It was a rainy day.I left my office at about 5 in the evening, and hurried towards the bus stand to catch the last bus. I could barely keep my umbrella straight as the wind swept across the road like a howling phantom.The sky was dark and it was getting darker.The sun had already slept. I reached the stand. I was dripping wet from head to toe.
The umbrella had put up a brilliant fight, and had broke one of it's arms. It looked at me with pleading eyes.I took out my phone, and started reading an article. My phone was dying as well. It was still raining. About ten minutes later, someone came and stood beside me. I didn't look up from my phone.
After a few minutes, when the battery had given up hope and committed suicide, I sat down on the wet bench. It was then that I noticed her. Sitting on the bench, cold and shivering, her hair plastered to her face. It took a bit of time, but I finally recognized her.
"Hey Sarah! How are you? Did you move back to town?", I said. She looked up at me, and gave the geeky smile that I had seen so many times when I was in middle school and high school. She had been my best friend. It was in the month of July, as far as my brain could remember, that her family had moved out of the town because of unknown reasons.
I couldn't say goodbye at the time. Didn't get a chance. Even if I had got one, I would have been too sad to say anything. Many rumors had floated around when the Denvers had left. Some said that they had committed a crime, some said that they had gone bankrupt.
I came out of the my thoughts when she gave her classic 'Ahem Ahem'. "So, what are you up to now these days?", I asked her. Her smile faltered, and her gaze dropped for a while.
"Nothing much. Just moved back a few days ago. How about you? I heard from Jack that you got your dream job. Congratulations!", she added with a smile. Something about her didn't feel right. Her eyes looked so dreamy, so unclear, so foggy...
A loud horn interrupted my stream of thoughts. The bus had arrived. It was empty. Sarah and I got on the bus. Soon we started chatting about a variety of topics, and it was just like the old days. But something still felt different.
Whenever I asked her anything about her life, she would change the topic or give vague answers. I didn't mind that. Time passed by, and it soon got darker. It was then that I noticed that we had already crossed our stop.
I told Sarah about this, but she didn't seem to mind. I went to the driver to ask him what was going on. Apparently, the usual route had been blocked, as due to the cloudburst the roads had got flooded. So we were taking an alternate route which was much longer.
This took us right outside the town, through a bypass road, which then went through a small forest to reach the City Hall, from which we could walk to our houses. I went back to Sarah. She was looking out of the window. She looked a bit pale.
I asked her if she was alright. "Yeah everything is alright", she replied. "You can trust me Sarah.", I said. "I know that. And I will always.", she replied with her sweet smile.
My heart skipped a beat and I blushed , I don't know why. She noticed this and quickly turned towards the window again, silently laughing. It was really dark now. The driver had to drive the bus slowly, so that we did not miss the turn.
We were now going to reach the forest soon. After that, we had to cross the bridge, and then after another two or three miles, we would reach our destination. The trip was a silent affair for some time. We soon reached the fork, where we had to take a right turn.
As the driver started to turn right, Sarah shouted " Wait! Don't turn right! Turn left!" The driver stopped and looked back at us. I was looking at Sarah. Her face was red.
The driver said "But Ma'am, the usual route goes in this direction, and the other route is rarely used." "Please, I request you. I think something wrong is going to happen. Please take the left turn.", Sarah replied. I was confused. The driver was looking at me.
And then she started crying. I was alarmed. "What's the matter?", I asked. "Please take the left route. Trust me.", she said. I looked into her eyes. She seemed to be telling the truth.
I went to the driver and asked him about the left route. He said that it was less safe as the first one because it didn't have a proper road, but since it was a bit high, chances of the road being bad were really low. It was a bit shorter as well.But still, it was not the usual one,so nothing could be said.
"Take the left turn then.", I said. He looked at me with disbelief, but then gave a look at Sarah. She was still sobbing. He turned left.