God was unable to solve a simple problem in his world, which had now grown in to a big issue. Just then, a Kid gave him an innocent view, which God strongly felt as the need of the time.
God was frustrated with the way Humans had messed up with the world that he had created with such craft and devotion. God thought that the cruel face of deaths and despair of innocent creatures will somehow touch the humane in humans, but even when it did, humans couldn’t do anything to stop the mess.
Oceans were polluted, rivers dried up, species got extinct, but people were fighting over issues made by themselves. Humans turned into savage beings, didn’t care for anything, anyone but themselves, their things and their desires. Human wants had turned into inhuman impulses.
He sat at a deserted riverside, sad, thinking over the whole architecture of his creations – wondering what went wrong. The place was devoid of humans, and anyway no human soul could see God now, as those souls were not pure anymore.
A kid came running towards the riverbed chasing a squirrel. The squirrel quickly climbed up the tree beside the riverbed. Kid got angry at the squirrel and threw a stone at it, missed it. Then he sat at the riverside, sad and crying.
God’s heart was still God’s, and He couldn’t see a kid crying like that. So he changed his appearance to a man and went beside the kid. He asked the kid about his problem, to which the kid replied, taking out a nut from his pocket- “I am t-… I am trying to give this n- n- nut to that s- squirrel… but she j- just doesn’t stop! Why doesn’t it t- t- trust me? Am I that bad?!”
God smiled at the innocence of the boy.
“Look kid. The squirrel might have had a bad experience with some other person before. That’s why she is afraid to trust you. She might be thinking that you will hurt it and so she’s running away from you. That doesn’t make you bad. Rather, your intention to give the squirrel food is what makes you a good boy!” God said patting the boy’s back.
Boy took a while to stop crying. And then said “But I don’t want to hurt it. My mom says that if I hurt someone, God will hurt me back. And will help that squirrel. Doesn’t squirrel know that?”
God said “It is true that God helps good souls. But still that doesn’t mean that good souls won’t get hurt. Sometimes, God takes time to help someone.”
Boy’s face turned inquisitive and said “But in that time, the bad guy would have done bad things. What’s the point of helping after bad things have happened?”
“Sometimes, bad things ought to happen to allow good things to happen.” God said smartly.
Boy couldn’t understand that, so he just shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t get that. Instead, why just not allow bad things to happen.”
God said “Not everything is in God’s hands. We as people need to change for making things right.”
Boy said “I would just advice God to restart the world and make things right this time. Put only good things in people’s mind, and devoid their abilities to do bad. When I am not able to do something, I also just restart with my work, with a fresh look at it.”
Saying that the boy went on with his little world… But God sat there thinking about restarting the world. Is that the solution to his problem? Rebuilding the world, while destroying the current world? Is that acceptable? Or just the need of the time?
A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.
After leaving the house of his parents, the bird had set foot in the world of opportunities, which could both help him fly high or dump him right on the ground. While juggling his world with arranging his new nest and the new life, the bird feels the need of a companion, for the first time.
Previous posts under this series:
He had just returned from his morning flight. He loved flying over the town in the morning, just when the first ray of light touched the highest trees on the ground. All other birds would wake up after the sun was up enough to splash its sunlight on the ground. By that time, he used to make his trip.
He felt something he couldn’t explain in words, when the morning cold breeze and the new-born sunlight used to touch his feathers. He would just close his eyes, spread his wings fully apart and just go with the wind. And when he reached the end of his town, he would open his eyes and see the naked beauty of the sun, no buildings or man-made aesthetics to blur its beauty.
He cleaned his nest with a flap of his huge wings and settled back the twigs for the next night. Soon it will be time for going for the morning ritual – food, work, food, work and food, before it would be time for taking rest again. He watched other birds in the nearby nests. They had started to wake up.
He loved watching them wake up. It was half the reason for his early rise from his sleep. The birds around his nest used to wake each other up. Those staying alone used to show off their place and strength, in order to attract females and keep other males at bay. While some notorious ones used to invade other’s privacy by flying into other’s marked spaces. And it was just seconds that a fight would start between the owner and the encroacher.
But he didn’t like watching all that. He enjoyed watching the couples wake-up. It was an amazing sight, funny sometimes, and adorable too. One of them would wake-up and slowly caress, gently stroke the other’s head with its beak. The other would slowly open its eyes and the first thing it will see in the morning would be the his love in the eyes of its loved one. And then they would entwine themselves in the rickety ride of beak-lock, entangling their beaks and pushing each other up and down.
Gross! It used to be his first reaction to such acts of other birds. Rumbling inside other’s beak without the morning gargle! But then he felt something else too watching them. His heart used to slow down watching the scene. And a strange crunch would start out of nowhere in his stomach. Probably, he missed all this in his life.
During the day, he would think about how his life would be like if he also had a companion in his life. His early months after he left the house of his parents were hard. And he felt this dire need of being with someone. But he always pushed away those feelings thinking that he had to make his life first, and this was only temporary reaction of his mind upon leaving his parents. But then, those thoughts never stopped after more than a year from that time now.
He had met several people on his way to this town, before he finally settled at his current space in the corner of the balcony of an abandoned man-house. But none of them made him feel weak at heart. None of them were compatible to him. And he moved on easily from all the occasional beak-locks and making out times with some, he didn’t care enough to remember. But he was waiting for someone whom he would never let go. And that made him feel incomplete everyday.
In the evening, when he would return from his long flight of searching for food, having fought several fights with some annoying birds on the way, and finding his purpose of life, living his dreams, he would see the sunset, alone. He would sit on the chimney of the house, and watch the sun burn the last rays of light. He would extend his wings to touch the light as it would slowly rise towards the sky, leaving the ground to embrace the darkness and wait for another day, another morning when they will meet again. Although the sunset is always beautiful, he would feel low at heart having to watch it without someone by his side.
At night, he would arrange his extra twigs to form a structure of another bird, a portion around his side, and would close his eyes, letting his feathers feel the touch of another warm being, imaginary companion by his side. It was the only time during the day, other than the morning escapes, when he would actually smile without a reason…
After-all, the truth was harsh and he knew it. Life wasn’t all generous all the time. He understood he had to accept how things were in his case. Due to his nature, no one was ever gonna be with him forever. He wouldn’t let that happen…
At the traffic signal, a man used to count the time in his mind along with the displayed countdown, waiting eagerly for it to turn Green again.
Read on to find out why he used to count the time along with the timer and why once he wanted the time to stop there.
He turned the accelerator knob towards himself, and trying to turn it more and more, wishing the bike to run faster. But it didn’t. By the time he could cross the puzzle of other confused newbie drivers, the traffic signal had turned yellow and the traffic police had raised his hand signaling the vehicles to stop. He was diligent towards the law and so he slowed the bike to stop at the red-light.
He was the first one at the signal. All before him had somehow got past the police and had rushed past the cross roads, some even breaking the red-light. Slowly the empty spaces around his vehicle and the crossing in front of him started to fill up with more vehicles. He hated those drivers who went past the stopped vehicles, only to stop ahead of them, blocking the pedestrian crossing area.
He started whistling. It took him away from all the noise of horns (which made no sense as the signal was red, no one was gonna fly out of their way), heated engines of cars (which made no sense either, the signal was gonna stay red till a few minutes), the cries of the kids in someone’s lap, sitting pillion to the rider (which made no sense to him, the kids, they are just stupid to cry all the time without any cause, he thought).
His whistle soon took over his mind and him away from all these noise. He enjoyed the ups and downs, the variations on the scale of the song, the beautiful tune that several sounds made when joined together, the words that he spoke in his mind while whistling. It all was beautiful, the music was.
This was his routine. But that day, someone else was also listening to him at that time. He didn’t notice. But a girl on her bike, standing right next to him, was listening to him with her full attention. She had even removed her helmet to hear it clearly. She enjoyed music too. And this was something different, yet musical and amazingly beautiful. There was a smile on her face all the time she listened to him.
The countdown was still twenty more seconds, and people had already started inching past the yellow line. Only he waited till it actually turned zero before starting his bike. He ignored the people around him, punching their horns at him, giving him angry looks. He started moving and looked to his left in surprise, someone was staring at him. He gestured her to move and went on with his way. But in his mind he thought about her all day.
The next day, the scene was repeated. But this time, he saw her while whistling and had stopped instantly. The girl gestured him to continue whistling and he had continued. He loved whistling and she loved him doing it. They met every day at that same signal at the very same hour of the day, where for one-two whole minutes they would share a musical moment.
From watching the countdown, waiting to race away from the traffic signal, he started counting the timer in his head, wanting it to run slower, wanting the time to stop. He wanted to just whitle and watch that girl give him the most amazing smile he has ever seen in this world. There were people who loved his whistle, but he had never felt the way he felt for her and her love for him whistling.
As the timer in his head reached the last few seconds, he would gracefully end his song and bade goodbye with his eyes, to which the girl would reply similarly with her eyes. They spoke nothing, yet it felt to both of them that they had an amazing conversation with each other. They went on with their opposite paths from that signal, with a smile on their faces, a rare sight for that crossing.
From loathing the signals on that road, he started loving the red-light and the traffic. He wanted the rush to stay. He wanted it to be like this forever. And the day when they didn’t meet, he felt very bad that he didn’t whistle at all that day. Those two minutes at the red-light made or broke his day, all depending on if he meets her or not.
And a similar day came once when he couldn’t see her. He was late, and would surely miss her if he didn’t drive fast. So, he went past several shortcuts, didn’t wait for pedestrians and dodged his way past confused newbie drivers to reach there on time. He was just a crossroad away from that signal. But there was a lot of traffic at that signal. People were gathered on the middle of the road and there was total chaos of vehicles.
He took a detour, and reached his signal, ditching that jam-packed crossroad. He checked on his clock, for a hundredth time now, and sighed a breath of relief that he had reached on time. But she wasn’t there yet. So, he waited for another red-light, probably she was late too. But she didn’t come, probably had taken a day off. He left for his routine, restless to meet her tomorrow. He was finally gonna ask her out, tomorrow for sure.
The next day, it was raining. He reached the spot on time. The traffic was less, and signals were empty, but she was not there. Probably she would’ve gone early today due to the rains, he thought.
The day after that, he reached the signal again on time. But he couldn’t meet her. And it was the same news the next day, and the day after that too. He felt sad and wanted to find her. But he didn’t even know her name or contact number. His days went sore and in distress, as he was helpless, unable to find the mystery girl whom he wanted to share his life with.
One such time, he was restlessly looking around at the red-light for a sign of her. He didn’t even count the timer in his mind this time. All he wanted was to see her again. An old man came riding a bike and stood right where she used to. He was bothered that now even if she comes, she won’t be able to stand right next to him. He looked at the old man in anger. He saw that the old man had a sad face and probably, tears out of his eyes. Or may be it was just due to the wind while driving.
He looked at his bike. And for a moment, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was hers. May be he was mistaken. But that same rusty chocolate color, that lightning sticker on the side, that broken leg-guard and a golden cloth tied up at the mirror clamp. There was a newly formed dent on the front body and the side-light was broken, mirrors skewed. But it was definitely the same bike. He wished he could remember the license plate number.
He looked at the old man and couldn’t resist asking “Umm… Sir? Morning sir. If you don’t mind, may I ask if this is your bike or borrowed? A friend of mine owns a similar colored one and I am a little confused about it…” He couldn’t complete his sentence. The old man broke down and started crying right there at the signal.
The red-light had turned green and there were several horns blowing around them, telling them to move, but he was more interested in something else. He asked the old man “What happened, sir? Are you alright?” and slowly patted the old man’s shoulders.
The signal turned red again. And there were several curse-words being thrown at the pair from surrounding drivers.
“The… The bike is… was of my d… my daughter…” the old man uttered with great difficulty.
It was the old man crying, but he felt a choke in his throat. He couldn’t speak anything. He understood what had happened. He was stupid enough to not realize this earlier. The dents, the broken side light and the new scratches told him the story and reminded him of the day it happened. He knew what had happened, but he wished it hadn’t.
“It was my daughter’s. She recently met with an accident and she… she died. I am taking it to the broker… Brings too many painful memories. You knew her?” The old man asked him.
With some resistance at first, he shook his head, unable to speak anything.
The signal turned green and the old man slowly rode away. But he didn’t move. He couldn’t. He stood there, waiting for the red-light to turn back on, counting the timer in his head, and tears from his eyes…
Now he goes past the same traffic signal everyday, waits at the red-light, sees fellow riders around him, but doesn’t count the timer in his head anymore… Doesn’t whistle anymore.
A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.
While finding a dwelling place, he missed his home and remembered how it was on the day he left that place, forever.
The wind was gushing past his dark brown feathers while he had his strong, young wings fully spread in the sky. He was flying since several suns now. And he hadn’t been able to find a place to crash so far. He flew from forests to abandoned buildings to rural campsites to urban localities. But all the places were either occupied or weren’t free from human breech. At all the places, he was either shooed off by other birds or by mankind.
He was in constant upheaval since the time he moved out of his parents nest. He clearly remembered that day when his mother had told him that now he had grown into an adult bird and had to go on his own path, while Dad had looked at him from his usual watch-spot, doing his duty of precautionary lookout.
Dad had taught him all the survival and combat measures. And mother had taught him to fly, to stay full and everything else. He had looked into their faces for the one last time, a long moment before leaving that old house-top, forever.
He had flown up into the sky with his newly trained, strong, young wings. He had pictured mother and father watching him fly away from the ground below, but had not turned his head to look back. It was difficult to move on. It would be impossible to go if he looked back. A tear had escaped his eyes and had flown in the gushing wind past his feathers in the sky, then had started to descend down towards the ground.
On the old house-top, mother had been strong so far. She was watching his son fly high in the sky, not looking back, his strong boy. But then she felt it. She felt a pain in her heart, she knew her son was sad somehow. She flew in a blink, the father was too slow to stop her. He was in his own dilemma. Dad watched his son fly, tearing the wind. He wanted to say something to him before he left. He wanted to bite him over his head and cuddle him before he left for his long journey. He wanted to fly a few miles with him, making sure he remembers his lessons. But he couldn’t. He was Dad after-all. He has to maintain his strong composure. May be next time he sees him, he will say things, he will let himself break emotionally.
The mother flew, but not towards her son. She flew on the ground in the same direction as he did. He shouldn’t know how she felt. That would only make it more difficult for him. But she wanted to see the most of him before his son was gone out of her reach. She flew right below him, giving quick glances towards him in the sky, while dodging all the obstacles on the ground. She took a sudden bent in her path to duck a street light and did a barrel roll. While she was half-way through the barrel roll, with her wings open towards the sky, a drop of water had fallen on her chest. And she had stopped right there after completing the barrel roll. Her heart could make out what the drop of water was – the same make as the one that rushed out of her eyes at the moment.
They would be proud, but scared as well till the time he proves himself worthy by living out in the open world without their protection, he thought. And so he moved swiftly, but without watching the path. His mind wasn’t in the flying, his wings were doing it for him. He will move from one place to another, till the time he found a safe shelter. May be some day, he will have a place where he could invite them to stay with him, if he sees them again.
An entry from a girl’s personal diary – “While I and dozen others were waiting for the rain to stop, having a different reason, each one of us, a whistle swept me off my feet and I saw him walk past me like a breeze on a calm lake…”
“It was raining constantly since last four hours… First I was enjoying the cool breeze and the occasional spattering of rain drops on my face while I was standing alone in the balcony. But then, it changed to surprise, then shock, then worry and then irritation.
I wanted to get out of here, I wanted to go back to my house and sit on my peaceful sofa, eating that last bowl of ice-cream I had in my fridge. I wanted to sit there looking outside of my window into nothingness, seeing the vast, weird sky out in the open. Birds drenched in water, sitting dead in the corner while rain, like an audacious King, sploshed on each and every part of the land.
From waiting at my desk for the rain to stop, I took a courageous step, packed my stuff and left the office to wait downstairs in the hallway. I extended an arm to let it just reach outside in the open, unprotected by the brave shade. I felt the rain drops wet my hand and I enjoyed it. But I had my laptop with me, other gadgets. I was to travel through my two wheeled bike, no, there’s no shade on it. Pity.
I saw others, waiting in the lobby like me. Probably all had reasons like me to not get soaked today. Some even stood there with umbrella in hand. I wondered what stopped them. While some were waiting with others, that makes a difference. A company makes waiting easy. I missed someone I didn’t know. I too wanted to be with someone. Someone I could stand here in the lobby, wait for the rain to stop and then to heartily depart when we left for our homes, in opposite direction.
I heard a whistle from a distance, not so far away. The whistle was so pure that it made its way from all the noise that was around me. (Yes, all the sounds around me seemed to be noise when I heard that whistle…!) I knew that song… Oh Gosh! He could whistle that song!? I immediately turned around and I saw him.
He was totally ordinary. But yet, something about him made me cringe at all my crushes so far. It wasn’t just his whistle. He moved confidently, without having any second thoughts about anything. He knew what he wanted and how he was gonna get it. He made way past all the crowd who was waiting for the rain to stop. He was rolling the keys (probably of his bike in his fingers), playing with them. He didn’t have an umbrella or a coat. Yet he didn’t wait at the lobby or extended an arm to check the intensity of the rain. He didn’t wait even a second at the gate. He went past me like a breeze, brushing a small part of my arm, but not even looking at me.
His backpack was already covered. It had a cover protruding from the last chain on the bottom of the pack. Probably he had already kept all his gadgets and stuff inside the bag. And now he had nothing to worry about. But he would get drenched. It was already cold. He might get fever. Oh what was I thinking! He must be immune to such silly diseases! After all, his one touch, no matter how light, stirred a fire inside me.
I watched him skip several steps and dance in the air while jumping the stairs outside the building gate. He was enjoying his own whistle. Why wouldn’t he? It was so damn amazing! I saw his clothes get wet slowly. His shirt started to shrink, or so it seemed as his body was slowly visible in all its shape and glory. His hair were tapped now to his forehead. And a tiny gush of water flowed from his temple to his nose and jumped over to his lips. I wish I was that drop…
I had to go too. I had to grab a few more looks before he vanishes in this air. I had to see a few more of him, listen to his song for the last time while he whistles away in his bike, zooming upon the water logged roads, splashing water to the sideways. I had to run. I had to fly.
I took a step outside. The rain instantly flooded my clothes and my body was visible in all its glory too. Just when I increased my pace, started to walk quickly, I remembered I was wearing a non-padded one. In the morning hush-hush, I had accidentally grabbed my night clothes instead of proper ones and now it was all visible. But I was lucky, no one had left the building and stepped out in the open but him, and now me.
I ran towards the direction as he had. My clothes were dragging with me. Mine weren’t rain-friendly like his. I had a lot of difficulty walking over the invisible potholes and small streams of gutter. I jumped and galloped and derailed… I fell right into the pit, but felt relieved it was a pit of fresh rain water, no mud, no dirt in it. He was no where visible. He had probably left by now. And I was in this clumsy, pitiful, miserable situation.
There was that whistle again. This time a romantic number from a recently released album. Oh I had to just sit there and enjoy…
I turned back and he stood there behind me, looking at me and my embarrassing position. But his face showed no reflection of that embarrassment. Probably my awkwardness was washed out in the rain. Or probably he saw the embarrassment, reacted to it and moved over it way back in time and now he’s only here to mock me more through an encounter. Oh I so wanted to run away now.
He extended me a hand, without stopping to whistle. I didn’t want him to stop. I took his hand. Oh that hard grip he held me with, I wondered how that grip would have felt on my hips, or my back, and on my thighs… Stop it. I had said that out-loud. He stopped whistling. Oh what had I done!
He watched me, seeking an explanation. Now how would I explain him what I was thinking inside my silly little brain! I made up something stupid, now I don’t remember it, but he had laughed. He had laughed so much. Wait… He had laughed at me. or on me?
I didn’t leave his grip either. And he, well, he seemed to enjoy it too. He pulled me out of the pothole with a single pull towards him. I jumped and moved so close to him that I actually felt those pads missing. I think he felt them too. But he didn’t look at any of me. He was decent. He was a gentleman. But he was turning pink too. I loved it…
We went towards the parking lot, while introducing us to the other and talking a few other topics or may be we went all that way without talking anything, just holding hands… I really don’t care. All I remember is that once we reached the parking lot, he removed his shirt and spread it over me, saying I might get cold and that he won’t like that. I had expected a few things but he was wearing shirt, wait! Did I just made all this up in my mind? There was no removing of shirt or spreading it over me. But was I just imagining him shirtless!? Stop it, I said to my mind again, this time inside my head only. I distracted myself with his words and his questions, and his weird face when I didn’t respond to any of his statements, or questions. Man! Was I making a fool of myself? Please say no…
He offered me a ride to my place. I merrily obliged. I left my bike in the parking lot itself. After all, how much more could I keep my mind away from all the silly thoughts it was weaving. I sat behind him, keeping a distance, keeping in mind to not to touch him, to not let anything of me touch him. Last time he had turned pink, although that was fun, but too much of it would mean something else. I grabbed at the pillion backrest and got ready to not to move no matter how much brakes he applied.
Soon my fears faded. He was driving so well, without any sort of roguery. He diligently applied brakes softly and then accelerated it to make the ride as smooth as possible. Once I stopped looking at the road up-ahead, I couldn’t tell if it was a bump or a straight road or a turn, city road, deserted street, back-alley or an off-road ride. I didn’t even know when had I left the backrest and was sitting peacefully behind him, listening to his whistles, yes they were back again. I wanted it to continue for as long as possible. I wished my home wasn’t so near to the office. We reached in just 5 minutes.
I got down and he helped me with my bag while sitting on his bike. This time he looked at my spots of wetness that revealed and then he smiled and said ‘You should go change quickly before this becomes a news headline.’ And then he laughed. He made it look as appropriate as I thought it was inappropriate. It wasn’t a big deal for him. And now it wasn’t for me too.
I invited him for getting himself dry and probably for a cup of coffee. He waited for a few minutes, gazing deep in my eyes, probably trying to find ideas or hints inside them, trying to decipher my intentions, but I hid them so well. He finally gave up and agreed. And I tried looking as normal, unexcited and plain, and sober and humble, and whatever way breezy as I could look, totally opposite of what was roiling inside me…”
To My Dairy, Yours Liz.
14th July, 2017
A lady returning from office, late at night on a desolated street, trying to find a cab but finds goons instead. Read on to find out how she manages to run away.
The telephone rang after ages and its ring seemed extra loud, as if it was screaming for proving its existence.
Riya got surprised on hearing that unfamiliar sound. The call was from her home, they were tired of trying to reach her on her ever-silent cellphone.
It was half-past twelve, mid-night. By this time, the helper staff would have left the building and security personnel would have slept in their cabins. And Riya knew about this. She forgot to look at the clock in making the presentation more appealing. After all, it was her first big prospective order from a reputed client and she had to give her best.
She left the building after closing her office, rather reluctantly. She never liked to lock this building as she had grown a special attachment to this place. It was from here that she had started her own business, that was all hers – no dependence on anyone. But her business was growing and so was the need for a bigger office.
It was a business street and was covered with offices all the way to several intersections ahead. So, at night it seemed deserted and a little scary to people not familiar with this road.
Riya wasn’t afraid of this road, the darkness. She had walked on this street for all her life. She took the second exit from the first crossway. It was very easy to find a cab on that street, had it been a normal office leaving time. At this time, the street looked more deserted than the desert.
She went on walking while trying different apps to find a cab. But she couldn’t find anyone operating in that area at that time. And she could call for cab only if the cab is operating in the nearby vicinity. Technology has its limitations after-all.
She was desperately trying to get some service online when a gang of vagabonds appeared out of nowhere on the next carrefour. It seemed through their behavior that they were probably drunk. And it still wasn’t very safe for a lone girl pass by a group of men in this country.
She was wondering what to do, whether to take another road or to walk through that situation strongly, thinking positive or to walk while calling someone or pretending to do so… when a car horn startled her.
At once, her mind started shooting different thoughts – whether it’s another mob of trash people who have come to kidnap her or whether it’s just another patrol van, which will be more grievous for anyone at night as they will hypothesize a filmy situation of crime and adultery and will demand proof for one’s righteousness without having evidence of any offense.
When she turned she was happy to see the yellow colored number plate on the car. Finally, a cab had arrived on that forsaken street.
The cab stopped ahead of her and the driver looked directly at her without saying anything. She looked at him, saw the green light saying ‘Available’, was about to hop in the car, when thoughts started pouring in her mind again. Riya found it hard even to trust the cabbie.
The cab blew a squeaky horn that got her attention. She stopped again, and considered taking the cab. She saw those drunk strangers up ahead the crossway and found somehow more safer to go with a single stranger instead of a bunch of ’em.
She sat inside the cab and told him her destination. The cab driver started driving without a word. He didn’t even look back at her. However, Riya was constantly looking directly at him and then at the navigation in her cellphone. She kept an eye out for any wrong turn the cab might take.
He wore a normal sweatshirt and rugged pants with a not-matching cabbie hat. His dashboard was unacceptably clean for a taxi. And there was a small family picture pasted on the only empty space on the dashboard. The backdrop looked ancient, and the driver was weirdly young comparing his picture and his current face, Riya thought. The cab had a distinguishing smell, as if the upholstery was polished recently. The dashboard design was also very old compared to the cab nowadays.
“How come you don’t show up in the taxi app? I tried searching for cabs, but there weren’t any on the app.” Riya’s suspicion was still on.
“I haven’t connected my services with those apps. I still believe in the old ways. Streets were more safer back then.” driver replied without looking at her.
Riya looked at the antiquated taximeter, which was working surprisingly. She was comfortable to be sitting in an unregistered cab. But, she hadn’t enough options. She didn’t ask any further questions to the cabbie, and hoped to reach some active street, if not crowded at this hour.
All the things were causing her to be suspicious but then…
“Don’t worry madam. You’re safe now. Those drunk people, or anyone for that sake, won’t be a problem to you anymore.” Cabbie said.
Finally she trusted the cab driver enough to sit without suspicion. The cool breeze and the calm ride took Riya into a quick nap, unknowingly.
After a while, when she woke up, the engine sound was off. The car had stopped. She abruptly got up to see where she was. But then calmed down to see the familiar neighbourhood. She had reached her destination.
She turned to talk to the driver but stopped when she saw the driver was sitting without any movement or any motion whatsoever. She saw the meter for the fare and shuffled through her purse to get the money out. She dropped the amount in driver’s box without looking at the driver, where something caught her eye. The box was almost empty, but had a few old, outdated currency in it. That currency wasn’t in circulation since years.
“Thank you madam. You’ve paid generously.” the driver spoke in a weird voice.
Riya almost got a heart attack when she heard his husky, changed, broken voice. She dropped the currency notes that she was examining from the driver’s box at his abrupt break, and looked up to find that the driver had turned to look at her – for the first time all this while.
His face was deadened and a large, slant cut on his face that ran through his eyes agitated Riya. She stopped ajar at the sight of him, but she didn’t ask anything to him. She just smiled and hurriedly left the car. On her way out, she saw the rear-view mirror just for an instance but she couldn’t see the driver.
She panicked and ran a few steps. But then, she must have seen from a different angle, the driver must have shifted while she saw that mirror, or she might have just imagined that in her mind. She just wanted to take another look at that scarred face, to see that vintage cab again and feel that smell of new polish, she wanted to ask the cabbie how he got that scar, she wanted to take another look inside that mirror… she wanted to thank him from dropping her at the right place.
Having walked just a few steps from the car, she gathered all her courage and turned back towards the cab. Out of all the things that she could imagine, she wouldn’t have imagined this.
The car had turned from a vintage car to a scrap, and was broken into trash as if a truck had hit it. The windows were broken and sparks were flaring up the car. There was once a moment that she could see the driver burning inside the cab. The driver’s head turned back in his seat and saw directly towards Riya through the rear window.
Riya was terrified deep down to her every nerve that she couldn’t even move an inch at that horrific sight.
Just a blink and everything in front of her disappeared. As if the car was never there, the cabbie was her imagination and all these events were just pen downed by some horror-stricken writer; the street ahead of Riya was as clean and as empty as ever. The night was calm and silent again.
But then, she had come all this way from her office to her home. It just cannot be an imagery all inside her head. Can it?
There are many streets untraveled by people at night. And this cab lurks around those roads, not to harm anyone, but to prevent a harm.
But would you trust it? …If you find one that is, or if it finds you…