I didn’t know what was worse, being stuck because of the rains or being stuck in the worst imaginable place! As I sat in my car looking out at the night sky, surrounded by a rainstorm, I couldn’t help the feeling of despair trying to seize my mind. The more heavily it rained, the more my heart pounded. Oh how I despised rains!
And as if it wasn’t enough, the car had broken down at exactly the place where a massive accident had claimed the lives of two, not even two days back; the cursed bus-stop, as the print media were calling it.
It was already 11:30 in the night and owing to the bad weather, the roads were as deserted as they could possibly be. I could hear a faint buzzing in my ears, the kind which goes away when you gulp in mouthfuls of air and creeps back again, inconspicuously. Looking through the thick curtain of rain, I stared at the only source of light in the area- the street light near the bus stop.
I sat there looking outside, I don’t know for how long. Suddenly, I sensed someone’s presence in the car…someone right behind me. For a split second, I froze, and a chill ran down my spine, making me shiver with cold and fear. Slowly I raised my eyes to look into the rear-view mirror. What I saw made me gasp!
Two electrifying blue eyes looked back at me, from a face so distorted that it was hard to make out the outline. I felt the beginning of the formation of little knots in my stomach, and it seemed as if all my organs were trying to claw out of my body, bit by bit.
“W..who..who are you?” I asked.
Before I could get an answer, however, he smiled at me. At least, that is what I thought he was doing. His teeth were bared; pointed fangs they were, sparkling like yellow pearls in the dark. I quickly got out of the car and ran out through the rain towards the bus stop. I squinted in the dark to see if he was still there, when I saw a kid playing with a ball next to me. Where she came from, I couldn’t say, but I knew something was terribly wrong as soon as I set my eyes on her. Her face was away from me, solely concentrated at dribbling the ball; her feet, however, were pointed towards me, and the realization made me shriek out loud. A menacing cackle erupted from the kid, and I jumped back in fright, unable to breathe.
I woke up with a start and realized I had passed out in the car. The rain was as heavy as ever, and someone was tapping at the mirror on the passenger side. I turned to see the mechanic, gesturing to lower the window. I asked him to quickly fix the car as it was very late, and he started on his work, while I slumped lower into my comfortable car seat. When even after a good half hour, I didn’t hear from him, I went outside to have a look.
But…but…there was no one! Not even a single living soul in the vicinity, even though the bonnet of the engine was held up.
Beads of cold sweat formed on my forehead, and I gulped, which seemed like I was gulping thousands of needles at once.
I ran to the car and quickly bolted the door, crying all the way. This was like the nightmares you hear of, only very real.
Or was it, really? I sat upright, and looked around. I was at the bus stop. But..how? I was in the car, just now, wasn’t I? Suddenly, it all came rushing back to me…the kid…his feet…the creature with fangs. I saw that the car was where I had left it, and the horrifying creatures were nowhere in sight. I didn’t know what was happening. Was my mind playing tricks on me? What was fiction and what was real?
At that moment, my gaze flickered towards the car. I saw something that built dread inside the very core of my body. I walked towards the corpse of the mechanic. And as I was staring at it in horror, I felt a warm ragged breath on my shoulder.
As the creature pounced on me, his fangs puncturing my neck, the kid laughing in glee somewhere nearby, my toes curled in fear and I knew this was
~ Tanu Bali | Edited by Farrokh Jijina