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Kushal Aggarwal



Kushal Aggarwal


3:04 PM

3:04 PM

7 mins 730 7 mins 730

I sighed thinking that why do good times just fly by. “The trip’s come to an end so fast”, I said to my friend Danny.


We were both sitting together on the bus which was on its return journey to our hometown. Our grand 8 days trip had come to an end quickly for any of us to agree. So, I and Danny along with some 10 odd classmates were returning back.


“Yeah, remember the fun we had at the water park yesterday?”Replied Danny.


“Good times man, good times. Now the only part of our first school trip left is this ride back home”, I said.


“So let’s make the most of it” replied Danny.


“How”? I asked


“YouTube, of course” He said with a chuckle and so we started watching some YouTube videos.


But after sometime I felt rather than heard a quiet but distinct sound coming from the bus. At first, I ignored it, but after sometime, I couldn’t help it and thus mentioned it to Danny. He was rather crossed that I had interrupted him in between a pretty good video and advised me to mind my own business. I asked him whether I should inform the driver and Danny said that the noise wasn’t doing me any harm and I should forget it.


So I decided not to tell anyone about it and continued watching the videos. But I really wish I had.


As we were on a highway bridged over a forested area, we heard a loud whiz in the engine. Next second our bus was full of thick smoke. It all happened so fast. I remember the driver tried to stop the bus; I remember my classmates shrieking and crouching; I remember the bus going down; I remember thinking that this is it................ this is how it all ends for me.............


I felt my head aching like mad. My whole body was hurting. But I was thankful (more like surprised) to find myself alive.


I started examining my surroundings. There was a blanket of thick trees all around. My field of view was restricted by dense fog.


The main question lingering on my mind was........ Where were others???  My classmates, teachers, the driver were nowhere to be seen.


I was feeling afraid, lonely, cold and frightened, all at the same time. I was thinking about looking for others when an old survival skill crossed my mind, “When lost, stay put, and you’ll find help”. And believe it or not, it actually worked. Well, kind of. I saw Danny emerging out of the fog!


He looked kind of lost, but damn it, I was relieved to just find somebody.


“Hey man, am I glad to see you!!”I said.


“Yeahh” he replied in a long drawl. He did look kind of disoriented!


“So have you got your phone or something? I actually lost mine and we need to find a way to get the hell out of here”!


He handed me over his phone in a kind of hazy way. It had some cracks on the screen but seemed to be working. I checked the time on the screen, 3:04 PM. It felt kind of odd because we had left the trip site at 4:00 pm. I tried to call help but of course, there was no signal.


“Hey, what do you reckon we should do??”I asked Danny.

“What....”he said, again in that long drawl.


“You look sick man” I said


He looked at me; and suddenly he fell down on all fours and started vomiting....... blood


“You hang in there buddy “I encouraged him.

“I’m gonna go up that hill and try to find the signal and call for help. Just promise me that you won’t go unconscious”.


And I ran off for the hill. I reached the top in ten minutes (It would have taken me five if it had not been for that wretched fog). I was trying to catch the signal just when I noticed that the time on the phone was still 3:04 PM. “Weird”, I thought.


But I had more pressing matters at hand. I tried to call the local helpline number.


I called once....No Signal.

Second time .......No signal.

Third Time........To my surprise, I heard the phone ringing......

Pick it...........Pick it..........Pick it..........

“It’s of no use”...........A voice said, not on the phone but somebody behind me.

I stayed on the spot, frozen with fear.

I slowly turned and saw..........a girl.


She was about my age, take or give a year. Her face was bruised all over. Her clothes tattered and ripped. She wasn’t someone from my school trip. In fact, I hadn’t seen her at all before.


“Who are you?” She said.


“I am Darren. I was on a bus returning from a trip back to the nearby town. We were crossing a bridge when suddenly the bus fell over and I blacked out. When I regained my consciousness, I found myself in the forest down there. I found one of my friends and he had his phone. We tried to call for help but in vain. That’s when he started coughing up blood and became kinda sick. So I rushed over here to find a signal and I found you”. I said, all in a single breath, desperate to get the words out, desperate to tell someone, desperate to get even a little support.........

“And what about you?” I asked.

“My name’s Alice. I was in a car with my family when we met with an accident, same as you on the bridge and I got separated”.

“Umm, Okay” I said. That’s a pretty detailed description she is giving, I thought.

“So anyway, why did you stop me from calling help?”

“Because that’s what I had been trying to do with my phone. It’s of no use”. And she produced a phone which showed the time ......3:04 PM.


“Well, there’s no use hanging around here. We might as well go back to your friend and check on him”. She said.


And so we did. On returning back (which took a whole lot of time due to the fog) we found.......... nothing!


Danny was missing..............nowhere to be seen.


“I told that idiot to stay where he was”.


“No use looking for him now in this fog”.


“Are you kidding? We have to find him. He’s my friend”.


I was about to run from there to find him when I suddenly heard a noise. It was really........... different from anything I’ve heard before. Like someone was growling.


“You hear that?”I asked


“Yeah, what could it be?”

“It's freaking me out, man I think we should get outta here!”


“Are you kidding? You’re gonna stop looking for your friend just because you chickened out after hearing a weird noise. I’m scared too but I won’t leave a friend in need..........ever”!


Now you might think of me as someone selfish for not looking for Danny. But wait till it happens to you and I’ll read what you did when you write a story on how you escaped the claws of death.


So I was about to reason with her that there’s no point in staying there and whatever thing that was producing the sound was coming closer by every second.


“Listen Alice, what you are suggesting is absolutely correct but...........”


And suddenly out of the bushes and trees and thick dense fog came through a creature.

It was about 8 feet tall. Its hair were falling to its feet and its eyes........... Oh I’ll never forget those. Blood red with mere slits for pupils. It almost didn’t have a nose. It stretched its icy white hands towards us in an attempt to seize either one of us but we were too fast.


I grabbed Alice’s hand in mine and ran as fast as I could without looking back. I ran through the thicket of trees like only wind could have pierced.


“Run Darren, run! It’s gaining on us”. Alice screamed.


My legs were shaking. My whole body experienced that pain from before again, only this time it was tenfold worse. My brain screaming just one thing ‘Stop, give in, give up’........... And I did.


I stopped running and fell on the ground. Alice left my hand and continued running. I looked back and saw it coming.


I screamed to Alice, “Help me......” but she kept on running......... leaving a friend behind, just as I had.


And I remember thinking again that this is how I’ll die........... This is how it ends for me............and I blacked out.


I found myself waking up in a hospital bed. My hand was bandaged. According to the doctor, I was just in a state of shock and apart from my hand, I was pretty much fine. The rescue party had found me all alone lying on the forest floor.


After a few days, I was discharged and returned home. My parents were of course worried but finally settled down after some time. In a few days, everything was back to normal. But one thing on my mind was what happened to her.......To Alice.


I tried to find about her in the local hospital and even asked the rescue party if they had found a girl but not one soul ever knew about her.


It was as if she hadn’t existed at all, as if my brain had created a figment of imagination in the form of a person when I desperately needed some support.


But even now I wonder what would have happened........ how differently it all would have ended.............. If that girl wouldn’t have stopped me from making that call...........

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