The Eternal Wait

The Eternal Wait

The road was lonely but for him. In the shrubbery lining the deserted road, fireflies shimmered; their warm glow lighting up the darkness. Parked under a dense, sinewy banyan tree, Arjun slumped in his seat gazing up at the torn upholstery, tracing the blotches on the hood with an empty gaze. Tears rolled down his cheeks into his overgrown beard.

Arjun pulled a photograph from his pocket and caressed it reverently. His beautiful wife and five-year-old daughter smiled back at him. The faded photograph, burnt around the edges was the only remnant of what his world had been. He placed the picture on the dashboard as an unearthly wail emanated, shaking his frame uncontrollably.

One moment, one wrong decision, and his whole world had been ripped away from him, hurtling him into an endless abyss of grief. He was drunk that night, deliriously happy over his promotion. He should not have been driving the car, should have hired a cab instead.

His mind swum with the many should-haves and could-have-beens. Now, there was no way to bridge the gap between him and the family he had lost. All he could do was to lament over the broken dreams, the unfulfilled promises, and the hollow ache left behind.

But, no! He could do something more to ensure that no other family is destroyed in a similar way.

And there he stood, at the tricky patch of the road; the exact blind spot, that had deceived him, causing the fatal accident. With his headlights on, he patiently waited for the next one to pass by.

*************

Manoj was sloshed. He strained his eyes and slapped himself to stay focused on the road. It was dark, and a milky fog had descended making it difficult to drive. He took a sharp turn but suddenly stopped in his tracks. A minivan, with its headlights blinking and vipers swishing was blocking his way. Inebriated and impatient, Manoj got out of his car and haughtily crossed the distance to confront the insouciant driver of the minivan.

But when he reached the van, he saw it was empty! The interior stank of liquor and blood. Looking around, he called out, “Hello? Whose car is this? Get it out of my way!”

As he turned a full circle, a bone-chilling shudder ran down his spine. 

There was no van in sight. Only an ominous whisper that rang through the air, “Danger!”

Manoj couldn’t decide if this was a figment of his foxed imagination, or something paranormal. Without losing a beat, he ran to his car and closed himself in.

Cowering under his seat he called the local police. After making a thorough enquiry, and fining him for drunken driving, they dropped him home. As he got out of the police car, the constable said,” A few months back, there had been a ghastly accident at the same spot, killing the drunken driver. He is survived by his wife and daughter. Since then, we have had several reports of a mysterious presence blocking the way, not allowing drunken drivers to go ahead. Whoever it is, saved your life today.”

Manoj was left shaken.

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