he instructor stood near the driver of the bus and clapped his hands. There were about twenty people in the bus including Suchitra and Anand.
“Attention, people! Welcome to The Great Smoky Mountains here at Tennessee and thanks for choosing Bill’s whitewater rafting. Have any of you done whitewater rafting before?”
Two people raised their hands.
“Okay, it is easy. Have any of you been in a school bus before?”
All of them raised their hands.
“Good! Then the rules are the same. Keep your hands, legs and other body parts inside the bus, very much like you did in your school bus. This bus is no different. We are off to the Pigeon river for our trip!”
The bus turned and joined the other vehicles on the road.
* * *
Suchitra woke up from a very strange dream. She walked to the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face and looked at herself in the mirror.
‘No, that is weird and it can’t be true’ she thought.
But she could tell that the feeling of uneasiness was growing into an uncomfortable pain in her shoulders. She got the same pain and discomfort in her shoulders when her strange dreams were about to turn true.
She sat down on a chair at the dining table and wiped her face. She tried hard to recall the details of her dream and the visuals came back to her like a blurred video taken from a handheld camera.
It looked like a hospital and there was a woman on the bed. Her face looked familiar, but Suchitra wasn’t sure where she had seen her before. The doctor was talking to Anand. Who is that lady with Anand and why is she holding his hands?
* * *
“Anand, I don’t have a good feeling about this… I want to stay back.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. We came all the way here so that we could have some fun. Come on!” said Anand putting on his life jacket.
“No Anand. I have made up my mind. I don’t want to stop you….”
“Okay! As you wish…” shrugged Anand, obviously trying to hide his disappointment.
The team of six got in with the instructor sitting at the back of the raft. He gave the final instructions and the raft moved forward in the Class-3 rapid.
Anand turned to wave at Suchitra. That is when she noticed her.
The visuals came back again. The monitor showed a flatline. The girl was dead. Her face was clear now. She is the girl sitting next to Anand and they gave each other a high-five as the raft negotiated a small vortex.
Suchitra waved back at him and yelled.
He couldn’t hear her from that distance and just waved back.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. The characters and organizations depicted in this story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.