Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 46 Demon’s Grave
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 46 Demon’s Grave
My jaw dropped, but Wen Jiubo continued,
“Do you remember the pattern of the floor tiles?”
My mind went blank momentarily, I couldn’t recall. Human memory was strange, the floor was something I saw every day, but I couldn’t remember the pattern on it when he suddenly asked.
“It’s like this.” Wen Jiubo grasped my hand and drew a circle in my palm, then finished with an arch inside the circle. “It’s a bagua.” (TL note: The Bagua is eight symbols arranged in an octagon. It is used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality.)
I quickly recalled the pattern and nodded, “You’re right, it is a bagua.”
Wen Jiubo grinned, letting go my hand. “But it’s interesting. It’s very interesting, isn’t it, Gu Yu?”
“You.” Wen Jiubo looked at me and crossed his arms. The corners of his mouth curved up. “It seems that all these things are about you; all these weird things can be traced back to you. Don’t you think that’s interesting?”
Before I could reply, Bai interrupted us.
Bai scampered out of the grove with his four short but agile limbs.
“What did you find?” Wen Jiubo looked at Bai, “Is this the right place?”
Bai nodded. “It’s here. This is the place with the densest negative energy. The graves must be under those trees.”
“Em, good job.” Wen Jiubo bent down and patted Bai’s little head. Bai seemed to enjoy his touch very much.
That ferret! So easily tamed! I loathed his behavior from the bottom of my heart.
“Grab your shovel and let’s move.” After speaking, Wen Jiubo strolled into the grove.
I chased after him. “Wait, are we really going to dig up graves?!”
Wen Jiubo ignored me and began to shovel.
I had no other choice but to follow and start digging too. To be honest, excavating was extremely laborious, we couldn’t see anything, even though our hole was deeper than we were tall.
“Are you sure there is something here?” I panted, “We’ve been working for so long, but we haven’t found anything yet…”
However, right then, I felt my shovel vibrate. It clearly hit something hard.
“Got it.” Wen Jiubo put down his shovel and began to clear the dirt away with his hands. After a while, a coffin was revealed. “Give me a hand.”
“Uh? What…what are you going to do?” I was confused.
“Pry it open, or smash the top.” Wen Jiubo started to look for the crack beneath the coffin lid. “These coffins are old and the wood is already rotten. I think it will be quite easy to get the lid off.”
“Hold…hold on, why do we need to open the coffin?” I felt a little scared. “What do you want to find in there?”
“You’ll know very soon.” With a little push, Wen Jiubo lifted the lid. As soon as the decaying wood creaked open, I smelled a pungent odor. I frowned and held my breath. Wen Jiubo tossed the top aside, though it broke apart after it hit the ground.
Wen Jiubo took a breath after looking inside the coffin. “Just like I expected,” He muttered.
I was confused and curious at the same time, so I decided to take a look as well. However, the thing inside almost scared me to death.
Laying at the bottom of the coffin was a black… thing. The thing had long, sharp fangs and spindly limbs. There were bumps that had grown on its rotten, toad-like skin. Whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t a human corpse.
“What…What is this thing?!” Hysteria edged into my voice, “It’s not human, is it?”
“Of course it isn’t, this is a demon’s body,” Wen Jiubo huffed. He bounded around the coffin to stand beside me.
“A demon’s body?” I was astonished. I stared at the weird corpse, feeling that the demon might come alive and jump out of the coffin at any minute. “Are you kidding? I don’t believe it.”
“It’s true!” Bai leaped onto the edge of the coffin. He seemed to be surprised as well. “Is this a water demon?”
“Maybe a street demon,” replied Wen Jiubo.
“Hold on, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I interrupted them, still feeling the whole thing was unbelievable. “How can it possibly be a demon’s body? No, what I don’t understand is, even if a demon can die, how can it conceivably leave a body?”
“Good question.” Wen Jiubo didn’t answer me directly. Instead, he tossed me the shovel, “I’ll explain it to you later. Let’s dig up another coffin.”
Still puzzled, I followed his order and began excavating the dirt near the coffin we already found. This time we dug up another coffin quite quickly. After we lifted the coffin lid, we saw the same horrible demon, with its ugly face and long fangs.
“I think I’m pretty sure now.” Wen Jiubo clearly understood something, he stuck his shovel upright in the earth and said to me, “I’m afraid, this graveyard wasn’t used to bury human bodies but demons’.”
“Can you explain it to me more clearly? Why is there a demon’s body? What happened?” I blurted out, unable to wait.
“Once upon a time, this was a way villagers used to exorcise demons,” Wen Jiubo explained. “In short, if there was a demon, the locals would invite a Taoist priest to come. The villagers provided a pig or goat, and the Taoist priest made the invisible demon possess the pig or goat and caught the demon. Then, they buried the possessed animal alive and put charms on the coffin. They believed in this way, the demons could be killed forever.”
“So, did this method work?” I was curious.
“To some extent,” Wen Jiubo crossed his arms and said, “It was easy to trap weak street demons inside an animal, and many Taoist priests were able to do it. Burying demons alive could prevent them from haunting the villages, however… the demons would still be alive even after the animals died. These poor little demons would turn into earthbound spirits and couldn’t leave this place. As a result, this place would end up full of negative energy and lingering spirits.”