A large surprise.


My belly was full, and my wits were sharp.

I had a fair supply of Or fruit in my bag, and I didn’t mind the discomfort of the added weight. Not when it meant I had food.

I walked out of the hills and onto a stretch of land. As I walked east in the hope of finding another town, I came upon a man and a large stone statue.

The statue towered over the seated man as the man smoked a long, thin pipe, and my eyes shifted from him to the statue.

The statue was weathered and battered. The face on his belt was as impressive in its gruesomeness as the one on its head.

I came to a stop a fair distance from them and asked, “How far to the next town?”

The man let out a long stream of smoke, and his thoughts slipped into mine.

“You have a day’s travel, perhaps more, if you follow your easterly path.” From a pocket, he withdrew a scroll, glanced at it, and then smiled. “I don’t think you will have to worry about it, Blood. I’ll be taking you in for your bounty.”

“Best to leave off. It’ll save us both time.”

He shrugged, and the statue drew its sword.

There was a hissing as its massive joints ground against one another, and the eyes on the belt opened. The creature yawned, chuckled and asked a question I did not understand in a voice that shook my bones.

Once more, the seated man gestured toward me, and the statue lumbered forward.

I don’t know if they expected me to run or at least retreat, but I did neither.

Instead, I drew my Colts, and I let them talk.

The first two shots caught the statue in the chest, but the rounds only ricocheted off. Both the man and the statue laughed, but that laughter died as I put the next few shots into the creature’s open mouth.

I could hear the bullets slamming about, destroying whatever passed for innards.

The smile froze on the man’s face as the statue fell to its knees, wavered, and then tumbled over onto its side.

I walked up, put the barrels of both Colts in its mouth and emptied them.

Sliding the revolvers back into their holsters, I drew my knife and turned on the dumbfounded man.

“Now,” I said softly, “let’s talk about how to get to town.”

He told me everything I wanted to know.

#China #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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