Chapter 54.1

Yi-soo, unfamiliar with the technical jargon, instinctively posed questions. Detective Ahn responded with composure.

  • Indeed. Various forms of asphyxiation exist, such as strangulation, neck compression, and airway obstruction… Put simply, strangulation occurs when the air passages, namely the nose and mouth, are obstructed, leading to fainting or even death. It’s a subtle method.


  • Upon close examination, we observed microscopic superficial bleeding and epidermal detachment on your sister’s chin, jaw, and left cheek. Additionally, evidence of teeth compression within the mouth surfaced. While a more detailed autopsy is required for precision, it appears the assailant possibly utilized a pillow or cushion to block the victim’s nose and mouth, inducing unconsciousness.
  • Typically, adults instinctively resist such actions. This is evident from the presence of fiber fragments beneath the victim’s nails… Despite the tight restraint inflicted by the assailant, no DNA was detected on the victim’s body. This complicates the investigation considerably.

When Detective Ahn inquired about potential suspects, Yi-soo found herself at a loss for words. While in the past, she had concealed a USB to protect her sister, now she was compelled to delve into the intricacies of the case.

Strangely, the three syllables “Yoon & Kang” seemed reluctant to escape her lips. Yi-soo shifted her gaze towards the bag containing the USB. After a prolonged moment of pursing her lips, she finally responded.

“I still don’t know. I’ll give it more thought and get back to you, Se-young.”

  • Of course. You must have been very shocked. Take a break after work and rest well. It might take some time to calm down… While we maintain a professional partnership, I also have a personal concern for Prosecutor Seo. Almost like a younger brother, you know. Well, I might be oversharing. I’ll contact you once there’s progress in the investigation.

“Thank you, Se-young.”

Even amid the weight of a grim crime scene, Detective Ahn consistently uplifted the spirits of his colleagues. Yi-soo smiled faintly, recognizing the sentiments embedded in his words.

As she pressed the end call button, a hush settled over the office. There remained 30 minutes until the conclusion of lunchtime. On the computer screen, the incomplete indictment blinked incessantly. The mouse cursor flashed with each passing second.

Yi-soo found herself gazing blankly at the screen, her mind devoid of any coherent thoughts. Desperate to evade the haunting memories of Su-jeong’s demise, she threw herself even more fervently into her work, relying on sleeping pills to hasten her escape into slumber each night.

The relentless replay of Su-jeong’s final moments persisted unless she immersed herself in something else. She had pushed herself to the brink, subjecting herself to a near-torturous mental strain. In this moment, an immense, gaping void opened in the recesses of her chest, leaving her feeling hollow and agitated. A solitary tear, crystal clear, traced a path down her cheek.

It was a tear she had resisted shedding since Su-jeong’s departure. Whenever her eyes reddened, she fought to stifle the tears, suppressing the impending sadness with sheer willpower. Despite the revelation of all the painful truths, she struggled to release her pent-up emotions. Memories of words once spoken to Hyun-seong resurfaced in her mind.

“If it’s not okay, say it’s not okay. When you want to cry… just cry. Don’t hold it in.”

Now, in this vulnerable state, she found herself unable to cry as freely as she had imagined. She pondered what kind of reaction he might have if he witnessed her in this fragile state. Would he gently reprimand her, pointing out the irony of imposing expectations on others that she couldn’t uphold for herself? Or perhaps, with casual kindness, would he advise her to release the burden, if only for a moment, if she couldn’t bear it?

Drip by drip, tears stained the pristine white memo pad. Yi-soo lowered her wet eyelashes and closed her eyes. Even as she wiped away the tears, a single name echoed persistently in her ears, like an auditory hallucination.

“…Yoon Hyun-seong.”

Damn it, missing him is unbearable.



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