The strangers came under a red half-moon to Three Blind Sisters. They wore strange clothes – stiff-looking black and tan suits of foreign design, with black hats and carefully-manicured beards. On their belts they carried guns. All but their leader, who dressed casually and carried no weapons, and who had an easy smile.
‘He is so handsome,’ the boy’s sister said. They were watching the men ride past the three Blind Sisters who gave the village its name. The stone statues, ancient guardians of this small, distant place, stared at the men without seeing. Their power had weakened over generations: now they were little more than mute stone, and no one in the village could remember them ever speaking.
The boy felt a tingling at the tip of his fingers. He saw with his inner eye: the leader rode unarmed because his power was great. The aura of Qi around him was unmistakable. Unease made him close his fingers into a fist. The man, passing close to them, glanced casually their way: his eyes locked on the boy’s for one long, uncomfortable moment. Then his gaze shifted to the boy’s sister, and the smile flared up like a small sun.
Rated R for violence.