The story so far:
I hadn't been able to figure out anything in the two weeks following my last visit to the Chinese girl. I'd spent hours on the internet without any good, solid results. Most of what I found was considered to be fictional or legendary. Nothing scientific, not even in the thousands of pages I read about quantum physics theory or mechanics. I'd pretty much decided this "whatnot" that had been plaguing me since childhood was a learn-as-you-go exercise and I'd simply have to wait for the next experience. If there wasn't going to be a next time - I figured I could live with that, too.
It happened again in the Mall. I was with a group of girlfriends in the food court when that, now familiar, feeling began. First I was freezing, then warm. I felt sweaty, but there was no moisture on my skin and seconds later, I felt as dry as a mesa in Arizona. I looked around. It wasn't time to panic, but I didn't want to get to that point. I excused myself and headed for the restrooms.
The first, and only, available toilet stall that I checked was a disaster. Someone had puked and missed the bowl not too long ago. Toilet paper was scattered all over the floor, some of it wet, some not; but, all of it had been trampled on by dirty shoes. I stepped back out of the stall door and checked the others again. All three were still occupied. The feeling that I was about to shift quickly intensified and, having no choice I jumped back into the cubicle and locked the door.
Fortunately, the walls went all the way to the floor; no need to worry about someone looking underneath. I cleared as large a space as I could with fresh toilet paper and sat down with my back against the wall. I felt it coming. I closed my eyes and....
She was squatting in a corner of what looked like a prison cell. My Chinese "friend" had been beaten, badly beaten; her left eye was swollen shut and there was an open cut above the eyebrow. There were bruises all over her arms that stuck out from the dirty one piece shift she was wearing and, her knees and feet were cut and oozing blood.
She raised her head seconds after I arrived. I was beginning to think that she really could see me. Her short smile exhibited several missing teeth and I cringed at the sight. What the hell had happened to her? I wanted to rush over and hold her, to hug her and tell her everything would be alright, but I knew that was ****. Everything was not ever going to be alright for this girl.
I knelt in front of her and reached forward to brush hair from her face. Nothing happened. I was like a ghost in this...whatever you called it...world? Time continuum? I didn't know, but somehow I knew that it didn't matter. I was here for a purpose, though. I felt that strongly.
I watched as she extended a hand in my direction. The hope on her face was obvious. She could see me. Surely, she could see me. Her hand passed right through my face and her face matched the disappointment we both felt.
A jangling of keys alerted me that someone was coming and I jumped to my feet. Reflex, I guess. There wasn't any danger. Not to me, anyway. A guard roughly grabbed the girl and pulled her behind him, not giving her a chance to get to her feet. He simply dragged like a piece of meat. She uttered not a sound. I followed.
Outside in the courtyard was a large tree stump with an axe stuck in the middle. Realization of what was going to happen hit me like a ton of bricks and I rushed forward, yelling, "no, no, no...." Noone heard me. The guard continued to drag the girl to the stump.
I grabbed the axe and tried to pull it free. I was going to run away with it. My hands passed through it. I couldn't get a grip. I sat down next to the block of wood and cried. I was helpless. The situation was hopeless. If I'd never questioned this 'whatnot' **** that happened to me before, I did now. Why was I here when I couldn't do anything about what was about to happen? Why did I have to see all these things. The murdered father of the girl, the smoking gun in her hand and now, this....this... It dawned on me that this was going to be an execution.
Realization drove me to more vigourous action. I jumped up and kicked the guard in the balls. Nothing. I screamed directly into his ear. Nothing. I beat on his chest and called him every nasty name I'd ever heard or read about and nothing, not a goddamned thing happened, except he pushed the girl against the stump on her knees. She and I stared at each other across the axe.
Another guard appeared and he pulled the axe free. The first **** pulled the girls body forward so that her head hung over the stump, exposing her neck. I crouched down. I laid on my back, in fact. I wanted to see her eyes as she was forced to look at the ground. A single tear dripped from her one, open eye and...
I felt it! I felt her tear splash against my face. I couldn't believe it, but it was true. I wiped my finger through the tear and it came away moist. I wanted to yell for joy, I guess, as incongruous as that would be in the situation. I smiled at her and she smiled back.
The thunk of the blade passing through her neck and into the wood jarred my entire being. I gasped at the suddenness, the finality of it. I screamed at the pain, her pain - the pain of injustice and gross brutality. I cursed God and promised Him, with all my heart, that I'd make Him pay for this!
Her head fell forward in slow motion. It would have bounced off my own, had I been a physical presence. As it was, it slapped against the hard dirt behind my head. A gush of brilliantly red blood spewed from her severed throat, bathing me as if someone had tossed a bucket of water on me.
I didn't feel the splash of blood or the falling head. I did get a tingling in my hands and feet. A sensation that flowed from their starting points towards the middle of my body and up my neck, finally reaching my brain and filling me with a gentle warmth as if a summer breeze had blown through my head. This was an unusual feeling. I briefly thought it meant that I was going back to my own body in that filty toilet in the Mall, but that wasn't it. Not yet.
I felt her inside of me before I heard her. In her soft voice, she whispered, "Where am I?"