Fang Lei didn’t take the little boy’s words seriously at first. Who would listen to a dog? He thought it was entirely a whimsical idea of the little boy, just like something told in many fairy tales. But when he left the village of Lingshui and returned to Songjia Village, he unconsciously walked to the Lingshui River.
The weather this year was unusually cold and the Lingshui River had long since frozen over. The dark surface of the ice seemed to be bottomless under the sunlight, and Fang Lei knew that this was because the river was polluted. He stared at the ice in a daze, wondering why the words that the boy had said came back to his mind. “Ah Huang said that the water in the river was poisonous and his stomach hurt when he drank it.” The words seemed like a magic spell that kept spinning in his head. In a flash of intuition, Fang Lei thought of something and found a tool to cut through the ice to get some water and instructed his men to take it back and test it.
The test results soon came out. The water quality in the Lingshui River was the same as that in the well water, the cyanide limit in both exceeded the standard, and even the cyanide content in both was exactly the same. After finding out that the river had flooded several times due to heavy summer rains, Fang Lei guessed what the poisoning was all about. To prove his point, he had the nearby soil and groundwater tested and determined that they were contaminated with exactly the same toxic substances as those in the well water.
The so-called “poisoning” accident could be said to have been self-inflicted by the people of Songjia Village, caused by the plastic factory that had previously ceased production.
After hearing what Fang Lei said, all the people in Songjia were stunned. Song Wancai reacted the most, “It wasn’t poisoned, but we did it ourselves?”
Fang Lei nodded; he was relieved when the results came out. The social impact of environmental pollution poisoning was different from that of someone deliberately poisoning a large area; the latter could easily cause panic among the people, and if the case couldn’t be solved at once, it could be a big problem.
Out of the goodness of his heart, Fang Lei didn’t forget to remind the villagers, “I’m afraid these lands can’t be planted for a year or two, there are too many toxic substances in the soil, and even if they are planted, the harvest will be bad.”
“What, even the land can’t be planted?”
As soon as he finished speaking, the village immediately erupted. Since the plastic factory had closed down, people in the village were discussing whether they should rent out their land like Lingshui and Shigouhe, so that they could make some money. Now when they heard that they couldn’t farm the land, the income would be lost again, wouldn’t it?
Fang Lei looked at them helplessly. He was a police officer solving cases, not the one to lead the villagers to get rich. This kind of thing couldn’t be solved by talking to him. “All right, that’s it for this case. You guys pay attention not to go to the well to draw water, and notify everyone in the village that no one was doing anything criminal behind this case.”
After saying this, Fang Lei didn’t stay in Songjia Village much longer. He still had to go back and write a report. After driving out of the village, Fang Lei hesitated for a few seconds and turned in the direction of Lingshui Village. For the past two days he had been thinking about that big yellow dog. He should not have believed in this, but for some reason, the words that the little boy said always came back to his mind. And the way the little boy and the big yellow dog got along made him think: what if it was true?
Fang Lei drove all the way to Lingshui Village and saw the little boy and the big yellow dog again from afar. The boy and the dog were squatting in front of a small courtyard by the road, talking about something, and from his angle it really looked like they were communicating.
Fang Lei thought he must be crazy.
Dong Xiaolei was quite happy to see Fang Lei again. He had lost his father a long time ago and his impression of his dad was only from the photos. But Dong Xiaolei felt that his dad should have been like Fang Lei, going around catching bad guys and looking majestic.
“Hello, Uncle Policeman.”
Fang Lei smiled, “Hello, Xiao Shi. What are you doing? Waiting to catch the bad guy again?”
Dong Xiaolei pouted and shook his head, “The bad guy complained to Brother Xiao Xi. Brother Xiao Xi doesn’t let Ah Huang bully people and said he wanted to give the bad guy a chance to correct himself.” Perhaps it was because the first time they met Fang Lei was wearing a police uniform, Dong Xiaolei trusted him a lot and wasn’t at all wary.
“Brother Xiao Xi is right, bad guys should be punished for their mistakes, but if they admit their mistakes, they should be given a chance to correct themselves.” Fang Lei said patiently. He also felt that Dong Xiaolei’s behaviour of letting the dog scare people was inappropriate. If no one controlled him, the boy would grow up to be a real bear kid (bear kids – naughty, ignorant and uneducated children).
Dong Xiaolei’s eyes flashed, “Then how do we know the bad guy is really admitting his mistake? What if he lies to me?”
Fang Lei had a bit of a headache with this question; he had never dealt with such a young child before. Were all children nowadays so smart? Fang Lei deliberated, “This depends on the attitude of the bad guy admitting his mistake…”
One big and one small guy squatted there and talked. Dong Xiaolei seemed to be very interested in catching the bad guys, asking questions around the topic. Fang Lei finally found an opportunity to shift the topic to Ah Huang, and Dong Xiaolei immediately became hesitant. After telling the uncle policeman about Ah Huang before, Dong Xiaolei regretted it. Brother Xiao Xi said that this was his secret with Ah Huang and he shouldn’t tell others casually.
“Uncle Policeman, I’m going home to eat.”
Dong Xiaolei got up and ran, with Ah Huang following him in a flash. Fang Lei looked at him with a smile. This kid, playing such a trick on him; he wondered if the adults had instructed him to do so. Fang Lei thought about that crazy idea of his and shook his head.
For several days in a row, Fang Lei came to Lingshui Village to look for Dong Xiaolei when he had free time. Children in the village usually didn’t go to kindergarten, they went straight to primary school when they reached the age. Dong Xiaolei was five years old, not yet old enough to go to primary school, and every day he just ran around the village with Ah Huang. Because his friends thought he was a liar, no one would play with him. Dong Xiaolei didn’t mind either, he had Ah Huang and Brother Xiao Xi, and now he had an extra uncle policeman.
Although the policeman uncle looked nice, Dong Xiaolei remembered Lu Lingxi’s instructions not to talk about Ah Huang anymore. But what did Fang Lei do? He got the words out of his mouth without much effort. It was just that Fang Lei still couldn’t believe it. How could people communicate with animals? Was it only such a special case as Xiao Shi or could other people do it too?
He had a vague idea that if the police dogs in the team could also communicate with people, it would be so convenient to solve crimes and catch thieves in the future. His frequent appearances had long been on Xu San’s radar. Xu San suspected that Fang Lei was a human trafficker and wondered if there were rumours of lost children nearby. But Xu San didn’t tell Uncle Li; instead he quietly kept an eye on Fang Lei. He was hoping that if Fang Lei was really a trafficker, he would jump in and save Xiao Shi at a critical moment and reverse his impression in Xiao Shi’s mind. He would not have to be chased by Ah Huang every day and get scared to death.
Everyone had different thoughts, but Lu Lingxi didn’t know this. The number of times he came to the plant nursery recently wasn’t much. Wang Shuxiu and Xiao Feng would soon be married and Lu Lingxi was a bit busy, so he entrusted all the plant nursery matters to Uncle Li and called every day or two.
He heard Uncle Li say that the people in Songjia Village were all right. After being discharged from the hospital this time, the village people scolded Song Wancai. They all thought it was him who disregarded everyone’s health for the sake of money, and now that something had happened, it was Song Wancai’s responsibility. Lu Lingxi felt that Song Wancai had been wronged. His opinion wasn’t asked when the village was making money, but he was the one who took the blame when things went wrong.
Songjia’s case was so big that Fengcheng TV station made a special news feature on the importance of environmental protection. There were rumours in Fengcheng that the city government was going to ban all kinds of small factories in the suburbs, and that it would continue to pay close attention to environmental protection next year.
Amidst all these rumours, the purification of the Lingshui River’s situation was on the agenda.