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Driving alone on a highway was the best stress-buster for me specially during the nights. Power SUV like Honda CRV running at 120 KMPH, glasses down, feeling the wind over my face would always give me a sense of power, that would boost my energy level to an extent that would make me feel that I can beat even the time. But, this world is full of people who could force you to think and remember ‘BE ALERT’ on highways. If your power SUV can beat the humans that doesn’t mean that it can beat a paranormal beast too.
It was Mid June, I was driving on Jabalpur-Katni highway. The geography of this highway is potentially risky for drivers because 150KM part of 450KM highway falls in the Ravines. When I was entering this part, an aged toll plaza staff came to me and suggested me to wait until 10-12 vehicles arrive, I was told that they make a group of trucks, buses, cars and let them go back to back altogether, this is for the safety. But, I paid the toll tax, thanked the man and moved ahead.
Dashboard Clock was displaying 01:25. Twenty minutes latter I was driving on a straight and clean roads, hi beams of CRV were showing a kilometer clearly. And, there was no sign of danger, everything was so peaceful; an strange calmness in surroundings was something which was making me little suspicous, but not alarming.
I had a terrible feeling, there was something missing, I couldn’t immedeatly put my finger on what exactly was that, but yes, something was missing.
My instincts made me press the accelerator paddle and soon I was over 110 or so, but the speed was not long lasting. I was now driving on road, encroached by wild green straw and over-grown leaves hanging over the road from both sides. At some point I found the straw coming from the sides of road like a rainbow and touching the middle of the road, it was making harder and harder to keep the pace which was reduced to 50 KMPH, still I was unable to see ahead of me. A vehicle from opposite direction could hit me.
And with a flash, I realized what was missing. I have not noticed even a single vehicle, either coming from opposite direction or a head light blinking behind me. How was it possible? It was, afterall a highway. A highway without traffic is hard to believe, and I was on a highway with no sign of goddamit life.
It had suddenly become a matter of nerve. Most people get panic-stricken in this condition, yet I kept myself calm and prepared my mind for a sudden surprise, I knew I was driving in trouble. I rolled the window glass up.
I opened the deck’s cabinet and found my pistol, I removed the magazine and found it full of bullets. Nine bullets were for my safety. I loaded it, and put the handgun on dashboard within my arm’s reach and looked out on black tar road, lit by hi beam and full moon. The bushes and straw weeds had gone, and I could see the barren wasteland around the road. Everything was now normal except the eerie feeling of being alone in the middle of an unknown place.
I was approaching toward the hilly region and big, small rocks have now been appearing on both sides, but then, I spotted a big rock at the middle of the road. There was a kilometer or so distance, yet overhead moon and powerful four hi beams were alerting me to cut the speed. Unwillingly, I released the gas paddle, and engine began to die. The rock was coming fast, I shifted my foot on brakes, but before I could press the brakes the rock started taking shape of a small overturned car. And, on the road were lying two human bodies.
It was an accident.
I forgot my own safety and rushed toward the car and bodies. I could save their lives was in my mind, I had already pressed the accelerator so hard in order to help them as soon as possible. I switched the dipper lights on, making anybody ahead of me able to see across my windshield. I had to cover just 50 meters to reach the spot, when I felt some kinda warmth on my shoulder and I took a glimpse into the backview mirror and saw the backseat, and I felt my heart jumped out of its place and stuck into my throat and chocking me, my foot crashed on brakes and with a long screach SUV stopped.
The old man I met at toll tax counter some 100KM back was sitting politely just behind me. In sudden rush of panic I tried to reach for my handgun but there was no gun at all.
The man shifted, and his face and my head came closer, I felt the warmth of his breathing. I tried to open my mouth to ask, “what the hell was he doing in my car.”