Li Yawen finally began to describe what happened that day: “It was probably around 8 o’clock in the evening. I had just finished cleaning the kitchen and my ex-husband was watching TV when suddenly three people entered our home. My ex-husband was the first to react, but they had weapons in their hands, and they quickly subdued us.”
Lu Junchi produced three simulated portraits of the suspects, which were drawn based on the surveillance video retrieved earlier. “Do these portraits resemble those people?” he asked.
After identifying them, Li Yawen nodded in confirmation. “They look very similar.”
Lu Junchi continued, “What was their specific method of operation?”
Liyawen recalled, “They had sprays, batons, and knives. When I came out of the kitchen, my ex-husband was already lying on the ground.”
This was consistent with the traces found by the police when they examined the scene. Many people had the illusion that they would shout for help and fight back at the first opportunity when facing several intruders suddenly rushing into their home, but in reality, ordinary people may lose their ability to resist in an instant.
“As for those three people, as I described before, there was a man, a woman, and a teenager,” Li Yawen continued. “At that time, we were both subdued, and they tied our hands and feet with ropes.”
She spoke up to this point, and her eyes changed subtly, as if she had fallen into a memory. “That man asked us a question: If one of you had to die, who would you want it to be?”
Hearing this, Lu Junchi glanced back at Su Hui, who had already put down the milk and was holding his chin with his hand, listening intently.
The story took a strange turn and began to get to the point. Those robbers were indeed different from ordinary criminals.
And this question obviously had a hidden meaning.
“At the time, I said, if one of us had to die, then kill me. My ex-husband said the same thing. Then we were locked in different rooms. I faced that man, and the woman faced my ex-husband. And that boy was always paying attention to the movement outside in the living room.”
Li Yawen paused for a moment and took a sip of water before continuing, “I really spoke with the determination to die. At that time, I sincerely believed that my ex-husband would also stand up for me and protect me, protect this family. But facts proved that I had thought too simply about this game.”
As Li Yawen spoke, she rolled up her sleeves, revealing a scar on her arm.
“The thing is, depending on how you choose, the robbers will stab you with a knife. If you choose to bear it alone, then you will be stabbed. If you choose to let the other person bear it, then they will be stabbed.”
Lu Junchi looked at her scar. Her forearm was pierced directly. This wound wouldn’t be fatal, but it would be extremely painful.
“After the first stab, I was in so much pain that I was almost driven crazy. I hesitated about my decision. Did I really want to die for this family and for that man? One thought kept running through my head: If someone had a chance to survive, why wasn’t it me?” Li Yawen said, her fingers trembling. “And this was just the beginning of that night.”
“Next, he asked for our phone and computer passwords and began to look through our phones and chat apps. The robbers occasionally communicated with each other about their discoveries, and they weren’t in a hurry. They looked at our blood flowing out and seemed very happy.”
“That man showed me my husband’s phone, and there were some hurtful words on it. For example, when my husband was overseas, he bought cosmetics for another woman. He went for foot massages with other male colleagues.When faced with his mother’s complaints about me, he kept saying it was my fault.”
People use phones and chat software for daily communication. In families like theirs, phones were used for at least a few years, and they contained countless secrets. Those people revealed those secrets to their loved ones.
“There were many things that others might think were trivial, but it was those small things that crushed us… The most hurtful thing to me was the timeline.”
“They sorted out our chat timeline and showed it to us. I didn’t expect that the phone would record all of this. One day, I burnt my hand while cooking, and it was quite serious. I called him and asked if he could come back to accompany me to the hospital, but he hung up and sent a message saying he was in a meeting. He said he felt sorry for me but couldn’t leave, and told me to go to the hospital to bandage my hand. At the same time, he was in a group chat with his buddies, admiring his new wife for being virtuous and beautiful, joking around with pictures of pretty girls in the chat, and saying that I was old-fashioned and couldn’t dress up, always clumsy.”
Li Yawen adjusted her hair and said, “You’ll know, oh, he really thought of me this way in his heart. He didn’t care at all whether I was hurt or not. At that moment, he genuinely felt that I was a troublemaker and found me annoying.”
“There’s also his female apprentice at work. I only saw her once, a young girl who had just graduated. He used to behave candidly in front of me, but he had very flirtatious chats with her. One night, I saw him in the study while I was in the bedroom, and I texted him to go to sleep. He said he had to work overtime to make a PPT, but in reality, the chat records showed that the girl had just gone through a breakup, and he was consoling her until late at night.”
“His good friend also borrowed a large sum of money from him, 50,000 yuan. He took it from our family’s account behind my back and logged into my phone account to turn off the message notification. When the friend asked him if he should inform me, he said no. He made the decision at home.”
After the incident, Li Yawen had no place to vent about these trivial matters. Now she had the opportunity, and she recounted every detail…
“At that time, I realized that under the influence of money, desire, and emotions, our marriage was not what I imagined it to be.”
Lu Junchi asked her, “Did you break up because of these reasons?”
Li Yawen shook her head. “No, hearing these things only made me angry. He sent a 520 red envelope to his company’s female apprentice, but she didn’t accept it. I even thought that maybe he and his so-called apprentice never went beyond a certain point. At this point, I thought he made a mistake, but it was forgivable.”
Then she sighed and said, “People are selfish, especially after peeling back layer upon layer of truth. I know he also saw my phone and my complaints to my best friend, jokes with male colleagues, and that I secretly gave money to my mother to send gifts to my family. In this marriage, I am not without fault. People get angry, have bad moods, and want to escape at times. On that night, all our secrets were laid bare, and our emotions were amplified.”
Lu Junchi furrowed his brow and asked, ‘’What happened to you afterwards?’’
‘’About an hour later, the robbers gave us a second choice: which one of us should die. This time, we still chose ourselves, but we were both shaken. The result was a knife wound on my leg.”
‘’Another hour passed, and the game entered its third round. I still chose myself, but my husband…’’ Li Yawen paused and pursed her lips. ‘’He cried and said that as long as he could live, he would do anything, even give them his bank card password. If they insisted on killing someone, then it should be me.’’
This meant that in this round, Li Yawen would have to endure two knife wounds.
‘’After hearing his choice, I felt a sense of despair. At that moment, I felt like the entire world had turned gray. I asked the robbers if I could choose again. If he didn’t want to bear it, then I wouldn’t bear it for him either. If he chose me to die, then I would choose him to die. That would be fair, right?’’
Recalling that night, Li Yawen gave a bitter smile. ‘’Afterwards, I woke up to the fact that we still needed to each bear a knife wound, but this time, the blade felt like we were stabbing each other…’’
“About two hours after they entered my house, the doorbell suddenly rang. The robbers were a bit flustered, and then my mom sent me a text message saying she was downstairs and asking us to open the door for her.”
“The robbers discussed among themselves, and I think they were probably considering whether to kill my mother or let us go. Then the robbers threatened us not to call the police, or they would retaliate against us. At this point, my mom sent a second message saying she had come upstairs with a neighbor. The three robbers were probably afraid of being discovered by the neighbor and didn’t want any trouble, so they left in a hurry.”
“My mom came up and was frightened by the scene before her. She released us, and then we went to the hospital by ourselves, saying that we had injured ourselves. “
“Officer, my story is finished, and there’s nothing left to hide. You can go ask my ex-husband to verify it. We are both bad people, and there was no true love between us. The thought of him wanting me to die for his sake makes me not want to talk about him anymore. We couldn’t handle life and death, and we don’t have the courage to be together for the rest of our lives.”
As she finished telling her story, Li Yawen felt much more relaxed. “I feel like after experiencing such despair, I have seen through the world and become disillusioned, I have nothing left to care about. Especially recently, I heard about the tragedy that happened to my younger brother’s family. I am even more grateful that although I lost some strength, I still managed to break free from the shackles of marriage.”
“Did you keep anything in your home, such as cigarette butts or things the robbers touched?” asked Lu Junchi. In this case, the robbers didn’t have time to clean up the scene, so perhaps there were some clues left behind.
Li Yawen shook her head and said, “The incident happened two months ago, and we sold our house, so there shouldn’t be anything left behind. They touched our phones, but since then we have also touched them again. I really don’t have much to offer.”
“Two months is enough time for that evidence to disappear,” commented Lu Junchi.
Lu Junchi then asked, “What was the relationship like between the robbers?”
“They cooperated seamlessly and seemed very close, making me feel like they were family… but if I say that, I also feel like the woman was a bit young for her child to be so big,” replied Li Yawen softly.
As a survivor who had close contact with the robbers, Lu Junchi asked Li Yawen if she could provide any more information about the suspects’ features, such as anything on their faces, any special characteristics on their bodies, or any distinct vocal traits. “Whatever you can think of, just tell me,” he added.
Li Yawen thought for a moment and said, “A scar… there was a burn mark on the man’s hand, like it was burned by flames.”
Despite the fact that the man was wearing black clothes and covering himself tightly, when his knife stabbed towards her, Li Yawen still saw the ugly scar that appeared through the seams of his sleeves and gloves.
Damn these robbers are insane! Their purpose seems to be exposing the darkness hidden beneath seemingly “happy” families and relationships. It’s giving me a cross between The Strangers(2008) *where a trio of masked attackers terrorizes a couple staying in a remote vacation home* and Saw(2004) *where a serial killer, known as Jigsaw, targets individuals who he believes take their lives for granted and puts them through gruesome and deadly traps* kinda vibes. It’s some scary shit and I regret watching both these movies so much coz I had nightmares for months. I am not cut out for horror movies. I’m more of a medical/detective typa gal.
On that note let me drop another recommendation:
For my gore-galore readers. Ready or Not(2019), Dexter (2006-2013), Hannibal (2013-2015), Bates Motel (2013-2017), Saw(2004), American Psycho (2000).
For my scalpel-obsessed readers: Good Doctor(2017), The Resident(2018), Bones(2005-2017), Body of Proof(2011-2013), Rizzoli & Isles(2010-2016), Forensic Files(1996-2011)
For my whodunit fanatics: Knives Out(2019) , Sherlock(2010-2017), True Detective(2014-P) , Luther(2010-2019), Zodiac(2007).
For my mind-games enthusiasts: The Maze Runner(2014), Escape Room(2019), The Stanford Prison Experiment(2015), , The Belko Experiment(2016), Mind Hunter(2017-2019).
For my comic-relief chasers: Brooklyn Nine-Nine(2013-2021), Castle(2009-2016), Psych(2006-2014), Monk(2002-2009), The Nice Guys (2016), 21 Jump Street (2012), The Other Guys (2010), Murder Mystery (2019).
I was supposed to drop one recommendation, but as usual, I got carried away😭. I just want to share the things I enjoy with y’all.