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by Khushboo Yadav
(Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)

It was a night as dark as coal, stars were the only thing that was twinkling in the night, and moon too was masked by the clouds. It would have been a menacing route if one decided to take it.

The street lights were installed for a show, but they never worked. It was an alone and dark route. Even though it appeared to be soo dark for one to travel from this route, a man with a bag in his hand was walking alone. He was wearing a shirt half tucked and black pants with black shoes. He didn’t look to be scared of the darkness instead he was concerned about something, something that bothered him too much.

“No one is around tonight.” He sighed.
“Just one person God… so that I can go home and sleep.” He blurted out.
“Usually at this place, I do find people every alternate day but from a while, no idiots are seen to be around.” He said.
“Police might have found out about the incidents” he continued.

He kept walking and continued talking about sudden things that were only making sense to him. He turned back to see if anyone is coming from behind but found no one.

He then sat down on the empty road and started staring at the sky full of stars and thought keeping up this act allows him to at least have his 3 times of meals other than that he demanded nothing. While lost in his thought, he did not mind his surroundings and fell asleep on the road thinking that no one is going to come at this late hour now.

As he closed his eyes, he fell asleep.

After an hour of sleep when he woke up, he rubbed his eyes and saw a woman walking. She was at a distance, walking fast, maybe trying to escape him. That man stood up and took his bag and began to follow her. She was walking fast and so was the man. When he reached close to her, she realized him coming closer so she started running and ran as fast as she could managing her accessories. She was carrying a purse and was wearing office shoes with heels and due to those heels she couldn’t run properly yet she was trying to escape. The man was still following her.

“Excuse me, madam, please stop, I won’t harm you” he said loudly.
“Don’t follow me… I will call the police!” she shouted.
“Police won’t come here and you need to stop.” He said

And the moment he spoke stop that woman fell on the road and hurt her knee. The blood was coming out not majorly but it was visible through her pants. She tried to stand up but the pain was killing her so she stopped for a minute and catches her breath. She turned back to check whether the man was still following her, she prayed for him to just fade but he was standing right behind her, panting yet smiling.

“I am not a bad guy madam”
“Please… please don’t do anything to me”
He glanced at her knee.
“Relax, I am here to help you. Looks like you are hurt.”
She tried getting up again and this time she was successful. She picked up her bag and gently rubbed her knee.
“It’s fine.”
“You shouldn’t be around here you know… this late at night. And also you are alone anyone can take advantage of you.”

Hearing these words coming out of his mouth frightened her, she took a step back, her eyes wide open, face sweating. She moved her hand over her forehead to wipe out the sweat.

“Don’t worry madam I won’t take advantage of you” he laughed.
“As you can see I am also lost” he continued.
He handed her a handkerchief and started walking. The woman too followed him. He explained how he is new to this city and how he lost his way home and reached this route although everything he told was a trap.

“When I asked a man around he told me this route is the closest one but it seems like a forever” he said.
“I guess we shouldn’t trust anyone these days” he continued.
The woman walked silently, her eyes were straight on the road, and she was wobbling and kept a fine distance from him.
“I think I am kind of annoying you.”
“It’s fine”

She stammered but her words were comprehensible. She finally looked at that man and gave a slight smile.

For a few minutes, there was silence, the woman was walking ahead of the man when the man abruptly stopped walking.

“Do you
know this route has many dead bodies buried on either side of the road? I have heard stories about this place.”

The woman stopped and turned around to find him standing at a distance from her, he was staring at her, a knife in his hand.

“I told you to not trust anyone!” he shouted and came hurriedly towards her. The woman's skin turned pale, she wasn’t able to move after hearing his loud voice on the empty road. Her legs were stuck. That man rushed to her with a knife and then with a force he pushed his knife towards her.
The woman held the knife with her hand, her palm started bleeding because the cut was severe and it was held strongly by her.

The man laughed, staring at her, he forced the knife aiming for her abdomen but she held it so tight that it was strenuous for him to do it.

“You look like a strong woman” he exclaimed.
“Please don’t do it!” she cried.

He promptly pulled the knife, the blood drops coming from the woman’s hand were unstoppable.
“Why did you try to become a hero! I was only scaring you. You know the stories those people cook and then serve to stupid people… all those stories are soo untrue.”

The woman was crying, she fell, and she started breathing heavily.

“I am here for the past few months, you know I… I am a thief… no not thief a bandit” he said proudly.
“I think bandit is the word. Anyway, I just want your money, whatever you have in your bag just hand it over to me and don’t ever utter a word to anyone. Because if you do, I will make sure you are dead the other day.” He continued.

“What stories do they say?” the woman murmured.
“Did you say something?” the man asked.
“You said people around here create stories… what stories?” she asked.

“The story of a woman.”
“What about her?”
“Just hand me your purse and leave!”
“Tell me the story.”
“Do you have a death wish?”
The woman laughed, and the laugh was so loud that it almost made that man fall.
“Stop!” he screamed.
The woman stopped and simpered.
“The stories people cook and serve to others are not untrue.”

“There was a woman who was lost while going home, she took a route so that she could reach her home as soon as possible. But some men… men like you! They took advantage of her, raped her, and buried her in one on either side of the road!”

“Do you know where she was buried?” she asked curiously
“Do you want to know?” he asked again.
She stood up and took that man’s hand and dragged him to the left side of the road. A dead body of a woman, streel, covered in blood, was lying there. It was her.

When that man discovered the same woman lying there dead, her throat was dry, he wasn’t able to utter a word and his hands were shivering. He couldn’t move, the vision he was seeing in front of him was killing him inside and he only prayed to escape from here any way soon.

“The road was under construction… I tried soo much but men are powerful. And powerful men treat weak people wrong. I was treated wrong.”

She left his hand.
“Now I am strong and you are weak.”
“But why… I never… I have never…”
“Oh the people around didn’t tell you that she only appears after 2?” she laughed and her laugh was spine-chilling.
“I guess you are late.”
And the man screamed.

A woman walking alone on a road, it was dark, she was lost. For a while, there was no one but the three men who came from nowhere. They started following her.

She was at a distance, walking fast, maybe trying to escape them. Those men were still following her. When they reached closer to her, they started laughing at her.

“Don’t follow me… I will call the police!” she shouted.
“Police won’t come here.” One of them said.
“Perhaps you should stop and let us enjoy this night.” He continued.
“Please let me go” she begged but those men refused her begging and one by one they molested her, assaulted her, and then raped her. She kept screaming and crying but they covered her mouth with their hands and stuffed her clothes in her mouth. Later they clothed her and decided to bury her on one of the sides of the road.

When they did their iniquitous act and were burying her, she was still breathing yet they buried her alive.


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