“God, how much longer do I have to go through this? I should have just stayed home at this hour.”
A mild breeze past by, a bunch of leafs fell off the tree as I got the goosebumps.
“Okay, that was strange.” Pulled out my phone and holding the up key, I switched the torch on.
“At last this crappy cheap phone actually came in use for something.” I said – observing the tree from up close to make sure no one is actually there, finding nothing.
“Here’s a car coming, maybe they would give me a lift.” I signaled the car to stop, but it just passed by.
“Hell, why is it that I’m always ruining my beauty sleep just to help someone at the generation where no one helps the people in need. Just see, how no one seems to even help me get there. I hate how easily I get convinced. I mean I don’t even know that girl very well. Should I just walk back home and pretend that I never got that text at the time when she sent it because I was sleeping?” I said to myself standing a while in there – torch starts flickering.
“It’s my lucky day. I’m so glad dad gave me this cell phone instead of the one I wanted. Look at it, it’s so useful..” I say out in a sarcastic tone, a bit louder than expected. “..first thing tomorrow morning I’ll do is thank my dad and..” a hideous sound of some laughter or was it crying? I’m not sure. I turn backwards slowly – afraid I would find something unnatural here, but nothing.
I started walking again, a little faster that before – heartbeat rate is slightly higher as I could clearly listen to my heart pounding in this silence. Looking at the phone to see the time and the torch goes back to normal. “Is it really 1:30am now? Has it been only 25 minutes since I got out? Feels like I’ve been walking for hours now.” – mumbling and wishing if I actually owned a car, it would put a good impression on her too.
Suddenly I moved the torch focus from the road to the front and suddenly saw an old woman wearing white saari” – freaked out, I started gulping on my own spit as she says in a trembling voice “Ayaan?” – I took a step back. She with her hand pointed towards me “Ayaan, my son, is that you?” She cried and ran towards me holding me in her arms.
“Her body temperature feels normal, guess she’s nothing to be scared of.” I thought to myself reminding myself that unnatural things are cold in temperature – I felt really uncomfortable with the hug though, but assuming she’s lost her son who I presumed to be named Ayaan, so I didn’t want to tell that to her. I just played along and said “Yes, mother. It’s me.”
She kissed me on my head and asked “I knew you were alive, your father just kept telling me you were..” tears dripping down her face as she talks and she wipes them off, “But what really matters you were still alive.” She spoke with her teary eyes. Silent in a shock, unaware what to or say at the situation, I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming. “Ouch!” I shouted and she asked me what was wrong, I said “Nothing mother, I’m hurt; someone mugged me and ran away.” – As I said that to her I was thinking to myself “What am I doing?”
She made me seat on the sidewalk and told me to wait there as she ran off to somewhere. I stood up. “Well that wasn’t weird.. at all?”
I see another car driving the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going.
“Get in quick, Atif!” she cries. She’s wearing a green top and a blue jeans skirt, messed up hair. This is probably the first time I saw her without makeup. What’s more surprising is she actually looks more beautiful with her natural beauty and her hair undone. It looks hundred times better than her ponytail that she makes in some usual day. The ‘hundred times’ is probably an understatement.
“Maya?” I stare surprised at her as I see the fear in her eyes. She looks like she’s seen a ghost or something. “What are you doing here? I was on the way to your place as soon as you texted me, but I got stuck on the way. I would have been there sooner if dad was in town because I could drive his car then. I’m really sorry. Are you okay?”
I gasped as I saw blood splattered on her top “Whose blood is that?!” I cried. She said she’d explain once I got in the car, so I did. “There’s a psychopath killer on the loose. He killed everyone in my house and I..” she bursts into tears, I tried to wipe the tears off her glowingly beautiful cheek, but she leaned back so I couldn’t. I could see the uncomfortable feeling from the way she was. “Switch seats, you’re driving.” She said.
“Uh, I don’t even have a driving license yet.” I responded looking down. “I don’t care; I’m not in the condition for driving. I’m scared as hell.” She cries again. I responded back to her trying to comfort her with my words as she’s not the touchy affectionate type seemingly, presuming from her backing away when I was about to wipe her tears off. “Okay okay, just don’t cry. I’ll drive.”
I got out of the car, opened the door for her to get out and waited for her to get in using the other door, but she said that she was too weak to open that or pull it close, so I ran again quickly to her and led her into the car and closed the door. I felt something really unusually cold passed by just about two inches by my back. I turn back to look, nothing there.
“Something isn’t right” I said to her, as I ran into the driving seat and tried to start the engine. Engine starting sounds, but stops. Happens quite a few time, then Maya and I came to the conclusion that the Engine needs checking. “Stay in the car, I’ll go check.” I said and got out of the car, lifted the front hood open to see what was wrong and gasped as I looked at Maya in horror and said “Here’s steaming blood on your Engine too!”, I gulped.
“Is there any towel or anything that I could clean these up with?” I asked. I was breathing very fast because I felt like I was suffocating in there. My heartbeat was getting faster every moment. “There’s a towel in here somewhere” she replies calmly looking like she’s about to doze off.
“Take some rest, you need it, I’ll take care of everything.” I said, as I kept looking for the towel and found a cut off hand of some girl there, needing to scream in fear, yet the urge not to because I don’t want to seem scared in front of her nor do I want to ruin her calmness, it started eating me inside. I threw away the bloody hand in disgust and found the towel next to it slightly covered in dry blood as if someone wiped their bloody hands with it, but I guess it could work.
I took the towel and went to clean the blood off as the hood was still lifted, all the blood was gone and that freaked me out and my head felt like it’s going to explode. Everything was just so confusing. Closing the hood, I ran back into the car and started the engine. It started on the first kick. “Thank God” I say out loud.
Upon realization, I looked at Maya to see if my loudness woke her up. She was pressuring her eyes closed at times. I assumed she must be having nightmares. “Maya?” I whispered into her ears as she slowly opens her eyes rubbing her eyes with her hands. “The car is good to go; do you want to spend the night at my place? I don’t think it is safe here.” I said to her.
She nodded “Mhmm.” As I slowly got the car moving, I was driving at 20-25mph speed because it’s a 25mph zone I didn’t want to break the traffic regulation. I see her crying. “Everything will be fine, I promise.” I tried to convince her. “No it won’t.” she responded wiping the tears off with her hand.
We felt a hit on the car, it’s like we ran over something. “NO!” She screamed when I went to press the brakes. “Keep going please. I’m so scared.” She starts crying again.
I took my foot up from the brake and pressing the accelerator, gearing up to drive faster as there might have been a severe accident that I’ve caused. If there was any injury or possibly even death, that would be my fault for not looking at the road while driving, I didn’t want a lawsuit. My dad would kill me if I got into trouble of such kind.
Driving the road really fast, I passed by a cop on motorbike, he turned on the siren expecting me to pull over. “Oh my God, what if he sees me blood covered, he’ll definitely take us in as murder suspects.” She cried. To think, she’s right on that point. “Quick, hide in the back seat and cover yourself with something.” I told her. My body is shaking. “Hurry up.” I said.
I pulled over, as the cop stopped to get off his two-wheeler and he stood right in front of my window as I rolled the glass down. He looked so buff, he could be a professional wrestler and he had long bushy mustache making him look overly manly for some reason. “May I see your license and registration?” He asks. I was scared of this moment from the beginning.
“You’re screwed.” The voice in the back of my head said as my head felt like it was spinning round and round. Maybe he will let me go if I told at least a portion of the truth to sound very convincing. Maybe even add up some lies to get his sympathy. I can see the kindness in his eyes. “Sir, this isn’t my car, it’s my friend’s she texted me at this hour to come by because of some emergency. Then I found out some serial killer was on the loose and she might be in trouble, so I’m going to the place we’re supposed to meet.” I said in hurry showing him the text on my phone. “Maya.. pretty name. Is she your girlfriend?” He asked. I replied, “I don’t know, I really like her, but I never got to tell her. I guess hanging there, hoping she’ll someday realize how much she means to me. I really need to go get her, officer. Please let me off for this time?”
He was peeking on the back window to see if there was anybody here with me, terrified that if he’ll find her he’ll realize that I’ve lied to him and he’s going to take us in I closed my eyes and started praying. He then looked right in my eye, then looked down, “I’ve lost the love of my life, I don’t want you to lose yours, so go ahead son, just be careful.” Officer replied taking off his hat.
“Thank you so much, officer. I will.” I said and started driving again. “Quite an actor, aren’t you?” Maya said in a low tone of voice. “It wasn’t all that hard as there was a portion of truth lying underneath.” I said and quickly changed the topic, “We were in luck the officer was a softie. Otherwise, we would have been spending the night in jail for murder.”
“Portion of truth?” She asks with a confused look on her face. Afraid of what she might say when she finds out I like her, dodging the obvious topic, I said “Oh don’t worry about that. What’s more surprising is that he was peeking at the back window, how come he didn’t see you? I was scared to death.”
“Maybe I’m a ghost.” She said as she and I start laughing. “Do you really like me as much as you said to save your ass then?” She asks suddenly, fixing her imperfectly perfect messy hair with a glowing smile on her face. Her smile made it obvious that she liked me just as much, or close to that. “Maybe.” I answered with a smile on my face. Even at a terrifying night like that, the spark of my joy was surprisingly obvious to know that when the night’s over, we leave as a couple because I’d definitely be asking her out when it’s all over.
I pressed the horn in the wheel as I see someone standing on the middle of the road with a shovel in their hand, walking in an aggressive move towards the car. “IS HE THE KILLER?” I asked Maya, “No, but he sure seem to be in a killing mode.” Maya responds grabbing the seat with her hands tightly in horror. As I was inches from running him over with the car, I turn the steering wheel else left, as the guy hits the windshield of the car with his shovel breaking the glass, some of those shattered pieces got stuck on my body as I screamed in horror.
“That’s what you get for filling my wife with hope of the return of our dead son and running her over, you pathetic waste of space.” He shouted in the flame of anger.
Was it her that we hit while I was driving carelessly taking my eyes off the road? What have I done? Even if my death calms his pain and agony, I will never forgive myself for lying to a mother who’s lost her son and then being the cause of her death. Whether or not it’s an accident, it still is my fault. I was ready to embrace death, but I couldn’t let Maya die with me. I looked back, Maya isn’t here. “Maya!” I cried. The car, out of control, was heading towards a cliff. I was constantly hitting the break but that wouldn’t help. So short time to live, so much I had to tell her. I couldn’t. Maybe I could just jump off the running car opening the door.
I opened the door and jumped and instantly the car fell off the cliff, left me hanging on the vines of some old tree that are on the edge off the cliff. I heard loud explosion down there, too afraid to look down because of my fear of heights. I realize I’m too weak to pull myself up or to hold myself up much longer.
“Atif?” The sweet sound of her voice gave me the hope of living on. Needless to say, even while I was hanging on the vine, just inches away from death, my face was filled with glowing smile. “Help me up, Maya. I can’t hold on much longer.” I shout. “I can’t.” she replies looking down. I stare confused as she walks down, and tries to touch my face, but her hand just went through my face as if she only a light ray, a projection. My eyes couldn’t believe what they saw. “I’m sorry Atif, I can’t touch you.. I’m only a spirit.” She closed her eyes as tears started dripping down her face and fell on to mine only to disappear on the fall. “Remember how the killer killed everyone in my family?” She took a pause to wipe her tears off her face and said “I ran into the car as he was chasing me with a chainsaw, told the driver to start the car only to find out the driver has a screw driver stabbed in his eyes which went through his brains, dead, so I pushed the driver off the car got blood on my hand, quickly wiped the hands with the towel and I saw the killer getting too close as I tried to jump off at the front seat and the killed grabbed me by my leg and pulled me out of the car, he cut me into pieces as one of my hands fell into the car. I couldn’t free my spirit knowing I’m leading you towards death, so I had to lead you back to your home, safely.” More tears fell off her eyes as she said in trembling voice “I’m sorry, but do know that I have more than liked you. Though it’s not possible in this life as mine is already over, but the next, I hope to be yours.”
Now everything makes sense, why the officer didn’t see her when he peeked at the back window of the car, and also solves the mystery of that cut off hand along with the blood splattered towel in the car and it sums up why she didn’t want me to hold her too because then I’d freak out realizing she’s not alive. Even through all these, at least I won’t be dying a lonely death now, I’m loved by the girl that I once crushed upon even though it’s her spirit that I’ve said it all about I guess that makes it even stronger, a relation among souls, I have no regrets apart from when I played along that old woman and accidently ran her over. Her husband avenged her death by inflicting these pains upon me and now I’m moments apart from death. I guess that’s karma hitting me right back. I let go of the vines as I see Maya’s spirit disappearing, a bright light in my eyes flashing and leading me towards a blank state of nothingness.
Noises and sound of too many people talking.. is that how afterlife is like? I opened my eyes to see myself hospitalized, oxygen mask on my face wires or whatever plugged on my veins. I couldn’t move my body, nor could I talk. Fuzzy vision, I saw a doctor waving his hand in front of my face. “Sam?” he calls out as if my name was that. “No, he’s in a state of paralysis. Neither can he talk, nor can he move, but according to the analysis, his brain is completely active in process, so he probably can hear and understand what’s being said.”
“Do you think he’s going to be better anytime soon? He’s been in coma for two years now, his mother cries at sleep every night. I don’t think she will be able to go on much longer like that.” says a person claiming to be my father and he starts crying.
Two years?! It was only last night that I had the accident, and I was dying. I saw the bright light flashing in my eyes as I descended to hereafter with the hopes to reunite with Maya even in death and wait again to be reborn as we’d be eternal. Helpless, unable to move, I stared at a blank point.
“He’s woken up from his coma, that’s a huge improvement given the state that we had given up hopes on him. It’s like a miracle. Maybe God’s given him a chance to do something that he needs to do? I’m guessing he’ll be talking in a few months and walking normally in six to eight months. He might have memory decay though. Nothing to worry, it will all start blending in to normal eventually.” Doctor explained to him.
“Maria, it’s time for Sam’s bath.” Doctor says. Is that Maya? Yes it is. How is she still alive? Why are they calling her Maria? They put me on a wheelchair and as Maya was taking me for the bath, she kissed me on my cheek and whispered into my ears “Been waiting so long for you wake up, and now I finally have the one my soul was craving for all along safe and sound.”
– fin –