Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
It was almost noon. The bell that signaled lunch had not yet sounded, indicating the class before lunch was still in session.
The sun was shining down from above, creating large shadows between the two buildings. There was no one outside of campus.
The campus security had already begun to wash away the bloodstains in the student square, wetting the entire cobblestone pavement.
From the bottom of Teaching Building No. 3, they could occasionally hear the high and low voices of teachers giving lectures. The voices floated back and forth in the cold corridor, but there was no sense of activity. Because of the occasional clear sound of people’s voices, it made the surrounding area feel too quiet.
The old iron door on the roof of the top of the teaching building was pushed open once more.
At the place where Xu Haozhen jumped off the building, there were two police officers who were doing a final investigation. The sudden movement of the iron chain and the door caused the two of them to shudder violently.
They turned their heads and saw two people step into the sun.
“Xing… Captain Xing?” One of the police officers recognized the person and couldn’t help but sigh with relief.
“How’s the scene?” Xing Conglian walked in front of the two of them. He had clearly seen the live broadcast of the suicide. It was clear that there were no other people present on the rooftop, but he still wanted to ask this question.
The sunlight was blindingly bright. He raised his head and looked straight ahead. Because of the angle of the sunlight, the shadow of the teaching building on the opposite side had covered the surveillance camera on the roof of the other building. He had to look closely in order to find it.
The angle of the camera had been adjusted. It seemed as if everything was normal, as if it had never been modified in the first place.
“It should be suicide. Judging from the footprint analysis, there was no trace of shoving.” One of the police officers stood up as he replied.
It was just that although the police officer answered like that, he had a difficult expression on his face, and he looked hesitant to speak more.
Xing Conglian keenly noticed his slightly open mouth, so he asked, “What’s wrong? What happened just now?”
“This matter…” The police officer took off his hat and jerked his hair before putting it back on again. He looked irritable. “Just now, the school leaders came over and quarreled with Boss Jiang downstairs, saying that we’re incompetent and didn’t handle the case well to prevent the students from committing suicide…”
“Can we be blamed for this? This is on the school’s mental health resources,” The other police officer interjected.
Seeing the depressed looks of the two of them, who couldn’t hold back their complaints, they imagined that the quarrel downstairs was probably extremely fierce.
However, the school leaders wouldn’t just accuse the police without reason.
Xing Conglian didn’t ask but turned subconsciously to look for Lin Chen’s figure. As soon as he turned his head, he almost shouted in fright.
He didn’t know when Lin Chen had moved and was standing on the edge of the rooftop.
The long wind was fierce and passed across the sky. Lin Chen’s clothes and his hair were chaotically blown by the wind, as if the next moment he would be picked up by it.
Suddenly, a scene from a long time ago appeared in Xing Conglian’s mind.
It was also the same kind of wind and this kind of person. At that time, the railing on the bridge broke, and he watched as the young man in white plunged downward.
Xing Conglian’s face turned ashen. He took a few hurried steps forward and came quietly behind Lin Chen. Just as he was about to stretch out his hand and hook it around Lin Chen, it seemed as if Lin Chen had eyes on the back of his head as he suddenly turned around.
For a while, Xing Conglian and Lin Chen were extremely close, and the shadows cast by the building were like ink, obscuring Lin Chen’s face and making it unclear.
“It feels scary to stand here, right?” Lin Chen asked suddenly.
“You, come down first. Don’t do anything dangerous.”
Xing Conglian took another step forward, trying to grab onto him, but Lin Chen cleverly avoided his hand.
Because Xing Conglian was standing on the edge of the rooftop, he followed Lin Chen’s voice and subconsciously looked down.
The wind was getting stronger.
Looking down from that height, it felt much higher than he expected.
“Why do you think she was so happy to jump from here?” Lin Chen asked.
“You, come down first.”
“Actually, something like that exists.”
“Something that excites you, makes you happy, makes you feel omnipotent, as if you can do anything, and makes it impossible for you to never leave it…”
As Lin Chen spoke, his dark eyes had a hint of brightness in them, as if there were light in them.
In Xing Conglian’s ears, there was only the sound of a strong wind. He looked at Lin Chen’s mouth and then at his expression. Knowing that Lin Chen was talking about something very important, he still couldn’t disparage the memories that kept infiltrating his mind.
Xing Conglian discovered that he was indeed afraid of what Lin Chen was saying.
He quickly stretched out his hand and held Lin Chen’s arm, trying to pull him away from the edge, but he missed again and lost Lin Chen’s figure from his sight.
The sense of fear was like a kiss from a viper, making it feel as if he had fallen into an ice chest that froze him solid.
“How does the adrenaline feel?”
A quiet voice came from under Xing Conglian.
Hearing this, Xing Conglian quickly lowered his head and found that Lin Chen was sitting on the edge of the rooftop.
The posture was exactly the same as Xu Haozhen’s before she jumped off the building.
Xing Conglian took a deep breath. He saw a sly smile on Lin Chen’s face, like a child who had succeeded in his prank. That smile disappeared in a flash, and Xing Conglian suddenly felt the urge to drag him home and beat him severely.
It was just that this idea of punishment also passed in a flash.
“Exhilarating,” Xing Conglian said coldly.
It was exciting; very exciting. Too exciting.
Xing Conglian’s voice was low, like the dull sound of ice rubbing against each other as they floated in the sea.
Lin Chen turned his head and saw that Xing Conglian’s expression was terrible. He held an obvious fear in his eyes.
He hurriedly turned around, grabbed the edge of the roof, and wanted to get up. The next second, his eyes went dark, and he only felt a huge force coming from his waist before he landed on the hard concrete ground.
Lin Chen’s knees went weak, and he subconsciously held onto Xing Conglian’s chest as he took two deep breaths.
Xing Conglian was silent.
Lin Chen let go of his hand and raised his head quickly, only to see that Xing Conglian’s eyes had changed to a dark green color and his pupils were enlarged. His complexion was livid, and his aura was terrifying.
That was something Lin Chen had never seen before.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have used you as a reference.” He hurriedly apologized.
Lin Chen’s gesture was sincere, and his voice was soft enough that Xing Conglian couldn’t get angry. “Reference what? What you were talking about just now? Why do I feel as if you’re talking about some kind of drug?”
“In fact, it’s very similar. The physiological mechanism of drugs is to activate the euphoric center of the brain, stimulating the rapid release of dopamine and giving rise to that euphoric feeling. Norepinephrine*, for example, will excite your peripheral nerves and cause your heart to beat faster, making you excited.” Lin Chen pushed Xing Conglian away and took two steps back from the edge of the rooftop. “Whether it’s Wang Shishi or Xu Haozhen, they all looked extremely happy and satisfied when they died.”
*Another term for noradrenaline. It’s an organic chemical in the brain and body that mobilizes the brain and body for action.
“But I remember that in the autopsy report, there was no mention of alcohol or drugs being detected in their bodies,” Xing Conglian said.
“From a psychological point of view, it’s not just drugs and alcohol. When you consume food, fall in love, or even have sex, the brain will secrete these substances to make you happy and give you that ‘high’ feeling. This is the essential mechanism of human addiction,” Lin Chen said. “Pleasure is something that humans can’t refuse. In order to continuously pursue such a pleasant and stimulating feeling, many people begin to drink alcohol, take drugs, and increase their promiscuity…”
“So Wang Shishi and Xu Haozhen are both pursuing the ultimate pleasure, even the pleasure of death?” Xing Conglian suddenly remembered the expressions of the three young people who looked like they were lost in ecstasy in the sex tape. Indeed they weren’t only providing a sense of pleasure for those on the dark web, but they themselves were also enjoying such extreme pleasure.
Thinking of this, Xing Conglian shuddered.
“However, the question is whether everyone dares to deviate from normal moral norms and dare to pursue that kind of pleasure. Otherwise, the workload of the police will increase exponentially.” Lin Chen was no longer making a fuss. He didn’t wait for Xing Conglian to ask questions but just explained it. “You can use Freud’s most classic psychodynamic theory to explain this problem.” Lin Chen paused for a moment and met Xing Conglian’s gaze. “Our personality is divided into ‘id’, ‘ego’ and ‘super-ego’*. For example, the ‘id’ is at the bottom of the personality and is composed of innate instincts and desires. You can think of it as a wild horse. The ‘super-ego’ is the top level of the personality, following moral principles and suppressing the impulses of the ego, as if it were the rule of the road. Finally, the ‘ego’ is in the center. You can think of the ego as the rider who’s riding on the wild horse. If there is a problem with the rider, the wild horse will go on a rampage and disregard the rules, resulting in mental illness…”
*Set of three concepts in psychoanalytic theory describing distinct, interacting agents in the psychic apparatus. You can read more about it in the Wikipedia but basically, the id is the innate desire that acts based on pleasure principle, the super-ego reflects and internalizes cultural rules of society, while the ego regulates and balance the two by acting according to reality principle (i.e. it seeks to pleasure the id through realistic means conforming to the super-ego).
Xing Conglian suddenly understood what Lin Chen meant. “In other words, Wang Shishi and the others were unable to regulate themselves, making them addicted to the pursuit of the ‘id’ desires?”
“Do you still remember the earth-shattering changes that happened to them?” Lin Chen asked.
“They have lost themselves. The Xu Haozhen you see is not the real Xu Haozhen.”
The sun was blocked by the clouds, pushing the shadows forward, and the wind was biting cold.
Xing Conglian was momentarily speechless. He eventually stabilized his breathing and then asked, “Why?”
What was it that could cause humans to lose themselves?
Lin Chen didn’t answer this question because any answer related to it was extremely dangerous. He looked at the woods in the distance and the sparking lake at the end.
At that moment, the bell rang, signaling the end of class.
Suddenly, music from the radio began to play, signifying the start of lunch. At first, it was just a slight piano sound, as if dew was dripping from the branches. Gradually, the noise became more intense and high-pitched, like countless streams converging and colliding. They blended together and tore each other apart before finally rushing into the sea.
“Please be sure to remind Jiang Chao that the people we’re about to face act in pursuit of instinctive pleasure, without shame, without morality, and may even become lawless…” Lin Chen said.
“The next live broadcast will be very dangerous, right?”
Lin Chen looked down at the campus under his feet and said, “Yes, they aren’t even afraid of the gun in your hand, but do you dare shoot them?”
Reminds me of adrenaline junkies, though it doesn’t seem to be listed as an addiction.
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