Raveena was driving to visit her aunt in the hills. It was 7 in the evening and the sky was darkening. A thick mist had risen and reduced visibility. The car had slowed to a crawl.
Suddenly, she heard a thump and the car stopped moving. The car had hit a small boulder that was now blocking the road. Raveena got out to check, and realized that the car’s front tyre was punctured – there was no hope of her continuing on her way.
Glancing at the phone, she found that there was no network.
As she stood there, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She screamed and turned around to see a hooded person holding a lamp.
“I live around here and heard the sound.”
It was a woman’s voice and Raveena heaved a sigh of relief.
“Are you all alone?”
“Yes, can you help me please?”
“I’ll take you to my house, it’s right here.”
Raveena wasn’t sure if this was a good idea, but she had no other alternative. She couldn’t see the woman’s face but went with her anyway. Just a few steps away they turned into a narrow path and came to a small stone cottage. There was a dim glow from inside. The woman went in and Raveena followed her. It was really cold and her teeth were chattering.
Inside the only source of light came from a candle. The woman handed her a mug with something hot that smelt delicious.
“Drink this soup, it’ll warm you up.”
Raveena was hungry and accepted the mug.
“I’ll be back, make yourself at home.”
And before Raveena could say anything, she disappeared into the gloom outside.
Raveena was really hungry, so she started to sip the soup. It tasted a bit funny but really delicious. She finished the soup and put the mug down on the floor, feeling sleepy. Her last thought before she blacked out was whether she had been drugged.
When she woke up, it was morning. There was no sign of the old woman. She walked out and went down the path to the main road. The boulder had disappeared and her car was parked to the side, good as new.
Raveena wondered if she had imagined the whole thing. She turned around and found the mug with remnants of soup in it lying on the ground in front of the cottage, looking abandoned in the daylight.
Confused, Raveena got into the car and was soon on her way. She jumped when her phone started to ring.
“Where are you Raveena?” It was her aunt.
The story was one she had to tell in person so she said, “I’m on the way, I’ll be there soon.”
When she reached, Raveena narrated what had happened. Her aunt paled.
“Can you describe her?”
Raveena hadn’t seen her face but told her aunt what she knew.
“That sounds like Clara. The forest ranger who’s worked here since I moved, ten years ago.”
“Do you know where she is now? I’d like to thank her.”
“That’s the thing,” said Raveena’s aunt, slowly and carefully.
“Clara’s been dead for two years.”
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