Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 1 Book of Thunder – Chapter 45 Train Station
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 45 Train Station
“But who knew, the next night, my mother woke up again in the middle of the night. She didn’t want any water, nor did she want to go to the toilet. Instead, she just continued to wander aimlessly around her room, making strange sounds. I used a lot of effort to get her back into bed, but even so, she didn’t seem inclined to sleep at all, frowning and kicking her legs restlessly.
By the fourth day, I couldn’t control my mother when she started throwing her fit. She would yell incomprehensibly, claw at people with her nails, scratch the wall and even tried to throw herself from the bed. I called in other members of the family to help. They suspected that my mother was possessed by something bad. There’s a saying from around these parts, called ‘spirits fear the wicked’. So we got my sister to pretend to be a wicked person, steeling herself to yell my mother into submission. Afterward, combining our strengths, we managed to get my mother to calm down.
We thought that would be the end of it, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. None of us expected that night, my mother would suddenly jump out of bed and start slamming her head against the window, breaking it and scattering glass shards all across the floor. We live on the fifth floor and this just happened last night. If I hadn’t heard it and rushed over to grab her just in time, I don’t know what would’ve happened.
Mr. Wen, this incident has made me quite afraid and I immediately thought of you. My family has already gone to find experts to help but I cannot help but doubt the skill of those common mediocre Daoists.
Although it has been years since we last communicated, and I do not know if you’ve moved to a new address in the meantime, but I decided to write this letter anyway to try my luck. If you do happen to receive this letter and agree to take this case, then please hurry to Bei Ning.
Your kindness will never be forgotten.”
The letter ended there, and both Wen Jiubo and I had also gotten close to the train station.
I read and re-read the letter in my hand, feeling as if the handwriting was strangely familiar, but couldn’t tell why it was familiar.
“Your name seems fairly well known, even in Bei Ning there are people who know of you and are willing to write to you,” I mumbled, re-reading the letter again. In my mind, I automatically started analyzing the details. “The person who is requesting your help, their father recently passed away and now their mother is acting crazy. It’s strange, my grandfather passed away recently as well, and he was half-disabled for many years until he died last year—”
The words were half out of my mouth before I froze in realization. I hurriedly picked up the envelope again, staring at the messy scribble of a signature. Wen Jiubo smiled, deep and mysteriously, as he looked at me.
“Zhang Shanqiu?” I suddenly raised my head to look at Wen Jiubo. “The person who sent you this letter, is her name Zhang Shanqiu?”
“Looks that way.” Wen Jiubo replied, smiling.
“Zhang Shanqiu is my second aunt’s name!” I shoved the letter back into Wen Jiubo’s chest angrily. “No wonder I thought the wording and handwriting seemed familiar. This is my family’s business! How dare you say that it’s a case or whatever, you’re doing this deliberately aren’t you?!”
“You can’t say that. I didn’t write this letter to myself after all, and it didn’t just drop from the sky.” Wen Jiubo said, an innocent expression on his face. “This is just a normal case, and I accepted it normally too.”
“As if I’d believe you!” I snapped back, still angry, and turned to leave.
As soon as I turned away, I felt a hand close around my wrist. Wen Jiubo’s low voice sounded from behind me.
I don’t know what happened, but as soon as I heard those two words, all my anger from before seemingly vanished into thin air and I couldn’t stir myself up any longer.
Maybe subconsciously, I had been waiting for his apology.
“Maybe I accepted this case because of my own selfish reasons. I can’t accept you just up and leaving Yan City silently, without a word.”
“… Alright, I understand. Let me go.” Even though my tone had undercurrents of anger, that actual emotion was long gone.
“You agree then?” Wen Jiubo smiled harmlessly.
“A-agree to what?”
“To go home and visit the family, of course~”
“As if!” I sent a fist flying out.
Of course, this guy wouldn’t have changed for the better! Always asking to be punched!
Just like that, the two of us arrived safely at the train station and walked through to the waiting room for the train. I’ve never liked places such as train stations and the like, and even now I still couldn’t get used to it.
The noisy crowds, the unpleasant sound of luggage being dragged across the ground, and the endless stream of strangers stuck together in a tiny space, staring at each other with unfriendly faces. Wen Jiubo entered the waiting room first and sat down while I followed behind. I was just about to sit as well, but promptly had my seat stolen by a man who looked like a migrant laborer.
I stood stiffly in place while Wen Jiubo, that bastard, started laughing.
“So unlucky.” Wen Jiubo patted his knee. “Otherwise, do you want to sit on my lap?”
“No need! I’m fine standing!” That bastard actually dared to casually say something like that in public, it really drove me nuts.
“Alright, since you’ve decided, I won’t insist then.” He promptly crossed his legs at the knee and casually took up the entire space. “About the case, what are your thoughts?”
“You accepted the case, why do I have to help you think about it?” I retorted instantly.
“Well, if you say so, but this case definitely involves your family. Don’t you care at all about it? I’m afraid that when your mother withdrew you from school, it might’ve been because of this incident.”
I fell silent. Thinking back, when I picked up the call yesterday, she did indeed say something about ‘an incident at home’. At the time, I was too busy thinking about my own situation that I hadn’t really listened to what she was saying.
“It seems like… you’re not overly familiar with what’s been happening in your family.” Wen Jiubo said with realization, watching me.
“It’s not that I’m unfamiliar, more like I don’t care.” I sighed, thinking back. “I do indeed have a deceased grandfather. He was a very bad-mannered old man. For as long as I can remember, he’s had a strange illness which disabled him from the waist down. He had to have around-the-clock care. At the start, everyone in the family took turns to look after him, but we never expected the situation to go on for over ten years. Slowly, all his children had to work and look after their own children, putting distance between them and my grandfather. After that, the work of looking after my grandfather fell squarely into my grandmother’s lap.”