One Way Ticket

One Way Ticket

He woke up in cold sweat. In that brief moment between waking up and opening his eyes, he felt the remains of panic, that he must have experienced just before losing consciousness. 

As he opened them now and looked around, there was only disorienting darkness! 

He wiped his sweat and took a deep breath and was rewarded with a faint smell- at once familiar and strange.

His mind went into overdrive trying to identify it and then he recognized it. He was definitely inside a car- actually a new car, going by the smells. His heartbeat stabilized immediately because he was a car-geek and cars were home.

Had he been in an accident? He focussed on his body to check for aches and pains. No injuries or soreness.

Feeling about in the darkness, he switched on the lamps and was rewarded with sudden dim lights. He noted that the car was a luxury model with all extravagant fittings. 

He searched frantically for his mobile but could not find it.

He shifted his gaze and looked out of the windows to get his bearings.  There was only stygian darkness.

He tried to look for the keys to start it. But strangely there was only a smooth panel. No control knobs. 

He warily tugged at the door handle and it clicked smoothly and opened on the first try. But he had to push the door through some foliage to open it. He cautiously got out and looked around.

He seemed to be in the middle of a jungle! The trees grew thick and high. The car was hemmed on the sides by dense vegetation. Shocked, he turned back to check on the road, he must have driven through. 

He gasped.

There was no road!  The car stood plumb in the middle of the forest.

The time seemed to be around sunset! Darkness was looming in. There were chirps of birds and  howls of unseen animals. 

Suddenly, there was a low growl from nearby, followed by the rustlings of a bush. He began shivering- he did not know if it was the cold or the fright that gave him goosebumps.

Inside the car was definitely safer. He roughly pushed aside the branches of the trees and sprinted towards the car. That’s when he saw the name of the automaker. 

Suddenly his memory came back. 

He had won the race to own the first self-drive Tesla in India. The competition had been fierce. Sure he had undercut and bribed and used his connections to get the coveted prize. The world of luxury cars was highly competitive. His friend and competitor, Raja, had lost the race by a whisker. He had taken it stoically though! 

Today had been the official handover. Raja had accompanied him and brought him drinks as they waited. Raja wanted the honor of flagging off the first drive. He had refused to accompany him, though. 

Raja entered the destination on the control panel secretly.  He had told him that the place was called ‘One Way Ticket’. 

As the car took off, the only thing he remembered was the panic as fell unconscious.

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