The day hadn’t started on a pleasant note, with her mom cribbing about scanty contacts and calls that were getting scantier by the day. The hasty coffee just before leaving the office hadn’t helped the throbbing headache owing to the burgeoning work log that just wouldn’t reduce. And finally when her car broke down a few Kms from her house on her way back from the office, she seriously considered a cosmic plot hovering over her somewhere…
The car hadn’t been very considerate in selecting the location for her peaceful slumber. What lay ahead of her was this dimly lit, deserted street which looked more like a cleaved path between the backside of the houses on either sides of it. The dwellers of these houses complemented the eerie street. She used to avoid this street on normal days when she had her car to go round and take the longer route home. But with nothing but her feet as her loyal allies, the choices weren’t many.
With the car locked and the windows checked, she hesitantly set off towards the street only to stop after a few steps and notice a young lad coming from the opposite side. His long hair and darkness had concealed most of his features, but even from a distance he did not seem to be belonging to the locality anymore than she did. It would get a tad bit safer if I just kept a small distance and moved almost with him. As she saw the guy approach nearer she realized he wasn’t as young as she had presumed, but didn’t care to bother. She was concentrating hard on maintaining a confident gait, fumbling with her cellphone and slowing her speed so the guy could get into the street before she did.
Probably she was trying too hard to act, and didn’t realize the perfect act was too perfect to not cause suspicion. She almost jumped when she heard a grave voice say “You could walk with me till the end of this street if you like, it isn’t a very safe area to be on your own at this hour” … Mumbling a thanks, she blessed the darkness for concealing most of her nervousness.
Little was said during the entire walk through the grim street. She thought of starting a general topic, but the guy didn’t seem too interested and she was too preoccupied watching her back to come up with anything intelligent. As the scary little street finally ended leading to the main road with running traffic and working streetlights, she heaved a long sigh of relief. She turned towards the stranger with an extended hand to thank him for his kindness. When she saw no one around, she thought she had just spent some 20 minutes of her life with a ghost, but before her nerves could register the revelation she saw the familiar figure a little distance from her walking towards some unknown destination.
In hurried steps she crossed the road that separated her house and her. It was getting darker, and there was a load to do…prepare a meal, make arrangements for commuting to office tomorrow, get the car taken care of, and catch up some precious sleep before hitting the pending work log in office the next day.
The stranger was forgotten, there were more pressing things on her mind…