"The Spirits of Blackness" part 1
In the centre of Cloudy Rock there’s a road that shares its name with a famous mountain, the Black Spirit Mountain, one of the fabled Three Jewels of Guiyang. As it is a custom here it is divided into two parts, the eastern and the western one. It would almost reach Treasure Mountain Rd. with its eastern edge if it wasn’t for the fact that it follows the map of the ages past, ending abruptly while hitting the invisible City walls.
To the West it cuts to the Ruijin North Road where you could either turn right and follow up to the namesake mountain, or keep going straight as it changes its name into Mighty Qing Road, leading all the way to the First Bridge.
Black Spirit Rd. feels old and weary. I have heard stories how, in its heyday, it would constitute the heart of the City, especially when it comes to the pleasures of late hours. Whatever it is that a mortal body might crave late after bedtime, the Blackness provided. Food, in huge amounts, first and foremost - as this is widely known that there is nothing less humane than going about the City on an empty stomach
I can hear you chuckle, Dear Reader, but this is not a laughing matter! In the City, a failure to fix yourself some kind of breakfast before tending to the day’s business may result in becoming cursed. I fear to speak of the consequences of absorbing your morning portion of fat and oil… Yet the old citizens never fail to guide the newcomers to the right path.
‘Have you had breakfast yet?’ Echoed in my ears each morning, even when I was completely alone. I’d start imagining all the heavenly plagues coming my way the very moment I hesitated; the ground would tremble with discontent, sending shivers down my spine. A breakfast had to be eaten.
But morning was never my favourite part of the day. As far as I can remember had I a sleepless night as a child, I’d stare out the window at dawn and have my heart feel heavy. In the City however, it is said that if the spell is done properly, and one hears the cockerel’s crow while heading home off the Black Spirit Rd. in the early hours of the day, one can magically be transported a day or two into the future, possibly straight into another evening.
As these are the stories of the night that Black Spirit Rd. weaves. If you were to go there during the day, you wouldn’t note anything significant about all those old houses with their depressing, caged windows. There is Aunt Yang’s siwawa shop close to what would once be the New East Gate; and numerous houses that have been half demolished to make way for the new in the western section. Used to be many more eerie skeletons of walls in that part of town, but now once the People’s Avenue has been completed they somehow vanished. I will mourn elsewhere in these notes on how this new abomination of a road tore through the very flesh of the City, cutting off veins of little streets and alleys with a brutal, butcher’s cut…
Here, I promised stories of the night and these you shall have.
Guiyang night lures even the most upright citizens out of their homes. While some indulge in gambling of all sorts, others, not being able to handle the changing reality I suppose, cling onto different kind of tranquillisers, the beer being most common of them. I do not feel it to be true to say that there is nothing else to do in the City but drink - there is certainly more than enough, yet it doesn’t make the Night less appealing.
When light of the day fades, Black Spirit Rd. is transformed into a different entity: it suddenly overflows with human desires and passions of life, reflected in the bar signs of screaming colours and tacky names. What exactly, I cannot name off the top of my head, but I feel half of a zoo menagerie could be involved. Also, the street offers this special kind of memories that would fade the day after, forever shrouded in the Night’s mist.
Luckily, they do not become lost completely; they slowly build up inside each person involved in the shenanigans of the Black Spirit Rd. until the stories of miracles or woes are born. I, myself, have been a witness to but a few, and I feel it to be a sacrilege to put them all in here. So, I’ll choose my words wisely.
A Miracle on Black Spirit Road.
“It must have been a very hot day as I fancied spending the evening sitting outside. Late summer then. I had contacted two friends of mine to join me for a spell. As neither of them were good at keeping their time (no-one really is, here) it seemed perfect to walk to the Black Spirit Rd. on foot. This walk has always made me so tired, whatever the season was, and that time because I walked through the little shanty town on the back of the New Eastern Rd. in flip-flops and had to put all my energy into not getting covered in mud.
Never mind the distractions, I still arrived too early. The bar was closed, but one of the wooden tables was out on what you’d call a very cheap-looking veranda (in fact, it was just a construction gimmick of all the City buildings that were not quite level with the roads due to everything being built haphazardly).
Then there I was, stunned!
Even thought it wasn’t yet dark at all, the Goddess of Chickens was there, getting ready to bless the City with her gifts.
The golden, slightly crispy skin; the juicy insides; the tinge of honey in the marinade shedding some light on the divine recipe; I have to divert my thought lest I succumb to the profanity of laying it all on paper! As some things are to be experienced, not read.
She would appear late at night, usually, with a radiant glow dispersing the darkness of the Black Spirit Rd. For a small donation Her Majestic Presence would bless any strayed and troubled soul with the infinite goodness.
And then, She spoke to me:
‘You look weary, child. Take a seat at the table while I get my rites ready.’
Her voice was gentle and kind, like a summer breeze.
Without saying much more She put a can of cold beer in front of me, followed by a plate of delicious bounties. I could wait for my companions in peace, and on a full belly. I was absolved.”
For the sake of myself, and for the sake of you, Dear Reader. I want to cherish the good and the positive in my writings. Therefore, today’s Story of Woes will be very short:
“A friend of mine lost her phone on the Black Spirit Rd. countless times. Must it not be some malicious dark spirit himself that had led to this? I see no other explanation.”