Late night drives, whether it be for important office work, or coming home from a nice pleasurable college reunion, they never lead to a sign that can be trusted. The feeling of driving at the dead of night, is sure to usher complete darkness in the minds of people. Nevertheless, I was at this spot of darkness, but at the same time, I wasn’t.
I was driving home from my friend’s birthday. It was at the heart of the night. But I can’t say I blame my friend. After all, he gave me a party that I could embrace for years to come. At the party, I barely had any wish to come back home. But the fatigued feeling of my boss screaming ‘Mark!’ at the top of his lungs seemed to drive me to my car. Well, what do you know, here I am now, driving in the heart of midnight at 2pm. Doesn’t matter in which direction my eyes tend to turn, all that is visible is utter darkness. On both sides of the road is a cover of thick trees that feel like they are staring through my soul. But oh well, there isn’t any point crying over spilt milk, is there?
I drove on for about half an hour through this hell-like passage of throughgoing darkness. Every second seemed like an eternity, while every minute seemed to be a second. Time didn’t bother to pass. It seemed that time had curled up to a ball. Screaming for help, but from what? I do not know.
I thought that this ride couldn’t possibly be any worse. But of course, I was wrong.
I drove on for about another ten minutes until my engine began to make an aberrant sound. It was as if a horse had suddenly begun to screech. I didn’t take much notice of it until the steady flow of the movement of my car suddenly came to a pause. No matter how hard I tried, the damn car just wouldn’t move. This was the moment that I was struck with realization that my engine had failed!
I slammed my head hard against the palm of my hand. I was about to let out a loud scream but soon gained control over my emotions and thought it was best not to. I tried to stay calm, but my doomed situation just won't let me do the same. I continuously let out heavy gasps and almost began to cry. I had a feeling that I was going to die out here. Until, that is, my eyes caught the sight of a yellow light shining in the distance. I began to cry, but not with the sorrowful feeling of dying, but with joyous feeling of being saved. I got up from my knees and ran towards the direction of the light until I came across an old wooden shack. This structure seemed 50 years old to say the least. The wood seems to be rotten and it looked like the entire structure could collapse at any moment. But who was I to judge? After all I was the person who needed shelter here.
So, I quietly creeped up to the shack and walked up a small flight of stairs until I came across an old wooden door and a lit lantern was hung on the doorknob which produced the faint yellow light. I gently knocked on the door twice but there was no reply. The wind came churning through my ears and sent a chill running down my spine. I knocked again and waited for a couple of seconds, but it was all in vain. At this point I was getting irritated, so I pushed the door and well what do you know? The door opened with a loud suspenseful creak. I almost tumbled inside the shack but managed to gain control over my body. The moment I stepped in, a black mist consisting of flies and other bugs seemed to dart out of the house. The interior of the house was no worse than the hell-like passage that I was traveling. The only source of light was of the moon’s that peeked through the broken window. Every step I took generated a loud creak, courtesy to the wooden floorboard. In front of me, I could make out a flight of stairs that naturally led to an upper floor. The entirety of this shack seemed to be cursed. So much so, that I questioned if it were even real. My heart began to race, and pound and I began to sweat. My hands began to shiver. It seemed like that I had lost control over my entire nervous system. I let out a shaky scream, ‘Hello, Is anyone there? I come with no harm. I'm just a man looking for shelter.’
Soon, after a few minutes of repeating the same dialogue, an old woman came to me holding a lit candle in her hand. “What is it, that you could possibly want at this time young man?” she said.
It seemed to me that she was in her late 60’s. Her face was wrinkled rather like the top layer of milk tea. It looked like that her soul had been sucked out. Her face was as pale as the face of a dying person. But nevertheless, I explained to her my sudden reason for appearing in her shack at 2:30 in the night.
“If that is the case then you are welcome to stay at my shack for the night. Also, would you mind telling me your name?” said the old lady.
“It's Mark miss, M-A-R-K” I said in reply.
“Very well then Mark, you may stay in the second bedroom of the upper floor.” She said with a voice no creakier than the floorboards.
So, I walked up the dark, wooden flight of stairs, leading to the second floor. I took each step with great precaution as I didn’t really think the word ‘Light’ existed at this point of time. When I reached the upper floor, I saw three doors resting in front of my eyes. But something was different. Unlike everything else in this shack, these doors weren’t made of wood, but they rather had a metallic finish to them. Though they did share one similarity with the entire shack, they were very old. The doors were filled with rust and all the paint that they ever had was scraped off. I opened my respective door and went in. Surprisingly enough, my room was more darker and damper than the rest. But I did not complain. There was a small bed that lay beside me. In front of me was a window through which I could look out into the dense forest. The moon shone in the distance, giving the room the little light it had.
Without much hesitation, I got on the bed and closed my eyes. The moment I did so, a peculiar feeling of someone stalking me arose through my entire body. I felt a little disturbed at first but didn’t bother to open my eyes and investigate. I had no idea if time was riding on like the waves on the sea, or if it were trapped, still, inside a cage. But one thing I did know was that all sleep had crawled out of me the moment I stepped inside this room. I tried to sleep, but my eyes wouldn’t bother resting. This went on for about a few minutes until I felt like I needed to use the washroom urgently. So I decided to get up and call for the old lady. But something wasn’t right. I knew I was calling for her, screaming her name. But I couldn’t hear myself!
I screamed for succor, but it came to the ear as plain mumbles. I was petrified and shocked. I ran towards the door and swung it open. But what I saw in front of me wouldn’t do any less to steal my sanity. I saw a second door of the exact same type resting in front of me. My eyes were shaking madly, it felt like they were crying tears of blood. My pain was far beyond anyone’s understanding. I slammed open the second door, only to find the same process being repeated. At this point, I wished for the sweet release of death. I was going crazy and I could feel it. But I thought that I must stay strong, so I tried my best to fight against the force which so very much is thirsty for my sanity. The same déjà vu caused by the doors continued until I opened the fifteenth door in sight. The moment I did, I heard the familiar voice of the old lady behind me, “Something wrong Mark?” she said in a devious tone. I turned around as fast as my reflexes could react. But all I could find, was the window which was present in my room. I was shaking, it felt like the Earth beneath my feet had slipped away. The moment I looked down; I saw that I was falling in an endless void. Nothing made sense anymore. Neither time nor Gravity existed now. It was all over, all sucked in to the void which may very well pull me in too. The next moment, I fainted.
The moment I regained consciousness I saw that I was back in my car, on the passage filled with darkness, with the same dense cover of trees on both sides. My engine was working in perfect condition. But one thing was missing. I went out of my car, but the faint yellow light of the shack was not present at all.
‘Was it all a dream?” I wondered
Then, I looked at my watch, “2:31” these numbers illuminated inside the glass screen of the watch. Only 1 minute had passed since the entire incident. Indeed, only one!
I headed back in my car and started the engine. I did not know what to ask myself and what not to. This incident was more than a simple story that I can tell my children. It’s an unforgettable experience, that is best left alone…
Thank you for reading!