The Unusual Driver

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…

The Thing

A taradiddle about a girl, traveling in a bus, who gets a weird dream while sleeping in her compartment, and a series of bizarre events after that.

… …

The constant brushing of the curtains over her face was annoying her. The whisking of wind from a tiny creak in the window was to be blamed; along with the poor locking system which let window to slide open with inertia of bus movements. It was an overnight journey and she had to have a sound sleep, for the next day was gonna be hectic, she knew it.

Initially, she had woken up frequently to fold those curtains up or to shut that window tight, but then she just let it be. It was better that way that she stopped bothering about that. It almost felt as if the wind had stopped gusting through the gap; as if the bus had stopped and she was at peace… Wait, why was it feeling like the bus had stopped?

She woke up with a sudden suspicion.

The bus was, indeed, at rest. She peaked out through the half open window. There was darkness ahead as far as she could see. She let out her head from the window a little further to see behind the bus and ahead. The roadside was covered with dark, huge trees and the road had no lamps or streetlights. There must be some problem ahead at the road and she had expected there to be a long line of vehicles standing on the road resulting in a jam. But, no. The road was empty and only her bus stood there.

She immediately opened her compartment to talk to other fellow passengers, but to her bewilderment, there was no one else in the bus. All the sitting seats were empty, and the other sleeping compartment doors were open. There was no movement or sound inside the bus. She looked towards the driver compartment, where she could not see any movement either.

She stepped down from her compartment and moved towards the exit. On her way, she saw that all the compartments were normal, showed no sign of hurried evacuation. Personal effects and baggage were kept as is as they were supposedly kept by the owner.

When she reached the driver seat, she saw that the engine was off, but the head lamps were on. Even the key was hanging near the ignition switch.

She stepped down from the bus. She could see a few meters ahead on the road due to the bus headlights pointing ahead. It was pitch dark all around except that.

The bus passage lights were not on, which was weird as they were supposed to be switched on every time the bus stopped.

The bus was parked in a weird fashion, as if it was hurriedly stopped, without properly parking it at the edge of the road.

One after other, she could see weirdness around her and her mind seemed to be quite conversant at finding such spooky things.

She moved around the bus for some clues. She even called out in the open for someone to come, but all she got back was her echo. She couldn’t find anything around the bus which could explain the stoppage of bus in the middle of nowhere and the disappearance of other passengers and crew.

She continued walking away from the bus with anticipation to find some help. She kept on looking back at the bus. She didn’t want to go farther than the point where bus tail lights would not be visible.

She thought of informing her family and friends about the situation. She got out the phone, turned it on and checked for reception. However, there was no network. Even the emergency numbers did not work. She couldn’t connect to the operator or anyone for that sake, and her phone was useless at that point with respect to communication.

She left a message in her outbox saying “URGENT” for testing purpose, sent to her own number. She thought that when the reception will be back, she would know it and will call someone for help; as it was late and no one would be awake to see her message at this hour.

^BAAAM^

She was startled by that sound. It was the sound of the horn of the bus. She turned back to see the bus. It stood there without any motion. She waited for some time looking at the bus. Was that horn real or just her imagination? If it was real, who was that?

She started moving towards the bus, but then slowed her pace as she approached the bus. Still there was no sign of movement around the bus. And who could have blown that horn!

She stopped for a while before glancing inside the bus through the entry door. Then gave a quick glance at the driver seat.

It was empty.

She climbed up the bus and checked all the compartments, and all the seats. There was no one. She moved outside the bus again, and moved around the bus to see who it was, while screaming out loud “Who’s there?”.

No one answered her call, neither did she find anything peculiar.

Exhausted with fright, she moved back inside the bus, went towards her compartment. But then she suddenly realized that the key to start the bus was there in the jack. She ran towards the driver’s seat, saw that the key was still there. She managed to get on the driver seat.

She saw the surroundings of the bus through the side mirrors. There was no sign of anyone. She took a deep breath and turned the key to start the ignition. The engine made a few desperate sounds of starting and then stopped. She tried again, and again, but the engine didn’t start.

She hit on the driving wheel hard with her hands and put her head on the wheel. She started crying. After a while, she gathered hope again and decided to try one more time. She pulled herself upright again and moved her hand towards the key, when suddenly the lights of the bus, those which were on, went out with a snap.

It was complete darkness now. She couldn’t see anything. She tried her luck with the key, but it did not work. Probably the power was out. She started crying again while desperately trying to turn the lights on by switching random switches on and off on the dashboard. But nothing worked.

She slowly got up from the driver’s seat and turned on the phone’s flashlight. She could see a few metres ahead, but not so much. Sobbing, and frightened at the same time, she moved towards her compartment, taking each step carefully, looking around her while moving her flashlight in different directions.

When she had reached her compartment, she turned back to see towards the exit door, and as soon as she turned, her flashlight fell on that dark thing standing right behind her all this while.

Her heart stopped beating, she was aghast till the core and she dropped the phone on the floor. The flashlight revealed several parts of that thing but not fully, while the phone was falling, rotating on the way, towards the floor.

As soon as the phone hit the floor, the flashlight turned off and it was dark again.

She raised her hand to see if the thing was there still. She couldn’t feel anything. So she tried hitting hard infront of her with her fist, thinking to hit the thing hard on its chest, but her hand hit only the air. There was nothing in front of her.

She thought she must have been dreaming all this due to fright and tension. She bent down to pick her mobile phone, just when she felt a push from behind and came collapsing on the floor.

She yelled in horror and struggled to get up from the floor. While she was scrambling on the floor, she felt that something touched her stomach on the floor. Probably an insect, she quickly crawled ahead in alarm.

But it wasn’t any insect. Something grabbed her feet and pulled her back. She turned over to see what it was, when suddenly a hand-like thing came out of the floor and grabbed her by her waist. She struggled to move out of it, but the thorns-like things in the hand-like thing pierced her and gave her terrible pain.

She pulled hard to get out of that thing, but the pointy things were stuck in her T-shirt. She torn apart her T-shirt and came out of that thing. She had gotten hurt at several places on her chest and blood had started rushing out of those wounds.

She felt terrible pain at those wounds, but ignoring that she ran towards the bus exit. She slipped on the steps at the exit door and fell on the steps and hit her head on assisting poles near the steps. She gathered herself on the floor, while gasping difficult breaths, she pulled herself up using the poles and turned towards the door. But the door was closed.

She tried pushing the door and hit it with her hands several times, but it just won’t bulge. She felt miserable. With blood rushing out of the wounds on her bare chest and with new cuts and bruises on her bare thighs, she had a hard time staying up on her legs.

She shouted at that thing to show itself and asked her in desparation as to what it wants from her and why is it hurting her. Nothing happened. No reply came from the darkness inside the bus. She started crying again and asked the same questions to darkness.

She decided to break the glass and move out of this damn bus. She looked around for some object to use to break the plastic glass. Just then, she felt a strong sensation of heat over various parts of her body – her legs, her shoulder and her waist. She couldn’t move at all, as if something was having a tight grip upon her.

The plastic glass in front of her started cracking. It started bulging and came out of the hooks of the frame. And then it turned into a shape of a cone, with the pointed thing pointing towards her. She shouted with all her might, whatever was left of it, for help. But that wasn’t gonna help her much. The pointed cone glass moved towards her fast and went straight into her stomach…

She woke up clenching her chest and yelling. She was panting and sweating while in her compartment. She pulled her T-shirt upside to see if there were any cuts on her front. But there was no sign of any injury. She quickly glanced outside the bus window. The bus was moving.

Relieved that it was just a dream, she cleared perspiration off her face and drank some water. She was still traumatized due to the disgusting dream and felt as if the pain was real. This time, the wind, the moving curtain or the smell inside the compartment didn’t bother her. She went back to sleep while praying to God.

Just then, the bus slowed suddenly and stopped with a light jerk.

Immediately, she sat upright and was about to look outside her window, when a notification popped up on her phone’s screen: “URGENT”.

The Doorbell

A taradiddle where a man is annoyed with someone who constantly rings his doorbell. He desperately tries different ways to find who that was, but he discovers something unexpected.
… …

When the world was celebrating the festive season, I was slumped on my bed with my miserable self trying to get a good night sleep. I put on the head phones, although not noise reducing, but with the volume that I had in place, they were almost noise reducing.

I don’t know when I fell asleep while listening to my evening playlist of loneliness and melancholy filled songs. But I woke upon the sound of doorbell ringing.

I woke up instantly upon hearing that sound, but it took me time to come out of the hangover of my alcohol-less slumber. I got up from my bed, stumbled upon the table next to the bed, then staggered my way back to my feet and started my long walk towards the front door, my hands extended to support my half-closed eyes.

Finally I reached the front door of my home and extended my hands towards the lock. Just then, my brain got jump-started and it flashed before me that the celebration sounds from outside had stopped. Even my 4 hour plus playlist was over. So, the clock would be around 3 am in the night. And who could have come outside my door at this hour, I suspected.

Luckily, I had a peephole on my door. There was no one on the other side of the door.

Probably I took more than the required time to reach to the door from my bed that the person outside must have gone by that time.

So, I went back to my room and tumbled upon my bed like a dead body.

I must have fallen asleep immediately, as the doorbell rang again, and I was in the similar fashion as I was previously it had ranged. This time, I quickly went towards the door and looked through the peephole.

No one stood on the other side of the door. I took out my eye off the peephole and wondered whether all these doorbell sounds were in my head? Could I have been dreaming about all this? I tried one more look through the peephole, but no winner. It was late at night and the hallway outside looked deserted as it was supposed to be. I chose to not open the door to check that out.

I started moving back towards my room, this time in slow motion. Thinking about how difficult it has been for me to keep track of what’s a dream and what’s reality lately.

The doorbell rang again.

I stopped at the spot in daze. Even this time the hallway was empty and there was no one outside the door visible through the peephole.

This time I was sure that it was not a dream and someone had surely used my doorbell. But who was messing with me at this hour!

The thought of looking outside on the hallway crossed my mind, but I let that thought pass by as opening the door was definitely not a good idea for me. Be it a good person or a bad person, the timing of that person was surely not good.

I made no sound all this while, hence, I thought of looking outside just some more time. If that person would come up again to ring the bell and annoy me, I might just catch him red-handed.

I waited for some time while watching through the peephole. But no one came. I withdrew from the watch and cursed that maleficent person. As soon as I turned my back on the door, the bell rang again. In a heartbeat, I looked through the peephole again and cussed several times.

There was no one outside, but I kept looking through the peephole, annoyed till my tolerance limit I was.

“You won’t find me there…”

A voice whispered inside my ears and I could almost feel its breath behind me.
Dreaded, horrified and struck with all other frightful adjectives, I turned to see an empty room and there was no sign of anyone or anything weird.
As I was trying to cope with what just happened and lied to my mind that that voice was my imagination and nothing was wrong with the situation, the doorbell rang again. But I didn’t look through the peephole this time, as I knew – the prank was not played from outside. The prankster was already inside my house.

A Weird Dream Video

A dream where I was both the first person viewing the dream on my phone as a video, as well as the third person inside the dream video.

… …

I was feeling bored and lonely and depressed. My solitude was killing me. So I took the best anti-depressant medication – Sleep.

I wasn’t sleepy at that time, but I slept as soon as I started trying to sleep. And then a daydream started – as a video I was watching on my phone. The weird things was that I was in the video too.

When I woke up, I didn’t remember much out of it. There were many situations and cut-scenes, which were all hilarious, lovely and entertaining at the same time.

Although, I did remember bits and pieces from the dream. One scene was that there was something about me living with roommates and they giving me surprise over my something. And then someone saying something stupid and we all were laughing on it, while I spoke my usual sarcasm.

Then there was something about me gifting something to my mom. This was emotional which made me cry in the dream and even the me in the video was also crying. I was meeting my mom after a long time.

Then there was something about me watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S series as being a part of it. I mean the characters were from my own life, my own actual friends – having fun like they have in the series.

Then in another scene in continuation as the above one, I was upset about something and my best friend was trying to cheer me up. While other characters of my version of Friends were just – you know. Then Phoebe entered the scene, said something really funny and everyone left the room laughing. She told my best friend that she would help her cheer me up. Then she kissed her for more than a minute and then Phoebe said ‘Wait! Weren’t we cheering him up?’ And my friend said ‘We accidentally did.’

All these while, I tried to rewind the playback from the starting of those scenes. See, I was watching myself, and I was watching myself on my phone with an video playing app.

So I would touch the screen to move the playback slider to the beginning, but whenever I would touch the slider, it would show 00:00:00 – that is the slider would be at the starting point. And I wouldn’t be able rewind back to the point that I want to watch again. (You might very well know the point from where I wanted to watch again in all the above cases :P)

I desperately tried to move the slider back, I even pressed the ‘Previous’ button. But the video would just start from the then point and not the earlier point from where I want it to start.

And that my dear readers, that taught me a very serious lesson – to live in the present. We cannot change the past, not even in my dreams. We cannot relive those moments, no matter how much we love or hate them. They are gone. And all we have is today, now.

… …

When I woke up, I couldn’t get up for a while. Yes, the lesson was quite hard to take in, but I was more affected due to the fact that how did my brain make up such a nice plot, such a nice dream-movie with such a nice message along with the right amount of other things to spice it up a little! 😝

She saved me!

road_night_landscape_mood_high_quality_picture

I was on my way back home after a fun-filled evening with my friends. On the way to their PG room, they were driving and I was in the back seat. But now, it was my turn. And I wasn’t aware of the route. My phone was dead, but that didn’t do any bad, ‘Maps’ never works when needed anyway. 😛 And it was 2 am, so hardly anyone would be available on the road to guide me. So I relied on my instincts and continued driving…

There was mildly cold breeze and sky was clean black. No noise on the road, no traffic, no sign of humans… Alas! It was peaceful.

I saw there was a T-split ahead on the road. So I had either to take left or a right, and my directional instinct told me I had to go left.

The road was narrow and covered with trees on both sides. I had never been to this area before, and there were no sign-boards or shops from which I could make out where I was headed to. I got a little concerned about my choice of route. But then, I saw a right turn ahead, which was in sync to my directional-instinct. So I continued moving ahead.

But suddenly, the air turned bitterly cold! I lowered my speed and looked around me while driving. There was nothing around me except dense trees. And then I looked in front of me and wait……… there was someone at the far turning on the road. I couldn’t make out what was it so I continued driving.

The turning was about 300-400 meters ahead. The figure was visible now and it was of a girl…

The turning was not clearly visible due to the trees and the stiff shape of the turn. I blew horn to inform the girl that a vehicle was on its way to hit her if she didn’t move (I was too scared to slow down!)

As soon as I blew the horn, she turned towards me and started screaming. Her scream was so sharp (even from such a distance) that I could hear every word she said. She said “Stop… Don’t… Come… Here… Stop… Don’t…”

I stopped the bike right on the spot. I couldn’t see her face clearly, but just blurry white colored figure of a girl. And her black long open hair, which didn’t move even in that fine breeze. Her screaming stopped as soon as I stopped my bike. I was too afraid to do anything further, and she didn’t seem to go away.

The cold was weird in that monsoon season. And that figure was weirder as she seemed to be floating some inches above the ground. She kept on looking towards me and I felt a tight chill in my guts that this might be something beyond explanation.

Goosebumps had taken the toll over me. I was completely scared and was about to pee, just when I heard another horn behind me. I turned back and saw another bike coming towards me.

I felt good now. It was a lone rider like me. He rode past me and went ahead, and…….. the girl was no where! Where did she go! I stood there on my bike dumbstruck. The bike which went past me took the turn and disappeared in to darkness. And now the road was as empty as my mind that time.

The breeze had got normal and the chill had disappeared. The trees around me were normal and nothing was odd. I was nervous and afraid of moving further, but as the figure was no where to be seen and that bike had gone on the same way, I took a deep breath and decided to go ahead.

I probably was sleepy and may be all of that was just my imagination. With that thought I started my bike again and moved forward. But I couldn’t increase the speed, I felt that chill in the air again and was afraid that the figure might just reappear on that turn.

I took the turn, while kept looking around me. Nothing… So it was proved that I was imagining things! “Idiot fellow!” I told myself and continued forward.

Just a few meters from the turn and I was back to that familiar city roads and shops around me. As I moved forward, I saw a crowd ahead of me. I went to the crowd and stopped my bike. People were gathered in a circle and were discussing something in low tones. I went to the crowd and found that there was an accident between a bike and a truck. The truck drove away without stopping and people had called the police for action. I went for a closer look on the accident…

It was the same bike that had drove past me in before… The rider was not present, probably the ambulance would’ve got him.

That night I thought – it could’ve been me…! But that figure, that supernatural substance, that girl saved my life. She told me to stop. And I did. And I was saved. She saved me…

I thanked God and asked for blessings for that unknown figure who saved me. If there was such a figure at all…

P.s.: I never travelled that same road again, not even in day time, and I don’t even remember which route did I pick that day that I got on that road. I only remember that white outline floating on the road and that loud scream…

A visit to a school

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Everything was normal that day. The sun was up from the east, the sky was all blue, wind bowing at normal speed… I woke up rubbing my eyes like a small kid who wanted to sleep five more minutes 😉 When I came out of my house, my mind didn’t even have a slightest guess that what was going to happen today. I thought it to be a normal day as we have everyday…

I was walking on the road to my workplace, thinking about something I don’t remember now… The road took a sharp turn to left. I walked forward, when all of a sudden a girl of an age around 12 came running from a building on my right. She was running as if she was running away from something, or from someone. While running she slipped and fall on her back…

I ran towards her, helped her up, and asked her if she was hurt. She looked at me and I felt a weird sensation in my belly, as if something was moving inside me. Ignoring that, I asked her again while she kept looking at me. Finally she replied a no by shaking her head left-right.

I glanced at the building from where she was running. It was a school. I asked her “Why were you running away from the school?”

She replied “I’m afraid…”

“Of what?” I asked back.

“Of the people there…” She said with her head down.

I was confused. I myself hated the people at my school who loved to spoil my childhood with exams and rules. But I never ran from them, instead I gave them a challenge to teach me. 😉

I held out a hand for her, which she took. We walked back to school. Then she abruptly stopped and looked at me. She was frightened, literally! I consoled her by saying “Don’t worry! I’m there with you. I won’t let you get hurt. You trust me?”

She nodded and after a while said “So you are my friend?”

I smiled and said “Yes.”

When we entered the school, she held my hand very tight. I wondered what scared her so much…

The school was good. I mean the infrastructure. There was a huge round water-pumping artificial tree. On my left there was parking lot and on my right there was a security office. The entrance was glorified with architectural design and the name of the school highlighted on the wall. There was a pole with our national flag hoisted on it (For a second I looked at it with pride)…

The school was so silent that even our footsteps could be heard clearly. I asked her about her class. She was in 6th class. I looked around, trying to find her room. I was feeling totally nostalgic being there. Those friends, those pranks, teasing the teachers, punishments, walking out of the class as if we had won a battle! 😀 Bunking the theory classes, sleeping on the last seat, watching out of the window, those quick glances at our crush…

“I don’t want to go there! Let’s go to the play room. You play with me… Please!” She said in her most persuading manner. I smiled and then agreed. (I myself wanted to go back to that time) We played games for some time, even other students there joined us. Then all of a sudden there was a long trrriiinng, indicating that it was recess time. From everywhere around me, kids dressed in similar uniform but dissimilar shapes and sizes came running. Some with their food and others with glaring expression of happiness to have successfully completed that one hour torture. 😛

She pulled my hand and took me to meet her friends. She introduced me to everyone of her friends saying that I am her new best friend and that I helped her life. (By helping her get up on the road 😀 Kids are so innocent…!)

I had few chocolates in my bag which I distributed amongst them. They fought like soldiers to get a grab on those, which made me laugh so much. I told them stories, they told me theirs; one girl asked me whether I had any girl friend, upon which another girl squawked at her that she got no chance. Already I was occupied with my little friends. 😀 I wondered how these little angels learn all this!

Playing games is the most interesting part in recess. They played all kinds of classical, modern and self-made games. While few played I don’t know which game by different sized balls. 😀 They argued with each other about the rules, which were changed everyday as per convenience! And then one over powering boy would announce rule of the day. But then few rebels opposed him. I wondered how these skills vanish as these kids grow up, that they have to take up classes for improving their skills.

The break was over. It was again time for so called studies… But people around me didn’t go to their classes. Instead I heard a big thump somewhere and everyone around me started running towards the ground. I looked with confusion on my face towards my little friend. She was looking at me, already…

“Don’t worry! Nothing will happen to you. No one has come here for ages! People seemed to have ignored us totally. But today you brought happiness in this school. For years we had waited that someone would come and play with us. Someone would feel for us, someone would offer us friendship. But no one came. Today you have brought peace to these people. Even I would be at peace now that all of my friends are finally happy and not scared…”

I was looking at her dumbstruck. What was she talking about! I had lost her completely…

She smiled at me and started walking reverse from me, as if teasing me to catch her. I went towards her and she started running. I followed her. She took a turn at one of the doors and when I reached there, I was horrified at the view! There was nothing there. The room, where there were a few dozen kids, was completely empty. The furniture was totally damaged, as if it was burned or blasted. I turned around to look at the main hall and couldn’t walk any further. I fell there on the floor with my mouth full open.

The school had turned into a ravaged building. There was nothing there. All the trees and plants that I had seen there before were no more. The walls which were of light blue color were now painted with black ash, with red blots all over it.

Fear crept in me. I shouted with all my might for help. Where was I? How a school building turned into a desolated and despoiled structure! Where were all the kids? Was I dreaming? I slapped me on my face and nothing happened.

I ran here and there. I called for my little friend. I came to the main entrance of the school and was shocked to see that the gate through which I had entered was no more there. It had fallen on the ground. I turned around and cried in shock. My little friend was standing in front of me. There was a big bulge on her head. Blood was flowing from that…

“What happened to you? … How did you get hurt? … Tell me! Why are you not speaking anything!”

She raised her hand and said “Come with me. I’ll show you what happened here.”

She took my hand and pulled me inside the school again. I chocked to see there were bodies of hundreds of kids all around me. But they were not dead (Maybe). They were looking right at me! All with the same expression-less faces… I looked at my little friend for some explanation.

She told me to close my eyes. I followed her instructions. I saw the school back to its original form. I heard a gun shot behind me. There were 7 gun men with masks on their faces. They shot the security at the gate and ran inside. The hall was filled with kids. It was probably the recess time. They came and took control over the school. They were probably fugitives. They were beating the kids, even shooting those who tried to escape out of the school. I looked at them flabbergasted…

One of them came running towards my little friend. She ran towards the stairs. I followed them. We soon reached the terrace. My little friend was standing on the edge of the terrace wall. When the fugitive tried to get her, she jumped from the wall. I shouted in pain and ran towards the edge. I looked over it and saw her lying on the floor, dead, blood flowing out of her head…

There was a huge explosion and the building started burning. I came back to the ground floor and saw there were several small human figures burning in fire. I sat there crying…

“Why God? Why let these kids die like this!? I can’t do anything to save them. God! Why?”

A hand patted me on my shoulder. I looked around and there was my little friend. She was crying too. Then she hugged me. I hugged her back… All the kids came to us too.

“For a moment, I thought you people as my family. I… I’m sorry guys. I… I just… I…” I was chocking with grief.

My little friend said “Don’t worry! You have given us your friendship. We always wanted a friend who would come and play with us.” She was smiling at me. And so were all other kids. “We will now rest in peace. Good bye bhaiya, you’re a good person.”

With that they all disappeared. I came out of the school building. I turned to look back at them. And saw my little friend waving at me. I waved back to her. She gestured me to smile. I tried to give her my best smile…

While walking towards my workplace, all I was thinking about was those kids, that school and those fugitives… What “mission” did they achieve by killing those young lives…!?

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