1142 A Good Person? 2 in 1
"There are still three and a half hours until night falls. We have to investigate the places that Doctor Fang has been to before he disappeared," Chen Ge said adamantly. When he stayed together with Ol' Wu, those who did not know would assume he was the police officer and Ol' Wu was just the driver.
As Ol' Wu drove away, he could not help but ask in confusion, "Why can we only conduct the investigation when there is still light? Do you have something else to do at night?"
"The city will not be safe at night."
"Xin Hai is the safest city on the northern side of China. Some of the business areas here operate for twenty hours. It has the nickname 'the Eastern City that Never Sleeps'." Ol' Wu gripped the steering wheel. "Shouldn't you youngsters be more familiar with these things than me?"
Chen Ge smiled but did not explain. Twenty minutes later, they arrived at Xin Hai Second Hospital. The whole of Xin Hai City had eleven top grade hospitals, and the Second Hospital that Doctor Fang was posted at was ranked at the forefront of the ranking and situated at the busiest part of Xin Hai.
Chen Ge and Ol' Wu, who was wearing his police uniform, walked to the administration counter. "Hello, I would like to ask you some questions about one of your doctors here."
The nurse on duty initially did not want to respond to Chen Ge, but when she saw the uniform that Ol' Wu was wearing, her attitude became much better. With the accompaniment of the nurse, Chen Ge came to the unit for ENT specialists. There was currently a doctor who was inspecting a patient's body.
"Doctor Fang has missed work for many days now. I personally have no idea what is going on. The doctor inside is called Doctor Zhao. He is Doctor Fang's closest colleague and best friend, so he should know some information."
After leaving that nugget of information, the nurse of duty left to return to her desk. Chen Ge and Ol' Wu waited for Doctor Zhao to finish his consultation with his patient before they entered his room.
"Which one of you is the patient?" Doctor Zhao was very busy. He appeared like he needed a very good rest. He had heavy bags under his eyes, and he looked rather dispirited.
"We are not here to consult the doctor." Chen Ge pointed at Ol' Wu next to him. "This is one of the best inspectors from the major crimes unit from the police station."
Chen Ge did not introduce himself and did not specify that Ol' Wu belonged to the Jiujiang's police station. Even though his entire sentence was nothing but the truth, it gave off the feeling that both of them were people sent over by Xin Hai's police station.
"Inspector?" Doctor Zhao immediately understood the severity of the situation. "Are you here for Doctor Fang?"
"Looks like you really do know something." Chen Ge planted himself on the chair, and the real police officer, Ol' Wu, stood at the door.
"I told the officer from your station the actual details yesterday, but I did not expect another visit from your inspector again today, so it looks like Doctor Fang has already…" Doctor Zhao did not finish the sentence, but the intention that was in his words was not lost on everyone inside the room.
"Do not ask questions that you should not. You only need to tell us the information that you know." Chen Ge picked up a piece of paper and a pen from the table and prepared to start his inquiry. The feeling that he gave off was very professional.
"The past few weeks, Doctor Fang has been performing very badly. He even made a mistake during one of his surgeries. The number of patients who have complained about him has grown larger and larger. This would never have happened in the past. Ol' Fang is the best ENT specialist we have ever had."
"Could Doctor Fang's mental condition be related to his family members?"
"I saw Ol' Fang's family just yesterday. His wife and daughters are perfectly normal. They couldn't be more worried about him. Oh right!" Something appeared to have just occurred to Doctor Zhao. "From what Ol' Fang's wife told me, Ol' Fang would often spend time mumbling to himself, saying things like they are coming soon, they are very happy, and they are already here."
"They are already here? Was someone following Doctor Fang and stalking him?" Ol' Wu closed the door of the consultation room and walked over. He did not expect to stumble upon such a curious case as soon as he arrived in Xin Hai with Chen Ge.
"A few days before he disappeared, Ol' Fang had serious problems sleeping. He kept hiding next to the bedroom window holding a knife and would keep sneaking glances outside the window as if there was someone standing there outside their house. His wife and daughters were very afraid, and they could not help themselves from looking out the window as well, but they never see anyone out the window. There was no one down there." Doctor Zhao sighed. "Ol' Fang's wife prepared to book an appointment with the psychologist here for him, but before the appointment could be arranged, Ol' Fang disappeared."
"Doctor Fang's wife and daughters did not see anyone outside the window, yes?" Chen Ge repeated as confirmation.
"Ol' Fang's wife did not see anything, but his youngest daughter yesterday told the people from the police station that there was a woman who would not stop smiling hiding at her home."
"A woman who could not stop smiling?" Chen Ge narrowed his eyes, and the name instantly floated up in his mind—Non-smilers.
"The station naturally sent people to check Ol' Fang's home, and they did not find any traces of this mysterious woman. They concluded that Ol' Fang's daughter had probably been under too much pressure lately, so she had been seeing things."
"The things that she saw would still be related to her own memory. The woman who kept smiling would not appear out of nowhere in her mind. They should have followed this thread much further." Chen Ge did not go into deep criticism about the things the police from Xin Hai had done; all he wanted to do now was find Doctor Fang as soon as possible. "Doctor Zhao, do you know who the last person who saw Doctor Fang was?"
"I believe that person would be me." Doctor Zhao looked like he had aged several years in this short questioning. "Ol' Fang had just requested half a month off, but before his holiday was over, he suddenly came back to work a few days ago. From the looks of it, he appeared rather normal, so I believed he had recovered. At the time, I did not think too much of it, and I even invited him to go have a few drinks with me after work."
"Doctor Fang disappeared at the hospital?"
"For now, the evidence appears to suggest that. After his shift ended, no one saw Ol' Fang leave the hospital. He locked himself inside his own room. I have no idea what he was doing inside. When I came to work the next morning, people told me Ol' Fang had already disappeared." Doctor Zhao was filled with regret. "If only I'd paid more attention to him that day, perhaps things might've ended up differently."
"You should not blame yourself; this has nothing to do with you. You did everything you could." Chen Ge frowned deeply in thought as he tried to think back to his first phone conversation with Doctor Fang. Doctor Fang had indeed mentioned he was being followed by non-smiler, and he had also brought up the recent reconstruction of the hospital's storeroom and his finding an envelope in the old storeroom. After opening it, he had found a letter that requested him to go to an abandoned hospital at midnight. If he refused to do so, something bad would happen.
"Doctor Zhao, a few weeks ago, your hospital updated the hospital's storeroom, didn't it? Did Doctor Fang visit the old storeroom at the time?"
"How did you know that?" Doctor Zhao was truly surprised. From his point of view, the renovation of the storeroom was a completely different separate from Doctor Fang's disappearance. There was no connection between the two at all.
"Try to think back to that period. Did the strange behavior about Doctor Fang start during the time he entered the old storeroom?" Chen Ge put down the pen he had taken and placed the paper note on which he had jotted down the important information into his pocket.
"Now that you mention it… that does ring true." More surprise appeared on Doctor Zhao's face. The feeling that Chen Ge gave off was completely different from the local officer that had visited him the previous day. "No wonder you guys are inspectors. Even such details do not escape your notice."
"If it is not too much trouble, do you mind bringing us to visit the old storeroom now?"
"Of course not. Besides, the place is pretty much abandoned now." Doctor Zhao was very good friend of Doctor Fang's, so he was more than willing to help. After informing another doctor of his departure, Doctor Zhao led Chen Ge and Ol' Wu out of the hospital.
"The old storeroom is not at the hospital?" Chen Ge asked with curiosity.
"A few years ago, our hospital changed address. The storeroom is still at the old address. The old hospital only has a few specialist units left over there."
Twenty minutes later, the three arrived at the hospital's original address. After they got the key from the manager, they entered the old storeroom. The place had just been cleaned, and the rows of shelves were all empty; there was practically nothing left in the room.
"When you guys were cleaning up the room, which area was Doctor Fang responsible for?"
"I believe it was at the inner part of the storeroom." Doctor Zhao took out the key that would open the iron door leading deeper into the storeroom. "Due to the aging electrical circuit, the lights inside are not functioning that well. The place is very dim. The nurses at the time refused to go with him. If I'm not mistaken, Ol' Fang entered the place on his own that day."
"The middle of this storeroom is partitioned off with an iron door? Who designed the place like this? What is the purpose of this?"
"I have no idea." The three entered the inner room and discovered things that would never be used at a hospital, like an old, white wedding dress and pairs of shoes covered in a layer of dust. Inside the dark room, just these rows of tattered shoes gave off a very creepy feeling.
"I have no idea why these things would be found here. The old gentleman who guarded this place when it was built passed away many years ago. This place is commonly locked up. If not for the fact that the new hospital director wanted to redo the storeroom, no one would have known that there were so many shoes abandoned here." Doctor Zhao held the flashlight and keys. His heart was palpating with an indescribable fear.
"There are all different styles of shoes, and the sizes are all different. Is it possible that one of the former guards here liked to collect dead people's shoes? Could he have stolen all of the dead people's shoes and then stored them here?" Chen Ge mumbled to himself. He did not notice the expressions on Ol' Wu and Doctor Zhao's faces that had gotten paler and paler.
"I have to say, if you don't mind, your supposition is rather unbelievable." Doctor Zhao pointed at the surrounding shelves. "All of these shoes on the shelves were once worn by dead people? I realize the process of thinking for you inspectors is really different from us normal people."
Ol' Wu touched his nose. He wanted to say something else, but after what Doctor Zhao said, he suddenly did not know how to voice his thoughts. Chen Ge, who walked at the front, did not answer. He suddenly stopped after walking past two shelves. "The shoes on the earlier few shelves were all neatly arranged. How come only the shoes from this shelf are on the ground? Someone has tripped here before!"
Narrowing his eyes, Chen Ge compared the location where the shoes had fallen and tried to reconstruct what happened that day.
"Someone who was about my height found something around this spot where I am standing. He was shocked, and his body knocked into the shoe rack, so the shoes got knocked off and spread to the two sides." Chen Ge had very sharp observational skills. Just based on where the shoes had landed, he had managed to come up with many reasonable hypotheses. "What shocked the victim probably suddenly appeared behind him. When he turned around, he lost his balance, and he knocked into the shoe shelf."
Chen Ge locked onto a direction and walked toward there. Scanning the shelves on the side with Yin Yang Vision, he came upon a discovery. "What's this?"
There was a small paper ball hidden in a very inconspicuous corner at the bottom of the shelf. Chen Ge opened it up, and there was only one sentence on it.
'Do not enter the last and innermost room!'
"Doctor Zhao, take a look at this. Do you think this is Doctor Fang's handwriting?" Chen Ge handed the note to Doctor Zhao.
After taking a look at it, the latter shook his head. "It is not Doctor Fang's handwriting, but it has appeared where Doctor Fang's accident happened. It can only mean that someone was kind enough to warn him of the danger before he came in here, but unfortunately, he did not notice it at the time."
Chen Ge held on to the paper note. This was a very important clue, so he had to look after it. "Doctor Zhao, do you still remember the people who came with Doctor Fang to this storeroom that day?"
"Among them, do any of them have similar handwriting to this writing on the paper note?"
"I do not think so. The handwriting of most doctors is very hard to read because we need to write prescriptions very fast." Doctor Zhao confirmed it one more time and finally said that the note was not written by the people who went with Doctor Fang that day.
"It was not someone from the hospital, huh?" Chen Ge frowned, but after a while, he said, "To enter this place, one has to first get the keys from the management center. Could it be that someone there passed this note to Doctor Fang?"
Since they could not find more clues at the old storeroom, Chen Ge took the paper note and hurried back to the management center. After comparing the handwriting, Chen Ge noticed that the handwriting on the note was very similar to one of the managers. The manager had the surname Chi. It was a very rare surname.
Chen Ge put away the paper note. He looked at the pictures of the employees that were posted on the wall and asked very loudly, "I am so sorry, but is Chi Ren here? Is he on duty today?"
"Brother Ren asked for holiday a few days ago. Is there anything that you want me to tell him when he returns?" The people at the center thought Chen Ge and Ol' Wu were inspectors from the Xin Hai station, so they were very cooperative.
When he heard that Chi Ren had not been to work for several days, Chen Ge immediately had a bad feeling arise in his heart. "Can you give me Chi Ren's address? We wish to ask him some questions in person. This is very important."
The people at the management center hesitated for a while before they finally gave Chen Ge the address of Chi Ren's apartment.
"Brother Ren does not like to communicate; he normally will not talk to strangers. So, I advise you to be prepared for no one to answer the door." The people at the management center had bitter smiles when they mentioned Chi Ren.
"Does he have any strange habits, or has he done anything strange before?"
"There is nothing particularly strange about him… Oh, right, Brother Ren, I am sure, lives alone. In his employment information, he stated very clearly that he has no family, but he occasionally mumbles to himself, saying terms that are very scary like Chi Shou, Chi Yanjing, Chi Bi, and so on."
Just the mere mention of these terms made the person at the center feel uncomfortable.
"One time, I could not help myself and asked him why he kept saying these things, and then he told me all those terms were the names of his family members."
"He sure comes from a very strange family. Who would even think of naming their children like that?" Chen Ge did not finish the other half of the sentence. He had a feeling that this family who had the surname Chi probably had some kind of relation with the non-smilers.
With this useful information, Chen Ge had Doctor Zhao return to his post while he and Ol' Wu travelled to Chi Ren's apartment. They knocked for a long time, but there was no answer. In the end, it was the landlord who had come over to tell them Chi Ren had not returned for days. The landlord revealed some very important information as well. The last time Chi Ren left the apartment, he was carrying a very large bag. It was filled with water and a lot of food. It was as if he was preparing for some incoming danger, and he was going into hiding.
If my assumption is not wrong, the reason Chi Ren gave Doctor Fang the note was because he wanted to save Doctor Fang, but he failed. He was worried about the non-smilers' revenge, so he hurried and packed up to run away in the night.
From how Chen Ge saw it, even though this Chi Ren had a very strange name, he believed that he should be a good person.
"Looks like if we want to find Doctor Fang, we need to find this Chi Ren first. He will be our next lead. Hopefully, he can give us more information that might help lead us to Doctor Fang."
 Chi (吃) can be literally translated as eat.
 Chi Shou can be translated as 'eat hand'.
 Chi Yanjing can be translated as 'eat eyes'.
 Chi Bi can be translated as 'eat nose'.