Far enough.

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“You’ve come far enough.”

The man’s words issued from his mouth as he adjusted the round spectacles on his nose.

“I’ve not yet found Gao,” I answered.

He smiled. “You have.”

My hands dropped to the Colts. His eyes followed the movement, and fear danced within them for a moment.

“As you can see,” he continued, remaining in front of a large door, “I am no monster.”

“I’d disagree with that.”

He offered up a nervous smile. “I have an appetite for delicacy and a unique ability.”

“You can speak in both ways,” I concluded.

Gao looked surprised for a moment, then he nodded. “Astute observation, Mr. Blood. I should have expected no less. While I have never met one of your kind, I have heard quite a bit. I have heard you’ve partaken of human flesh yourself.”

“More than once,” I said, “and probably will again.”

“Hm, it is a delicacy, is it not?” he asked, smirking.

“It’s not. Sometimes,” I told him, “it’s what’s called for. The Iroquois taught us that.”

He frowned. “I do not know them.”

I smiled. “If you did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Now, you’ve a sight to answer for, Gao.”

“No,” Gao shook his head. “I do not. I will not answer to the likes of you for my culinary wanderings. You are nothing here, Blood, as you are nothing in any other realm to which you travel. Your mother has been here several times, in several forms, and she has warned me of you.”

I wrapped my hands around the butts of the Colts. “I don’t suppose my mother’s here now, is she?”

“No.”

“Shame,” I said and drew the Colts.

As the revolvers cleared leather and I thumbed the hammers into position, the man leaped back, the doors opening as he did so. They slammed shut as the first rounds hammered into the heavy wood.

From secret doors, unarmed men raced into the small courtyard, and the Colts thundered.

The slugs tore through faces and necks, and buried themselves in stomachs and groins.

Men died.

The men were nothing more than a delaying tactic. A living wall to protect a coward.

As blood pooled around my feet, I reloaded the Colts once more.

With my pistols in hand, I forced the door and gave chase.

It was time for Gao to die.

#China #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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