Part One

Her scream rang throughout the entire village.

The woman's cry seized everyone's attention, drawing children and neighbors to her. She stood outside her home, crying, with her face in her hands. The crowd around her began to grow. Below, little children pushed their way through to get to the front, tripping and stumbling as the scrambled for the house. As they finally broke the crowd, they froze.

The house's wooden door lay within, cast upon bloody floor boards. Beside it, was an man on the ground. It looked as if it was ripped off its hinges and thrown to ground. Leading into the house were a set of red footprints, stopping with the man's own feet.

He lay facedown, both arms and legs still. His arms were covered in blood, casting out from deep cuts. Similarly, his legs were slashed, but instead of straight, deep cuts, these looked as if they were scratched by fingers, drawing a small stream of blood. The once-white shirt he wore was torn and dirty, and his bare feet were scraped raw and dripping blood. As they looked closer, they noticed his head was turned to the side, showing his face. His expression was blank, and his eyes were open. His irises were gone, leaving only the black pupil.

Despite his bloody body and blank expression, they could see that he was still breathing, but only as shallow, rapid breaths. Some of the older women in the crowd quickly rushed to the front and steered the children back toward their homes.

The crowd slowly began to spread out. Many started to talk with friends while others pushed to get a closer look. Three women of the crowd approached the house and went to the woman. "Mei, are you alright?"

Mei looked up from her husband. Her tears fogged her vision, but she could tell it was one of her friends she knew since they were both children. She stood shaking and didn't move from the door.

"What happened..." she muttered. She had just seen her husband, maybe an hour before, on his way to the rice fields. As they greeted each other, they hugged and talked for a moment. He looked as healthy as she did right now. But now, he lay unconscious, and covered with bloody wounds. His eyes, which should be brown, now just black and white.

"I... I don't understand. What could of happened..." Her thought trailed off. She wore a mask of despair and shock, with tears streaming from her eyes.

"It's okay, Mei." An older woman of the group gently tried to console her. "It will be-"

"Get BACK!" she yelled, and pushed the other women away. She rushed towards the house, shoving anyone around her. Before she could get inside, someone grabbed her arm and stopped her.

"LET ME GO!" she yelled. Mei looked back, seeing her older brother, Shen, holding her arm firmly. Roughly, he grabbed her by the shoulders and then softened. His face was serious, but sympathetic.

"Mei! Stay calm." As he spoke, he looked into her eyes and then hugged her tightly. She returned the embrace, and then finally calmed down. As Mei pulled up a stool and sat down, Shen walked back to the men gathered around the house and spoke to them.

After conversing, three men separated from the group and walked into the house. They heaved it up, and then set it leaning in its original position, blocking the interior of the small house. "I've already called someone, Mei, just wait. They are coming as fast as they can."

After half an hour, two police cars and an ambulance arrived. There were three police officers, and two paramedics from the ambulance. The medics ran towards the small house and went inside to inspect the man. Meanwhile, the police officers split up, one went to inspect the house's exterior, another to the crowd, and the last to Shen and Mei.

"Who is it that called?" asked the police officer.

"It was me," spoke Shen. "This is my sister, Mei." He gestured towards her. She looked up from the ground and faced the police officer.

"Hmm," he nodded. Then he turned to Mei and said "How was the scene when you arrived?"

"Exactly how it is, with... my husband... on the ground... but... " She stopped and looked at the house again. Suddenly, her eyes filled with tears and started crying.

"The inside was the same," continued Shen, "but the door was lay-"

"WILL HE BE OKAY?" she yelled, and then grabbed the officer. "ARE THEY HELPING HIM?" She started to shake him, rocking him back and forth forcefully by his shoulders.

"MEI!" yelled Shen. He grabbed her, and then said, "It will be alright. They can help him...He will be okay." Then he hugged her again and sat her down. He faced the officer and looked in the eye.

"Officer," said Shen softly, "the house was exactly the way it was when Mei found it, but the door was laying on the mat, right beside the man. We put it up because there was a crowd." As he stopped talking, another officer ran to them and whispered something in the first policeman's ear. Then he ran to the other officer in the crowd and also whispered something. They spoke a little, and then he ran to the ambulance.

"What did he say?" Mei quickly rose up from the stool and stared at the officer. Her eyes started to fill with tears. "Is it about him?"

"Uhm, yes." Then he pulled out his phone and started to dial a number.

"WHAT HAPPENED?" she yelled. She started to walk towards the officer. "WHAT DID HE SAY?"

"Calm down. It wasn't about his status, but how he became like that. My team found evidence behind the house, with his blood and some cloth, the same kind as his shirt."

"So someone attacked him? No one would do that." she mumbled to herself. "He was always liked by everyone he met."

"No ma'am" he replied. "No one attacked your husband. The scene behind your house held no other foot prints than your husband, and all his blood was where he went and stepped. However, we also have witnesses that tell us that he was acting very strangely. All our evidence points to the possibility that wounds were self inflicted."

The sorrow sun continued to travel down its course, causing the light to fall slowly. The two medics hurried from the ambulance and entered the house. They set down their tools and inspected the man. After quickly examining his wounds, they turned him over and checked his pulse.

"Wei, pulse?"

"... 239 resting beats per minute." started Wei.

"Are you sure?" The other medic, Tao, pushed him out of the way, and checked his pulse.

"250 BPM... it's rising. Is it because of the shock?" Tao asked.

"I don't know. I've never seen this before... anyway, get his wounds wrapped..." Wei looked down and glanced at the wounds. "NOW." The wounds had started to bleed, as if they were cut open again. "What's happening‽ Get him wrapped now! We need to get him to a hospital!" The wounds now have started to get bigger, opening skin, cutting veins, and spilling blood. "GET ME A TOURNIQUET NOW!".

The straw mat was beginning to puddle with blood, but the man's BPM stayed constant at 250. The two men bound two tourniquets around his right arm and leg. The flow of blood slowed, but it still kept on.

"Get a stretcher!" yelled Wei. Tao ran out and called out to the three other police. When he came back, he wheeled a stretcher in and, together, Wei and Tao lifted the man on. "Strap him in." They grabbed the belts attached to the stretcher and began to belt him in. Suddenly, as they turned to look at the tourniquets, the blood flow halted. The man's skin quickly paled.

"PULSE!" yelled Wei. Tao fumbled with the tourniquets and checked the pulse at the neck.

"... 250 BPM... same." Wei looked at him with shock and paused. Suddenly, Tao picked at the bandages and took them off. The blood flow was halted and the wound looked like it has been rinsed with water, fresh, but no blood. "I have never seen this before. Bring him to the ambulance." Before they moved, Tao quickly pulled off the tourniquets.

"NO! DON-" Wei stopped.