The Train – Manu Raj

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Name of Participant : Manu Raj
Company : UST Global

The Train

Ramesh’s tired eyelids got closed for a few seconds, finally giving up their long lasting fight with sleep!

“Shit, what was that?”, he was suddenly woken up by the sound of something hitting his car. He looked into the rear view mirrors to see nothing but darkness.

After parking the car in his porch at 1 o’clock in the night, he looked around it searching for any signs of damage. “Thank God, nothing happened!”

“What happened? Haven’t I told you thousand times that it is not safe to drive in the night, that too from Technopark to Aluva in a single stretch?”, his wife uttered the same set of dialogues that she repeats every Saturday around the same time!

“Nothing Hima, I heard something hitting the bumper, while passing Cherthala highway. Could be a stray dog or something. Nothing to worry”, he consoled her.

*******

The outer circle created by the rotation of the fan had now taken the form of a railway track and a train as small as a toy train was now looping through it. The train got bigger and bigger as it circled through the track. Finally it got as big as a real one and started descending to the bed below. Ramesh tried to evade it by jumping out of the bed.

Hima switched on the lights to find her husband lying on the floor.

“The fan, the fan…”, Ramesh pointed to the ceiling.

“Fan? What is wrong with the fan?”, Hima looked up to see the blades circling above. “Haven’t I told you to keep the work load down and spend more time with us? You are having nightmares because of the high pressure at work”, she told Ramesh who was still confused between reality and the dream.

“Who am I saying this to – the great Project Manager of an MNC!”, she mumbled while going back to sleep, moving the sheet to cover her face.

*******

‘It was a hell of a night yesterday’, Ramesh thought as he opened the shower in the bathroom. He looked up to see the chain of drops of water coming down from it. The drops suddenly started getting bigger and bigger, finally taking the form of a train coming down to fall on him.

Hima, on hearing the sound of ‘something’ falling down, ran from the kitchen, forced open the bathroom. Ramesh was sitting on the floor, staring up blankly. “What is wrong with you man? Started having dreams in the day time too?”

“Now get your clothes on before the kids come”, she walked away, shutting the door behind her.

*******

‘Let me take the shortcut to the bar. Abin will come directly there’, Ramesh thought while turning his bike to the pocket road, ‘Hima is right, it is all my tension which is causing these hallucinations to happen and what is a better medicine for stress than a couple of whiskey shots?’

Soon he reached the narrow bridge over the river, wide just enough for a car to pass through. After making sure that no vehicle is coming from the other side, he started crossing it. As soon as he was nearing the middle of the bridge’s span, the train started speeding at him from the opposite side! There was no time left to turn the bike and ride in the other direction, the only way to escape was to jump into the river.

********

The newspaper in the hands of the old man who came to visit Ramesh on his funeral read,
“Two Days, Two Freak Accidents in the city.
Kochi: During the last two days, the city witnessed two horrific accidents. First one that happened on NH 47 near Cherthala, during the wee hours of Saturday was a case of hit and run where a speeding car hit a person on the sidewalk. According to eyewitnesses, Gopakumar (47), an engine driver in Indian Railways’ Southern Zone, died instantly. Second incident happened at Athani near Aluva, where Ramesh (35), an engineer at Technopark Trivandrum, lost control of his bike and fell into the river from a narrow bridge without railings…”

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