The car pulled over. As soon as Su Bai unlocked the door, Nikki and Sun Lin immediately rushed out; then Liu Gang got off while shivering. Due to the horrible stories they had been telling before and Su Bai’s warning which made them paranoid, they immediately believed that Grace was punished by the ghosts and became very scared and panicked.
Su Bai felt shamed for Liu Gang; he could understand that Nikki and Sun Lin couldn’t help but hurry off, but as Grace’s boyfriend, Liu Gang just left her behind; that was not cool.
He got off, opened the rear door, and grabbed Grace’s shoulders to carry her out of the car. Her body was still twisting, with foam coming out of her mouth. It looked like an epilepsy.
He put the girl on the ground and felt her forehead. Was it a payback from the ghosts or just her sickness? Su Bai couldn’t tell. For now, the only thing they could do was to call 120, but they were on a highway, not somewhere downtown; the ambulance wouldn’t arrive in time.
Suddenly, Su Bai frowned because he saw someone walking towards them. That man was bald but good-looking with a merciful look; not very young, but not too old either. He was wearing a black monk gown and holding a string of Buddha Beads. In a word, he looked kind and honest. He must have been in a van, which was parked aside.
"Amitabh, may I take a look?" The monk said.
Su Bai’s first idea was to refuse because it seemed to be too coincidental and abnormal.
If he had to make a choice, he would rather choose Fatty over this monk. Even though they had hard feelings against each other, Fatty wouldn’t mind helping a sick girl, but this monk just came out of nowhere.
"Master! Please help us, please!" Nikki begged.
Sun Lin and Liu Gang also put their palms together as a salute to the monk. Apparently, they had considered this monk as their only hope.
The monk just stared at Su Bai and didn’t pay any attention to the other three people.
Su Bai smiled, stepped back and gestured to the monk "to suit himself".
The monk stepped forward, put one hand on Grace’s forehand and the other in front of her underbelly. Then, with a loud shout from him, Grace suddenly sat up and belched out a long stinky belch. She slowly opened her eyes and seemed to be alright.
"Amitabh, this lady was just frightened, and she was not in good shape these days. Besides, she must have a genetic epilepsy."
Hearing this, Liu Gang’s face turned. His girlfriend had epilepsy?
Nikki and Sun Lin were no longer scared since they knew that it had nothing to do with ghosts. But they were looking at Grace with disgust.
Su Bai touched his nose. These young people were true realists but not very good actors; even if they disliked her, it was rude to show their disgust so obviously.
The monk put his palms together and saluted to Su Bai. "Amitabh, this lady won’t get struck often, so there’s no need to worry. Since she’s fine now, it’s time to say farewell."
Su Bai also put his palms together. "May I have your monastic name? And where are you staying?"
"It’s nothing, don’t mention it. We will meet if we’re meant to."
The monk seemed to be somehow indifferent, like a real outstanding expert. After that, he just walked back to the van, and the van soon took off.
Seeing Grace was alright, Su Bai called to the others:
"Hop in. We’d better hurry. It’s not safe to drive on mountain roads at night."
Everyone got in. They were sitting exactly where they had been, but Liu Gang was obviously very awkward sitting by Grace. Grace had noticed that and was very upset; apparently, she was aware of her genetic illness and had been hiding it from her boyfriend.
In order to catch up with the BMW in front of them, Su Bai was driving as fast as he could. He didn’t overspeed, but he managed to overtake almost every vehicle he saw.
About 15 minutes later, they got their eyes on that BMW again.
The couple were strange; they didn’t stop to wait for them or call them to check, just went on their trip without taking care of their friends.
Several more hours later, the cars arrived in Aba Area. Almost everywhere they went were narrow mountain roads. These roads were so narrow that only two cars from opposite direction were able to pass brushing against each other, and they were full of sudden turns. But all the cars were driving fast, even overspeeding; they would only slow down a little within the rage of a surveillance camera, but speed up again right after that.
The high mountain was on one side of the road, but on the other side, it was a cliff or river. There were wire meshes between the road and the mountain in case the rocks fell down and caused damage, but there still were fallen rocks in some places. Apparently, it wasn’t always effective. But as far as Su Bai could recall, it was much better than before. The government had indeed done a lot to improve these roads after Wenchuan Earthquake. And there were new tunnels in some places where they used to detour.
Those unique and exciting paths finally cheered these young people up, and they started chatting. Even Grace herself seemed to be over that previous incident and cared no more about Liu Gang’s indifference; in the worst case, they would break up right after they were back, but she could still use a good trip before that.
By one o’clock in the afternoon, the BMW went into a small town and pulled over in front of a restaurant. It must be time for lunch.
Su Bai also pulled over.
Everyone got off.
This was the first time Su Bai saw the owner of that BMW, Lan’s boyfriend. He was lean and tall, ordinary-looking, but seemed to be self-dramatizing. He looked at other people with a judgmental look, and he seemed to despise Su Bai somehow.
They went into a restaurant of Qiang Ethnic Dishes. Lan’s boyfriend ordered food for everyone while they sat down around a table. The dishes were unique, but Su Bai didn’t like the taste; he only had a little, but others were enjoying themselves, and as soon as a new dish was served they would pick up their cellphone and take pictures.
Soon, Su Bai finished his meal. He stood by his car, took out a cigarette, lit it up and smoked. Just then, a van came and pulled over. It was the monk that was driving.
"Amitabh, we meet again, sir."
The monk was also a little surprised to see Su Bai. But it was nothing odd; there was only one highway across the Aba area, so it was normal to bump into each other.
The monk went to the restaurant, asked for some hot water and bought some Naan. Then he went back to his van and enjoyed the meal.
Su Bai walked to the van with a cigarette in his mouth. Seeing that the monk was having his lunch, Su Bai chose not to disturb him. Instead, he walked to the back of the van. It seemed that the monk was driving and there was no one else in the van; but the rear window was covered by some special film so that nothing could be seen from outside.
Su Bai put his hand on the window. He didn’t mean to find anything, but he suddenly noticed a palm on the window even after he pulled away his own palm! And it was not on the outside but inside.
There was someone in the van!
Su Bai immediately approached the window and almost pressed his face onto it; soon, another face was pressed onto the window, just as Su Bai had done. It was a pale face of a baby; its eyes were all white, but it was smiling. Apparently, it felt funny playing with Su Bai.
Su Bai instantly stepped back and turned around, only to find the monk right next to him. This monk could walk with no sound at all!
"Sir, I’d suggest you focus on your own business. Please don’t trouble me any more."
"Oh, why?" Su Bai asked.
"What you see may not always be true."
"I just wanna take a look inside. Is that okay?" Su Bai asked.
The monk seemed to be straightforward; he nodded. "Go ahead, since you really want to."
He even opened the door for Su Bai.
Next, Su Bai saw what was in the van: three bodies, two adults— one man and one woman— and a kid, the one that reacted to Su Bai.
All the bodies were highly decayed, but there was no stinky smell.
"Amitabh, they died a violent death somewhere else and became ferocious ghosts, so I have to escort them to the celestial burial site for the rite. Only after their corpses are eaten by the hawks can their evil be gone. This is my duty, please understand."
The monk said mercifully as if he was sacrificing for the whole world.
But Su Bai just stretched out his hand, turned over the little boy’s body and pointed to the sunken wounds at the back of his head:
"These fatal injuries were caused by your Buddha beads, weren’t they, Master?"
 120: The emergency call number in China, especially for emergency medical aid. Like 911 in the U.S..
 Aba Area: Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a prefecture for Qiang People in Sichuan Province, China.
 Qiang Ethnic Dishes: Qiang People’s food. Qiang is an ethnic group and it forms one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by China, its people have developed a charming culture including colorful clothes and a unique lifestyle.
 Naan: Also called crusty pancakes. It is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines of West Asian, Central Asia and South Asia. —Wikipedia