(Hey guys, fed up of humour, I tried a different genre. Talk about experimenting..!! Okay, brace yourself and get ready for a thrilling drive.)
Refilling petrol into his Ford, Vishal swung into a small, silent, lifeless lane. He turned on his music player and threw a glance at the dashboard clock, which said- 8pm. It was starkly dark as he drove steadily ahead in search of an entry point to get back into the highway. The road became narrower and darker as the surrounding woods got denser. He could have touched the highway by just retracing the route by which he had come from, but somewhere in his adventurous mind, he thought- “Lets explore.” But now, as he passed well through the village limits, he wondered- “ Do I need this?” He noticed a hitch in his voice and repeated loudly to himself- “ Do I need this crap? No right?”
Suddenly the head beams illuminated a large wooden sign attached to a tree, and Vishal stopped the car. He stared out of the windshield into the old, dirty, bedraggled wooden board and noticed a familiar word STOP. The rest of the sign was incomprehensive, but he could notice another similar word- DEAD END.” He observed his head beams illuminate a small metal barricade about 50 metres in front of him, which blocked the road. The road looked perfectly fine ahead, which made him contemplate as to why such a board was put up. He surveyed the glove box on the dashboard, in search of his torch. He dug out a small piece of paper, which was in it and read it with the help of the torch. It said-“ Toll fee- Rs.35.” He entwined and crushed it, threw it outside and stepped out with the torch in his hand though he had kept the car’s head lights on.
He walked tardily as the dry leaves on the road made crisp sounds as he stepped over them. He reached the barricade, scanned around the place with his torch and found nothing to apprehend the wooden sign to. ”Somethin’ fishy” he said in his mind. With feelings of ambivalence, he started his walk back to his car, covering his eyes from the glare of the car’s powerful head beams. With silence surrounding him, he could literally hear his breath and the crisp sounds of the dry leaves as the wind blew. Somewhere in the distance a dog barked- an unfriendly bark, he decided. He got closer to the car with just ten strides away from it- one… two…three…. four…five..and he froze. A human hand rested on his shoulders with blood dripping through it and a struggling male voice cried- “ Hey….Hey….”
His dashboard clock read 8:30 pm and his speedometer read 110 kms/hr. He was back on the highway, he screamed at himself- “fuckin speed-breakers” and jumped over one. He was sweating profusely, though the car’s air conditioning was switched on. He noticed his music player was still playing, and turned it off in a flash. A milestone read- “Chennai – 98kms.” He found another, the third ‘toll-booth’ on the highway so far and stopped to pay and then proceeded. He grabbed his phone out of his pocket, luckily it could catch the network signal and he dialed his close buddy Vijay, whom he was supposed to meet in Chennai. Moreover, he had to confide in someone close to him, preferably a good crony.
Vijay- “ Hey bro..!! You are late. I’m waiting. What’s up?”
Vishal- “ Hey Vijay.” He cleared his throat and continued- “ Listen, I need to tell you something. Something dangerously important.”
Vijay- “Buddy, you sound tense. What’s wrong?”
Vishal- “ Yeah. On the way, I had to enter a small village to refill petrol after which, I headed along through the village road in search of the highway entry point, where I found a ‘dead-end’ sign. I got down to check out and man… shit” He pulled out the small water bottle from his glove box, emptied it in one go and continued- “ A person, a middle aged person, with blood stains all over his body came to me and tried to say something. All he managed to say was- “ Hey.. Hey…” and directed his hand towards a house at a distance and fell dead right in front of me. I think someone stabbed him with a knife. Oh man, in trying to be stupidly inquisitive, I fucked up everything.”
Vijay- “Holy shit. What else?”
Vishal- “ Nothing. I dint know how to react? So, just hurried out of that place. Now, I fear the police would put me into hardships regarding all this. All unnecessary bullshit I got into. Don’t know what the fuck made me go there.”
Vijay- “Okay, cool down.” He paused and continued- “ Okay, do as I say. Reach Chennai, and ‘check-in’ into “The CrossRoads Inn” Leave your luggage in the room and walk out into the public, maybe a restaurant. I’ll meet you there.”He paused and continued again- “ Remember, you are not the culprit. So head held high. Okay? We shall take the bull by the horns. See ya.”
Vishal- “Yeah. Thanks” they cut the call.
He continued driving at a constant 90kms/hr as the road was wide and smooth. He glanced through the rear-view mirror and his heart stopped for a second. A police ‘Qualis’ was following behind him. He hit the accelerator, as the speedometer needle rose to 110kms/hr. His heart raced along. The police car behind him, was no less, it too maintained good speeds if not it was faster than Vishal’s Ford. The Qualis swung to the right, pushed ahead and was now head on parallel to the Ford. Vishal threw a hesitant, nervous glance towards the driver, a policeman but realized that he wasn’t returning the look. Vishal released the accelerator trying to abate and the Police-Qualis moved on without cooking up any kind of a storm. Vishal exhaled deeply relieving himself. He turned ‘on’ his music player in an attempt to vanquish his fears.
In an hour, he entered the familiar, Chennai and drove with no confusion to the hotel- “The CrossRoads Inn.” He parked his car in the parking space, checked in into room number- 305. He tipped the helper who showed him to his room and locked the doors. He went in, had a shower, ate some fruits that he had carried and noticed the wall clock, which showed- 10:30 pm. He messaged Vijay over his phone to inform the room number and typed- “ Meet you at the restaurant.” As he was putting on his shoes to leave to the restaurant, he heard the ring of his ‘door-bell’ and two hard knocks on the door. He swung to the ‘switch-board’, switched off the lights and headed to the ‘peep-hole’ of the door. He peeped optimistically, but to his shock his worst fears came true. He saw three men in khakis, waiting at the door. The Policemen had arrived.
To be Continued....