‘Creepy’ is a cheap word. Not sophisticated or apposite at all. It’s cheaply generic.
This is a story of a man who fell in love with a ghost.
Pranay is on a visit to Coorg. Living in Mumbai can get pretty exhausting between local trains and coffee houses. It is not a bad place to work but sights of erupting populace from corners can become prosaic.
So Pranay is on his office tour but he decides to extend his days in the Ghats. He does not care about work at the moment and so I have decided to avoid meddling in his business. It is the least interesting thing, he and I care of.
It’s a weekend and his tasks are complete sooner for he wanted to go out on a beautiful stretch as they say. He starts to trek on a raw greenish woody course. The winds rustle against the dry pale blades of grass. Loneliness falls silent, turning into a great company; one capable of admiring the serene irregular music like him. It’s a beautiful day indeed.
At night Pranay decides to catch his train from the station a little distant from the town. He leaves his room and takes a look at the street. The contrast from the day beguiles him. Darkness like coloured by an angry kid who had splashed black ink on his drawing, not caring if it exceeds the saturation state.
Barren sight of taxi stand forces Pranay to the streets again. Walking through umbra, he encounters a distant light that gradually succeeds in forcing his eyes away. The auto stops, for him and an average looking driver to negotiate. Driver nods and cranks the silence. Pranay jumps in.
Driver: I am not the one to meddle sir, but this stretch is known for its stories. People usually avoid trains these hours.
Pranay’s attention diverges off his phone. Driver’s words seep in his mind, as he takes a glance outside. He carefully observes the smoothness of the road flowing in between the denseness of the forest. Street lights didn’t exist, people didn’t exist, Moon’s reflection didn’t exist. He realizes he has lost control of the moment; he and his driver are probably the only ones on this 13 km stretch, and so he asks…
P: What stories?
D: Did you come here for Holidays sir?
P: Yea and uh-h…some work.
Strange silence dawns with Pranay gazing driver’s back for seemingly too long. The time seems to move slower in contrast to the racing Auto.
Abruptly driver begins to explain,
D: You are new here sir, I don’t want to scare you or anything. You are already on the road and it wouldn’t matter in a while. But I’ll give you an idea…people have had strange experiences on this road…so that’s about it.
What does darkness need? A woman in white clothing in the middle of the road asking for a lift? Even a light blue clothing would appear white. Pranay starts to imagine. He doesn’t feel scared, but his mind wanders to find the horror. He types a message, envisaging a lady with no cornea sitting beside him looking at his face. His heart begins to pound but he looks on his right to dismiss the thought right away. Nothing.
Pranay begins to question his fear. Wouldn’t it be some experience to see a real ghost? Curiosity soothes his mind. He thinks he might actually want to see something like it.
10 minutes past, they are still on the road that none can see enough. Pranay seems to be lost in his phone. With a sudden broken sound, the auto hobbles and comes to a halt.
P: What-t…the hell! Break something?
The stillness of driver doesn’t give a clue. His form like a recent dead man placed on watch. Shifting his gaze from driver’s back, Pranay looks ahead.
A woman in white in the middle of the road.
Is it her back or is her face hidden by her hair, can’t be determined, not from this distance at least. They stay for seconds with a pure nonplussed mind. Pranay does not dare ask his driver and break the sacred calmness.
The woman takes a step!
Driver starts the engine, accelerates in her direction and Pranay startled by the sudden events shrieks…
Auto runs over her, or it was supposed to but it goes uninhibited. Pranay is clueless, but he assumes the driver knows what he is doing, and desperately waits for the station. He tries not to think about anything, screaming Nirvana in his mind although he thinks he should not have chosen a mainstream band. His heart palpitates; his mind keeps screaming regardless.
Auto reaches the road block. Station is a mile walk now. Driver had already furnished this detail during negotiation. Auto can’t go past the blockade. Pranay didn’t remember, but now he yells in his mind perplexed and helpless.
A mile walk through dimly lit road surrounded by forest with recent memories. Perfect. Was it an illusion? It doesn’t matter.
Pranay steps out with bag in his hand, and asks,
P: How much do I owe?
Driver moves his now strangely big swollen head towards him like a clock. Pranay notices his pale skin of utter fright and mouth open dry, not able to utter a word, like his body expressed a single expression. Pranay could feel his own heart trying to come out. He drops whatever he has in his sweaty palms on driver’s hand, turns around with trembling legs and starts to walk…
his slow mile long isolated journey towards the station.
img src: http://www.shortday.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Forest-images.jpeg
P.S. Sorry, he did not fell in love with the ghost.
He actually pissed himself when he saw the driver running towards him at some moment on the stretch, but this isn’t part of the story. Thank you for reading.