From the inside of my car, the pitter-patter of the rain sounded like a million arrows being launched, deflected by the metal exterior. Lightning flashed, stretching its tendrils on to the surface of the river. The superstitious river of souls, where people seemingly just drown upon coming near it.

I never believed in the urban legend whispered on the streets of Gazini. Stories about how there was a woman at the river flowing through the township and stretching to the city, waiting to take young men’s souls into the waters and drown them for eternity. If anything, it was an excuse. A way to explain the number of dead bodies in the area throughout the years. Most likely from nefarious criminals, or people who liked taking advantage of women, getting their way with them and satisfying their dirty desires.

I had always been told the river had been cursed, haunted by a young woman who was gang raped and murdered there. Ever since then, the culprits seemed to be drowned there, one by one. Thereafter, any other young man who crosses paths with the woman would suffer the same fate, no matter how young or innocent they were.

As I drove close to the river bank, I spotted a woman standing on the side of the road. I slowed the car down right next to her. I assumed that she’d probably had some trouble going home. Maybe she had been ditched there by a love interest, or maybe she was working late to the point where it got too late for her to get transport. She must’ve been waiting here, hitchhiking, waiting in the pouring rain for someone to give her a ride.

I got out of my car and preceded to ask, “Are you okay? Come into my car, I’ll take you home”. She didn’t respond. She just stood there, staring at me with intense green-glowing eyes. Her eerie gaze made my neck hair stand up.

“I insist, you should really get into my car,” I emphasized. “”This rain seems relentless. Get inside, before you catch a cold”. I even tried grabbing her hand, pulling her towards my car, all to no avail. I decided to go back to my car. Clearly, she needed no help from me.

As I turned to enter, I could feel her cold hand yank my wrist. I turned to look at her. Her eyes shone brightly as she leaned in, and gave me a kiss on the lips. I was stunned, not knowing how to react. She turned around, walking towards the river. She then looked back at me, and beckoned with her finger.

Suddenly, my body took one step forward, then another. My body was moving on its own accord. A strange force had taken over, compelling me to follow this woman.

As my feet dragged themselves, I watched the woman, stepping into the water and immersing herself. She stood waist deep, her hypnotic eyes glowing amidst the darkness.

I tried to resist it, to fight against the spell that seemed to have taken hold of me, but it was like I was being pulled into the water. I waded into the river, deeper and deeper, until it was up to my chest.

All I could do, is stand right in front of her, and watch as she brought up her hand to my head, and plunged my body into the river to drown.