Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 19 The Story About The Past
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 19 The Story About The Past
(Continued from the last chapter)
I did not know how far I had run, but I did not stop until I was exhausted. It was then that I found that the monster had stopped chasing me, it seemed that it could not enter this area. The demon howled a few times with unwillingness and left.
I took a long breath and sat on the muddy ground of the bamboo forest, exhausted. Only one thought occurred to me: I escaped, I‘m alive.
Then I thought of the cat. Why was there a cat that mysteriously showed up and later disappeared?
16th April 1961
The next day, I went to the bamboo forest again.
I had thought it over, how was it possible for an ordinary wildcat to lead the way for a human? The cat had to be a demon.
I could not sleep at night when I thought that the cat I met was possibly a demon. If it was a demon, it could harm humans; as a Fuling priest, I was responsible for finding out the truth.
The bamboo forest was still peaceful. I could hardly hear anything except for the sound of the wind and rustling bamboo leaves. However, when I turned around, I saw a beautiful girl standing behind me, her big black eyes shining like stars.
I froze for a moment and forgot what I had planned to say. She then smiled at me.
“Are you lost?” She asked.
20th April 1961
Since that day, I could not help but go to the forest almost every day. After walking through the bamboo forest and crossing a stream, that beautiful girl was always there, waiting near a giant bamboo.
There was a good connection between us, and we talked a lot. She told me fun stories about demons in the forest, and I listened to her quietly with a smile. I did not tell her who I was. Instead, I told her that I was only an ordinary peasant.
“Is it hard to be a human?” Occasionally, she would looked confused, then she would look at me curiously and asked, “I heard that humans have to do everything by their own hand. They need to grow crops for food and weave to make clothes year after year. Don’t you feel tired?”
“Of course, we feel tired, but humans have families. The males have to work hard to provide for their wives and children. Otherwise, humans can’t have a happy life.” I thought it over and replied.
“Happy…?” She tilted her head, wondering, “We demons don’t have families and seldom live with others, but I have many friends.”
“Right. Like the chimei living on the opposite mountain, I sometimes go to his place; the wolf lives on the mountain in front, he always gives passers-by a scare. Ha-ha, if the passer-by is unlucky to encounter him when he is hungry, it won’t merely be a scare. What’s more, a mandrill is living across the river on this mountain. You mustn’t come here at night, otherwise, you will come to a bad end if you encounter him.”
She talked non-stop excitedly, but my heart dropped when I listened to her story. All the demons and monsters she mentioned were familiar to me. They troubled people living in the area and made them miserable. Some families had already requested me multiple times to exorcise them; however, I failed each time because I could not find their nests.
I listened to her stories while smiling like usual, but I secretly remembered every detail she said about those demons.
“There’s more. I have a friend who is a hundred times more powerful than them,” She did not notice and kept on talking.
“Who’s this friend?”
“The nine-tailed fox,” She looked proud. “I know a true nine-tailed fox!”
What she said shocked me, I asked hastily, “You mean the nine-tailed fox of Green-hill?”
“You know a lot! You’re right, he lives on the mountain on the north side.” She pointed to the remote north with her thin and delicate fingers. “About five miles away from here. You cross a small river, walk around a mountain peak and you will find the residence of the nine-tailed fox under a giant locust tree. However, you should stay away from him. Because the fox is vicious, even we demons don’t want to get close to him. If you encounter him, he will eat you up!”
I was interested in what she said, so I took out a pen and paper.
“The nine-tailed fox of Green-hill, what does he look like?”
She got even more excited when she that I took out a pen. “Wow, you know how to draw?”
This day, I sketched whatever she described. We painted many demons together, some of which were beautiful and some were ugly and intimidating.
She was so beautiful and innocent; my lies to her tormented me inside. However, I knew I had to.
I am a Fuling priest; I guard humans’ happiness rather than demons’.
22nd April 1961
I never went back to the bamboo forest again to look for her.
Relying on the memories and the paintings, I searched for the demons in the places she mentioned. As expected, I found all the demons that used to give me headaches; all the demons were either eliminated or sealed. The families harassed by these demons all expressed their heartfelt thanks to me.
I put away the paintings together with other pictures of demons I drew before. One day if I have descendants who want to continue this hapless work, these drawings may help.
I obviously solved the biggest problem of my career, but I found that I now couldn’t sleep at night.
30th April 1961
She finally found me. There was an aura of anger around her, which turned into a demonic aura that even shattered a few roof tiles.
She reviled and shouted desperately. Although I had set a barrier outside my house, she was able to break it and wring my neck if she wanted.
However, she never did that. She muttered some words and left like a ghost.
15th May 1961
I have not seen her since then.
The records about the cat demon stopped here. The following records described other matters. I was shocked and reread these records before I looked up at Shi Yitong.
“What you think? Are you surprised?” Shi Yitong spread out his arms and took the journal back, “The moment I read this, I had a similar expression like you. Grandpa didn’t mention if this cat demon was the Jinhua cat or not, but he said he met it in the forest; therefore, I guess it is highly possible that she is the Jinhua cat.”
“That means…the cat demon your grandpa met was a good demon? She treated your grandpa as her best friend, but your grandpa betrayed her…”
“You can’t say that.” Shi Yitong shook his head, giving me a perplexed look. “From a human perspective, there are no ‘good’ demons. My grandpa was the village Fuling priest, his job was to protect the people in the village from harm by demons. For the cat demon, the demons grandpa eliminated were her friends; but for the villagers, they were man-eating monsters.”