Chapter 3: Gossips and Red Alert

16 June, 12:30pm

Xiao Mo wanted to teach the kid a lesson.

After the police officer left, just as he was about the close the door and head upstairs, the neighbours peeping outside had already squeezed their way in. They asked if he had any inside information, since some of them witnessed the kid come into his shop just before he got hit by his car.

Xiao Mo looked at the CCTV screen and saw the kid sitting on the floor tinkling with something.

“Please wait a moment!” Xiao Mo hurriedly went upstairs; he was more worried about the kid getting hurt than him breaking something. There were some dangerous items stored at level two. With no adult supervision around him, if the kid got hurt, he could not escape responsibility.

Those neighbours told him not to worry and helped themselves with the folding chairs stacked at a corner. They gathered around leisurely and started to chit chat.

“What are you doing?” Xiao Mo asked the kid.

The kid didn’t even lift up his head and casually replied, “Working.”

“What??” Why does he not understand what the kid is talking about?

The kid ignored him while his little hands kept bringing out a variety of tools busily- some of them looked really weird- from his bag. The pair of dexterous and skillful hands then started fixing a Transformers alarm clock.

“Alright, done! There were no proper tools, so I was only able to install some simple features, but it’s definitely worth fifty dollars. You can now give me the solar charger.” The kid passed the Transformer alarm clock to Xiao Mo, kept the tools and spare parts, and stood up. As for the empty shells of the alarm clocks, he just carelessly threw them on the floor.

Xiao Mo didn’t reply and carefully looked at the transformer alarm clock. If he was not wrong, this was combined from a second-hand Transformers toy and a normal alarm clock.

“This clock can change its appearance. I don’t have the time to change into anything too complicated. If u change it to its Transformers appearance, it has the clock on its chest, and when it transforms into a car, the clock will appear at the top.”

Xiao Mo tried tinkering around with it, and indeed, it was just like what the kid said.

Wow, in just a few moments, the kid could fix the toy that could no longer transform and even added an addition function of a clock.

Is this what they call a prodigy?

Xiao Mo glanced at the kid.

The kid’s expression stayed the same throughout. He even audaciously winked at Xiao Mo.

Xiao Mo felt that he had worried for nothing. The kid did not look like he was affected by the accident in any way. Perhaps he was still too young to understand what death was.

Since the kid wasn’t affected, Xiao Mo did not want him to recall the incident. He scratched his head. After pondering for three minutes, he placed the transformer clock on the shelf and picked up the kid silently, bringing with him downstairs.

No matter where the kid came from and what he wanted, he could only now take things one step at a time. Hopefully, the kid was not used by those mean adults to do something bad. If that were the case, he would not let them off so easily!

The kid did not struggle when Xiao Mo carried him, he even clung to Xiao Mo’s neck when they went down the stairs.

“Boss Xiao, who’s kid is this?” A curious neighbour asked as Xiao Mo placed the kid down onto the counter.

“A Friend’s.” Xiao Mo nonchalantly replied. He turned on a computer game and poured the kid a cup of water.

The kid looked at the game in disdain and turned it off. He checked the computer’s hardware and software, opening up some command page and inputting various commands that Xiao Mo had never seen before.

Xiao Mo sighed and left him alone. He walked out of the counter to entertain his curious neighbours.

The kid had a really thin sense of presence. Even though he was sitting right there, nobody seemed to be aware of him. Only the clothing shop’s boss lady asked about him once. After that, nobody seemed to care about the kid and only questioned Xiao Mo on the accident, asking if he knew anything about it.

Xiao Mo just told them that the youth came into his shop wanting to buy a watermelon knife, but was rejected by him.

The neighbours weren’t satisfied. They kept asking him some nonsensical questions, such as the expression and the tone of the kid, what was his response when he refused to sell the knife, etc. They seemed to be even better at inquisition than the police.

Just as Xiao Mo was about the snap and chase them out, one of the neighbour’s- the barber shop lady’s- handphone rang. She ran out to answer the phone, and came back after a while and shouted excitedly: “Oh my gosh, something terrible happened!”

“What happened?” All eyes were on her.

The kid didn’t even budge and continued meddling with the computer.

Xiao Mo eyed the group of gossip-mongers bitterly. It seemed like there would not be any official business this whole afternoon.

“The kid that got killed today; his parents are both dead too!”

“Huh?!” Screams reverberated the whole shop.

“Zhang, quickly speak, what exactly happened?”

Xiao Mo was also stunned by the news.

“Just now, didn’t some passer-by recognize the kid? I heard that the kid lived right opposite of our street behind the park. His name was Liu Yu, and his father’s name was Liu Wan, who used to work at a robot factory in the industrial park. His mother also took on the surname of Liu, and worked at the Hao Du Mei supermarket in Xin Xin Jia Wan.” This might have been the first time the barber shop boss lady was the centre of attention, so naturally, she was a little too excited, so much so that her whole face turned red and her speech became frighteningly fast.

“Zhang, speak slower.”

“Oh! Excuse me.” Zhang slowed down her speech and continued, ”Yes, I heard that both of his grandparents are still around, but they don’t live together. I also heard that the government demolished their old house and replaced their old house with four units for them. They sold one of the units recently, so you could say that they’re pretty well off.”

Listen! Gathering information so thoroughly, not even a scrap of information was missed! Xiao Mo really admired these gossip-mongers, you only needed to chat with them for a little while before you would discover that the internal security department paled so much in comparison.

“Ding! The recycling training system installation is now completed and activated; new recycler Xiao Mo please accept stage one mission; The first recycling mission. Details of the mission: before 23:45, recycle the couple Liu Wang and Liu Yan. Failure of completion will be met with punishment, and success will lead to rewards.”

Xiao Mo turned his head suddenly, but there was no one at the counter.

Who was talking?

The cold robotic voice continued, “New recycler, if needed, you can call out the map of the location of the target and the mission details. Over.”

Xiao Mo touched his ears, did his ear infection relapsed? Was it so serious to the point that he hallucinated twice?

If not, why would there be some recycling training system asking him to recycle the Liu couple? By recycling their corpses?

Xiao Mo chuckled. Even though he was suspicious, he did not take the matter seriously. Mainly because there were too many people around, it wasn’t appropriate to say or do anything weird.

Zhang continued, “Just now there were some people who recognised the kid, but they couldn’t contact his parents, so they rushed to their home together with the police. But no one opened the door, so they found the kid’s grandparents. They haven’t informed the grandparents, and only asked them to contact the kid’s parents. But they were unable to get the couple, so the grandparents brought the keys to open the door, and once the door opened…”

Zhang paused, holding them all in suspense.

“His parents were both dead?” The boss of the hardware shop followed on. He was a little bald due to age and was surnamed Yi. He usually does business with passion and was very close to the neighbours.

Zhang was a little annoyed that someone followed him up, but seeing that it was Boss Yi, she begrudgingly let it go with a roll of her eyes.

“I heard from my friend, when the door was closed, everything seemed okay. But the moment the door opened; the stench was so strong! The police officers wouldn’t let anyone in and chased them away.”

“Just a stench? No one saw the body? How do you know that someone was dead? Are you sure they were both dead?” Xiao Mo interrupted.

Zhang saw that it was Xiao Mo that asked, and softened her toned, “My friend said that someone was guarding the door, and the kid’s grandparents were crying and yelling for their son and daughter-in-law loudly, so they guessed that the kid’s parents were both dead.”

Xiao Zhou, a hair stylist that followed Zhang, glared at Xiao Mo. Hmph, only an old man. Don’t think that just because you have a house and a car that you can eat the fresh grass, old cow! 1 Signifying an old person (usually male) flirting/ wanting to hook up with someone much younger.

“Do you know the cause of death?” Xiao Mo did not even take note of Xiao Zhou’s stare, and continued asking.

Everyone was curious too.

It was a pity, but Zhang shook her head, “My friend doesn’t know, but she heard that the body hasn’t been moved yet. The forensics had just arrived when he called me.”

“Sigh, what a shame, they were such a perfect happy family.” A couple from the clothing shop sighed in pity.

“I know right, they were perfectly fine, but all of them died suddenly?”

“Let me tell you guys,” The bubble tea shop’s boss lady had a face of mystery as she lowered down her voice, “The youth that got hit, I heard that several people witnessed it, and someone said that he had deliberately got hit.”

“Really? How could such a young man…” Boss Yi was in disbelief.

“Could it be?” there were a few speculations.

“Impossible. This guess is too wild!” Zhang could not accept such a reasoning.

“Why is it impossible? What can be impossible when we live in such a society?”

The neighbours continued to discuss and guessed the cause of death of the family.

Xiao Mo kept quiet after he asked the question. He just couldn’t figure out. He suddenly remembered- the kid’s eyes, they were abnormally red.

Finally, the neighbours were done with the gossip and left, but Xiao Mo didn’t feel like operating the shop, so he proceeded closed his doors.

Although he mourned for the family, they were not related to them. With a sigh, he decided to bury the whole incident in his mind. Everyone else also had the same thinking as him and let it pass.

“You have no escape. Those that should come will appear.”

“What?” Xiao Mo pulled down the roller shutter and turned his head, was it the kid?

“Brother, I changed my mind. How about adopting me? I am very capable.” The kid stuck his head out from behind the computer monitor.

“……”

At the same time, Xin Xin Jia Wan level three, a certain unit.

The traffic police that were supposed to contact the parents of the kid were all gone, replaced by the Interpol fully geared with guns and bullets.

“The special transportation van will be here soon. As instructed, there will be six special police force guarding the van.” Wan Cheng walked to the forensic doctor Dr Qian Yun Kai and whispered to him.

Qian Yun Kai frowned deeply and stopped the Interpol that was about to go near the two that was tied up in the room.

“What happened to the Liu Wan couple? They seemed to have contracted some infectious disease?” Wang Cheng, wearing a mask, walked around and couldn’t help but asked doctor Qian Yun Kai.

“I don’t know.”

“You are the best forensic in the city, how can you not know??”

“This is the first time I saw such a symptom.” Qian Yun Kai went near the couple to take some photos.

The moment the flash lighted up, the couple started to struggle.

“Wow, this is very tight, although it is not professional. Yun Kai, can you guess who tied them so tightly on the chair and plugged their mouth?”

“Their son.” Yun Kai looked at the time, put down the camera and turned to look at the result of the test he did just now.

Wang Cheng was surprised. “How did you know?”

“I guessed it.”

“…..” Wang Cheng rubbed his nose and stopped teasing Doctor Qian. He turned to inspect the couple carefully.

Their body had become bloated, just like they were in water for three days, fully swollen. If they weren’t identified by their parents, no one would be sure that they were actually Liu Wan and his wife.

If they were only bloated, the situation would have been not as severe, and Dr Qian would not have frowned so deeply.

But not only were they bloated, their skin was also filled with huge patches of yellow pustules. 2 Pustules are small bumps on the skin that contain fluid or pus. They usually appear as white bumps surrounded by red skin.

The pustules were mainly distributed around the lower area of the body, with some at the stomach and the back.

Luckily, the pustules have not burst, and this was the main reason why the Interpol and forensics were still in the room.

The stench coming from their bodies, akin to people who have died for quite a few days, was so potent that if not for the air condition on full blast, would have long leaked out especially at this hot and humid June weather.

The couple were tied back-to-back on two chairs.

From the marks on their bodies, they had been tied this way for at least a day already.

According to Dr Qian, there were no sign of struggle or abrasive marks, so they were tied to the chairs voluntarily.

But, why did the son stopper their mouths? Would they shout for help? If they were tied to the chair voluntarily, why would they shout for help? If they shouted, how could it have been voluntary?

Also, another suspicious point, why did he not send them to the hospital? Where was the person that tied them up? Was it their son? The youth named Liu Yu, did he commit suicide or was it really an accident? Was there anything that Liu Yu was aware of?

Suspicion point number three: why didn’t Dr Qian remove the cloth blocking the couple’s mouth? Perhaps the answer was in their mouths.

Wang Cheng was very confused; he could only wait together with his colleagues for the special transportation van to arrive.

“Inspector Wang, don’t you feel that the smell is getting stronger? Can we wait outside?” Asked an Interpol called Xiao Rui, all the while covering his nose.

Before Wang Cheng could reply, Qian Yun Kai lifted his head, “No, those already in the house cannot go out! Xiao Cheng, call the infectious disease centre, let them send two isolation vans here, quick!”

Assistant Xiao Cheng was shocked. He quickly whipped out his handphone and called.

The rest of the Interpol was also flabbergasted, especially Xiao Rui. His face was drained from colour. “Dr Qian, don’t scare me, what disease did this two get? Have we also contracted the disease?”

Qian Yun Kai did not reply, he warily looked at the simple testing apparatus, waiting for the result.

The result was finally out. Qian Yun Kai took a look and slowly closed his eyes.

“Yun Kai?” Wang Cheng walked towards him.

Qian Yun Kai took a deep breath and opened his eyes, “You can ask the van and the special police forces to go back.”

Wang Cheng frowned, from the way Yun Kai spoke, he did not feel good, but…

Qian Yun Kai turned towards the Interpol and his assistant Xiao Cheng, “I tested and found out that the Liu couple should have metallic poison. As you can see, except the mouth which I can’t check, this couple didn’t show any signs and symptoms of metallic poisoning. According to my test results, with the amount of metal compound in their bodies, they should have already died seven or eight times.”

After listening to his explanations, sighs of relief could be heard. Oh, it was only metallic poisoning, lucky. Only Wang Chen frowned. He looked towards Qian Yun Kai and knitted his brows tightly, waiting for him to continue.

“But…”

Wang Cheng looked up towards the sky. I knew it, you had something more in your sleeve.

“I hate buts.” One older Interpol mumbled.

“Me too.” Xiao Rui seconded with a crying face.

All of them nodded their heads.

Whatever information that needed to be passed down still needed to be said. Qian Yun Kai looked at all six of them. With an apologetic tone, he said: “I had an itchy hand just now and gave myself a test too.”

Wang Cheng and everyone felt a tingle of fear pass down their spines simultaneously.

“Unfortunately, within an hour, my body’s metallic content has also hit over the limit.” He sighed and continued, “Although not as high as the couple, it is still not the level a healthy person should have. I am very sure, one hour ago, my body’s metallic content level was still within a reasonable level.”

His assistance Xiao Cheng holds the handphone and ask Qian Yun Kai, “Master Qian, the Infectious Diseases Centre’s Leader Qian wants to speak to you personally.”

Qian Yun Kai paused and stretched out his hand: “Pass me the handphone. And Xiao Cheng, administer the metallic content test on everyone.”

“Yes sir.”

While Xiao Cheng started to test the rest as well as himself, Qian Yun Kai was talking to the person in charge about the Liu couple as well as his analysis.

Soon, the results were out, and as predicted, everyone had excess metallic content in their body.

Qian Yun Kai turned silent for a moment, before telling the person on the other side of the handphone: “I suspect two types of transmission methods, either direct contact or airborne.”

The person at the other side took a deep breath, “Are you sure it is airborne?”

“We have eight people here, two are outside the house, guarding. Six are inside. Only Xiao Cheng and I had physical contact with the Liu couple, but according to the test, those who do not have physical contact with the patient also have the symptoms of metallic poisoning.”

“…” There was only silence on the other side.

“So, I suggest,” Qian Yun Kai spoke slowly, “Immediately send people down to test all residents of block eleven in Xin Xin Jia Wan and Liu’s parents, as well as 100 other randomly selected residents of Xin Xin Jia Wan- they should all be tested. Also, according to the parameter’s spread, quarantine them till we have identified the source and a cure for it.”

“Ok I will send my men out…”

“This is bad!” Qian Yun Kai’s face suddenly changed colour. He turned towards Wang Cheng, “Wang Cheng, control the young boy’s body immediately! Say that I requested it, shut the morgue and close it. Anyone who has contacted the young boy will have to be quarantined, don’t tell them the reason.”

Wang Cheng awkwardly replied, “Besides us, there had been many others who have had close contact with the boy.”

Qian Yun Kai squeezed his palms, holding up his phone again and quickly telling the other side what happened, focusing on the young boy and his relationship with the Liu couple, together with the youth’s weird behaviour.

Wang Cheng was also busy calling the police station, it seemed that trouble was brewing.

About a minute passed after Qian Yun Kai finished with the youth’s issue. He then finally said, “I personally suggest to classify this issue as a Code Red.”

“Red? This… I will need to discuss it in a meeting with the relevant personnel first.”

“Dad, this absolutely cannot wait!”

“I know… Give me five minutes, you get yourself a computer and send me all the test results, as detailed as possible.”

“Understood.”

When everyone heard Qian Yun Kai say code red, they all knew that they were in deep shit!

The other side.

The kid was fidgeting here and there, and when Xiao Mo was about to probe the kid, he suddenly sneezed.

The boy turned and looked at him.

“Looks like it is getting cold, the air condition is a little too low.”

“Cold, don’t you feel that this summer is a little too early, a little hotter than the previous year? It’s only June and the temperature is already at thirty-six degrees!”

“Sss, I still feel cold. See, my ghost bumps are out.”

The kid stretched his hand and used his finger to poke those little bumps, using his finger nails to pinch them.

“Ah! Letting you know doesn’t mean you can pinch them! It doesn’t hurt for you but it hurts for me!” Xiao Mo shook the hand off his body. Rubbing his shoulder, he went to adjust the temperature of the air condition.

The boy tilted his head, then rubbed the fingers that poked Xiao Mo. He put it under his nose and took a whiff, with three parts doubt and three parts uncertainty. He glanced at Xiao Mo’s back with an indescribable look in his eyes. Suddenly the boy lifted up his brows and shouted, “Hey, let me take a look at your eyes!”

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