The clock beeped and completed its usual rotation. It was another tiring return from the routine hustle and bustle, through the remarkably isolated woods. It was the darkest hour of the night and loneliness prevailed at each mile. My car was running at 90 miles/hr. hovering through the blanket of darkness. The headlamps of my car seemed to be tearing apart the darkness and carving out the road distinctly.
Another car passed by on the other lane and I had to put on the dippers. A bizarre figure was faintly visible from the windshield of my car. Hastily restoring the headlamps, I was able to figure out the clear structure of a human being which promptly insisted me to hold on to the brakes. Unlike superheroes, we ordinary people are programmed to apply the brakes of car whenever we feel something erupting on our way. No sooner did I apply the brakes, my car was stationed still on the middle of the road with darkness and silence wrapped up from all sides. The only sound audible was the honking of my car’s engine and the only sight visible were the white strips on the dark road arrayed towards the human figure.
Typical to human insecurities, I started having premonitions of it being a ghost. As I observed a bit more, I realized that it was the figure of a lady. The thought of ghost vanished in a flash. Instantly my imagination shifted to another set of typical thoughts, basically those of males. Random ideas started rolling in my mind every second. This was pretty unpredictable for me. A lady cropping up when everything was dead as hell and no other living creature could be felt, felt like bait who was likely to confiscate anything or everything from me.
The monstrous trees stuffed on either side of the haunted road appeared like grave.
As I was halted, the lady started moving towards my car. Sweat rolled down my cheek even when the air-conditioner was doing its best job. I held on to my steering wheel as strongly as I could. My eyes were fixed on the lady. She stopped next to my door. I shuddered with fear and anxiety when there was a gentle knock on my windshield. The murmuring of prayers stopped with the words “oh! F**k” and I started turning practical.
Now it was the second knock and I was supposed to react. I gathered all of my strength and somehow reached my fingers to the power window switch. Rolling down the glass I realized that she was a young girl, possibly in her early 20’s and was equally frightened.
“Could you please help us out?” Words crackled through her soft voice. Harking at her words and the “us” angle in the statement made me wonder whether she was just a part of gang with the rest of her group waiting outside somewhere. The only word I could utter at that instance was, “What?”
She quickly went on to explain her problem. Briefly she narrated how she was on an unplanned hangout with three of her friends and how they ended up with a broken down car at that deserted part of the woods. Being a simple, normal male I was quickly convinced by her soft voice and was happy to rescue them from the pathetic condition they were stranded in.
Without wasting any time I turned off the ignition, pulled the handbrakes and stepped out of my car, leaving the headlights on as the only aid to avail visibility in that dark arena. As I walked a few steps following the girl I was able to figure out the reflector of the girls’ car which was glowing by the light of my car’s headlamps. The girl’s story seemed authentic and I was a bit of relaxed.
In matter of seconds we reached the car and I stood consciously, staring at the car. Three others were sitting inside, pale faced with blank expressions. Yes, the story was a genuine one. All the girls were frightened as hell. Their desperation to get out of that mess was visible on their face. The fear inside me got converted into some sense of responsibility.
I shifted myself to the front portion of the car and asked the girl to open the hood. It was swift’s diesel model and since I owned its previous model few years back, I had an idea of the basic problem that could have cropped up and how to solve it. After examining the engine for a couple of minutes with the help of my phone’s flashlight, my eyes caught hold of a loose pipe behind the fuel filter. Fortunately it was one of the common problems of diesel variants, were the diesel filter got chocked in with air, and I was quite an expert at fixing it. I handed over the phone to the girl, rolled up my sleeves and reached out my hands to the knob which was located above the filter. With 15-20 pumps, the knob started loosening which signalled that the air inside was released.
While I was busy fixing the crap, the girls on the other hand were busy making their existence felt by throwing unnecessary tantrums, blaming each other for the chaos. The only help, rather distraction, they could afford was speaking bullshit every now and then. The only girl who possessed some level of senses was the one who approached me for help. She was standing still, like a statue, holding the phone with flashlight in her hand and constantly biting her lower lips. She was keenly noticing my actions while ignoring all poppycock by the girls. After I finished with the filter, I quickly shut down the hood and crawled myself to the driving seat. Popping the clutch pad, I turned on the ignition. With a gawky vibration the car started in the 3rd attempt. I banged on to the acceleration pad and lumps of smoke rushed out through the exhaust pipe. Within no time the car restored its normal vibration.
The girls stared at me as if I was a saviour sent by the almighty to drag them out of the trouble.
I walked back to my car carrying the dozens of “thank you”, which the girls recited like the morning school prayer, as a token of appreciation. I was about to open the door when Jeanne, the girl who approached me first, called from behind. I overheard her name while she was conversing with her friends. She requested me to lead the path till the outskirts of the city and I had no other option but to get persuaded by her sweet voice and pretty face, which was pale then owing to fear and exhaustion. I started my car, overtook them and accelerated soothingly. Time and again I was observing their car in my rear view mirror while my mind was busy speculating why we males tend to get trapped into the emotional labyrinth created in our hearts by females and why we don’t have the competency to deny them.
With thoughts and emotions evaporating away, we reached the cross road which led to the city. I paused before the cross road to enquire if they would be able to continue to their destination. Their car stopped beside mine. Before I could utter any word, the girls thanked me again and promised that they won’t be bothering me again. I welcomed them and asked them to take care of themselves. I completely had no idea, why my eyes where wandering around those of Jeanne, while all the conversations happened. Before I could have thought more, Jeanne released the clutch and the girls waved me bye.
Why the hell are girls so unpredictable? I questioned myself once again. I waved them goodbye too. Somewhere I felt I had an instinct to talk to her, but then all turned into vein as the car faded away through the yellowish beam of street lights. The only visible tail lamps of their car, along with some opaque memories, vanished into the gloom of the night.
Turning on the stereo, I rode on the empty lane and the musical chime navigated me back to home.