” he glanced up at the roof, pointing to a hemp rope tied across the roof to two thin bamboo poles, “and it is also possible that it was accidentally dropped while drying clothes.
First take it back to the bureau to compare fingerprints.

He stood by the railing and looked down.
There happened to be no obstruction on this side of the wall, and the deceased fell smoothly to the ground.
The rainproof shed hadn’t been removed yet, and only a part of the flower bed could be seen.
He Wei lamented that as long as a person fell a little further and landed on the flower bed, he might be able to save his life.

At this time, Xia Liang’s voice came from the walkie-talkie: “Captain He, come down and have a look; maybe there really is a ghost!”

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