Chapter 36: In the Dark
After tearing several devils who had climbed over to shreds, no new devils pounced over.
The devils that had been torn to shreds and the two devils that were thrown in with Hei Dan became targets for the other devils. In just half an hour, they’d been eaten clean. As for one of the devils that came in with them, it shouldn’t have died; it was just seriously injured and couldn’t moved. It was eaten alive.
With his last bit of strength, Grandpa carried Hei Dan into the shadows and watched the others’ bloody feast from the darkness. His stomach growled a great deal.
Hei Dan raised his little head and extended his little claws to Grandpa.
Belly sounds = belly hungry. Hei Dan could understand that. At that moment, his little black claws had an oval egg in it.
Who knows where he hid the egg, but he had saved it. Holding the egg up high, Hei Dan indicated for Grandpa to eat it.
Grandpa who was unable to speak gently licked the egg shell. Then, he continued to motionlessly stare at the others and he firmly locked Hei Dan in his arms.
Hei Dan, thinking Grandpa was asleep, withdrew his claws and nestled under Grandpa’s neck. Hei Dan was also hungry, so he carefully licked the egg as well.
One lick, then another.
Hei Dan couldn’t peel eggs!
So, he could only lick it.
The sound of eating quickly faded away and silenced continued in the darkness. Once again, “little lights” lit up in the surrounding darkness. If someone came from outside right now and looked in the corner that Hei Dan and Grandpa were staying in, they would find that Grandpa’s eyes were also little light-bulbs in the darkness.
The devils were watching each other closely.
This was the life that the devils had to have. When they were with their same kind, they wouldn’t fall asleep at all and had to be constantly alert. Those that fell asleep would definitely become food for the others.
Hei Dan wouldn’t sleep at first either. He would stare at Ji Huan with open, fixed eyes all night. That was his instinctive sense of wariness.
However, Hei Dan had now learned to “sleep” and his life had been adjusted by Ji Huan to be very regular: he would get up at around six in the morning and eat breakfast. Then, Grandpa would take him outside for a walk. He would look at the sky and ground, and his little claws would feel the stream water. He’d eat another meal at around nine in the morning, and then he would have lunch with Grandpa at exactly twelve and eat until he was full. Hei Dan would start playing on Grandpa’s kang bed. On days when there was sun, Grandpa’s bed always had a lot of sunshine. After playing and playing, Hei Dan would fall asleep and Grandpa would also sleep for a little while. The sun would shine on Hei Dan and Grandpa. Warm.
Devils didn’t actually dislike the sun at all. On the contrary, most devils actually looked forward to sunshine.
Staring at the others intensely with a pair of white-ring eyes, Hei Dan wan’t to sleep. He wanted Uncle. He wanted his little frog doll.
The person who slept with him every night was his uncle, and the little frog doll would sit across from Hei Dan. The white-ring eyes of the frog faced Hei Dan, and Hei Dan’s white-ring eyes faced the frog. While staring at it, Hei Dan would fall asleep.
Hei Dan really fell asleep. In his dream, he was back in his little bed and the frog doll was across from him. Suddenly ——
A round monster threw itself on the end of the bed, and it shoved Hei Dan and Uncle down!
Hei Dan woke up at once.
He was really being shoved down. Hei Dan wanted to cry a bit out of habit, but he soon realized that he was being pushed down by Grandpa’s big head. Striving to stretch his little body in the narrow space to make himself a bigger and more comfortable place, Hei Dan realized that Grandpa was asleep.
The seriously injured horned devil could no longer continue to support himself.
Before fainting, he tightly protected his chest with his claws and put Hei Dan in the safest place. Even if he was devoured by the other devils while unconscious, it would probably take the little guys a while to eat something of his size. If they were lucky, Hei Dan would be able to run away.
But… Xiao Hua?
Always keeping his grandson and great-grandson in mind, the horned devil wasn’t resigned to sink into the darkness for good.
Stretching out his small claws, Hei Dan touched Grandpa. After a long time without a response from Grandpa, Hei Dan lightly patted Grandpa.
Just like when Uncle coaxed him to sleep, he lightly patted Grandpa.
Then, Hei Dan’s white-ring eyes met the outer devils’ eyes that were like tigers watching prey ——
His little body shook a few times and his white-ring eyes squeezed shut. Slowly, Hei Dan seemed to calm down and his little black claws clung to Grandpa’s arm. Instead of Grandpa, Hei Dan’s fixed eyes looked straight at the other devils.
If he was sleeping at home, Hei Dan would be sleeping with Uncle and Grandpa.
However, once they were outside, Grandpa and Uncle never slept. When Hei Dan couldn’t help but fall asleep, Grandpa and Uncle were always there when he woke up. That made Hei Dan feel very safe.
It was a newborn devil’s instinct to imitate the behavior of adults. So, he learned to “protect.”
While he still didn’t understand what the word meant, Hei Dan instinctively used “protective” behavior.
Silently and without interest, Hei Dan just looked around with fixed, white-ring eyes.
A devil’s eyes couldn’t see focal distance. Just like a light, it seemed to lock on to some target and that seemed to use up everything in their eyes. Whoever closed their eyes first was the one to lose.
On the first night of Grandpa being unconscious, Hei Dan spent it under the stares of the hunters.
Then, with rumbling stomachs one after the other, the devils were hungry again.
With the horned devil’s remaining powerful presence still there, plus Hei Dan’s unrelenting alertness, no devils came over to offend them this time. Hei Dan and Grandpa were lucky enough to get through the second round of hunting.
Hei Dan licked and licked the egg in his claws. He wanted to drink more of his neinei, but his little green bottle was gone.
After licking the egg twice, Hei Dan lifted the egg and touched it to the front of Grandpa’s big mouth. Grandpa didn’t want to open his mouth, so Hei Dan carefully concealed the egg again.
And then continued to use all of his attention to watch the other devils eating their meals.
Simply watching with fixed eyes, Hei Dan endured the third round of the devils’ feast accompanied by Grandpa’s rumbling belly.
This time, they couldn’t continue to be as lucky as before: there was a devil happening to be coming there way!
This was a devil with a small body, and its round body was hidden in a dark fog. There was no distinction between its head and body, and even its limbs were not visible. There were only two ghostly eyes where a person’s would be. Its size made it incapable of taking advantage of similar competition. It didn’t even dare to go over to them because if it didn’t pay attention to itself, it would become a similar meal.
But, it was very clever.
It remembered that there was a motionless, horned devil here.
So, while the devils were nipping at each other, it silently felt its way over in Hei Dan and Grandpa’s direction. Hei Dan, who had been closely observing his surroundings, immediately discovered it.
Hei Dan tried to push Grandpa, but Grandpa was motionless. At that time, the devil had dropped down on Grandpa’s scale covered body. Aiming at the spot on Grandpa’s chest where his skin and flesh were torn open, it suddenly opened its mouth ——
Big, white-ring eyes stared at its fine teeth in alarm. Before thee big terrible mouth could bite the wound on Grandpa, Hei Dan also opened his mouth ——
He let out a loud cry!
Ji Huan suddenly woke from his dream.
“Ji Huan, what’s wrong? Did you have a nightmare? Your forehead is sweating a lot…” The movement he made when he got up was very forceful and Wang Xiaochuan, who had been sleeping next to him, was also awoken.
“… I heard Hei Dan crying.” The teenager who usually had a stiff face showed a frightened and doubtful expression for the first time and after a long while, he spoke to Wang Xiaochuan.
The earthquake occurred the day before yesterday afternoon. It had been almost two days. They had evacuated once in the middle, and now the victims were staying in the gymnasium of the town’s elementary school. The more severe part of the earthquake had been in the east area of Bade Mountain where Ji Huan’s family lived, and the affected townspeople were also from there. The west side where Wang Xiaochuan’s family lived had hardly been affected. The population there was more crowded and prosperous, and most people in town hadn’t actually been affected too much.
However, there was fear of there being aftershocks, so most of them were still hunkered down in public buildings with high shock resistance.
His mouth opened, but Wang Xiaochuan didn’t say anything in the end.
The team leader1 of the search-and-rescue team was a very honest person and when he heard news about Ji Huan’s family over there, he immediately came over to Ji Huan to explain clearly. Wang Xiaochuan had been with Ji Huan the last couple of days and he naturally also heard the details of what the other person said.
“… There was no old man or infant found in your home. I requested the search-and-rescue team to look for a long time, but they still didn’t find anything. They actually found the rest of the surviving mountain people, but… All of the mountain people said that there was no grandfather in your family, or a baby. Only a boy older than ten who is currently attending school in town…”
When he said this, the team leader’s eyes were a little inquiring.
The rescued mountain people also said that there had been a girl before who later went to work in a big city, but seemed to have passed away in a car accident. They only became aware of it last year when a group of people reporting the death came to ask directions. After that, there was only a boy left in that family…
However, his coworkers who were responsible for the search-and-rescue said that they had found a lot of baby products in that place as well as three memorial tablets.
This matter was a little mysterious.
His coworkers said that the teenager was probably overly depressed and made up a family to keep himself company. The team leader also accepted this justification initially, but as was his position, he checked further into things. Then, he discovered that the man and woman of the household had died in a car accident fifteen years ago, right before the end of the year, and left behind only two children.
At that time, one of the two children was two years old while the other wasn’t even five. How did they live up until now without the care of an adult? If it was really like what the teenager said, there was also a “grandfather” in the family. However, the nearby mountain people had all said that they had never heard any other voices in that house and hadn’t seen anyone come out of the house other than the boy!
This matter was very mysterious.
👍 one more chapter tomorrow!
1 小队长: this actually is more like “little captain” which is (i believe) is kind of like second-in-command but it sounds awkward in english. so, he’ll be the team leader and if 队长 appears, s/he will be captain.
“Actually, he wanted to ask Grandfather to come over and eat New Year’s Eve dinner
But unfortunately, his old man fell asleep
Happy Third Day (of the New Year)
Sorry that this update is two days late. I don’t have a manuscript (i.e. rough draft) and over the past two days, my parents have been focusing on visiting relatives.
I go home in the first few days of the year and I have to visit all my relatives and friends.
Celebrating the New Year is very tiresome!”