Friday, September 23, 2016

[Short Story] An Unsafe Bet - Chapter 2

This is continued from here - An Unsafe Bet - Chapter 1

Looking back, we could only see the intermittent lights of the truck lighting up the highway. Ravi was the first to break the silence — "We will go ahead only another 500 metres and go back if we can't see anything" Not sure if Ravi was soothing his nerves or ours. But it did the trick, our legs started moving. 

This was not even our bet. Somebody in some other hostel in some drunken bravado had bet someone else on going to the college via the tobacco fields after midnight. Yet after 2 AM, we sober guys with no relations to the people betting or any inclinations to go to the college during day time, three of us here had taken the plunge. 

We had Ravi who brought the story from the happenings of hostel night. There was Gagan, who remained at bus-stop and would have stayed put at home if Ravi hadn't dragged him here. Then there was Gopal who was the risk taker and I was not sure why I was here. My mind was running through the scene again and again when I said yes to figure out how did it go out. 

As our eyes adjusted to the darkness and the subtle moonlight, we could now see the fields like a silent sea waving with the wind. The steps remained small and body ever ready to turn back and run. Suddenly, Gopal moved out and started inspecting the barbed wires surrounding the fields. "What are you doing?" - Ravi shouted.

"If something happens and we need to run, we can run to the fields and hide ourselves. So am checking the height of the barbed wires, so that while running we don't trip and fall over." 

"You can't be serious" - I found my voice.

"There is nothing wrong in being prepared" — came the reply. Ravi said, “barabar che. That's right." I got back to my mind which resumed its investigation.

"What do you think can happen, that we would need to run, Gopal?" - Ravi said. 

"Anything! We might witness murder. And if the murderer sees us, we will have to hide" - Gopal.

"That still does not help us when it comes to non-human entities" - My mind paused its activities. Somehow my mouth had got an additional license of talking without approval from my mind which was still in investigation mode.

"Nothing of that happens. I do agree with Sachin's steps" - Ravi replied nonchalantly.

"What about snakes" - I asked. 

The road had narrowed and foliage were touching feet and anything could be lurking under it. There was no answer. The only sound that I could hear was of our breaths and rustling of the leaves. Luckily, there were no creaking twigs which would have increased our heart rate.

We moved slowly. There was very little light to work with and we were practically feeling our steps ahead. I was only able to make out the broad features of the surrounding. The difference between sky and crops was identifiable. However, no other differentiation could be made out between foliage and earth around it. Eyes and ears strained to see but nothing except for the veil of moonlight around everything which was constant. 

Then there was leaf-less tree right in the middle of the fields. My mind never made these observations the numerous times I had gone through these fields during the day. Yet here it was thinking about all the nonsense when it had to be alert for danger lurking behind, ahead or even right beneath my feet.

Suddenly, Gopal said, “Something's moving."  

Next Chapter - [Short Story] An Unsafe Bet - Chapter 3

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