An Evening on the Bridge

“Oh God, who was that man? Why did the girl push him down the bridge? Where did Anita go?” Dev said crying. Dev woke up with a startle the next morning. The events at the bridge last night were like a nightmare and till now his brain was projecting the events before his eyes.

On a frigid Friday evening Dev was traveling back to his home in Srinagar after a long day at work. He was exhausted and was driving quickly when he suddenly tapped the brakes and noticed a tall, leaning woman seeking a lift.

Dev was taken aback by the woman’s magnificence with just a glance. She was tall, with angular features and hypnotic eyes. Her pitch-black hair fell on her shoulders and reached down to her slender waist, which was a pleasure to see. He asked her to hop inside his car.

The woman’s name was Anita, and she was from a village only 1km from Srinagar. Eventually, they both were headed the same way, until the suspension bridge, where they have to part ways. It was around a 10km journey and Dev couldn’t be more excited. His exhaustion flushed down as they got completely engaged in a warm and soothing conversation. He was deliberately driving slowly and figuring out a way to ask Anita out on the weekend.

Dev was quite amused to know that Anita doesn’t have a phone, no contact number, and no social media. She was also a loner too, with no one to look after her. Dev was desperate to see her again, thus he asked if they might meet again tomorrow. 

“City café, evening at 8?” Anita asked, “You can come to pick me up from the bridge, and then we will head out if that’s okay for you?”

The café was quite far in a desolate area of the town with not much of the city hustle. Dev agreed to the meeting. He dropped Anita at the end of the bridge from where he was headed different ways. It was quite dark on her way with not a single soul going in that direction. He asked if he can drop her off at her home.

“My house is inaccessible for vehicles Dev and I am surely not taking someone I met only a few hours back, to my home,” said Anita laughingly and she went.

Saturday evening came like an eternity later and Dev was excited for his first date night. He picked her up at the bridge and from there they went to the City café. They were there till dinner when they finally decided to leave at 10. Dev dropped Anita at the bridge and she wished Dev could be with her a bit longer. She left her purse in the car and they started walking across the bridge holding hands, indulging in each other, feeling the warmth against the frosty breeze of the river.

The night was perfect until Dev noticed two figures standing at the bridge’s middle edge, one peering down from the edge and the other standing behind. He couldn’t see them clearly because of the darkness, but he could tell it was a man and a woman. The man was peering over the edge when the girl grabbed his shoulders, turned him towards herself, and pushed him down the bridge. Before pushing the man, she murmured something, but Dev couldn’t hear what she said.

Dev’s heart sank instantly at the moment. Absolute shock had temporarily rendered him unconscious. His body became so numb that he was oblivious to Anita’s absence. It took him a moment to come to his wits. He whirled around to face the woman who had shoved the other guy to the ground but to his amazement, he was the only person still standing on the bridge. His eyes were still searching for Anita, but his body was unable to move or even utter a word. t. He dashed towards his car as quickly as he could. He walked over to Anita’s seat and opened the door. There was no purse. A red tote bag with a gleaming engraving that can’t be overlooked, vanished.

Tires screeching hard, he was driving in a total state of panic. Fear paralyzed him momentarily. He had no idea who the two individuals were or the reason the girl had pushed him off the bridge. The disappearance of Anita was what worried him the most. The car keys were in Dev’s pocket; He wonder where she went and how she took her purse.

He reached home at around 11:30 and shut all his doors and windows. Still perspiring, he had trouble falling asleep that night. His mind kept flashing that horrible visual. Moments passed when tiredness took over his fear and he finally got some sleep.

He woke up the next morning with a mild fever. Last night’s incident was still haunting his memories. He quickly turned on the news channel for any dead body found in the river, but no such news. Deprived of hunger and sleep, Dev couldn’t get his mind off that incident. Who were the two individuals? How did Anita vanish at that precise moment? What did the woman say to the guy before pushing him? He had been having strange thoughts, and curiosity eventually won out over common sense, leading him to decide to go back to the bridge and presumably also Anita’s house.

Dev reached the bridge before sunset and went to the exact same spot where the incident happened. He was aware of the stillness of the evening and could only hear the river flow, otherwise, it was all quiet. He moved over to the railing where the girl pushed the boy last night and was peering over the edge looking down. Suddenly two hands came from behind grabbed her shoulders, and turned him around. It was Anita. Before Dev could let his emotions out, Anita said in a creeping manner, “Didn’t you see what happened to you last night? Didn’t you see yourself falling?” She gave him a savage push. Dev had no chance and fell cleanly from that three-foot railing.

Dev no longer peers over the bridge. He left a small token of his presence, his car keys which fell very next to the red gleaming tote bag.

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