The Darkness in the Tree – Part 7

Huang had been handcuffed, gently, and transported to the Sui Lam Psychiatric Centre at Castle Peak. The officers at the station and the staff of the centre had shown him nothing but kindness and respect and he realised that it would be only to his benefit to cooperate with them.

He had submitted to a blood test, no doubt to find out if he’d taken any psychotropic drugs, and answered all the questions he had been asked. He had told the truth with every question, about his recent past.

Huang had told Chan that his parents had taken him to Singapore as a child and this was certainly true. What he had neglected to say was that he was a Yau Lung Bing Lang, a demon hunter, a demon killer. Under the tutelage of his Grandfather, he had dedicated his life to seeking out those beings that threatened humanity and sending them onwards, and downwards. He could sense that the Darkness knew of his presence and that placed him in great danger. The Darkness could control the meaner things in life, the animals, the trees, but while there was no evidence to show that it had ever possessed a human there was no doubt in Huang’s mind that it was a very real possibility that it might do so.

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In 1966 Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution nearly destroyed what little remained of any goodness in the country. While the Red Guards ran rampant, enforcing Mao’s rules and dictates anyone that could get out was getting out. But, it was a risky business because if you got caught there was only one sentence.

The Wong family, which consisted of the grandfather, Huang’s mother and father were able to escape and, as they had money, were fortunate enough to end up in Singapore. Huang was three years old and remembered little of the journey, his father and mother survived only a few years after their arrival and he was brought up by his grandfather.

Huang was a gifted child, but his gifts were not those that other children might envy. He saw dead people, spirits, and ethereal beings that shared the world with the living. For the most part, they were harmless beings. Lost souls that, for reasons of their own had decided not to move on. Huang was able to see them as clearly as he saw his neighbours and when he asked his grandfather about the funny people that floated instead of walking down the street the old man realised that Huang was different.

He was unsure as to whether it was a gift or a curse and knew that in order for it to be used correctly, his grandson would have to be trained. He was given a formal education at which he excelled. His tutors were disappointed when he told them he had no intention of entering a university. By the time he had passed his final exams, he was adept at seeking out the ‘unhealthier’ types of spirits and had sent several of them on their way. He had also rescued numerous spirits that sought him out, seeking a way to their rest in the afterlife.

Huang’s grandfather, his last remaining relative, passed away on the morning of the 1st of July 1997. They had been watching the Handover Ceremony of Hong Kong from the British back to China. He had been sitting quietly, watching the proceedings when he had just closed his eyes and let his head fall onto his chest.

Huang felt the old man’s spirit passing through him as he went to his reward, happy in the knowledge that had done all he could to train, protect and temper Huang for the tasks to come.

Then, in 2007 he received a message from one of the circles of friends his grandfather had introduced him to. He was told of a demon, very strong, very powerful, that had taken lives in the Terengganu district of Malaysia

Huang travelled there and visited the site where the victims had been killed. He sensed the demon, the Darkness, and knew that it was indeed, very old, very strong, very powerful and immensely evil. And the Darkness sensed him and realised that for the first time in 1800 years it faced a real threat.

(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2017 – Not for Distribution

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