Fung Tsz Kei, Michelle

Tales from the Mogao Grottoes

“Just one more month and I’ll be home to visit, Pa!” I spoke on the phone. “Lin and I are still working on our history project that’s due two weeks later. Plus, I have your “special rock” with me, you always told me that it is a family heirloom that will be useful to me someday…blah blah blah…”

“Okay, but take care of that special rock, just like I did when I was the keeper of it. Passing it on-”

“Yes, yes, I know, Pa. I will take care of myself and the rock. Love you, bye!” I hung up.

“Fei Fei! Are you ready yet? We’re going to miss the train!” Lin called. I quickly rushed downstairs with excitement, as my friend and I were heading to visit one of the ancient architectures of China, the Mogao Grottoes!

When we arrived at the Mogao Caves, the whole place was covered in dust, seemed like a haunted house but with delicate paintings and amazing sculptures. Lin even found a library with antique books and the oldest dated, printed book in the world. We spent the whole afternoon reading books in the library.

“Fei Fei! I found something!”

I hurried beside Lin.

“It’s a book about souls in the Mogao caves… It says that an evil sorcerer back then had villages destroyed, killing every single villager and their families. For those who escaped the village, the evil sorcerer casted a spell, imprisoning the escapers in the Mogao Caves ever since…”

“That couldn’t be real.” I scoffed.

But when we flipped the page, a gigantic white smoke popped out of the book and surrounded us… ended up forming into a ghost!

“AAAH!!! GHOST!!!” We screamed and ran across the room. When we ran, other ghosts started popping out and followed us, which left us more terrified. We ran left, then right and left until we came to a dead end… We huddled up together when a ghost came close…

“I can’t believe it… HUMANS!!! WE WILL ALL BE FREE NOW!!!” the ghost cheered. Followed by one and another.

“What is happening-” I asked, puzzled.

“Welcome to the Mogao Caves my friends! I am Yan and these are my friends. We are all overjoyed that you both are here to free our spirits!!!” They applauded once again.

“Free? But… My friend and I are just here to work on our history project… Wait… are you all the souls that were trapped here for thousands of years?”

“Indeed, we are,” Yan replied. She then told Lin and I her story. Yan was actually a woman who lived in 366 AD, the time when the Mogao Caves were built. The evil sorcerer back then had her whole family killed, she tried to escape but the sorcerer had cursed and imprisoned her in the Mogao Caves ever since. There were also other souls imprisoned too, they needed a special cure to free themselves so they could reincarnate. Afraid to tell, I explained why we were here again and that we have no power to free Yan and the other souls. Hearing this, disappointed looks hung on the souls, faces. Some even started weeping in tears. Seeing everyone so miserable, Lin and I felt bad… So, we decided to stay overnight and help find cure! After we settled down in a nice room the ghosts offered us, Lin and I rested from this anxious day.
The next day, we continued to search for cure. We searched the entire Mogao Caves, searched every room, every spot, every corner.

“Thud!” a book fell.
“What was that?” Lin asked. I walked and picked up the book.
“Cures For Curses” “Involving cures for the most difficult curses in the world”
“This book is perfect! There is definitely a cure for Yan and the other souls in this book!” I exclaimed in delight.

We flipped a few pages and found a page about cure for the souls.

For those who wish for cure to this curse一
Find a rock with ancient words.
Break the rock and let light spread一
Spirits will now have a future ahead.

“A rock? There could be thousands of rocks in this universe! When can we find the right one?!” I shouted, frustrated.

“Ancient words, special rock… Fei Fei, how come this sounds so familiar?” Lin hesitated for a while. “Do you think it may have something to do with the rock your father gave you?”

“You are right! How come I haven’t noticed?” I quickly ran to my bag, grabbed the rock and broke it. We all peered inside with excitement waiting for light to spread, but disappointingly, nothing came out…

“I’m so very sorry everyone…Lin and I tried our-”

Murmuring came from the crowd. I turned back and saw light coming from inside the rock. It automatically rose, bursted into tiny pieces flying to every soul’s body as they slowly floated up into the sky.

We quickly ran outside to catch the amazing scene. Souls floated freely in the air, jumping and leaping in happiness.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!” Yan said before she floated up, slowly disappearing into the wind.

Proudly, Lin and I headed home. Turns out, this was an unexpected way to spend our adventure!

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