The End of the Drive
“He possesses me.” he uttered with a detached seriousness, his voice echoing in the darkness. Something snapped within me when I heard him say those words. A feeling of not being met by an anticipated surprise took over me and instead I was surprised that I wasn’t shocked by this new revelation. Instead it was like small bits of puzzles slowly falling together making it look more like a whole picture. It was now clear that the bird-man had not disappeared into thin air. The man within had been stronger. But how? I wondered for an instance before I spoke to him again.
“Hardly. It is impossible for a human to fight his will.” His voice echoed in the dark.
“So you mean you are not human?” my brows furrowed automatically getting a slight bit of a hint of his behavioral alteration a while ago.
“Not anymore. Not since he infected me.” He whispered now.
“Infect you? What do you mean?”
“ I’ll tell you on the way. Let’s get in, its freezing and for starters you can call me Oskar” he said standing up, for I heard his knees crack. Is that your real name? Or did you just make it up?” I couldn’t help mocking him.
“It’s for me to say the truth and for you to believe. Take it or leave it. But remember my whole narrative rests on whether you believe it or not.”
I felt my way into the vehicle, got in and shut the door but his side was empty again.
Exasperated, I opened the door again and shouted. “Hey! Where the hell are you?” An eerie restlessness settled in my heart and mind sending urgent messages to my feet. A voice inside seemed to scream “run!”. Before I could dismiss the voice, I heard him beside me.
“I’m right here” came the response. He was back sitting on his seat as if he had never left. The strange glint of light settled in his eyes again and a smirk played on his lips and for a moment I can bet my life on the fact that there was another person there. I pretended to cough away the panic that wavered deep within me and climbed into the vehicle quickly and shut the door.
“Okay here’s the deal.” He was staring at me in a way that he seemed to pry right inside me. For a moment I felt drawn to the light in his eyes. He looked away quickly.
“I will tell you everything, all that I know and all that I am. But you cannot try to run away or escape. If you cooperate, I will tell you everything.”
I did mean to listen to what he had to say but the next thing I found myself doing was sprinting away from the vehicle. I had absolutely no control over myself. The more I tried to stop, the further my feet carried me away. After having run a good distance, my feet suddenly stopped and the action of it made me stagger and lose balance. I stumbled on the ground breathless and lay there not making any more protest. I was now able to arrange my thoughts without the difficulty I faced a while ago, and looking up into the carbon black sky, I realized that there was not a single star in sight. No, it wasn’t the kind of starry night under which you lie and count your lucky ones and smile and think of happy thoughts. It was like the sky agreed to the darkness I was headed to. Sick fear spread within me like ink on blotting paper. I still could not understand just exactly what had happened when instead of listening to what Oskar had to say, I’d just bolted out of the vehicle. I really didn’t mean to. Another thought of the large black vehicle crawling quietly somewhere behind me scanning the open grounds for me suddenly made me stand back on my feet and start running. This time I ran of my own accord. There wasn’t any strange discordance between my mind and my body like earlier. I ran. I ran with all my might. Cold autumn air sliced through my clothes and jabbed at my ribs like many knives. With a peculiar white glow blended with the fog, that seemed to be the only light guiding me, I raced through vast bare grounds with tiny sharp stones that jabbed through the soles of my converse. I ran with the wind swishing in my ears and slapping my naked face and hands mercilessly.
After having run for approximately half and hour I think, I realized that I had been running alone with no one at my heels. I did not hear the sound of his pent up breath squeezing out of his mouth nor did I hear the sound of the engine. All was dead quiet except for the sound of the wind blowing over this lonely part of the island. I had no clue regarding time as I never wore a wrist watch and my mobile phone was long gone somewhere during my struggles. My struggles with what, I still could not fathom. I cared less because now my worries were circling around how I should get home, specially now since the autumn chill had begun to freeze the blood in my veins. I jogged slowly now, my legs feeling numb and heavy. I needed a lift. I could not carry myself home on those dying legs. I dragged my legs on, stopping at certain intervals, coughing out ice cold slime and plodding on again. It was typical of the island not having live traffic at that time of the year. The movement on the island became lesser and lesser as the season edged itself closer to winter. I needed a lift nevertheless and I prayed that it would be soon enough because I knew I would collapse any moment to be found frozen to death the next day. What a short life I’d have had, filled with just childhood and with but a glimpse of teenage years. To be a full grown adult I would not have known and I would be silenced forever without anyone knowing my brush with things beyond the control of my tangible mortal existence. I hardly felt my feet anymore and yet they were dragging on the ground making scraggly sounds. At one point they gave in failing to carry me and I lay in the middle of nowhere in a heap. Soon my organs would start shutting down and my mind would be the first to start the strike.
Fleeting images of my parents smiling at me ; my mother in the kitchen with her favourite green apron turned around and smiled at me; my father looked up from the newspaper spread out in front of his face and shook his head with a gentle chiding smile on his lips; Oskar caved in on me from behind, his eyes came into focus now – glowing like embers and a hoarse chuckle rumbled deep down in his throat; The black raven, yes it was a giant raven spread its wings out to reveal its human figure and took me into its embrace with the knife sharp tips on its wings piercing my sides, sinking into my flesh.
“And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
These last words from Poe’s poem that coincidentally had been my favourite among Poe’s poems and the one that I had recited in school last week, echoed in my head in my own voice. I could not open my eyes any more and even behind the lids the vision of the raven started to waver. “No!” I cried inside my head. “I don’t want to die like this!” I screamed but there was pin drop silence outside.
To be continued…
Read Chapter 3 here