"Darna Mana hai....Jo dar gaya woh mar gaya.........." Sunidhi Chauhan screaming on top of her voice on Salim Suleiman's haunting score. Suddenly Titu, who was sitting next to me on the front seat, reduced the stereo volume and turned around. "Why did u lower the volume", screamed Mona, who had this passion for music. She was one girl whoz Ipod had albums from all genres in English and Hindi. "Bossi, does this song not hint at something?" "Titu, tu kya baat kar raha hai samajh nahi aa rahi, sidhe sidhe bol, jo bolna hai", Mona said in an irritating tone.
"Guys, do you believe in ghosts?", asked Titu. "Shut up yaar Titu. I am scared of all this shit." "Fattu tu bhi na..." and everybody started laughing at Fattu. "I have heard there are a lot of haunted spirits in Kokan" I added. "My Mama is a big landlord in Chiplun and he used to tell me stories about ghosts when I used to go to his house. Do you want to hear some really scary ones?" "Oye class, Jijo!! I surely want to hear some" said Mona. "Me too" added Sweetu, sitting upright after a nice nap. "Mujhe nahi sunni hai koi bhoot pret ki kahani. Jijo tu chup kar yaar, hu main Fattu". "Fattuuuuuuuuuuu tu so jaa" said Mona. Sweetu overpowered Fattu and pushed him down.

Our car was zooming at about 90 through the dark, single lane roads. The canopy of Mango, Banyan and Peepal trees. Nice cool breeze was making a gushing sound as it entered through half pulled down window adding it own background music to scene.

"This is called the Milestone 27 story. On this very highway to Guhaghar, there is a milestone indicating 27kms from Guhaghar. 4 years back, a man and his kid were killed in an accident. An unkown vehicle, must be at fearsome speed, hit the cycle from behind. The hit was so powerful, that the man and his kid were thrown high in the air and rammed into a big banyan tree on the sides of the road. The branches speared through their bodies and they were left hanging in that state till next morning when a villager saw their bodies. The tree where their bodies were found stands tall on milestone 27. Ever since that day, numerous people have seen the same man riding his kid on a cycle close to milestone 27."
Everybody were quietly listening to me and I could even see through the rare mirror that Fattu giving ear to my story.
"My Mama says that many cars have met with an accident at the same spot trying to avoid hitting a man on cycle and believe me, most of these accidents have been fatal." "So are we guys going via milestone 27?", Mona was quick to interrogate. I nodded looking at Titu with a grin on my face. "Wow, cool man. What is the percentage of seeing this fellow man. Is he sighted everyday?" "I dont have a clue Sweetu, but you dont know when the Undertaker awaits you."

"Guys do you remember the scene from Darna Mana hai, the one in which Sohail Khan turns off the car headlights?" Titu had this nasty adventurous shade to him. The kida factor in Titu knew no bounds. "Why dont we try that out? Jijo kya bolta hai?" "Jijo tu iski baat mat sun. Tere dimag main bhusa bhara hai Titu. Kuch bhi ho sakta hai yaar". "Waise Fattu main iski baat nahi sunta tha, par kya hai, tujhe darane main mujhe bada maja aata hai" and I switched off the headlights for a second.

It was pitch dark on the road. I felt suffocated, felt helpless as if I was blinded. This one second seemed to be like an eternity with heart beat suddenly shooting up. Instinctively I turned the lights on.

"Man it was scary" said Sweetu. "But it was adrenaline pumping, wasnt it" added Titu trying to show as if his pants were not wet. "Dont you dare try this again Jijo. Dont get influenced by Titu's fake adventurous attitude. He will get us in trouble one day." "Fattu, tu chup kar. Bossi, gand fatne main bhi ek maja hai", Mona adding fuel to fire.

"Dont you think we should set a record, Jijo. We can create history buddy. Dont you think your genes have that X-factor to push yourself to limits." I knew Titu was psyching me up and I didnt want to succumb to it. But, the Titu kida was empowering my mind and I nodded. Mona jumped and said that she would start the countdown. "No more than 5 seconds babes, no more....." I warned Mona. She patted on back in affirmation.

With trembling hands I turned the knob and switched off the head lamps. "5,4,3,2......." "Bang $$" with a bang our car hit something. Instinctively I applied on the brakes hard and turned on the lights. With a screeching sound, the 4x4 came to a halt. A cloud of dust rose in the air. I felt a chill run through my spine. Nobody uttered a word for the next ten seconds. Sweetu had already clamped herself on Fattu who looked pale with fright. Titu managed some courage and said "Jijo, what happened dude?" "I think we hit something or may be somebody" and I got out of the car. I couldnt see much as light from the head lamps scattered through the rising dust. I took a few steps ahead and then turned back and called out for Titu. "Jara peech to dekh, take the torch from the side of your door's pocket." Titu's flashing torch light scanned the dark tarmat, but there was nothing except the fresh tyre marks. "Nothing man" Titu shouted, "check your front bumper and see if there's anything under the car". "Not even a scratch yaar, I am confused. Whats going on, we definitely hit something and I dont where it disappeared. Cant see anything under the car as well." "I agree, it was a big bang that shook us off our seats", Mona said grabbing my arm, "get in the car, before somebody comes." "How can we Mona, what if the thing we hit is lying helplessly somewhere and needs our help?" "Mona is right, Jijo. We dont see anybody 50 ft on either sides. Plus there are no scratches on your car. We didnt hit anything dude. It must have been a speed-breaker or something else. Lets get in", and Titu grabbed my other arm and pushed me in the car.

I started the car ignition and with a roar, the Dicor started. With a throttle we were away from the mystic spot. I was driving with only same thoughts running through the mind. Nobody uttered a word for another 30 minutes till we reached the Guest house at Guhaghar.

I dont know how time flew in the next two days. Playing volleyball in the white sands was the highlight of Guhaghar. Aah the yummy Sol-kadi, modak, rice and curry had left their own mark on our taste buds. Early morning yoga on the beach provided the much needed peace of mind from the mundane city routine.

The sun tan was clearly seen as I wore a ganji and sat on the back seat to let Titu do the driving back home. Mona became the navigator this time. The sun had already sunk in the waters of the Arabian sea. I was pretty sure that we would no enter the Pune city limits before 1am. I was too exhausted to particpate in the Antakshari, so I lay my head on Fattu's lap. Slowly Titu's loud, out of rythm voice faded away. I had never slept off so quickly, but guess the brain didnt want to be taxed any more.

"Monica........Oh my darling!!!!!", everybody screamed in my ears and blew me out of my sleep. Half dazed I tried to check the time. These buggers didnt let me sleep for more than 20 mins. "Kyu utha diya yaar. Kitni acchi neend lagi thi. And more over, its better to sleep than listen to you crows." "Oye aise kaise sone dete tujhe, chal humare saath gaane ga. Aur tu to bada Sonu Nigam ki paidaish hai na...", Sweetu winked.

The winding road through the hilly Konkan terrain was a treat to watch during the day, but darkness seemed to dilate upon the roads, expanding itself into a shapeless monsterly image. The monster trying to sieze you in his dark black rug as the car's head lamps tried to break the obscurity.

Everybody was having a great time as the genre of the songs shifted from Romantic to Item numbers. Everybody laughed their hearts out as Fattu displayed some nasty actions on "Babuji jara dheere chalo, bijli khadi yaha bijli khadi...."

"Shit...", Titu shouted. "Did you just notice that the head lamps turned off on their own?" "Cut the crap Titu, we are in no mood to enter into the horror zone again." "No Mona, I swer on God, everything blacked out for a second", Titu tried to convince us in a serious tone. "Titu, this is not a time to joke dude. Fattu ki waapis fat jaayegi", I said. Mona and Sweetu gave me high-fives and joined me in the mockery. "Guys you have to trust me. I must admit that I am shit scared right now and dont want history to repeat itself. I have had sleepless nights after hearing the Jijo's haunting Cycle waala story." ROFLAMO.......as even Fattu now burst into laughter. "Mujhe Fattu bolta hai, saale teri bhi fat gayi na..." "Dekh Titu, I need to confess something. The story was all made up. There is nothing like Milestone 27. Infact I dont even have a Mama who stays in Konkan. So, if you are trying to scare me now, by pulling off an automatic black out stunt, then I am not falling for it buddy." "What, so you lied to us. Man but it sounded so real dude. You should be a part of RGV's company", said Mona fisting me on my face. "Thaaaanks" and I saw the car head lamps go off. Everybody looked ahead in scare as the road was again light by the powerful fog lamps. "Sambhal ke Titu" shouted Mona as Titu swerved the car to avoid something. The car skid off the road and went air-borne to smash into a tree.

With a heavy head and soring body I tried to get up. Fattu's torso had smashed against the wind shield, but the thrust was so powerful that half of his body was lying on the bonet and the other half on the dashboard. Mona seemed to have broken her neck as her twisted face stared at the car roof while her body reclined on the front seat. "Titu.....", I moaned seeing him sit upright and Sweetu resting her immobile body on the driver's seat. He did not move, so I pushed myself forward with the help of the 2 front seats. "No........", I screamed as I saw Titu's body speared by one of the tree branches. The wood had pinned his body to the seat. I tried to pull Sweetu off the seat, but I just could move her. I gathered some strenght, but her body offered a lot of resistance. I was thinking that it shouldn't have been so difficult, so I grappled her body from front which is when my hands felt something solid near her right rib cage. My trembling hands tried to search for the 2 ends of the wet rough surfaced object and to my dismay it was the same branch that had ripped Titu's body.

"Why am I alive? I should have been dead too. What am I going to tell everybody. I dont have a reason to be alive. Why did this happen?" Zillions of questions swamped me. I tried to reach out into my pocket to get the cellphone as some human figure appeared through the shattered glass of the right window. I couldn't see properly as blood was dripping from my forehead. The figure appeared stationary on the road and seemed to be staring at our car. I cried out in help and waved my hands but there was no movement. I pushed myself out of the bloody turmoil and grabbed the door handle to open the door, but it was jammed. The dim moonlight wasnt coming to any aid as I spotted some movement. The figure was slowly moving towards our car. I closed my eyes for a couple of seconds to thank the lord for having answered to my prayers. I took a long breath and opened my eyes to see the most horrifying scene in my life. I saw a man with a kid on cycle starring into my eyes a couple of yards away from the car. Their pale faces and dark eyes grew big on me as I struggled to breath. I chill ran down my spine and my vision started blurring once again.

"Take him to CT scan. Also take an X ray of his pelvic region." I tried opening my eyes, but it was too flashy. "Where am I?", I muttered and I tried to get up. "Calm down, you are at the Noble Hospital in Guhaghar. Our ambulance got you here from the accident spot, 27 kms from Guhaghar".


This is one of the best posts (fiction) I have read in recent times ... a lot of instances reminded me of Chetan Bhagat :) an amazin thriller and very well composed...a gud piece of work big D...pls don stop now

Nice one....PJ - I seriously underestimated you from your initial posts ;). Did I tell you that every new post of yours ignites the hidden writer in me too ;). Just need to gather myself and start writing :)

AMAZING.. Perfect plot for our ...

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Awesome story PJ..very well composed..it keeps you glued till the end..gr8 to see a writer in u :D..Keep goin!!

Thank you so much for your wonderful response. I m so happy that u liked it. This will surely motivate me to get more creative.


mast read tha..
very well written..
The end of the story (about the ct scan)was to the point and hit the reader hard.

The only thing is that, our thriller stories are predictable.
Here we d know there is some significance of the man and the cycle coming later in the story.

The next challenge for you is to eliminate that predictability..

Keep posting.
Great job bro.

Nice work dude... very good read.. didn't know about your neat writing skills :)