There are generally two types of terrifying horror movies. One relies on building up tension and suspense through the atmosphere, creating a constant feeling of unease and dread.

The other type is more sudden and jarring, like being abruptly awakened from a dream that felt like it lasted a thousand years. It’s a terror that shoots through you like an electric current and can leave you screaming until your voice gives out.

Clearly, my situation at this time belonged to the latter category. My heart was racing, my hands and feet were ice-cold, and my body felt like it had been thrown into a freezing cellar, completely paralyzed.

I didn’t dare turn around. My two eyes stared straight ahead; cold sweat was dripping down my forehead, and all cries for help were stuck in my throat.

“Who’s behind me? Who’s behind me?” The scene from my dream felt like it was playing out again, but I was powerless to struggle. “Is this what they call sleep paralysis?”

A blast of cold air blew by, and I could feel the chill through my clothes. It was as if a knife was being held to my waist, or as if a pair of invisible hands were pressing against my back, slowly sliding up to my neck.

“What is it? What in the he** is this?” I was completely lucid, certain that I wasn’t dreaming. Everything that was happening was in the real world, in the same world that I had been living in for twenty-five years!

My eyes widened, pupils darting around as I struggled to see. In my limited field of vision, strands of black hair slowly came into view.

The strands were a mess of filth and disorder, mixed with gravel and bloodstains. Those weren’t the kind of hairs that a normal person would have.

A strange force clamped down on my neck as the sinister black hair climbed up my body, twisting my head backward bit by bit.

My vision was forced to shift, and my eyes were bloodshot, like a puppet about to burst apart.

The pressure on my neck grew stronger by the second, and I knew that I was going to die if this continued.

“The talisman! That’s right, the talisman paper!” Holding my breath, I bit down hard on my tongue. The pain shot through my body, causing my fingers to move quickly and snatch the talisman from my chest.

A warm current flowed through my limbs, and I jumped up from the bed like a ball of fire, slamming down behind me.

In an instant, I only saw half of a blurry face reflected in my bloodshot eyes. When I swung the talisman behind me, there was nothing there.

“Impossible…” The pain in my neck reminded me that everything that just happened was not an illusion.

Standing by the bed, I was still in shock. “Are ghosts actually real?”

I picked up my camera and phone. If the equipment of the underworld show could capture ghosts, then everything that just happened should have been recorded.

In other words, the audience members who were just in the live broadcast room should have seen a real ghost!

“Is anyone there? Can someone tell me what happened after I fell asleep?” The live broadcast room was very quiet. It was almost 3 a.m., and most people had already gone to bed.

“Heavenly Thunder Talisman!” After a long time, a lone pop-up comment appeared in the middle of the live stream, and the person who sent it was none other than Half-immortal Liu from Qingcheng Mountain.

When I saw this ID, I felt like I had grabbed a life-saving straw: “Half Immortal, help me!”

“Young man, I don’t know what good deeds you did in your past life to get your hands on this Thunder Talisman embryo. If it weren’t for the help of a noble person, then this must be fate, and you are not meant to die yet!

“Half Immortal, it’s already this late; can you please speak in a way that I can understand? I’m online waiting, and it’s urgent!” I twisted the talisman paper and stood by the bed, feeling unsafe no matter which direction I looked in.

“As a mere mortal with impure thoughts, if you were to enter a haunted house during the hour of the rat, you would inevitably face a calamity. However, where there is a deficiency in the divine will, there is always a glimmer of hope, and that hope should be placed in that Thunder Talisman embryo.”

“Is this talisman paper really that powerful?” After using it a few times, I noticed that its charm had greatly decreased, its radiance subdued, and it had become extremely dim.

“Before I entered Qingcheng Mountain, I spent several years searching for a 500-year-old Thunderstruck Ancient Peach and devoted half of my life’s learning to crafting a talisman coffin, all for the sake of nurturing a Thunder Talisman,” Half Immortal Liu said, every word dripping with pride that I couldn’t quite understand. “Unfortunately, after entering Qingcheng, I left the coffin for future generations to suppress the clan’s fate. If we were to open the coffin now, the talisman inside might be a close match to the Thunder Talisman in your hand.”

“Half-Immortal, after you boast enough, could you please focus on my survival first? I saw my shadow moving just now; what’s happening?”

“Don’t panic. It’s dark under the light, and there are ghosts in the shadows. The movement you saw wasn’t your shadow, but a resentful spirit lurking in the same room as you. With the protection of the Thunder Talisman, it won’t be able to harm you, but it may go after that girl,”

“What should I do then? Should I jump out of the window and call the police….”

“An old tree cannot be carved; well, saving a life is more important than building a seven-level pagoda. I’ll make an exception and teach you the incantation for the Thunder Talisman!”

I had already reached the window and had one foot on the windowsill.

“Listen carefully; this house is a place of great danger, with lingering spirits. If you want to survive tonight, you must maintain a clear mind, move forward bravely, and not be swayed by selfish desires or fear of death. Otherwise, you’ll be possessed by evil spirits and little ghosts.”

“Okay, I’ll listen to you.” His words made sense; I couldn’t just leave Xiao Feng alone here. Even though she remained asleep despite the loud noise earlier, which was quite weird.

“She’s possessed by the evil spirit! Young man, quickly do as I say! Cast away your distractions, visualize the Purple Palace deity at the center, take a deep breath, swallow the qi from the Middle Palace, circulate the Mixed Origin energy, and exhale the Pre-Heaven qi in one breath.”

“Old man, can you please speak in a language that humans can understand?! Is the Purple Palace the one from the TV drama? And how do I visualize it?” The girl on the bed started shaking abnormally, her eyelids twitching, and she slowly sat up.

“Sincerity will move the gods, and the gods will definitely come. Do not make jokes or be careless, or a great disaster will befall you!”

“What the f***! She’s sitting up! Are you telling me that there’s something even more terrifying than this disaster looming over us?!”

On the double bed, Xiao Feng was like a puppet being controlled. She suddenly stood up, her eyes wide open, with almost all white in her eyes.

“Feng, we have no grievances or grudges against each other.”

“Young man, cease your chatter and follow my directions to activate the thunder talisman!”

“Bring your index, middle, ring, and little fingers together, bending them towards your palm without making contact. Press the fingernails of the four fingers tightly with the inner side of the thumb. Make sure they are firmly pressed and not exposed!”

Half Immortal Liu’s comments were flashing at lightning speed, indicating the urgency of the situation.

Xiao Feng, who had been possessed, had stopped shaking and was staring coldly at me like a hanged ghost on the bed.

“Clear your mind and recite the spell with me!”

I didn’t have time to read Half-Immortal Liu’s next comment because Xiao Feng, who had been possessed, had already rushed towards me with a pair of scissors hidden in her hand. Dodging the sharp scissors, I grabbed her arm and prepared to use grappling techniques to restrain her body, but I didn’t expect the girl to have such immense strength at this moment.

The two of us were at a stalemate. Suddenly, she reached out for the thunder talisman in my palm.

“That’s my life-saving item!” I pushed her away with force and jumped onto the double bed, trying to run towards the door. But just as I took a step, I was tackled to the ground.

“Quick, recite the spell with me!” In the live stream room, Half-Immortal Liu had already chanted the spell, which was a long string of words.

I desperately blocked the scissors aimed at my chest and recited the incantation at the top of my lungs.

“Thunder command, swift as a spark, omnipotent in all directions, make me one with nature. Spirit treasure, heavenly mandate, spread throughout the nine heavens. Cut off the evil and trap the demons; slay a thousand ghosts! Disperse the wickedness and let the Dao essence last forever!”

The resounding voice was as clear as a brass bell, and the possessed Xiao Feng’s movements became sluggish.

“Right now!”

“Heavenly Thunder Talisman!”

With a wave of my hand, the talisman paper was thrown out. It was as if a magical transformation had occurred—the thin sheet of paper transformed into a blade that could slay evil, shimmering with electric light as it pierced through Xiao Feng’s chest.

The thunder talisman guards, and the fierce ghost is subdued.

Xiao Feng, who had just been ferocious, fell softly to the ground. Her shadow suddenly got torn apart and peeled off a piece that slid across the wall, rushing into the bathroom in a puff of smoke.

“Today, I’ll spare your life, but if there’s a next time, the thunder talisman will be waiting to make sure your soul departs from your body!” Sitting on the ground, my heart was still racing with fear. Though I spoke harsh words, my legs were shaking so strongly that I could barely stand up.

“Hey young man, this is not the time to rest. While it’s weakened, chase it down!”

“Uh, I don’t think… that’s appropriate. Right, there’s a saying that goes, ‘Don’t pursue a cornered enemy…”

“Don’t blame me for not warning you. Although you were lucky enough to injure it with the thunder talisman this time, you’ve also formed a karmic relationship with that filthy creature. It’s likely to come back to haunt you in the future.”

“Wait, you mean it’s going to haunt me until I’m dead? Are vengeful spirits really that persistent?!” I struggled to stand up, removed the thunder talisman, and put the scantily clad Xiao Feng on the bed.

“Well, today I learned something new.” A whole new world had forcefully intruded into my life, whether I was willing to believe in it or not.

With a camera in one hand and a talisman and phone in the other, I pushed open the door to the bathroom. “It seemed like that thing had escaped to this place.”


TN: Rat hour (Zi hour) It corresponds to the time between 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and is believed to be a time when the yang energy is at its weakest and the yin energy is at its strongest.