“What the hell are you doing over there?” I yelled at my wife on the phone.
“The cab broke down…it’s not my fault…why’re you shouting at me?” She replied, raising her voice.
“You know why I avoid that road, don’t you?” I said in a shaky voice, as a haunting memory flashed before my eyes.
“I know…but I’ve been standing here for 15 minutes…I couldn’t find a single cab…please come soon…I don’t think it’s safe here.”
“I’ll reach in 10 minutes…” I said and hung up.
My hands trembled as I started the car. I looked to my right; “I’ve been avoiding this road for a year.” I thought, as I turned my car to the right.
I knew I needed to zip along to reach there in 10 minutes, but even a distant car horn honking or a person crossing the road in distance made me hit the brakes.
“I need to get over it…it’s been a year.” I told myself and put my foot on the accelerator.
For reasons unknown, I started praying to God. “Help me…you know I didn’t do it on purpose.” I kept rambling on and on until…
“Yes you did.” – the voice coming from the backseat of my car jerked me, sending shock waves through my entire body and I instantly looked back.
The backseat was empty.
“My mind is playing tricks on me.” I thought and as I turned my face to the road, a girl was standing just a few feet ahead of my car.
“No!!!” I shouted and hit the brakes.
“I’m sorry…actually I need a lift…would you please drop me at the junction up ahead?”
I had shut my eyes in fear; her voice brought me back into the present. Not being able to utter a word, I just nodded. She got into the backseat of my car and I started the car again.
A couple of minutes later, when I regained my voice, I said, “You could’ve died, you know!”
The girl burst into laughter. I frowned, felt irritated, and turned around to give her a piece of my mind, but…
The backseat was empty. I froze up for a few seconds, although a thousand questions popped into my head.
“Where did she go? Who was she? Was she an illusion?” I swallowed hard, and suddenly realized that the car was still moving.
I instantly turned to the road, and there she was, standing a few feet ahead of my car. This time I saw her face clearly – “How is it possible?” I murmured and slammed on the brakes.
I stared at her in horror, as she slowly walked towards my side of the car.
Bending over, she smiled at me. “Do you recognize me?” She whispered.
I gathered all my strength and turned my face to her.
“Where is she?” I muttered.
Nobody was there, except the dark road and the giant-like trees bending over it.
I started the car, and unlocked my mobile to dial my wife’s number.
“Maybe talking with someone would help…I’m imagining things.” I tried to convince myself.
“Okay, let’s talk then…” The voice came from the backseat of my car and I turned around.
This time she didn’t disappear, the girl was sitting there in the backseat of my car.
“Ah! don’t look back…look at the road…you’ll kill her!!” She shouted, pointing to the road ahead.
I turned to it, and saw her standing before my car, with a smile on her face. I instantly turned back and she was sitting in the backseat, smirking at me.
“How is it possible?” I muttered; I could hear my heart beating.
“Why?…because you killed me?…because you hit me with your car?…because you left me dying in the road?”
The girl burst into laughter, and then suddenly stopped.
“I didn’t do it on purpose…trust me!” I wanted to say, but not a single word came out of my mouth.
She smirked; the merciless smile on her face told me she wouldn’t spare me.
“I won’t kill you…your punishment must be more severe…” She shifted her gaze to the road.
I followed her gaze.
I saw my wife standing up ahead, facing my car in the middle of the road.
“NO!!NO…NO…NO!!!” I shouted.
“Don’t be scared…maybe she’s your illusion…maybe she’s me…maybe your wife is waiting for you at home…and maybe she never called you to pick her up…maybe it was me…” She whispered in my ear and giggled.
I tried hard in vain to hit the brakes, it’d stopped working.
“Or maybe it’s your wife…you aren’t imagining her…it’s not me…it’s her…will you not save her?” She laughed out loud.
I could either save my wife, or myself.
The girl I’d left dying didn’t leave me any other choice.
– Chirasree, a dreamer.