Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 1 School Trip
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 1 – School Trip
It was a dark, stormy night. The quiet mountainside was covered with the darkness of the night, the trees and wild grass slept quietly beneath the gentle shine of moonlight. Apart from the occasional rabbit or some other small wild animal that passed through the grass making almost inaudible rustling noises, no other sound could be heard.
“It’s broken down.” The man stood up, looking despondent. He hit the hood of the car once in frustration, his expression full of incomprehension. “This doesn’t make any sense though. I checked and the tires are fine as well the engine. Why would it break down?”
At this point, the car window rolled down slowly and a middle-aged woman stuck her head out. “Is the mountain road too steep? Maybe the wheels got stuck?”
“I don’t think so.” The man muttered, confused. “Maybe another part of the car is acting up.”
“Did you call for a tow truck?” The woman asked again.
“I’ve already called, but they’ll only arrive after dawn,” the man said, dejectedly. “Such bad luck, how did we get stuck in this godforsaken place in the middle of the night?”
The woman was just about to reassure the man when the high, thin sound of a young girl’s voice sounded from inside the car.
“Daddy, it’s really cold outside. You should come back in.”
Hearing his daughter’s voice, the man seemed to be slightly more reassured. He nodded and put the tools in his hand down, preparing to get back in the car.
However, just as he was about to pull open the car door, he suddenly stopped.
“What’s wrong now?” The woman asked, confused.
“Nothing… I just thought I heard a strange noise just now.” The man replied, wary.
“Can it be some animal?” The girl asked. “We’re in the mountains, there must be animals.”
“Maybe.” the man forcibly replied, but he still didn’t seem assured. “I should go take a look. If there are wolves or the like on this mountain, there might be trouble.”
Saying this, the man left the car, heading towards where he thought he had heard the strange noise.
The ground beneath his feet was soft dirt and either side of him were lonely trees and wild grass. The moon hung high in the sky, and no matter how he looked, there was nothing out of the ordinary.
The man let out a sigh of relief, figuring that he was thinking too much of it. He shook his head and then prepared to go back.
It was at this time that the man heard a very strange noise.
It was a low, rough-sounding breathing, in the midst of it were also a few snorting sounds.
The sound was very close to him. It was basically behind him, not even a centimeter behind his waist!
All the hairs on the man’s body stood up, and as he turned around —
“Ah — !!!”
This sharp, pained scream was heard clearly by the mother and daughter still sitting inside the car.
“That’s daddy!” The little girl yelled as she attempted to open the car door and run outside.
“Don’t!” The mother instinctively stopped the little girl’s impulsive movements. She pulled her daughter protectively into her embrace and while shaking, hid inside the car.
They both soon felt the strangeness. There was no wind outside but the grass and the leaves on the trees rustled endlessly. Following that, there were black shadows that moved past them in the dark with great speed. One black shadow, or maybe it was several black shadows, weaved in and out of the trees and grass without pause. Even though it was impossible to see them clearly, those shadows were definitely getting closer and closer.
“Don’t come here, don’t come here…” The mother held her child tightly, closing her eyes and praying silently. She didn’t know if God actually heard her prayers, but after a while, everything outside fell silent.
The mother carefully raised her head. Through the window, it looked like nothing had happened, the grass and leaves had stopped moving.
“Are they gone?” The little girl asked timidly.
The mother breathed a sigh of relief and just when she was about to reply to her daughter, the car window suddenly shattered from a sharp claw; that huge claw grabbed the woman without mercy. Before she even had a chance to scream, her heart had been punctured through, her blood painting the car windows.
One big green eye looked in through the window, rolling around before finally looking towards the little girl inside the car.
“Ah — !!!”
It had already been a few weeks since I left Bei Ning to return to school. My day-to-day life had gotten back to about as normal as it could be – I went to and from class each day, spending my time on classes and homework. During the weekend, when I had time, I would accompany Shi Yitong and Su Xiaoyun shopping. Due to my eye for clothing, forcibly developed from a young age by my mom, Su Xiaoyun was more than willing to shop for clothes with me. Poor Shi Yitong though, he was relegated to being a bag holder for his Goddess, and he bitched about it incessantly.
Every week I would take some time to go to the old residence at least once. However, it seemed like Wen Jiubo hadn’t received any cases recently. He spent his days looking after patients and selling medicines. If there were too many customers, he would do as he liked and hang a wooden sign that read ‘closed’ and then curl in his bedroom to play ranking matches in his game. Bai, who was a hyperactive ferret, often just darted around everywhere. Apparently, a few days back, he had been chased out of someone else’s house with a broom, when he tried to steal their alcohol. Not only that, he took to running over to my school, making it so that everyone in my class now knew that I had a ferret for a pet.
And so, time passed steadily. In the blink of an eye, it was already almost November. It was also at that time that our long-awaited mid-term school trip was about to begin.
School trips were Yan City University’s tradition that could only be enjoyed by first-year students and the travel costs were borne by the school. Of course, we couldn’t go anywhere too far or too beautiful, remaining around Yan City to do mountain climbing or swimming and then after the trip, there would be a mound of homework assigned. However, no matter the amount of homework, it was still not enough to get rid of the student’s excitement towards the trip. This past couple of days, everyone had been discussing the upcoming trip with excitement.
“I think they said we were going to Mt. Wuyi!”
“How is that possible, the school wouldn’t let us go that far.”
“What do you mean? I overheard that we were going to Gui Ling when I was outside my homeroom teacher’s office!”
“Don’t get carried away, I heard that we were going to Mt. Xiaoyao, isn’t that place very close?”
“Man, none of you are even remotely close. I’ll tell you now, my homeroom teacher said we were going to the beach!”
At this time, our classroom door was pushed open and the heated arguments in the room immediately all stopped. Everyone looked towards our homeroom teacher with palpable expectation.
Our homeroom teacher was a forty or so year old woman who wore glasses and looked fairly capable and experienced. She put her teaching materials onto the lectern and cleared her voice.
“Even though class is in session, but I know that you’re all quite interested about the school trip. We just got a heads up from upper management and I’ve come immediately to tell you. Firstly, the gathering time for the trip is this Saturday at two-thirty in the afternoon, everyone must report to the school entrance on time. The school bus will leave at three, if you don’t make it then we’re leaving you behind. Understand?”