Anna was returning home from college. Those were rainy days. It was six o’clock in the evening and the sun had disappeared behind the clouds. Suddenly a large rumble of thunder echoed throughout the sky and large drops of rain began to fall, hard.
Anna turned her car onto a side road and stopped it in front of a small grocery shop. She ran to the shop and bought some vegetables, snacks, and candy. She came back in the car and turned the key. But engine made a rattling sound and didn’t start. She tried four to five times, but the engine couldn’t start. She hit the steering wheel with an angry slap of her palm. ‘I wish I had a good car.’ She looked at the sky. It was dark like midnight and freezing rain was getting heavy. Thankfully she had an umbrella. She took her bags and stepped out of the car and opened the umbrella. She walked to the main road.
She thumbed a ride back to home. The first car to slow down had three young fellows in it, and if that wasn’t wearing and smoking enough, the empty beer cans on the back seat certainly were. They looked disappointed when she firmly shook her head and continued walking.
The next vehicle to pull over was a dray, but she didn’t look up at the driver.
And then Anna spotted an SUV car slowly ambling along towards her. She faced the oncoming car and raised her thumb. The car slowed, and pulled off the road. The driver turned back and looked at beautiful, thin girl. He couldn’t help but allow his eyes to roam over her body. She was wearing a red mini, with a tight shirt that was cut to show off cleavage.
Anna walked quickly up to the passenger door to see a young man, aged between 27 to 29, rolled down the window.
‘Yes, young lady, May I help you? Where are you headed?’ he asked.
‘Sil Colony, sir. My car is broken down.’ Anna replied.
‘Where is it? I have not heard of it.’
‘An hour away from here. The left side of the highway.’
‘It is a forest. Are you living in the forest?’
‘Yeah, my father is a forest officer.’
‘I’ll be driving past the forest, so come in.’
Anna hesitated. She never took a lift. She could trust this stranger. He seemed educated, well-spoken and polite.
Anna once again looked at the sky and then sat in.
While he looked to his right and concentrated on getting back onto the road, Anna took a closer look at him. He had a black hair, bronze, and lighter beige hues skin-tones. He wore party wear shirt and trouser.
‘Thanks for stopping,’ Anna said.
‘My name is Connor.’ he said, taking one hand off the wheel to shake hands with her. ‘You can call me Con.’ he gave Anna a quick glance from the corner of his eye and trying hard not to look at her hot legs.
‘Anna,’ she replied.
‘What are you majoring in?’
‘Literature.’ Anna said.
‘It’s a most difficult study, if you ask me. I’m not good with grammar.’ Connor said.
‘Where are you working at?’ she asked.
‘Ah, Computer engineer?’
‘Yeah, but I am also a book lover.’
‘So will you read my book when I write it?’ Anna asked with a smile.
‘Of course, I’ll read all the books of Anna …?
‘Barty.’ Anna said, looked happy at his encouragement.
‘Anna Barty.’ Connor repeated.
‘On which topic will you write first?’ he asked.
‘Horror fiction.’ Anna said.
‘Wow… so you believe in ghosts?’
‘Not really, but at some point, yes.’ Anna said. ‘Do you believe in evil spirit?’
‘No, not at all.’ Connor said.
‘Do you know there is also a haunting tale about this highway.’
‘Oh, really? What is that?’
Anna’s face grew serious and she started the story. ‘This was about 18 years ago. It was a day like this. Rainy. Dark. A twenty-year-old girl asked for the lift from a stranger. The stranger gave her the ride in his car. But he didn’t leave her at her home. He took her into the forest where he lived alone. He raped her at knifepoint and then killed her. He buried her in his house. Since then, the spirit of that girl wanders on this highway and asks for the lift.’
Connor laughed. ‘Wow… interesting.’
‘People says the car should not be stopped on this road. And if you stop the car then you should not look back otherwise that spirit would sit in your car. You should never go on that path that she asks you to take. Otherwise, at the end of the journey, she will kill you.’
‘Amazing,’ Connor said. ‘I really enjoyed this story.’
‘Stop… stop… stop…’ Suddenly Anna said. ‘This is where I live. I will walk from here.’
‘There is still heavy rain. Umbrella can't protect you from this rain. I drop you.’
‘Are you sure you want to come?’
‘Yeah, it’s fine.’
‘Thanks,’ Anna said as Connor pulled off the main highway onto a side road.
The forest was dark and silent. They drove in silence. A little way into it they reached a signboard, which was not readable.
‘Stop here.’ Anna said.
Connor looked around. That place was creepy and scary. The freezing rain was still going on.
‘That is my house.’ Anna said, pointing with a finger.
Connor saw that there was an old house. The overgrown branches covered the door. The cobwebs hung like a massive veil as if it had been abandoned for years. It was really a spooky horse. He spotted the hanging skeletons placed around the old wooden walls.
Connor suddenly remembered everything. - Everything happened according to the story. Same dark, rainy day. A girl, seemed twenty-year-old, asked for the lift. He stopped his car and turned back. She came and said her car is broken down. Oh god, but there was no car. She said you should never go on that path that she asks you to take. Otherwise, at the end of the journey, she will kill you.
Connor stared at her beautiful face.
Anna gave a smile.
Connor’s heart stopped.
‘Thank you for the lift, Con.’ she said. ‘I enjoyed talking to you. And don’t forget to read my book.’
But Connor didn’t respond.
‘Connor?’ Anna said.
There was nothing. His eyes were blank.
‘Connor? What happened?’ Anna touched his shoulder, and to her horror, he toppled over.
‘Oh my god, Connor! Daddy… daddy…’ Anna screamed as she got out of the car. ‘Daddy…’ The sound of the rain was so loud that nobody heard her. She pulled out her phone and called her father. Her father came out from a house built behind that old house, which was hardly visible from there.Go to Contents
It was a cold winter night. Priya just came to her friend’s farmhouse. She had a bad break-up. So she wanted to spend some time alone. So she chose this place far from the city. She made a coffee and sank into the chair. Tears slipped from her eyes. Her boyfriend, Neel, left her and married her best friend, Rayna. Both of them betrayed her. Today was their marriage.
She tried to sleep. But she couldn’t. Her heart was burning. She kept awake, wondering why did they do this with her.
‘Ding Dong.’ The doorbell rang.
Who could be there at midnight in the chilly winter, she whispered and went to answer the door. To her utter shock, she saw her best friend, Rayna, standing there, in her wedding lehenga.
‘What are you doing here?’ Priya screamed angrily. ‘I don’t want to see your face.’
Rayna was expressionless.
Suddenly Priya’s phone rang.
‘Hey, Priya. I know you don’t like them, but they were our friends. Would you like to come with me to National Highway 8?’
‘National Highway 8? Why? What happened?’
‘What! You don’t know! Neha didn’t tell you?’
‘Neel and Rayna had an accident at highway an hour ago, and they are no more with us.’
The phone slipped from Priya’s hand. Rayna was still standing in front of her.
Now Priya noticed that Rayna was looking anxious with an unusually pale face.
‘I’m sorry.’ she said in a ghostly voice.
Priya felt goosebumps rise on her arms.
‘God accepted your curse. We got our punishment.’ she said.
Priya got anxious too. ‘I didn’t want this.’ she said in a small voice. She stood there, frozen. She didn’t know whether she should be happy or sad.Go to Contents