Chapter 1 Undead Mother and Child
1990, the 15th day of the 7th lunar month; the Hungry Ghost Festival:
A full and bright moon hung in the sky. The Chinese calendar described this period as a time filled with Yin Qi; people were warned to stay at home and do nothing. They could not carry out any major events, such as starting construction works or wedding ceremonies.
There was a desolate village—called Ye Village—situated at the very outskirts of Weishang County, Yu State. According to their traditions, all the families would prepare two stacks of hell notes to burn in front of their homes. One stack was for the ancestors; the other was for the lonely and wandering spirits that roamed the mortal realm. After the lonely spirits received the paper money, they would head to their rightful locations and would not haunt the families. The families would shut all the doors and windows after burning all the hell notes. Then, they would rest early. If a family believed in Buddhism or Daoism, they would usually pray and offer sacrifices to the gods, as they hoped for protection through the night.
It started to rain deep into the night. The rain hitting the leaves created a sound reminiscent of lonely ghosts wandering around, while the blowing wind sounded like weeping. This rain added a strange and eerie feeling to the night. On a small road at the entrance to the village, a blurred shadow could be seen trudging in the rain. The figure walked from the village to the hills and entered a graveyard. This graveyard housed many dead Ye Family members; the Ye Family had many ancestors buried here.
Finally, the shadow stopped in front of a grave without a headstone. Suddenly, the shadow pulled out a Spirit Summoning Banner and stuck it into the ground; the wind was strong so the flag waved rhythmically in front of the grave. The fresh earth and the upright Spirit Summoning Banner indicated that this grave was fresh.
“I’ve come to visit you, sister-in-law. For today is the seventh day since you died, and it is also the Hungry Ghost Festival,” hoarsely said someone in his thirties.
He paused in front of the grave for a while and took out a red umbrella from his bag. He opened it and set it in front of the grave to block the drizzling rain. Then, he carefully lit three sticks of incense and stuck it into the ground that the umbrella covered. Without caring about the mud, he kneeled down and kowtowed three times. After paying his respects, he picked up a shovel and started to unearth the grave.
Fresh earth covered the grave, but it was easily removable with the help of the soaking rain. In twenty minutes, a rectangular hole was dug out, and he struck something hard. The man wiped away the thin layer of mud, and a scarlet coffin appeared.
People usually painted coffins a deep velvet. However, they would paint coffins scarlet in some unfortunate cases. It represented that the person had died suddenly. People who suddenly died were believed to be filled with anger. The redder the paint, the more effective it was in suppressing the angry spirit. 33 red strings of different sizes wrapped the coffin. These strings crisscrossed each other in a net-like fashion. The strings held the coffin in place, in case the dead woke up and wanted to break the coffin.
The man kneeled in front of the coffin and said, “Sister-in-law, I’ve come to help you.” He took out a knife and started to cut the red strings. After that, he used a crowbar to take out all seven nails that were fixed deeply into the coffin. Then, he took a deep breath and opened it.
A female corpse that was wearing white burial clothes laid motionless in the coffin.
The weak light from the incense illuminated the corpse and revealed a pale white face. Her eyes were murky and wide open, similar to those of dead fish. A pained expression remained from when she died. The whole corpse was releasing a cold aura. It was an aura of death.
The man choked a bit when he saw what was before him. He felt weak and quickly kneeled down and kowtowed another three times. Then with a trembling voice, he said,
“You died while you were giving birth, and your child died inside of you. But your family members insisted on following the family laws, which dictated that you and your baby must be buried separately. And so they ripped the baby out from your body and buried it somewhere else. Tonight is the night when your spirit will come back, and I, Ye Dabao, has brought your poor child back for you to hold once more…”
As he spoke, he took out a cloth-wrapped object from his bag. When he opened it, it revealed that a baby corpse was inside! He laid the small corpse on the female corpse; then, he quickly backed off and kneeled down. Suddenly, a sharp and terrifying cry sliced through the rainy night.
Suddenly, the female corpse rose from the coffin and stood up. Her arms squeezed tightly, and her ten dried and skinny fingers held the back and the head of the small corpse. At the same time, her face gave off an eerie and stiff smile.
Ye Dabao was still in his kneeling position. He said to the corpse, “Sister-in-law, now that I’ve completed your wish, will you please also help me complete my earnest wish?”
After he made this request, he quickly took the incense from the ground to smoke and burn the lower jaw of the female corpse. At the same time, his other hand held a copper bowl to collect the oil that was dripping down. Surprisingly, the female corpse stretched out her neck even more. She also stayed still to assist Ye Dabao.
The corpse oil slowly dripped into the copper bowl, and a thick layer of oil filled the bowl after 10 minutes of collection. As he was collecting the oil, the female corpse’s eyebrows slowly started to move up, and her face became even more terrifying. Ye Dabao quickly put away the burning incense and the copper bowl. He wrapped the copper bowl with pliofilm and stowed it in his bag. Then, the female corpse slowly and steadily laid down in her coffin with the baby corpse in her arms. Her satisfied expression gave him great relief.
“Sister-in-law, now that you have your baby, please rest and cultivate for 49 days to become a pair of Violent Undead and exact your revenge! I will close your coffin now and let you rest ….”
After 10 minutes, Ye Dabao had finished covering the grave with earth and made it look untouched. Then, he bowed and rushed down the mountain.
A month later, in the home of the village head—Ye Dagong. August was one of the hottest months of the year. People usually opened up their doors and windows to ventilate their homes, but not Ye Dagong. The doors and windows of his house were tightly shut, and there were three burning coal furnaces inside.
A five to six year old child laid on his bed and a thick quilt covered him. His lips and nails were cold and purple, while he shivered. He unceasingly mumbled that it was cold. Ye Dagong had only stood in the room for a while, but he had already started to sweat from the heat. He let out a sigh and walked out of the room. A quick swipe of his hand took away the sweat and tears from his face.
“Father, is Shaoyang going to be okay?” a woman in her twenties came and asked. A pair of puffy eyes looked eagerly at Ye Dagong. She was his daughter-in-law and the mother of the sick child.
“Let’s first wait for Xiao Bing.”
Ye Dagong shook his head in despair, as he had never seen this kind of condition in his 20 years of being a doctor. He had taken his grandson to all the hospitals in the county and even the whole state, but he could not find anything abnormal. He began to suspect that his grandson was not sick, and maybe some spirit troubled the child. A month ago, he hired the town’s witch to hold a ritual, but it was of no help. As such, he sent his son to the city to find someone with greater power.
As he was speaking, his son—Ye Bing—came back, bringing along an old Daoist.
“This is …?”
“He is a Daoist that I found in town. He has heard about our problem and is willing to come and take a look.”
“Thank you for coming sir,” Ye Dagong cupped his hands to thank him. His eyes scanned up and down the Daoist, as he sized the fellow up.
This old Daoist seemed to be in his sixties. His face was sharp with a small mouth, and a pair of outward sloping eyebrows hung above his two triangular eyes. He wore really old Daoist robes and carried a canvas bag. From the moment he stepped into the house, his eyes were wandering and scanning everything in the house; he did not have the aura of a Daoist. Ye Dagong was very suspicious of this Daoist. After all, there were many scammers that pretended to be monks and Daoists. However, Ye Dagong had no other choice, and since this Daoist was already here, he figured he might as well let him try. As such, Ye Dagong brought the Daoist to his grandson’s room.
Note: the first 6 chapters are just the prologue of the story, the pacing improves once you hit chapter 7.