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Apartments for Rent – Chapter 09 – Part III

Chapter 9 – Part III

One out of two chances

 

Later that day, old man Zhang came back carrying a bag of takeout and went into Miss. Chen’s room. Miss. Chen quickly took hold of her new fuck-buddy and told him all about the fight Guo Li and Ling Hu have had upstairs. Although old man Zhang tried to show his interest, he was really too busy groping Miss. Chen’s tits.

In the room across the hall, Mr. Wang was busy answering the thousands of questions coming from his daughter, even though she was supposed to be doing her homework at that time. Such as, “what is homosexual?” etc… But his answers were disappointingly backwards. Most of them were about how perverted it was, and how homosexuality was the result of poor upbringing. Then, he went on a nonsensical rant about how AIDS was caused by the unseemly sexual conduct of homosexuals. He even got his daughter to refrain from talking to Guo Li or Ling Hu unless spoken to.

Of course, even if the girl wanted to, it would be pretty hard for her to ever speak with Ling Hu again.

 

Because, well… Guo Li had ‘accidentally’ killed him.

 

Then again, it was lucky that it was Guo Li who survived; if the opposite was true, my plans would not have been so…interesting.

The madness in my head must have unlocked my ability to predict the future.

During that moment, I watched Guo Li’s paralyzed gaze through the screen. Guo Li had been sitting there for more than half an hour; even his shoulder wound had already stopped bleeding.

His young and strong lover had yet to close his eyes; his pair of pupils stared soullessly at the ceiling.

In the midst of chaos, the emotional Ling Hu gave his life to the one he loved, and his lover did not disappoint.

 

In that instant, Guo Li did not hesitate for even a second.

 

Just like that, a well-respected, accomplished Guo Li who had a family…a wife and kids… ‘accidentally’ pushed a sharp blade into Ling Hu’s chest.

Guo Li watched Ling Hu’s faded visage in silence, a face he knew and loved, but didn’t drop a single tear.

The immense shock he experienced overwhelmed all his other senses.

Was there regret?

If someone feels regretful after being thoroughly humiliated, then he is pretty much a walking corpse at that point, like the way Guo Li was now.

As to what needs to be done after, well…it won’t matter at all whether he was regretful or not.

 

One has to go through all kinds of training society has to offer in their lifetime, be it spiritual, physical, educational, or recreational. The final result of all this training will only show its value in the most extreme situations.

What someone is made of and how far they will go all depends on what they do in the moment.

And I, well, I’ve already seen what Guo Li could become after reaching the end.

He can do it.

I just need to give him a tiny bit of inspiration.

 

Standing up absentmindedly, Guo Li carried Ling Hu’s body to the bathroom. He washed his body over and over to get rid of the bloodstain. Then, he began to mop the floor, removing any sign of struggle from the bedroom.

In the closet, he picked out a similar colored shirt for himself before he finally sat back down on the bed.

His brows were locked together tightly, as if he was deep in thought. Sometimes, he calmly clenched his fists. Sometimes, he shook his head and cried.

 

The cops could easily find the bloodstain on the floor by using some special kind of UV light. I know it. You do too. I smiled. If you bleached the floor, the forensic experts will be able to tell you used a great deal of bleach to clean it through chemical testing, automatically making the whole thing very suspicious. I know it. You do too. Taiwan Police Force may not be the wisest lot out there, but at least they know how to follow procedures.

I watched Guo Li with satisfaction.

 

Guo Li’s eyes, on the other hand, scanned the room aimlessly.

 

If you want to get rid of the body, you don’t have a suitcase big enough to fit a person, especially a muscular man like Guo Li. This means you’ll need to buy one from the market downstairs. But once the police discover the body, they’ll look at the suitcase itself, and find out where it was from, and perhaps even who bought it through CCTV footage. I know it. You do too. I joyously massaged my chin while trying to figure out what Guo Li would do.

 

Guo Li unclenched his fists. They were trembling.

 

If you are planning to dismember the body before getting rid of it, you lack the proper experience. Besides, I doubt you have the stomach for something like that even if you tried. But let’s say you made up your mind; you can’t do it now. You have to wait until the blood becomes coagulated first or else it’ll spray all over the place, leaving all kinds of evidence in the room. I know it. You do too. I clapped satisfyingly. All the CSI series I’ve watched have finally come to use.

 

Guo Li has to be desperate now; I doubt he could come up with anything good under the circumstances. I’m guessing he is most likely going to give himself up.

But I can’t let him do that.

He just needs a little bit of encouragement…a little bit of time to work it out.

It’s not like he is giving birth; there’s no hurry. Other than me, nobody knows he just committed murder!

So I picked up the phone.

 

The sudden phone ring made Guo Li jump up like a scared little cat.

Looking over at the phone, Guo Li took a deep breath.

“Hello? Am I speaking to Guo Li or Ling Hu?” I asked gently.

“It’s me, Guo Li.” Guo Li’s voice was a little hoarse, but he was calm.

“Aah, it’s nothing important, just that you guys were getting really loud. I don’t mind, but you know, it’s getting late…” I pretended to be apologetic.

“I’m really sorry. It…it’s OK now. We’ve…” Guo Li hesitated; his facial expression was filled with pain.

“Aah, you guys made up? That’s good. I’m glad that all is well!” I smiled. “Then I won’t bother you anymore; it’s late. Good night.”

“Aah yes. Thanks.” Guo Li hung up the phone but didn’t move from where he sat.

 

I stared at him.

Once you start to lie, you can never stop. The third rule of life.

Especially for a well-respected university professor. He could never let his wife or children discover his secret identity, or let himself be a subject of questioning from the police, court, or media. He had to keep lying, find new motivation, become someone else and hide the part of him the world didn’t know about.

Let the endless lies spread.

 

Standing back up, Guo Li dressed himself and went out the door after locking it behind him.

I immediately rushed down the stairs in order to get in his way while leaving, pretending to go out for late night snacks myself.

Guo Li saw me approaching and smiled. His smile was rigid and apologetic at the same time.

That level of acting was barely acceptable, but his inner operating system was still in need of an upgrade.

 

“Mr. Guo Li, heading out at this hour? Going back home?” I greeted him.

“Yes. Ling Hu and I, we had a small misunderstanding. I’m in a bad mood, so I’m going home to sleep.” Guo Li sighed.

“Mr. Li…” I put my arm over Guo Li’s shoulder and kept my voice low. “It’s really none of my business but…Ling Hu has been acting strange recently. When you’re not around, he would go over to the room of that stupid brat on the fourth floor, often for hours on end. Sometimes that stupid brat would go down and find him; they seem to get along really well. Fuck, even I can’t stand what’s been going on.”

“Really?” A hint of anger flashed past Guo Li’s eyes.

“Are you guys having problems? I haven’t seen you guys together as much lately.” I seemed concerned.

“A little bit. Sometimes, I don’t understand the thoughts of the young people. But it’s not a big deal. Misunderstandings…usually don’t last.” Guo Li sounded reluctant and his gaze was unfocused, but his eyes seemed more believable.

 “That’s good to hear…maybe I’m overthinking it.” I smiled. “Last time I saw Ling Hu in the hallway, we had a chat. He mentioned that he wanted to move out. That really gave me a good scare. If he left, I doubt you would stay here either. It’s hard to find new tenants these days. I really hope you guys will stay here for many more days to come! Haha!”

Guo Li was somewhat surprised, but quickly regained his composure and even turned a bit excited.

 

Hurry and take your chances indeed. You’re a smart guy, you know what to do!

 

“Ling Hu…indeed, he did mention it to me. He told me that he thought about leaving me. Hmm…and go live alone in another place. In the end, I have a family and he doesn’t. I understand his reasoning. Sigh… We’ve been together for a while and he deserves better. We shouldn’t have fought over something like this. It was my fault. I was being selfish.” Guo Li sighed. His expression was incredibly gentle.

 “I see. It makes sense; you guys have been together for a while so it may not be a bad thing if Ling Hu wants to go his separate ways. He’s young. Always working at the convenience store just seems strange.” I agreed with everything Guo Li said while deep down, I had to commend him for his excellent acting.

Guo Li opened the front door and I followed closely behind.

“Right, Ling Hu was exhausted. He’s sound asleep right now. Please let him have a good night’s rest. I’ll come over tomorrow.” Guo Li said as he turned towards me, in a way that seemed very considerate.

“I understand.” I nodded, smiling.

 

Guo Li started the car he had parked outside and left.

I smiled on my way back.

 

Humans often fall prey to their desires.

The reason Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge[1] had nothing to do with how tasty it looked.

But because the naughty God who kept telling them they shouldn’t and the fact that the God grew a huge tree full of fruit in the garden.

Guo Li left, but he will be back just like he said. He has to return tomorrow before the body starts to smell, and deal with Ling Hu who was supposed to be leaving for another place.

Then again, what would someone as educated as Guo Li, someone who has watched so many police series, do to clean up after the murder?

Perhaps Guo Li would muster up his courage and chop Ling Hu’s body into tiny little pieces, then pack them up and take them somewhere he could incinerate them in a high temperature oven, turning the pieces of Ling Hu’s body into ashes so fine that not even DNA could be extracted from them.

Ling Hu would disappear forever.

 

Or maybe Guo Li would bring a giant suitcase or big sturdy canvas bag with him. Then, he would take Ling Hu to somewhere remote and dispose of his body in a pool of acid.

As long as he doesn’t leave the suitcase carrying the body behind, chances of it leading back to him are slim.

Ling Hu will forever become an abandoned corpse somewhere in a desolate mountain.

 

This reminds me of a movie directed by Ho Ping called The Rules of the Game[2]. I still remember it to this day.

“It’s easy to steal the money, but it’s harder to use it. It’s easy to kill someone, but it’s harder to hide it.” That was pretty much what the movie was about.

Taiwan has about a hundred thousand missing person’s cases annually. Many of them are long dead, but none of those deaths are recorded.

They simply vanished.

 

If you want to commit a murder and hide it from others, you must have a plan. You can’t just randomly throw the body into the sea. Once the sea level rises, another murder victim will be washed ashore. Or randomly ditch the victim’s body somewhere in the graveyard and let someone discover it in the morning.

Once it’s determined that the cadaver is a murder victim, then there is a murderer. Once that becomes a fact, the murderer will have to bear the risk of being captured. Unless they have no motive at all, chances are that the murderer and their victim will have many interconnecting links. You’re pretty much done for if the link is found.

In other words, I have to remind everyone that a smart criminal has to make someone disappear, not get someone ‘killed’. Only then can he or she escape scot-free.

 

Bodies shouldn’t be thrown away; they should be cremated or buried.

‘With hard work comes great reward’ is one of the Chinese people’s virtues.

 

Guo Li has probably started thinking about where he wanted to bury the body by now. Once he makes up his mind, he’ll go to that remote place the next day and dig a deep hole where he will place Ling Hu’s naked body after carrying it there in the suitcase.

There, he would open the suitcase and dump the body into the hole.

Will someone find it? Who knows? Perhaps in a few years some archaeologist would excavate it and may even call the place an ancient grave site. He may even end up contributing to some scientific discovery!

Besides, even if the police did come here to investigate the missing person, Guo Li could say that Ling Hu has left town and ask me to be his witness.

Not bad for a highly educated professor. With a little help from my end, he has quickly unleashed his excellent potential.

Between Guo Li and the end of the road, the distance has begun to widen,

 

Soon, the shadow of his car disappeared behind the dark corners of the street. Through the soft friction the tires made on the road, I could feel his hands gradually stabilize behind the steering wheel.

The cold night gale washed over me as the streetlight flashed under the blue moonlight, covering my face in a glow of greenish blue.

“But, so what?” I smiled, and then laughed.

I’m the landlord here!

 

 


[1] The Tree of Knowledge, which God said was off-limits from Adam and Eve for a good reason; it is supposed to contain knowledge of all things, including sin. The giant fruit tree grew in the centre of the Garden of Eden, a paradise-like setting. However, temptation was too strong and the Devil persuaded Eve (who later persuaded Adam) to eat the fruit. Once they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve’s innocence vanished and both were banished from the Garden of Eden for eternity.

 

[2] Some Taiwanese movie, it just happen to have the same English name as some old English movies.

 

 

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