Chapter 6 – The Feast of Blood (I)
In a small village like this, how can there be a police force? When big things happen, only the Village Elder will be in charge. Furthermore, doesn’t everyone know one another? Normally there will never be incidents like robbery and murder, so Yan Haotian’s disappearance has kicked up a huge uproar in the village.
Since his disappearance is of such significance, people in the village have even organized search teams to look for him by themselves. After all, since Yan Haotian maintained good relationships with his fellow villages, no one wants anything to happen to him.
When his disappearance was discovered, there was a commotion.
“This is Li Bing’s revenge. It must be her revenge!”
At this moment, Luo Hengyan who is by Elder Zhang’s side goes to inspect Yan Haotian’s house. He comes to know that Yan Haotian is the middle aged man from yesterday. But when they walk out of Yan Haotian’s house, an olive-skinned woman suddenly screams the line above in sheer terror.
It is already not the first time that Luo Hengyan has heard the name Li Bing. He anticipates that this bloody mission is very likely related to her somehow so he asks confidently without thinking, “What do you mean? Just who is this Li Bing?”
That olive-skinned woman looks to be less than twenty years old, with a very tall body. Just she is about to say something, a large, muscular man standing behind her hurriedly interrupts her from continuing, yelling at her, “Ah Qin, stop saying such nonsense! There is nothing like that! Everyone please don’t mind her...”
Suddenly, a cold voice carries over. Luo Hengyan immediately looks in the direction of the voice; it is Ah Xiu, the girl carrying water buckets whom they met yesterday.
“Ah Xiu, you...” That big and muscular man hurries to say, “What are you talking about...”
“In recent years, there’s been more than one strange thing that’s happened, right? Haha, you all don’t dare to say much because of your guilty conscience, but I am fully aware. This is the curse from sister Bing Er!”
At this moment most people from the village have gathered here. As they look at Ah Xiu’s gaze, no one dares to utter a word. Everyone’s expression is panicked and fearful, their hearts unsettled and insecure.
Luo Hengyan begins to realise that at the heart of all this lies a huge mystery. Although there seems to be rumours about supernatural hauntings, the details are still unclear.
Could it really be that, this Li Bing person is holding onto her grudge and refusing to let go?
“Hmph! Ah Xiu, stop misleading people with your wicked words.” At this moment, a bespectacled girl with short hair and a fat man both walk forward.
That fat man fixes his gaze on Ah Xiu ruthlessly as he says, “Just don’t forget that Li Bing died because she killed herself! It was none of our business!”
“Killed herself? Song Tian, you really have some nerve to say this. How did you treat sister Bing Er back then?” Ah Xiu glares right back at him and says, “Sister Bing Er grew up with us. But after that incident, you all treated her like she was a cancerous virus. You mocked and scorned her, and even threw rocks at her. I saw it happen many times with my own eyes!”
“You...” That fat man, Song Tian, who was rebuked by Ah Xiu replied, “So what? She’s just an illegitimate child birthed from her mother’s adultery. It’s already a blessing for her that we keep such an illegitimate child in this village. What rights does she have to be distasteful towards us?”
“If you dare to say those two words one more time!” At this moment, Ah Xiu is immersed in burning fires of rage. Just as she is about to rush towards that man, the bespectacled, short-haired woman next to Song Tian reacts even faster. She strides forward, as fast as an arrow, and slaps Ah Xiu’s face.
“How dare you try to touch him! You want to hit my man right in front of me? Have you forgotten that I’m here?”
“You… Ge Ling...” Ah Xiu momentarily stills in stunned confusion as she covers her slapped face. She looks at Ge Ling’s fierce expression before suddenly rushing towards the bespectacled short-haired woman and tightly clenching onto the latter’s hair, shouting, “You were also an accomplice! You’re also responsible for Bing Er’s death! I will never let you go easily!”
Even though everyone comes forward to restrain Ah Xiu, her strength is too great. She tugs the bespectacled woman’s hair into a wild mess and even tries to scratch her face. As he observes this scene from aside, Luo Hengyan feels very surprised. Yesterday, his first impression of her was that she is a quite quiet and innocent farm girl but it turns out that she is actually so bold and hot-tempered. Can it be that nowadays, even this village has fallen under the poisonous influence of the counterculture?
But he finally understands the circumstances behind the Li Bing incident.
That is to say… Li Bing grew up with the young generation of this village and this Ah Xiu was probably her closest friend. After the close-minded villagers found out that she was the illegitimate offspring of her mother’s adultery, they naturally despised her. They probably insulted and bullied her beyond what she could tolerate, driving her to commit suicide.
But even if her phantom still lingers, she has no grudge against Luo Hengyan himself and the rest of Li Yin’s group so it wouldn’t make sense for her to hurt them, would it? But that apartment will not send them to a place without danger. Since they have to live here for a month, then it is not possible that within this month, nothing will happen.
After that, Luo Hengyan asks the elder for more details regarding the incident.
Li Bing’s parents were both from the village. She grew up with the other children in the village and maintained good relationships with the other villagers, a lively and cheerful child. Among the youth, Ah Xiu had the best relationship with her, no different from close siblings. Hongwu and Suyue from the elder’s family, Liang Renbin, the couple Song Tian and Ge Ling just then, and the olive-skinned Tie Qin were all very close to Li Bing age wise. And that big, muscular man is Tie Qin’s father, the stonemason in the village.
That night, five years ago, Li Bing’s mother spilled her secret after drinking too much alcohol. Li Bing was in fact the child she conceived after an affair with someone from another village. After careful calculations, she believed the child’s father to be that one non-villager.
This truth ignited such fury in Li Bing’s father that he almost beat his wife to death. After that, he left the village angrily, saying that he had to look for the rapist and till today, he still has not returned. Li Bing and her mother naturally suffered hatred-filled glances wherever they went in the village. As a result, Li Bing’s mother died unhappily after falling ill. During that time, only Ah Xiu helped Li Bing conduct her mother’s funeral.
The following days for Li Bing was like being in hell.
Everyone in the village looked at her as though they were looking at garbage. All of them felt that she was filthy, either avoiding her as soon as they saw her or showering her with insults.
In the end, these kind of days lasted for about a year before one day, Li Bing jumped down the waterfall and committed suicide. Ah Xiu cried for a few days because of this. Finally, she had to arrange Li Bing’s funeral by herself.
When he returns to the elder’s house, Luo Hengyan tells what he saw and heard to Li Yin who just woke up, as well as Qin Shoutian.
After Li Yin makes sure that the room door is shut tightly, he says to Luo Hengyan and Qin Shoutian in a low voice, “I believe I understand the situation. We cannot stay here anymore.”
“Ah?” Before Luo Hengyan can gather his thoughts, Qin Shoutian already understands.
“Zhang Hongwu and Zhang Suyue, and their mother, Zhang Yinglan, they all spoke coldly towards Li Bing, right?”
“Since that’s the case...”
“If Li Bing really became a grudge-filled spirit waiting to exact her revenge, then those three people in this house will likely become targets of her vengeance. If we stay here, won’t we be harmed as well?”
Li Yin’s words are indeed sensible.
But…then where should they stay?
“Ah Xiu...” Li Yin says without hesitation. “I think Ah Xiu’s house is the safest. Because logically, it is impossible that Li Bing would want to take revenge on her.”
“Eh?” Luo Hengyan freezes before saying, “But both of her parents have already passed away. She lives by herself. We three men staying together with her, that’s...”
“We’re already on the brink of life and death, and you still care about this kind of thing?” Qin Shoutian pushes his glasses up his nose bridge and says, “Can you come up a place that’s safer than Ah Xiu’s house?”
Indeed… In this Village of Tranquil Water, if there is one place that is absolutely safe, it is…definitely Ah Xiu’s house.
“But do we forcefully move in?”
“Let's talk to her about it.” Qin Shoutian also appeared rather troubled at that moment. “Since she was quite kind to us yesterday, maybe she will agree. But the villagers have a conservative mindset, so it's unavoidable that if she hosts us, who are neither her relatives nor her close friends, judgmental gossip will spread.”
But there is nothing else that can be done.
Thus, Li Yin personally goes to look for Ah Xiu.
On the other hand, in the woods near the village...
“Do you want to die?!” Ge Ling shoves that olive-skinned Tie Qin to the ground, scolding, “Saying that Li Bing is coming back for revenge? You think there’s still not enough rumours about the ghostly hauntings?”
“But...” Tie Qin says, her whole body quivering. “Have you all forgotten? Uncle Haotian had been scornful towards those ghostly rumours all along, even saying that if there are ghosts, he really wanted to see them! He said this exactly one week ago!”
“So what? How can there possibly be ghosts!”
“But, but… This is truly creepy. The elder’s son-in-law also died mysteriously. Even though nobody talk about it, but their hearts are all like pounding like drums… Furthermore, every time something happens, it’s always within a month of Li Bing’s commemoration day. This, this is too ominous...”
“Piss off!” Ge Ling gives her a rough kick and says, “Will it kill you to talk less?! Ghosts? Where are the ghosts? Li Bing, I dare you to come out and scare me right now! Haha, nothing happened. You don’t… you...”
Ge Ling could not finish her sentence.
She clearly sees that inside the widely opened mouth of Tie Qin who is lying on the ground, there suddenly appears a deathly pale face haloed by a wild mess of hair!
“You...” Ge Ling suddenly pulls Tie Qin up and says, “Open… Open your mouth wider!”
“Sister Ling, what are you going to do...”
“Just open your mouth wider!”
But by then, that face has already disappeared. The inside of the Tie Qin’s mouth looks very normal but Ge Ling will not dare believe that the scene just then was an illusion. It was simply too clear!
She widens her eyes, looking straight down Tie Qin’s throat, her face almost touching the insides of Tie Qin’s mouth.
But still, she finds nothing.
Ge Lin starts to retreat backwards as she stares at Tie Qin in horror. Gradually…she starts to realize something strange.
“On, on your body… Why is there so much water!”
“Ah?” Tie Qin looks down carefully. Indeed, water pumps out from her body continuously. Her clothes are already soaked in water, sticking to her skin tightly.
Immediately after that, Ge Ling sees something that nearly makes her eyes explode.
After Tie Qin’s clothes sticks onto her body, she can clearly see that on the Tie Qin’s chest, there is a distinct silhouette of a human face bulging out from the surface if the cloth.
“Ahhh!” Ge Ling immediately covers her face in shock before picking up a stone from the ground. She steps forward, kicking Tie Qin down and smashes violently at the silhouette at the front of her chest! And that stone happens to have a sharp point. As the sharp end pierces Tie Qin’s chest again and again, Tie Qin desperately tries to stop Ge Lin. But Ge Lin has already lost her mind. After a few hits imbued with astonishing strength, Tie Qin’s chest has already become a mush of blood and flesh.
Without knowing how long she has been smashing the rock for, Ge Ling suddenly realizes something and looks towards Tie Qin’s face. At that moment… her face is already completely lifeless, without a single trace of blood. The once dark skin has become deathly pale. A gush of fresh blood is flowing out of her month.
Ge Ling tugs at Tie Qin’s clothes and tears them open, revealing her stomach. But at that moment… she can only see the wound that she had smashed out. Where was the human face?
“Ghost…It’s a ghost...” she drops the stone immediately as she continuously stepped backwards, her body shivering uncontrollably. She says to herself, “It, it wasn’t me… Li, Li Bing, it has nothing to do with me. You killed yourself. I, I once scolded and hit you, but I didn’t kill you. It is not my fault. Don’t come for me, don’t come...”
Then dragging her body, she crawls up and runs away as though she is riding the wind.
“Sure, you guys can stay for as long as you want.”
Ah Xiu’s reply surprises Li Yin’s group greatly.
“Really… it’s okay?” Li Yin asks again, “The four of us...”
“Of course.” Ah Xiu says, her expression full of delight, “You guys are journalists right? As long as you report sister Bing Er’s death and reveal the sins of this village, it doesn’t matter how long you stay here.”
We’re still being mistaken as reporters… Li Xin thinks. Do I really look so much like a paparazzi?
Ah Xiu’s house is not very big, so hosting five people is indeed a little cramped. But at night, there will only be two people asleep anyways, while the other two stand guard. So like this, it will be enough.
“That’s great. We will go pack our stuff first. Sorry, we’re really troubling you.” Li Yin thanks Ah Xiu repeatedly. “We will definitely pay rent. Don’t worry, we won’t take advantage of you.”
After Li Yin leaves, Ah Xiu shuts the door and bars it tightly. Then she walks inside the kitchen of her room.
Her kitchen is quite large and there is a huge water tank in place.
Ah Xiu walks to the front of the water tank, opens the tank lid and peers inside.
A man’s body is submerged within the water tank, his face paler than a sheet of paper.
This man…is in fact the missing Yan Haotian!
“Uncle Haotian, I have never forgotten how you treated sister Bing Er before. Relying on your popularity, you spread rumours about sister Bing Er’s background like a gossipy woman. So…”
Ah Xiu takes out a pair of scissors, grabs Yan Haotian’s hair and pulls his head out of the water. She pries his mouth open and then… extends the scissors into his mouth and cuts his tongue off!
“Sister Bing Er, don’t you worry.” Ah Xiu’s pretty face exposes an expression of bone-chilling cruelty, “You just need to send them to me one by one. I will take care of them very well.”
After that, she walks to the another room within the house and opens a locked cabinet. Taking out a small jar, she puts the tongue inside.
Within this cabinet, there are many other similar jars filled with tongues!
She closes the cabinet and locks it. Suddenly, she hears a loud splashing sound from the kitchen. She hurries to the inside of the kitchen and looks.
Inside of the water tank, it is no longer Yan Haotian, but Tie Qin who was just killed by Ge Ling!
Ah Xiu sneers and raises the sharp scissors in her hand again….
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