Highway by Team Brandsandu

It was ten-thirty in the night time. In Arman’s vehicle, I was riding shotgun, with three other companions, two males and one lady, sitting behind me. We’d eaten dinner at a resort on the countryside and were driving back home on the highway.

There were no lamps on this dark, empty road. Inside the car, the three backseat passengers were continually laughing about how spooky the route was and how they’d all heard stories about ghostly children running barefoot across the streets. I was captivated by their stories, but I couldn’t believe them since they were much too unbelievable to be true.

But Arman was trembling in his seat, pleading them to come to a halt. I chuckled and slapped him on the back, assuring him that they were teasing and that ghosts and “bad spirits” did not exist.

Three middle-aged guys suddenly arrived, wandering along the side of the road, as if to prove me incorrect.

Their features were engraved in my mind for the fraction of a second that I saw them. The one on the left was wearing a maroon cardigan, the one in the middle was wearing a yellow headpiece, and the one on the right was wearing a black shawl around his shoulders. Their abrupt appearance caused Arman to turn the car violently to avoid hitting them, leading us all to jump in our seats.

We passed through them, but the shock was palpable inside the car, and the hilarity of seconds before had been replaced by startled stillness.

It was too dark to see where these three guys came from, but if I were you, I’d swear they popped out of nowhere. I was in the driver’s seat, continually scanning the road. If three gentlemen dressed in such different clothes were strolling straight by us, I would have seen them ahead of time.

There was no more joking around and no more ghost stories. We couldn’t even talk because we were so terrified. Arman was urged to drive faster by the girl in the rear seat so that we could get home sooner. My own heart was pounding, but I put on a good face and turned around to assure them that everything was fine; that those men were most likely locals out for a post-dinner stroll.

Our automobile veered wildly again at that very moment, going dangerously close to the divider.

“What the hell was that?” I asked, turning around with my hand on Arman’s shoulder for support. Arman’s fists were clenched around the steering wheel. His voice was scarcely audible, like a whimper.

“Three men passed past on their way to somewhere else. Five minutes ago, we crossed paths with the same three men.” My mouth was gaping in surprise as I glanced at him. I reasoned, “No way, that can’t be.”

”Did the man in the middle have a yellow hat on?”

“Yeah of course, and a maroon coat for the one on the left. I guarantee they were the same men.”

A vice-like grip of illogical anxiety wrapped around my heart. “We have approximately one kilometre of this road ahead of us,” I replied, looking at the mapping software on my phone. Let us all keep our eyes open till we arrive at our destination.”

The roadway was riddled with potholes, but Arman drove as quickly as he could and completed the journey in under ten minutes.

We could see a single headlight in the distance on the last stretch of the highway, just before the town’s recognizable lights came into view. Everybody else was holding their breath, not knowing what to expect, so I touched Arman’s wrist with caution.

As we got closer, we noticed a broken down motorcycle on the side of the road. Three men stood next to it, gesturing at us and urging us to pull over and seek assistance.

These males were presumably in their twenties and much younger. The person who beckoned us down, though, was dressed in a maroon cardigan.

And the person nearest to the motorcycle was wearing a sloppy black blanket around his shoulders.

We didn’t come to a halt.

We didn’t say anything.

Arman slammed on the gas and flew passed in a flash.

I turned around, scared that these men might ride up behind us on their bike.

But all I could see was darkness. The headlight, which had been glowing for a few moments, suddenly vanished.

What had happened to it?

Neither Arman nor I, nor the three buddies in the back of the vehicle, took a breath until we arrived at the city’s well-known entrance.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief at that point.

What had just unfolded, exactly? What were those three men attempting to tell us, and who were they?

What would have took place if we had complied with their request and halted our car?

When I recall that terrible night, I still feel shivers. They, along with the shivers that run down my back every time the picture of those two guys flashes through my mind, are the only proof that whatever truly happened was true and not a hallucination of my imagination.

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