It was a chilly winter morning. I reached the racing point an hour earlier than the decided time, but that day felt very different from other days. The chill in the wind was cutting through my bones. I parked my bike, relieved myself in the woods, took out a warm cup of tea from my thermos and started waiting for the rest of the crew.
We were four friends Me, Mark, Sammy, and Dale. Dale was my college mate and the one who introduced me to dirt biking. And ever since he had introduced, I got immersed in the sport. We went out for dirt biking every weekend.
Like every other weekend, we were all set to meet up at the hilltop and start our journey down through the convoluted dirt tracks. But that day was strange; there was an eerie silence everywhere.
I observed dense fog set in over the forest beneath me, the thick fog was slowly rising and covering up the dirt track. I took out my phone to warn my friends about the incremental weather in the woods, but my phone was not registering any signals.
The fog was rising fast, and I was all alone at the top of the hill. It was getting really dark and soggy. Something inside me twitched, my sense of thrill was being pinched, and then at that moment, I decided to go down the track through the thick fog and ever dimming lighting conditions. I started my bike, which did put up a fight by exhaling the moisture out of its lungs with a cough just like a pneumonia patient would do.
What if my bike had caught a cold? I just imagined the most absurd of things that could have happened to my bike; that it started, with a vehement cough, as if ready to run out from beneath me and reach the warmth of my garage. I was relieved to see my bike up and running again. By this time everything had gone dark, I could barely see twenty feet from my position. I mounted my mobile camera on my front handle and then with my heart skipping a beat, I took the plunge…I was on the track.
Accelerating through the ever-thickening fog and increasing darkness, I was driving my bike fearlessly, twisting and turning on the curves. I was keeping an eye on the timer; this would have been a record I would boast about for a long time to come. The complete track was five kilometers, with dangerous curves on a couple of turns, if I missed, I would tumble down the slope through the slanting forest beneath me.
In the low light, the convoluting track and the chilling wind I was driving fearlessly, all I could see was a shadowy image of the terrain, and I was using my memory of the track to locate my way through at this speed. My heart was thumping like a baby bird’s, I just had a fraction of a second before making a decision to turn right or left, as the visibility was extremely low, but every time I took a turn my heart skipped beats, one wrong turn was all it would have taken for me to be resting at the bottom of the forest. But the passion for beating my best time and that too under such weather condition would have made me an insignia in the local dirt bike club.
I was driving very fast, and I had covered more than half of the track that the fog started to lift, the visibility increased, and the path in front of me became clearer. Once the light had improved enough, I started to absorb my surrounding, and what I saw, stopped dead in my tracks. I was on an altogether unknown path, and it was not the path that led to the town; in fact, it was a path that I had never seen before in my life. I parked my bike at an open patch and stopped to breathe in the view of the astonishingly long stretch of forest beneath me. It was not like the forest of my town, the trees were short and heavily laden with fruits, this astonished me as it was winter season and most of the vegetation had turned yellow by this time, to see such an extent of vegetation and that too green and laden with fruit was a perplexing sight.
I got out my camera to take snaps of the place but voila, my camera was gone, I walked back up the track a little to check if I might have dropped it somewhere. All of a sudden the fog started rising again, emerging from every nook and corner of the forest. I rushed back to my bike and started it. By this time I was completely surrounded by thick fog.
I continued down the track slowly, feeling my way through. I traveled another kilometer in around an hour, and I could barely see anything around me, it had gone very dark. And all of a sudden as the fog had appeared, it disappeared, and I noticed myself at the base of the hill.
At the end of the track, my friends and a search and rescue team were waiting for me. They asked me anxiously where I have been. I knew they would never believe me, so I never told them what actually happened to me. But I promised myself that I would go for dirt biking every week from now on and expect to discover the mysterious place again. But neither I have been able to break my record, neither find my cell phone and neither the mysterious fog again.
I still go dirt biking alone, without my friends, expecting to be engulfed in the mystery again.