The road was deserted, lonely and slightly dark. There were not much streetlights and the canopy of the dense forests made the place dark even in broad daylight; the nights were somewhat creepy in that region. There were horror stories and not rumours, many of them, prevalent in the village but they were not supernatural or ghostly anecdotes. That the place was not prosperous and the literacy rate being incredibly low, it helped to the cause of those stories. It was about real people and disturbing people like creepy places.
The place was a heaven of mishaps. Inhabited by the drug peddlers and users, local goons, pimps, along with some peace-loving, simple and content villagers, this region was the blotch of that village. But everything running smoothly under the protection and leadership of the local politician, people found it better to avoid that place after sun down rather than taking some bold and meaningful steps. The problem was that road lead to the highway which lead to the local market and the nearby city. The local market and at the city was the prime source of income for the hardworking and honest villagers and so all the men flocked to the market and city very early in the morning only to return late in the evening. The younger lot, who went to study in schools and colleges in the city made sure that they returned before dusk. Thus, using that road was more of a necessity than anything else.
She knew about that place too. She was not new there. She had been the victim of several ‘small’ incidents and her parents and neighbours always overlooked them just to maintain peace. In fact, they acted sanely and normally and asked the girl to make peace with those mishaps as it was basically her mistake. She should not have been there so late. The men strongly urged the females of their house to avoid that road or enter home early. It was like the freedom of these simple people was in the hands of some criminals. Life of the women was a living hell there.
She was the first one of that area to study engineering. She was an extremely meritorious student, a scholarship holder, a well-trained dancer; in short, a source of inspiration of that village. The incident took place when she was in the 3rd year of her college, during the annual fest of her college. She was to perform early and return before sun down but the timing went haywire to accommodate the performance of a local band. She informed her mother that she would be late. Like other weak mothers, she started praying to God for her safety.
And then it happened. It can be as brutal, as gruesome, as merciless as it gets. How unlucky she was!
The incident shook her, the entire village. Things were never the same after that.
The bus left her at the bus stand leading to that scary road well past 7PM. Winter evening made the place look eerier than normal. It was dim and the smell of country liquor engulfed the entire road. She could watch the lecherous gazes harming her modesty, hear the lewd comments killing her dignity, feel the lustful tongues eager to destroy her vanity. She increased the pace of her walking as she could feel that she was being chased. The footsteps came closer with every passing moment. She started to run to evade any unpleasant incident but probably luck was not on her side. Something sharp came from behind, probably thrown at her, struck her right leg and she fall. She started bleeding profusely. She was scared and tried to scream but her near fatal fate made her numb and hardly any sound came out of her. She knew that her fate was sealed and there was no point in screaming as none would come to her help. Someone touched her; her whole body froze. The number of hands, which increased with every fleeting instant, tried to enjoy her. She felt like an object, to be used and thrown away. Their discussions and cruel laughs made her sick, weak and nauseous. She realized that she was surrounded by many. Many more than she ever thought and there were some known faces also. A cold shiver ran down her spines.
The headline of the next morning’s newspaper was as chilling as it can be. It was something like this:
“7 criminals were lynched at desolate village road”