BONFIRE OF MADNESS
By Neel Anil Panicker
The last thing that one would ever want to hear at my age and especially so if it is the middle of December when the weather is a damp cold and the fickle bones on your body refuse to persist with their persistent rattling and all one can do is curl up in bed, foetal position and all, and wait and hope for the damn dampness to simply pass off, is to get your years assaulted by strange persistent sounds from your backyard.
In no time I think I heard the screeching of tyres followed by the wild blaring of sirens and when they were accompanied by loud shrieks, agonised human voices, I knew something had gone wrong, horribly wrong..
I hurried out of bed, as swiftly fast as I could, my arthritic laden feet and all, and by the time I wriggled past the backdoor onto the road adjoining where we lived, it was all there.
The street ahead was lit up, brighter than a New Year’s Eve bonfire. I squinted my eyes and bored into the direction of the heat.
It was a massive ball of fire, as if some huge object had caught fire, and I saw smoke and massive flames billowing into the sky, lighting up the thickly wooded area around it.
“ It is a bus. Turned turtle and caught fire.”
I looked askance at Pramod, my next door neighbour, and occasional bridge partner.
“The midnight bus from Matheran. There were around twenty passengers.”
The words were a hammer that smashed into my head blowing my brains into smithereens. .
I felt feet leave the earth, heard the sound of bones breaking, and then my eyes gave way.
My last thoughts before darkness enslaved me were of Albert, my son. He was arriving from Pune, and by the last bus.
Written for fiction challenge