A short update. Enjoy!
The peaceful village was nestled in the mountainside.
The little settlement, far away from any large city, was a tranquil place home to about fifty villagers.
There was no cell phone signal, let alone telephone service. At most they had access to electric generators and TV signals.
There were no newspapers, cars, or paved paths good enough for bicycles.
It was a world far from those who disliked walking and climbing. It was essentially a landlocked island.
But the young people of the village did not pack up and leave for the city. There was a good balance of age groups, with about ten or so of both children and elders.
But calamity came to that little village.
There was no sign and no prelude to the incident.
But it was undeniably an eerie calamity, one that sent stubborn ripples into the world at large.
The main mode of communication in that village was snail mail.
This was why the postman was first to notice the calamity.
He started from the city at the foot of the mountain, traveling for three hours to collect and deliver mail.
It had been three years now since he had begun to run this route.
When he first took over, he was, to be perfectly honest, a little angry at the village.
The day before he began the route, he even went drinking with his co-worker and complained, "Those villagers should just move to the city or something".
But the man was quickly ashamed of what he had said.
The moment he arrived at the village with his predecessor, his impression of the settlement did a 180.
The villagers, with their warm smiles, surrounded him and showered him with gratitude—as though he had saved their lives, even though all he had done was deliver the mail.
They tearfully saw off his predecessor for the last time, and welcomed the postman like family.
From then on, he became the bridge between the village and the outside world.
Children crowded around him and giggled excitedly at the letters he brought, alongside the adults.
The heartwarming sight energized him. He didn't even feel tired climbing the mountain once a week.
But when he arrived this time, just as he usually did, the calamity had already begun.
He could not hear their voices.
Normally, he would hear the sound of children's voices as they chattered and screamed in the village square.
But even after stepping through the village entrance, he did not hear them. In fact, he didn't hear the sounds that came with the presence of people.
A looming sense of fear began to press on his heart.
At first, it was trepidation. Then, confusion and terror and trepidation again.
His emotions cycled through and snowballed, and eventually his trepidation grew so intense that he ended up screaming,
"I, is anyone here?!"
But his cry only confirmed his fears.
The village was exactly as he had left it a week ago.
The ball the children played with was lying in a corner of the square. The basketball net set up in front of a stone house creaked in the mountain winds.
But they were gone.
Every last one of them. The villagers were gone.
After the trepidation came sadness.
He did not know why they had disappeared.
He did not know if they were even alive.
Maybe everyone had simply gone herb-picking together.
But no reason could hold back the sadness welling up inside.
People who should have been there were not.
Voices that he should have heard were gone.
These two simple facts turned into a powerful sense of loss that engulfed his thoughts.
The postman desperately searched through the village, trying to see if anyone was there.
And as he began to surrender, let down by the total stillness,
He saw something moving out of the corner of his eye.
The moment he spotted the figure, his mind went blank.
It was one of the stone houses in the village.
The old wicket gate opened, and emerged—
A terrified little girl. One he had seen often in the village.
The pigtailed girl, her face streaked with tears, ran up to the familiar postman and clung to his leg, sobbing.
Several days later, the incident made headlines in the newspapers.
The surviving girl testified that the village had been attacked, and the cluttered state of several houses added credibility to her claim.
But the fact that fifty people disappeared overnight, without leaving so much as a drop of blood, led people to murmur that this was, perhaps, not the work of humans.
They were abducted by aliens.
They were sucked through a tear in space-time.
They committed mass suicide.
They were attacked by people living in a fantastic underground world.
Baseless rumors like 'There was a half-drunk cup of coffee and a smoking cigarette left behind' began to surface, giving way to even more morbid curiosity that led to the incident being labeled by some as a 'Modern-Day Mary Celeste'.
Not only that, some humans began to hypothesize,
Perhaps this was the work of vampires.
But this rumor alone had some basis in fact.
The fact was never revealed to the media, but so believable was the rumor that it spread even to other countries.
The fact was that on the neck of the lone survivor were two little marks. Two round marks, as though something had sunk its fangs into her.