All I wanted were directions.

It didn’t take too long from Sun Yee’s house for me to find my way into a town. At first, the few people I saw hurried away from me, and soon I found myself walking along high walls and long roads. Clouds drifted in front of the sun, and soon, I couldn’t get my damned bearings. All I wanted was a way to Gao’s place of business or out of the thrice-damned town.

Either one was acceptable.

As I searched for someone or something to help me along my way, I spotted a pair of men following me. I found a good spot with a strong wall and a sharp drop, put my back against the stone, and waited.

I nodded to the men and settled my hands on the butts of the Colts.

The men glanced at the revolvers, chuckled and spoke in the curious, silent way Sun Yee had communicated with me.

“Where are you going?” one of them asked.

“Either to the house of Gao, the silk merchant, or out of this town if he’s not here.”

“He’s not here,” came the response.

“Then directions out would be greatly appreciated,” I informed them.

The men stepped out slightly, giving each other room.

They stood loose and ready, and they had the unmistakable air of men who know how to fight.

I had no doubt both were lethal with their hands.

They, however, didn’t appear concerned about me.

That was fine.

“We’ll be happy to give you directions,” one of them told me, and I could feel his thoughts squirming in my mind as though he was seeking some point of entry. Some way to control me.

The sensation was reminiscent of an itch that couldn’t be scratched.

“Get out of my head,” I snapped.

One of the men jerked his head back as though he’d been slapped.

Perhaps he had been.

“Come,” the other man said, and I felt something tugging on my brain, trying to force me to walk.

“No,” I answered, and I drew the Colts.

The men died with their eyes wide, pools of disbelief.

The thundering roar of the Colts echoed off the walls, and as the bodies cooled, I went in search of the exit.

#China #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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