Where only terror lives!
For generations, the inhabitants of the remote Jin Village in China had almost no contact with the outside world. Nearby villages whispered of murder and odd disappearances. Then the Jin villagers vanished.
Now, one hundred years later, American historian Malcolm Wang and a team of archaeologists arrive at Jin Village to excavate the ruins. They uncover evidence of a long history of human sacrifice and cannibalism. What Malcolm and his companions don’t know is that Jin Village is still very much alive. There is something out there, a dangerous remnant of a forgotten past…and it has woken up.
Copyright © 2012 Vincent Stoia
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
The old woman moved through the black forest. There was no wind, and the trees were still. She glided slowly, her feet inches above the ground, dissipating into nothing whenever she came to a tree, and materializing again on the other side.
The moon was fat and strong tonight, not that it mattered to Mother Chen. She saw perfectly well in the dark. The Jade Mountains were her real home, but she had stalked these woods for centuries. She knew them well.
Ahead she saw a small clearing in the woods, almost invisible to the naked eye. Mother Chen smiled. She came to the edge of the clearing and landed on the grass. A jolt of pain shot through her limbs, out to the tips of her fingers. Mother Chen bared her teeth, felt a surge of energy that climaxed with the pain and disappeared seconds later.
It had been more than a century since she was last here, in her Jin Village. There wasn’t much left. The temples were little more than piles of rocks on the ground. Animals had made their home next to the stone wall. She saw no traces of the wooden huts.
No matter. Mother Chen loved this tiny place, the village of her birth. She had loathed it as a child, when she ran away, broken and frightened. But then she had returned, had punished the guilty and thrown their sins back in their faces.
And what she had created after that was…marvelous.
It had been a pity to leave this place, but Mother Chen had no choice in the matter. Unbidden, the face of the man who drove her out surfaced in her mind. Thinking of that small peasant with the frightened eyes made Mother Chen gag with hate.
No, it was best not to dwell on him. She had greater concerns. New people were coming, people from a world she did not understand. Several had already come. Soon there would be more. They meant to wipe her village from the earth, to sweep it away. Mother Chen looked at a stack of square, metal objects, piled in a spot near the village well. She had never seen anything built with such precision. It made her uneasy.
Mother Chen’s eyes drifted down to the deformed parts of her body. Even now she could see the spots where the arches of her feet had broken, the scars where pieces of glass had burrowed into her flesh. She had suffered because she spent her human life living as a frightened rabbit.
No more. She would never accept that again. Let these new ones come. If they meant to take what was hers, she would bleed them dry.
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