It was past midnight.Arjunan was tired and sleepy.He wished to stop the truck he was driving at the next dhaba and rest for the night after a meal.The dhaba was about ten miles away.It was pitch dark except for the light from the headlights.The radio was blaring some filmy song. The cleaner was sleeping over the cargo at the back of the truck. He then felt something brushing him on his side.He turned to see the vacant seat.There was however a loud giggle and he could hear the heavy breathing after the giggle stopped.He was terribly frightened and his throat went parched.He did not turn that side but the giggling continued.He shouted for the cleaner boy who was fast asleep.Arjunan sped along without stopping the vehicle.He was drenched in sweat with fear when he reached the dhaba.
It is not the first time this had happened.Eversince his wife Rani committed ‘suicide’ six months ago he had this nightmare frequently.His marriage was a failure.He was out of home almost three weeks in a month and whenever he came home for a couple of days there were quarrels, beatings and crying.Rani came to his home with high hopes of a happily married life.She had not reckoned with a husband who came home drunk once in ten days and abused her mentally and physically.She was turned into a drudge cooking for his vile parents who pestered her always to bring money from her parents.She dreaded his coming home.She was willing to tolerate all these but not his suspecting her character and calling her a whore.She knew of his immoral ways and his boast of his flings in every small town or village he halted.She was afraid of contracting illness and avoided him.This made him all the more furious.His parents goaded him to send her away and marry another girl.It was in such circumstances that Rani was alleged to have committed ‘suicide’ by burning her self when Arjunan and his parents were at the home. After some enquiries nothing ever came out about the suicide.
Arjunan was driving the truck on the highway with an urgent load.It was dark and drizzling.He decided to drive till midnight though it was difficult to drive in rain against the blinding lights from the oncoming vehicles.The only sound was from the iper blades.The cleaner boy who had gone earlier by another truck would be waiting for him at the dhaba.He didn’t mind being alone as long as there was no disturbance.He hoped this night would be free from the ghostly apparition.To make sure he glanced at his side only to be shocked to see the whitle outline of a young woman by his side.It started her eerie giigle that sent a chill along his entire spine.He decided to fight it out and shouted “Who are you? Why are you here? Why do you harass me like this often?”
“Don’t you know me, you murderer? I am here to kill you little by little till you go mad.Do you think I will ever let you live after what you have done to me? I will also take the lives of the two oldies at your home,you bet on it” it replied
“I never killed you.In your foolish anger you burnt yourself.What could I have done?” said Arjunan
“When your parents poured kerosene as preplanned and set fire on me and bolted the bathroom door, you never paid any heed to my shrieks.You were sitting in the adjacent hall along with your parents wickedly smiling when you heard my screams.You put the TV on high volume to prevent others from hearing my cry for help.I know you will die of Aids eventually but I have decided to make you pay for your cruelty to me” she spat venom.
He felt her fingers clasp around his neck and the grip tightening..”You filthy fellow.You stink and smell cheap liquor.It doesn’t matter that you never drive in sober condition as your end is very near. Tell me now why did you all kill me? What harm did I do? Tell me the truth’ he heard her saying.
Words would not come out of his mouth easily.He mumbled “It is my parents.I was made to drink heavily..Please spare me,I beg of you”
“You coward.Do not lie.You never had me for your beastly pleasures and you wanted another woman.You will not spoil another persons’s life as you did mine.You must die” shrieked the figure as the icy cold hands tightened the grip..
The speeding truck swung zigzag to the side as he lost his control in fear and hit a tree with a loud thud before coming to a halt..The loud giggle faded away to unearthly silence.