Ming-Hoa’s sight was darkening as he felt the pressure of Chow’s hands around his neck strengthen. Soon he would be reunited with Cuifen he thought for an eternity or at least until only their bones were left. Ming-Hoa believed that once the flesh was gone, the consciousness of the person was also gone unlike the other villagers who believed that the life energy ceased to exist once the breath had gone. He could feel the blood beat at his temples as he mechanically gasped for breath. Suddenly he felt himself freed from Chow’s clutch. Those restraining Ju-Long had come to his rescue and pulled her off him. The women came over to try and reason with Chow so that she would stop trying to go back and strangle Ming-Hoa.
Slowly it would seem that Chow had been reasoned into passivity, so the men returned to their rolling of the coffin on the platform. Somehow none of them felt it was safe enough to directly haul the coffin over their shoulders like they would normally do. Besides, with all the marble of the coffin it was easier to roll it to the graveyard than carry it. Ming-Hoa who was now freed from Chow’s vice-like grip was wailing and following Cuifen’s coffin, uttering from time to time nonsensical whimpers that sounded like muffled words. Eu-Meh thought she could hear something like “Three drops of blood”… “One minute you were”… “body so pure “… “why did you tear” “my ponytail”. She wondered whether Ming-Hoa had attempted to abuse Cuifen and subsequently murdered her when she refused. It all seemed so logical. She should remember to mention that to the police when they would come.
There was no policeman in their village, just one in the nearby village and it would take a day or two for him to come over. She knew that the inquest would have to be handled by more than just that policeman so he would need to wait for the other ones to arrive from the city. This could take another two or three days so the inquest would only start around a week from then. She wondered whether it was wise to already bury Cuifen and have her dug out when the inquest started. There had been one other murder a long time ago and although the murderer had been known, the inquest had still decided that the body must be dug up to corroborate the way the murder had been carried out and the murderer who had been responsible for that murder. She wondered whether she should ask the villagers to stop the burial but realized that everybody seemed to want to be rid of the sight of Cuifen dead.
Chow who had now been relatively quietened by the women was now following Eu-Meh. This latter slowed down so Chow could catch up with her. Without a word Eu-Meh put a reassuring arm around Chow sustaining her frame as she could see that the normally stoic Chow was very near to collapsing.
I think I know who killed Cuifen, she said in a hoarse whisper, but promise me you will not do anything if I tell you.