One voice was speaking, and Su Hui carefully identified it as his attending physician, Dr. Huang.
“…blood pressure and blood sugar are a bit low… The blood work showed a high white blood cell count, CT scan shows inflammation in the lungs with some bleeding, heart rate is normal…fever has come down from 39℃, it’s now 38.3℃. I suggest we observe him while administering intravenous fluids for a while…he needs to rest well, he’s still too weak.”
Su Hui sat up, feeling a bit dizzy and heavy-headed. His chest also felt tight. As he rose, he coughed a few times quietly.
Lu Junchi heard the sound from inside and lifted the curtain.
Su Hui sat on the edge of the bed. When he had lost consciousness earlier, his coat had already been removed. The doctor had unbuttoned a few buttons of his shirt and removed his tie, which was now lying next to him. A glimpse of his collarbone showed through the opened collar. He looked pale and delicate, with a slender and refined appearance, as he bowed his head.
“Are you awake?” Lu Junchi looked at Su Hui’s pale lips and felt a pang of heartache. Su Hui had suddenly vomited blood and passed out earlier, which had scared him out of his wits.
Su Hui replied, “I feel much better now.”
“I happened to be on duty today, so I came to check on you,” Dr. Huang said to Su Hui. “It’s good that you’re awake. Captain Lu and I discussed the situation earlier, and the reason for your fainting may be due to a fever, hypoxia, and low blood sugar. The cause of your illness this time is still a pulmonary infection caused by an old injury, which looks quite serious. I’ll prescribe some antibiotics for conservative treatment. For the coughing up blood, you should continue to take Yunnan Baiyao and Tranexamic acid to stop bleeding.”
Su Hui calmly replied, “I already finished the Tranexamic acid before.”
“You can’t take it too often. It’s not good for your gastrointestinal tract and eyes,” Dr Huang reminded him.
Lu Junchi frowned. From their conversation, he deduced that Su Hui had vomited blood before, and it seemed like he was already used to this condition.
While prescribing medication for Su Hui, Dr. Huang warned him, “You must avoid vigorous exercise. Worsening of the old wound can lead to pneumothorax and massive bleeding. If the condition continues to worsen, you may need to undergo a bronchoscopy for a detailed examination, or even another surgery. Given your current physical condition, undergoing surgery again carries some risks.”
Su Hui nodded in response.
Then Dr. Huang said uneasily, “I suspect there may be some psychological factors involved. The mind and body can affect each other and worsen the condition. You should continue to see Dr. Yang.”
Su Hui leaned back on the bed and made a sound of agreement. He looked at the time and realized that he had only passed out for a little over an hour, but it felt like a long time.
Eventually, Lu Junchu arrived with the medicine and stayed with Su Hui until the IV was finished.
The fever-reducing medicine quickly took effect and Su Hui did not want to stay in the hospital. Since the hospital was short on beds in the ward, Dr. Huang did not force him to stay and only reminded him to rest well in bed and finish the remaining IV fluids over the next few days.
When the two of them left the hospital, it was already completely dark outside.
In the car, Lu Jun was still thinking about Dr. Huang’s suggestion for Su to see Dr. Yang and asked, “Is Dr. Yang referring to Yang Yuqing?”
Dr. Yang’s psychological clinic had a partnership with the Huadu Bureau and focused on psychological trauma and illness among police officers. Although Lu Junchi did not know what Su Hui had been through, he had a vague idea that it was related to Su Hui’s past.
Su Hui nodded, “I haven’t been there for some time.”
Lu Junchi said, “Then when you feel better, I’ll go with you to see him.”
Without prompting, Su Hui hesitated for a moment before deciding to tell Lu Junchi, “I don’t have any serious psychological problems, just some PTSD and dissociation.”
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, was the cause of Su Hui’s partial memory loss from his head injury in the past. Dissociation is a perception and integration disorder, also related to the events from two years ago.
Lu Junchi was surprised that Su Hui brought up these issues on his own. He had heard of PTSD before and had some understanding of it, but he had never heard of disassociation. He couldn’t help but ask, “What is dissociation?”
Su Hui leaned his hand against the car window and said casually, “It’s just the loss of experiential ability. Sometimes I feel like the world I’m in isn’t real. But I’m much better now, and that feeling doesn’t occur often.”
Human understanding of this condition is still not comprehensive.
One theory is that dissociation is also a defensive disease. Because it’s too painful, people close off all their senses, detach their thoughts, struggle out of those emotions, so that the pain doesn’t feel too real. But at the same time, other emotions are frozen as well.
In the past, Su Hui had a period when he had frequent episodes. He sometimes felt like he had lost all emotions. No sorrow, no joy, no laughter, no tears, and even no love, like an outsider.
He felt like an actor, an observer. He looked at his face in the mirror and felt strange, as if he was living in an unfamiliar world, performing someone else’s story.
Su Hui sometimes entered this state, but sometimes came out of it suddenly.
This feeling was difficult to understand unless you were a patient with the same illness.
Lu Junchi asked again, “Is it treatable?”
Su Hui, who had been ill for a long time, said, “My case is not too serious, I don’t need medication, but I need regular psychotherapy. The treatment methods for dissociation generally include relaxation, breathing, meditation, and even hypnosis.”
Lu Junchi found these methods unreliable, “Will they be effective?”
Su Hui shrugged, “They should be, anyway it sounds like a mystical illness that requires a mystical way of treatment. I think the most important thing is to adjust oneself.” After a pause, he added, “I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Yang.”
Lu Junchi decided to go back and look up the disease himself. He changed the topic and said, “Your pen name seems to be quite famous.”
Su Hui shook his head. “It’s just a pseudonym in a small academic circle. The people who know these few magazines in the city were all basically in the conference hall in the afternoon…”
Su Hui had never been very involved in school affairs. Previously, it was mainly because Director Liao’s behavior was too aggressive that caused such a contrast. If it were introduced at the beginning, it would have had no effect.
Lu Junchi remembered something and asked him, “Do you have any other pseudonyms?”
Su Hui made a low “en” sound and said, “When publishing in foreign journals, I don’t use this pen name.”
His habit has always been to protect himself with pseudonyms. He would rather have more of them. Now that he was teaching criminal law in China, he must solve the issue of his papers. After weighing the pros and cons, he used this pseudonym. This was already the least involved one among his many pseudonyms.
With academic works as protection, he can be done with it once and for all.
At least no one would say that he entered the Criminal Law College through the back door.
As soon as the two of them arrived home, Lu Junchi’s phone rang. He answered the call and then brought Su Hui some warm water and medicine.
Su Hui sat on the edge of the bed. He heard a few sentences from the phone just now and asked Lu Junchi, “Was it Director Tan?”
Lu Junchi said, “Yeah, he was concerned about you and asked about your work report and your health.” Then he opened his palm like magic, and there was a yellow packaged lemon candy in his hand.
Su Hui drank the medicine and his eyes moved slightly. He took the candy and tore it open. This was the same kind of candy that Lu Junchi gave him last time in the car. His mouth was filled with a sour and sweet taste. The candy was a bit sour and had a tingling feeling that reached his teeth. It was so sour that his body trembled. This taste seemed familiar and made him calm down.
Su Hui ate the candy and said, “I made an appointment with Dr. Yang on WeChat. Next Wednesday afternoon.”
“Then I’ll accompany you.”
“Um, can you give me your brother’s WeChat? I’m grateful to him today.”
“I’ll send it to you later.” Lu Junchi said, reaching out to touch his forehead. “The fever has gone down a bit.”
Compared to using a thermometer, he prefers to sense the temperature with his palm. It seems that his heart will be more at ease this way. When Lu Haochu was young, he often had a fever, and Lu Junchi often did this when taking care of his younger brother. It became a habit.
Lu Junchi withdrew his hand and looked at Su Hui’s beautiful eyes, suddenly feeling that his action had crossed a line.
Su Hui was still in a daze. It wasn’t until Lu Junchi’s hand was gone that he reacted, then he lowered his head and felt his face burning up slowly.
Lu Junchi was also a little embarrassed, stood up and said, “I’ll make you some porridge to drink. You eat and then lie down for a while after you finish.”
Su Hui answered softly, his gaze following Lu Junchi’s figure until he disappeared at the door, then he changed his clothes and lay down on the bed.
Through the partially closed door, he could see the light in the living room and hear the sound in the kitchen.
Su Hui suddenly realized something. His world was often disintegrating and separating, but when Lu Junchi appeared, this feeling would weaken and diminish.
Listening to him speak, watching him work, he could feel some reality and emotional fluctuations.
In those moments, he seemed to break free from the frozen world and feel something.
Su Hui closed his eyes and remembered when he fainted. It seemed like someone was holding him before he completely lost consciousness.
His face became even hotter, and he buried himself in the blanket.
It was another cloudy day, the clouds in the sky were a bit low, and the air was very stuffy.
Gu Ruoruo walked alone into the residential complex, pulling a large suitcase and wearing a pair of short-heeled leather shoes on her feet, but her steps were light and brisk.
The ground floor here had a small courtyard, and an old lady was watering the plants. When she saw Gu Ruoruo, the old lady frowned tightly and wrinkled her face like a walnut: “You live on the third floor, right? What did your family recently buy? Pickled fish or stinky tofu? The smell is too strong and has attracted many flies in the corridor… I thought your husband was home and knocked on the door for a long time, but no one answered.”
Thinking back to the pungent and unpleasant smell, the old lady’s face wrinkled even tighter.
“I’m sorry, I went on a business trip recently, maybe my husband forgot to take out the trash or something at home broke.” Gu Ruoruo said apologetically, “I’ll go back and clean up right away.”
Gu Ruoruo went upstairs, took out the key, and opened the door.
After entering the house, she paused for a second and took a deep breath. There was indeed a strong and pungent smell in the room.
Gu Ruoruo choked and coughed. The smell was too strong, even canned herring couldn’t compare. It seemed like there was no smell in the world worse than this one.
Gu Ruorui realized something had happened and her hands began to tremble, but she forced herself to calm down.
She walked to the window, opened it, and then turned around to look at the bed, where lay the decomposed body of her husband, Pang Qinghua.
He was a typical “Phoenix Man,” who had excelled in his studies and was accepted into the best university in the city. He stayed on to work at a research institute in the city.
Gu Ruoruo had married him against her family’s wishes, because she admired his talent. But after they got married, she realized that she had jumped into a fire pit. Her husband was a chauvinistic man who believed that talented men should have multiple wives and constantly had affairs with other women. Yet he used all sorts of threats to prevent Gu Ruoruo from divorcing him.
This marriage did not mark the beginning of her happiness, but rather the beginning of a nightmare in her life.
Now, the man who had once terrified her had been dead for a long time. The corpse had begun to rot, and the liquids had soaked through the bed sheets. The area above the body was almost completely covered by insects, with swarms of flies crawling all over the corpse as if they were enjoying a feast.
TN: F*ck that’s disgusting 🤢
As Gu Ruoruo approached, the insects on the body buzzed up into the air, circling around the corpse.
She lowered her head, pulled up her hair, and looked coldly into the decaying mass of flesh, trying to recognize what her husband had once looked like.
After staring for a while, Gu Ruoruo smiled slightly and said to the corpse, “Honey, I’m back.”
Of course, the corpse could not respond to her.
Gu Ruoruo got up, sat on the windowsill, and began to laugh hysterically like a madwoman.
After so many heart-wrenching nights of quarreling and nightmares, everything had finally come to an end.
As she laughed, tears welled up in the corners of her eyes.
Then, she adjusted her emotions and called 110, her voice trembling with fear and sobs as she said, “Hello, I just came back from a business trip and found out that my husband had an accident and died at home. Please come quickly. My address is…”
Then she walked into the bathroom, got some shower gel on her hands, rubbed it into her eyes, and amidst the stinging, tears fell down.
Gu Ruoruo looked at herself in the mirror. She was still young, she could live a better life…
The police rushed to the scene as quickly as possible, along with the evidence team, forensic experts, and detectives.
Gu Ruoruo had already cried until her eyes were swollen, with red eyes and an overall sense of helplessness.
Several evidence and forensic experts were there, chatting while inspecting the scene.
“The body is already in such a bad condition, it won’t be easy to transport it later.”
“Why are there so many flies? We can’t even shoo them away.”
“They probably crawled in through the ventilation pipes. The weather has been hot and humid lately…”
“By the way, which team is in charge of this case?”
“The fifth team.”
Xing Yunhai, the head of the Criminal Investigation Team of the General Bureau, walked into the scene and took a look, then turned to the young police officer who was conducting the initial inspection and asked, “What’s the situation?”
The young police officer looked at the records on the form and replied, “The deceased is Pang Qinghua, male, 32 years old, a researcher. There is a burnt charcoal basin in the room.”
Xing Yunhai furrowed his brow, waved away the flies that had landed on him, and turned to look at the grieving Gu Ruoruo. “Is his wife a suspect?”
“His wife is a flight attendant. We searched for information and found that their marriage was not good. They had previously filed for divorce, but it was rejected. However…” the young police officer checked the statement record, “in the past half month, his wife has been out of town for study, and it was in a faraway city called Changshi. All her colleagues can confirm that. She has an alibi and no criminal record.”
“Are there any other traces in the room?”
“No, it’s very clean and tidy. There are no signs of the lock being tampered with, and the charcoal basin is just a regular iron basin used for washing vegetables at home, with Pang Huaqing’s fingerprints on it.”
Gu Ruoruo was still crying on the side: “My husband and I had a good relationship. Despite his carefree appearance outside, he was still good to me. I never thought he would have an accident while I was away on a business trip…”
He looked at the bedside table, where there were some bottles of sleeping pills. “Does your husband have trouble sleeping?”
Gu Ruoruo said, “He’s a scientist, it’s quite mentally taxing, and he often can’t sleep all night. He only went to see a doctor after I asked him to.”
Xing Yunhai walked into the kitchen and sniffed the air. The air here was much better than in the bedroom, and there was not much smell of death.
The kitchen was clean, with all the bottles and cans neatly stacked. Then he opened a cupboard and smelled a scent of tea…
Xing Yunhai opened the door and smelled the fragrant tea, which seemed to be this year’s new tea, but more than half of the can had already been used.
Next to it was a seasoning box with brownish-black granules inside. He looked at it and judged that it was probably coffee powder.
Gu Ruoruo turned her head, stopped crying, and her eyes drifted over, looking coldly at the man standing in the kitchen.
After watching for a while, Xing Yunhai walked over to ask Gu Ruoruo, “Did you open the window?”
Gu Ruoruo nodded hastily, “The smell in the room was too unbearable, I almost threw up. I opened the window and immediately called the police.”
Xing Yunhai asked again, “When you arrived, was the bedroom door closed or open?”
Gu Ruoruo hesitated for a moment, “It was closed, I think…”
Xing Yunhai stared at her firmly, as if trying to see through her. He waved his hand and several flies flew up. “If it was closed, how could there be so many flies?”
Gu Ruoruo shuddered, “No…maybe I remembered it wrong. It was open. That’s why there were flies coming in.”
Xing Yunhai looked at the woman in front of him. She wasn’t short, about 1.6 meters tall, but she was thin as if a gust of wind could blow her away. He continued to ask her calmly, “It was open? Why would your husband want to burn charcoal with the door open?”
Gu Ruoruo panicked instantly. She even forgot to cry and stuttered, “Maybe there was a small gap, I don’t know. I just got home and found that he was already dead…”
At this point, Gu Ruoruo suddenly woke up. She widened her eyes and pretended to be confused. “Officer, are you saying…this is a murder case? Who would want to kill my husband?”
She sat on the chair dumbfoundedly, her forehead quickly covered in sweat. Then she thought of something and suddenly clenched the tissue in her hand.
If his judgment was correct, this was indeed a murder case.
Xing Yunhai thought of this and put on his gloves. “Please accept my condolences. We, the police, will find out the truth.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Dissociation, also known as disassociation, refers to a psychological experience in which a person feels disconnected from their thoughts, feelings, memories, or surroundings.
It can occur in response to trauma or extreme stress and can manifest in various ways, such as feeling like one is outside of their body or watching themselves from a distance, experiencing memory loss or gaps in memory, or feeling emotionally numb or detached from reality.
Dissociation is a coping mechanism that the brain uses to protect itself from overwhelming psychological distress, but if it persists or becomes chronic, it can interfere with a person’s daily functioning and lead to a dissociative disorder.
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic or life-threatening event. Some common examples of traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include military combat, sexual assault, physical violence, natural disasters, and serious accidents.
Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, hypervigilance, negative mood, and changes in behavior or cognition. These symptoms can be severe and interfere with daily life, making it difficult to work, socialize, or maintain relationships.
PTSD can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Common forms of therapy for PTSD include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and exposure therapy.