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Insanity Road

Heavy breathing can be heard from Jan’s room. He was seated on his bed, drenched in sweat.

“It was one of those damn dreams again!” he cursed. He looked at his ipod dock and saw that it was only 3:20am.

“What’s going on with me?” he said in frustration as sweat dribbled from his face. It was only the middle of February, but it felt like the peak of summer has arrived.

He reached out for a glass of water at his bedside . His hands were still trembling and he almost spilled the water onto himself while he drank.

“Okay, I can still get some sleep.” he said as he tried to calm down. The shop will open at eight. So there was still enough time to get at least, some decent rest.

He took his now drenched shirt off and turned the air conditioning unit back on. He set the timer for one hour then hurriedly went back to bed.

Jan recalls his latest assignment as a journalist on the benefit of the local government's "Tree Planting Project." The goal was to increase the natural habitat of the local bird population in their area.

Despite his effort to wrestle his body to sleep, his mind was running a convention of thoughts as he could no longer return to the comforting arms of Morpheus. He fought back the memories of his recurring nightmares and reminded himself that his deadlines were more important, so he had to get some sleep!

“Why was someone chasing me?” he asked himself. “I never saw the face of my pursuant until now,” he whispered.

He closed his eyes once more and tried to concentrate on nothingness.

“Bzzzzzzz…zzzzz!” the alarm sounded off once again. It felt like he has just closed his eyes to sleep.

“I’m late!” he shouted as he jumped out of bed. His ipod was blinking 7:00 am on its screen. A few minutes more and he would have sacrificed his shower time to go to work.

He ran to the bathroom and showered. He was certain, the scheduled event would be a success! Finally, he was able to get the mayor for an interview. He practiced his series of environmental questions while he was in the shower.

Off to work!

There was a queue on the road immediately when he left the suburbs – long snaking trail of angry and short tempered cars.

“I should take that short cut,” Jan decided.

It wasn’t really a shortcut, but an uninterrupted long road that passed through the woods into the city. Only a few knew of the existence of that particular route.

“I have to take that road if I want to get to the breakfast meeting at 8:30am,” he decided.

The folks in town were a stickler for punctuality. Getting late for even five minutes was a big deal.

He had no choice.

The road was smooth as it should be. He was glad he had taken that route. No beeping horns and no red tail lights for miles ahead. Just the black asphalted road that was laid in front of him like a willing sacrifice to a hungry prey.

He has never been a big fan of superstition. He learned to look for the truth in all of his endeavors, never believing in tales, myths, and legends. All of his works were backed up with solid and irrevocable evidence.

Yet this town seemed to mock his belief in empirical facts. The most popular of the circulating tales was a story about a private road that led to the city through the woods. It was purported that the owner of the road hated trespassers and had chased these drivers to insanity once they crossed his property.

Jan was smiling contentedly as he turned left, then tight, then another left. It was a seamless ride. He was thankful for having his car serviced the other day, the traction on the road was a perfect foreplay between the road and his brand new tires. His engine roared with euphoria as he flooded the gas.

Then the car slowed down.

“What?” he shouted! The car’s engine was dying… dying… dead. He stopped in front of an old dilapidated house in the middle of the road. Ten more minutes of the scenic view of lush green and brown vegetation and he would have a good view of the city.

“What happened?” he asked himself, baffled. “That trip to the mechanic was useless!” There was a bit of panic in his voice because he never got late. Never! Except now. His perfect punctuality report card would be tarnished.

He popped up the hood and checked the connections of the battery – he instinctively scrutinized this first in similar circumstances. Was it the power supply or some loose connections?

“Intact!” he hissed. How come the electricity of the car died?

“You!” he heard a loud authoritative voice from behind.

Jan froze in fear. He heard that voice before.

It was him!

The voice from his dream!

“What are you doing here?” the voice thundered, “Don’t you know that this is a private road?”

“Uhm, I used to pass through here all the time and no one ever told me this was…”

“Fool! You didn’t see the sign that said private property!”

There was huge sign behind Jan that said exactly that. He was shocked to see the glaring signboard, because just minutes ago, the area behind him had only been a lush vegetation of trees. Now there was a blinking sign amidst the green background.

How could that be? This was exactly his nightmare! Was it coming true? Was this the man who had been running after him?

“What are you staring at?” the voice of a man- now filled with rage - yelled. “Fix your car and leave this property immediately.”

Even when he tried his best to see the man’s face, he couldn’t. He moved his right foot backward when he tripped on a pebble. He teetered dangerously. That was then that he noticed that the old man was no longer in front of him.

It was as if he went deaf for a few minutes and was miraculously cured, because he could now hear the engine sputtering to life, when earlier it was ominously silent.

He was having cold sweats. The tips of his fingers were gelid and his knees felt weak.

“Where did he go?” he thought, wary and confused.

He was about to get into the car when he saw the old man in the passenger’s seat.

“Where do you think you are going?” snarled the old, faceless man while staring at the empty road.

Jan ran! First in the direction of the road leading to the city, then through the woods, weaving his way in a frenzy!

It was his nightmare coming true!

The voice was coming from behind him – a resounding roar that filled his ears with terror.

He ran farther! His body trembled with fear and his mind was in panic from what was happening to him.

A hand reached out for him and grabbed him by a shoulder.

He turned to face the assailant, eyes half opened…


Heavy breathing can be heard from Jan’s room. He was seated on his bed, drenched in sweat.

It was 5:13am. He had just woke up from a recurring nightmare.

“What is going on with me?” he asked in perplexity.

He felt trapped in a horrifying dream that didn’t want to let him go.

Hurriedly, he got out of bed and showered. It was only 6am when he reached the diner. Too early for his interview.

But there was a phone call waiting for him.

He reluctantly reached for the phone. “Jan speaking,” he said testily.

“You shouldn’t have trespassed my property,” snarled the familiar voice from his nightmares. 

And then the line went dead!

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