Statement Begins Edit
Second Lieutenant Charles Fleming served on the HMS Nemesis during the First Opium War. The captain and crew committed many atrocities against the Chinese during that time, including drowning prisoners out of pure cruelty. Fleming notes that he began to see the faces of the dead following him in his reflection, and hear them singing at night when he tried to sleep.
The Nemesis eventually sank into the Canton River, and Fleming was the only survivor. When he escaped the ship, he saw it sink into dark water far deeper than the river should've been, and the water was full of corpses.
Fleming remained in China instead of trying to return to England, and became an opium addict. When the Taiping Rebellion began, he was trapped in Anqing and resorted to eating human flesh to survive the siege. He was eventually able to escape by dint of his British uniform, while the rest of the city's population was put to death by the conquering army.
Fleming resorted to wandering China, which was by then devastated by the Taiping Rebellion. He felt the ghosts of all those he had ever killed following him. At one point, he was captured by some thieves who hoped to ransom a foreign officer. Before he thieves could agree on which side would pay the better ransom, the ghosts tore them to pieces, but left Fleming alive.
During his travels, he passed Henzhou, where the entire population had flung themselves into a lake rather than wait to be executed by the occupying army. Fleming claims he was able to walk three hundred meters from the shore on the backs of the tightly-packed bodies.
Eventually, Fleming found a shrine where the names of the ghosts who followed him were engraved on the walls. He stopped to write out his statement, and left it there, hoping that when he left the shrine the ghosts would finally kill him.
Jon is shaken by the brutality of the statement, and hopes out loud that the most horrifying elements were just supernatural hallucinations. Still, Fleming's account doesn't seem related to the Stranger or the Circus, and he almost gives up the Pu Songling Research Center as a dead end before he notices that Xiongling has given him the wrong file.
Upon checking the records again, Xiongling confirms that Gertrude had read Fleming's statement in 2004. The two files Gertrude accessed in 2014 had been forwarded to an American address and never returned to Beijing. She gives Jon the address, and he thanks her profusely.