Saint Town

4 April

The blue wagon squealed and slid for about a hundred yards, then spun around. He frantically pressed on the wheel, trying to bring the wagon out of its spin. The moment the wagon stopped spinning at the other side of the road, his mind went blank and his eyes stark at the emptiness that laid in front of him.

In a deep, heavy and fast breath, he tried to gain composure of himself as he blinked a few times to recall what had just happened to him. He remembered vividly of talking on his cellphone with a friend and decided to take that route because of less traffic congestion. It was in the mid of the chat when suddenly out of nowhere a white figure stood right in front of his moving wagon.

He remembered of continuously pressing the horns to warn whoever was standing out there to move away but it was too late. There was no other way to avoid the collision except to sway the steering wheel away from the figure resulting to the spinning of the wagon.

Slowly he felt beads of cold sweat on his forehead and in an instant, he felt a sharp pain coming from slightly above his forehead. He wasn't sure if he had suffered a cut or that it could just be some soreness due to the strains in trying hard to control the wheels. Whatever the reason was, he ignored the pain and turned around to look at the road at the back of his wagon. There was no one else out there except for his only wagon parked at the sideway.

"What the fuck?" He whispered as he wet his lips.

He was definitely sure that he was not seeing things when he saw the white figure stood still in the middle of the road. Even though the sparsely positioned lampposts dimly lighted up the road, the luminous white cloth was bright enough to alert any other road users.

Finally after getting his composure back, he decided to check it out. Stupid decision as it was, he quickly unbuckled the seat belt ignoring as much pain and fear as possible. He admitted that fear had indeed taken its effect in his mind as his hands were still shaking and his legs were trembling. In a soft cursing mannered, he reached for the small flashlight from the dashboard and at the same time trying to find his flying cellphone.

"Damn!" A soft curse slipped off from his lips when he could not find his cellphone from underneath his seat or even the seat next to him. Must be on the floor of the back seat, he thought.

So far, the night has not been kind to him. He got a ticked off from his boss for his poor performance lately, the lift broke down and due to some heavy traffic congestion he was forced to take that route. Earlier on he remembered of seeing a few vehicles overtaking him so he was hoping to see more coming soon as he made a quick scan on the surroundings before he stepped out of the wagon.

The moment he closed the door after deciding not to lock it just in case something cropped up and he could easily made his way back inside the wagon, he felt one kind of spooky similarity, which almost made him changed his mind and jumped back into his wagon. Perhaps it was the silence. Or perhaps it was the whole thing about him standing and freezing alone on the road because he thought he had accidentally knocked someone down, just like the one in his recurring nightmares that he has been having for the past few days.

Slowly he took a few steps away from the wagon. Surprisingly, the road that used to be so alive even though it has never been a popular choice by the road users had suddenly became so dead. That was not the first time he took that route. In fact, he has been using the same route back home whenever there was heavy traffic congestion or whenever he wanted to unwind himself from the stress in the office and during those couple of times too, he will simply shut down the air-con and let the cool breeze brushed through his hair. His journey back home was then accompanied by the busy noise from the crickets, the rustling sounds of the leaves, fade echoes of horns coming from a nearby highway and the busy train station but somehow that night, all he heard was his own heavy breath.

"Hello?" Hello… Hello… His voice bounced back as a fade echo and began to play repeatedly in his own head as he stopped walking. Must be the wind, he thought even though the air was humid and still.

He continued a few steps ahead with lights on the ground.

"Anybody there?" Anybody there… Anybody there… "Hello?" Hello… Hello… "Its not funny alright!" Its not funny alright… Its not funny alright…

Then he stopped and knelt down.

He was surprised to find huge lump of sand on the ground. The sand looked extremely fresh as if someone had dug it out from a nearby farm or bushes he thought. There were no traces of blood or any clue to show that someone has been knocked down by his wagon, but somehow he just had a strong hunch that somewhere out there in the dark someone was watching him, waiting for the right time to lunge and pounce on him.

"Okay! That's enough! You are just sick!" He said to himself as he stood up and shone the flashlights to the woods at both sides of the road hoping to see a wild animal to comfort himself that at least he was not alone. To get attack by a wild animal was never his choice, but he knew he would just feel better to see someone else or some animals nearby.

"Hello?" Hello… Hello… He called out again and waited for someone to reply. In his head, his creative mind started to think of different scenarios. Whoever that person was out there, he could be a robber who wanted to scare him off and run away with his wagon, or it could be some wild animals that escaped from a nearby farm. Or worst still, it could just be no one but purely based on his wild imagination especially with his nightmares haunting his sleep lately.

He continued flashing the lights from tree to tree until he came upon this large tree just next to his wagon. Believe it or not, he recognized that tree. It was the same tree in his dream. The same tree that appeared on the local newspaper where the police found dead bodies of his friends.

"This is impossible…" He said as he took a quick steps back to his wagon.

Out of a sudden, he felt extremely cold as if the temperature has dropped drastically. It was so cold that it almost frozen his heart and with fears gripping him, all the more he felt freezing. Once he reached his wagon, in a full self-confidence he tried swinging the door open but after a few rushing attempts, only then he realized the door knob was pressed down to indicate that the door was locked.

"What the fuck! I know I didn't lock it just now! How could its locked now? I know I didn't lock it just now!" He kept muttering as he frantically searching for the keys in his pockets but was surprised to find it hanging from the keyhole inside the wagon. "Fuck! This is fucking shit! I know its with me just now!"

Like someone who has been possessed, he used the flashlight to hit the window pane. That was the last resort that he could think of and he couldn't care less anymore on whether he could get fired for vandalizing the company's property. All he knew and cared about was his own life.

The howling sound of the wolves started to fill the still air as he pulled up the knob and brushed the shattered glasses away from the driver's seat. He ignited the engine and started to blast the road with a full gear. The howling sounds became clearer and louder as he pressed on the accelerator to get away from that road as fast as possible. He knew he was racing against time and so were his guts in trying to overcome his fears.

Occasionally he would look at the rear mirror hoping that nothing else was following him and at the same time, wishing that he could find other vehicles on the road. It was only after ten minutes of driving that he realized, he actually driving in circles. He kept passing by the same road and was not sure for how long but the shattering of glass on the ground gave the big hint.

It was upon his realization on his driving in circles that his wagon slowed down and eventually died out just at the same spot as it did earlier on.

"Oh fuck! This can't be happening!" He tried igniting the engine again and again. The howling sounds were both scary and irritating at the same time. He looked at his watch. It was dead.

Not sure what will be his next step but he was definitely not going anywhere near that huge tree. He was cracking his head hard when he remembered his cellphone. He jumped to the back seat and his hands practically went wild underneath the seat to search for the cellphone until he felt a cold object. He found it.

He has never prayed before, not even when his mother and wife brought him to the church. He went simply because he had to be their chauffeur for the day or to attend a friend's wedding and lately, he went because of his friends' funerals. This time, he was praying hard that his cellphone works and it did.

After pressing the redial button, he waited for someone to pick up his call.

"Hello?"

"Hell-" The batteries went flat. "Fuck! Fuck this shit! Fuck!" He cried as he threw his cellphone back to the floor. He hung his head low ignoring the howling sounds but it was the soft laughter coming from the woods that caught his attention.

It was a soft eerie and mocking kind of laughter.

His eyes went berserk among the big trees in the woods as he moved slowly towards the window hoping to catch a glimpse of someone out there but it was empty. Then he turned to look at the back of the wagon and again, there was nothing. By the time his head turned back to the front, it felt like someone had just nailed his head to the seat. There she was sitting at the driver's seat with her back facing him and her head down.

She was humming, crying and laughing at the same time. Her low hums were enough to eat him up as he struggled to breathe. In a struggle to keep himself alive, he noticed her long curly hair that dropped down to her waist gave out such a scent that was so strong till he felt the urged to vomit. The same bright luminous white dress, which he saw earlier on was actually tainted with mud, sand and blood. It was a constant flashback on what had happened a few years back. A sacred secret which he had promised to keep together with his other friends and soon it will be his turn to be buried with that secret.

He tried to move his hands to open up the door but they were numbed. He wanted to run but his legs were not giving the same reactions. He felt the need to scream but in a flash, it seemed like he has lost his voice. There was nothing that he can do except to wait for his death, a pathetic way of dying he thought as tears began to roll down his cheeks.

Soft moans and groans escaped from his dried lips as his eyeballs almost gobbled out from his eyes. Each time she cried, his nose and eyes will start to bleed profusely. Even though her laughter was not loud, it was enough to bleed his ears. He was basically struggling and fighting without making any move as all his limbs went numb at the same time. The moment her clear blue eyes met his, he heard and felt a snapping sound of his bone.

"No… please… no…" He muttered but it was too late.