When Lu Chu heard that man’s words, not only did he not stay far away, but instead, he unobtrusively took a step forward, and wanted to continue to hear what the crazy middle-aged woman was saying.
From what the villagers had said just now, the woman went crazy twenty years ago……
It corresponded to another clue again.
For this ‘game’, the clues and tips were really too brief, and no useful information could be found through literal analysis. Currently, he first heard the story about beheading a snake from the elderly woman, then met someone who was related to something that happened ‘twenty years ago’, on the surface, he seemed to be making some considerable progress.
Just as Lu Chu was trying to get close to the middle-aged woman, the woman was dragged by a few strong men who popped up from nowhere, towards a thatched cottage in the village. The several men dragged her and swore at the same time, “usually she’s locked up all nicely, why did she run out today? This lunatic, only knows how to give us trouble, can’t blame that man from outside not wanting her even if he died!”
The others who knew about it also echoed, “that’s right, that’s right……”
Then, the madwoman seemed to have been agitated by their words, and suddenly started to desperately struggle, and her whole entire person laid on the ground and rolled about, trying to break free from the strong men’s hold. During this time, dirt and dust covered her whole entire body, making her originally untidy appearance look even messier.
As the woman frantically moved about, Lu Chu finally saw her face that was stained with mud, covered by her messy hair. It was an ordinary looking face, not good looking, yet one couldn’t call it ugly. In short, it was a face where nobody would remember.
The woman screamed as if she was dying, and her piercing voice made people’s ear hurt. At the same time, she was desperately struggling, and her red eyes made the people gathered around her scatter, as if afraid that she would rush up to bite them agitated.
“He won’t have a good death!!” After the woman shrieked, she widened her eyes, and they revealed an insane expression. She shook her head, and kept yelling, “A horrible death! A horrible death! All of you won’t have a good death!!”
The woman’s crazed appearance scared the onlookers, and several women around the same age muttered and scolded a little, before hurrying back to their homes. They even patted off their arms as they left, as if they had really been stained with something.
No matter how crazy this woman was, in the end, she wasn’t as strong as the farmers who often worked in the field, and after a while, she was stopped again. This time, she was really dragged all the way back to her courtyard, and left behind the traces of something heavy being dragged across the earth.
After the troublemaker was gone, the rest of the people watching the show also went away, and only Lu Chu was still standing at the same spot, thinking of something.
This time, the old lady’s voice sounded, “good grandson, what are you standing there for? Come home to eat!”
Lu Chu immediately put on a gentle smile, and waved as he answered, “I’ll be right back.”
While they were eating, Lu Chu asked curiously, “grandma, just now, I saw a lot of people outside, so I went up to have a look. I saw an auntie1In Chinese, aunty/uncle can be used to address middle-aged and above men and women, and it doesn’t mean that you’re related., and everybody said that she was a crazy woman, and has been crazy for a long time……”
When she heard this, the old lady immediately put down the chopsticks in her hand, and said solemnly, “don’t go along with the crowd for this matter.”
Lu Chu was even more curious, and also placed his chopsticks down and asked, “but grandma, why?”
The old woman saw that he was so curious, and could only sigh and say, “forget it, I wasn’t planning to talk about this thing with the younger generation, but seeing that you’re so interested, I should tell to you about it, lest your young person nature act up, and you end up running into a stroke of bad luck.”
“Remember the story about beheading a snake that I just told you about?”
Lu Chu nodded, “remember.”
The old lady continued, “snakes, there’s something spiritual about them, in this place, they’ve always been held in awe, like ghosts and gods.”
“Actually, I’m not too clear about the things that happened twenty years ago. After all, it wasn’t something that happened in my own home, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I only remember that a man from the city came to our village, and said that he was going to be a teacher here for some time. This man was handsome, and many young girls in the village were willing to sneak to the classroom and look in from the outside – speaking of which, this classroom, it was just a larger mud house, and rain and wind leaked through.”
Lu Chu added vegetables to the old lady’s bowl, and urged like a curious young man, “what happened later? What happened later?”
“The crazy woman you saw just now, she’s called Wei Rong, and she was one of the young girls, and the male teacher was called Guo Jianping. I’m not that sure about what happened between them, and only remembered that at that time, Guo Jianping liked another young lady in the village who was better looking. Afterwards, something had happened to that young teacher, and he broke his leg, and got disfigured. Many of the young ladies had given up on him, and only Wei Rong remained with him, and took care of him meticulously.”
“But they didn’t end up together?” If later, they ended up naturally liking each other, then Wei Rong wouldn’t be as crazy as she was now.
The old lady also lovingly added vegetables to Lu Chu’s plate, shook her head and said, “of course not, afterwards, that teacher returned to the city, saying that he was returning to treat his legs, and he would return in the future. Every day, Wei Rong also waited at the entrance of the village, and finally, one day, she had actually managed to wait for a Guo Jianping that was complete, with his leg and face healed. However, it didn’t even take six months after Guo Jianping returned, before he proposed to a girl that he had previously liked.”
Lu Chu wondered, “why was it another girl? Didn’t Wei Rong treat him well?”
“Things such as love, isn’t something that you can control.” The old lady sighed, “truthfully, we still don’t quite understand. However, when it comes to other people’s affairs, us outsiders should simply just watch. Originally, we thought that this matter was over, and never expected that another year later, the young lady who married Guo Jianping ran away, and couldn’t be found. They said that she ran away with a rich man from outside. Since then, Guo Jianping was unable to recover from it, and only Wei Rong stayed beside him with an unchanging heart, and finally moved him, so they ended up together.”
“Just like this, two years passed by calmly. Wei Rong was pregnant with a child, and Guo Jianping started to run into the city quite frequently. At times, he even wouldn’t return for a long time, and also started to treat Wei Rong in an indifferent manner. Since then, Wei Rong started to say, somewhat frightened, that the woman who ran away with the man was back, and wanted to snatch Guo Jianping from her, and the reason that Guo Jianping ran into the city was for her too. Later, the two of them had a fight, and just like this, their child was gone. After her miscarriage, Wei Rong’s mental state was even worse, and every day, she would go to the house of Granny Wang, who performed rituals. When she came back, she would say non-stop that her child was still in the belly, and that there will be retribution or something……”
“Then—” When she said to this point, the old lady’s expression became serious, “Guo Jianping suddenly died at home, and at that time, Wei Rong was at Granny Wang’s place. After she heard the news, she rushed home, only to see that Guo Jianping was already dead, his whole body was covered in blood, and his face was purple and swollen, with an expression of pain.
“And the house was covered in hundreds of snakes, each one of them were cut into seven segments, and the bloody smell spread all over.
“When Wei Rong saw it, she shouted, ‘retribution, retribution’, and from then on, became completely crazy.”
After Lu Chu heard this story, he reflected on it for a bit. Although the old woman didn’t describe the details of the scene at that time to him, he could imagine it. Hundreds, or even thousands of snakes with different patterns piled together, with their bodies in pieces covering the ground, and Guo Jianping’s violent death in the center.
“Beheading a snake, in the eyes of the older generation, means revenge.” The old lady patted his head, and said in a gentle tone, “what happened that year left the entire village scared for a long time. Now, it’s been twenty years, and everybody has buried this matter, and nobody has even investigated it. In the end, nobody knows if the child in Wei Rong’s belly came back for revenge. The reason why I tell you about this is to let you remember, for things about gods and ghosts, even if you don’t believe, it’s good to have some respect, understand?”
Lu Chu nodded.
The translator has this to add:
Moral of the story? Don’t touch snakes.