It’s 19:47, how is it 19:47? I swear it was only two minutes ago when I last checked the time and it was just before 19:30. If I didn’t know better I’d say time is deliberately trying to spite me. Also, why does this phone keep changing dates, when did we get to 2023? I’ll most likely be dead by then.

Oh, hi there. Excuse my manners. You’re probably wondering what an old woman like me is doing out in the streets at this hour. Well I’m only trying to catch a lift to my hometown. I normally use a taxi, but lately I’ve been taking extra shifts and we don’t get any taxis to my hometown after 6pm.

Yeah, I know, I need to get out of here soonest. I’ve heard some scary stories about this place. Just today I found a newspaper that had an article about a ghost roaming around, even thinking about it sends chills trickling down my spine. You’ve probably read the article too. You know, the one about a woman who died in a car accident some years ago and now every year on the same day she died she is seen asking for a lift, only to cause another accident? Hold on, a car just pulled up.

“Ngena mama,” calls out the young fellow with a hoarse voice.

Inside the car a girl is seated in the front seat next to the young man, as soon as I close the door they stop everything and stare at each other as if they’re in a trance for some seconds, then they both break into a shiver and everything goes back to normal, like their mini trance never even happened. I think they feel the chills too. This place is bad news I tell you.

They are playing loud music, sounds I’ve never heard. They move to the beat and the girl even dances with her hands. It’s amusing to watch, but I don’t really like their music and I let them know. I honestly prefer complete silence, but I can’t stop people from speaking in their own car now can I?

And like an obedient child should, the young man has stopped the music. My nerves can finally catch a break. They find it funny that I’ve never heard this type of music before, even though it’s been dominating the SA music industry for the past five years, or so they say. I’m guessing you’ve heard it too, this Amapiano genre? You think I’m weird too, don’t you?

Anyway, let me fix the date on my phone back to the year 2000. There.

We drive for a few more miles before I notice the boy yawning, I’ve seen this before, why does this keep happening to me? I must do something, fast. “Boy, why don’t we play those pianos of yours again, maybe they’re not so bad,” my voice comes out high pitched and nervous. But I must’ve spoken in French because I get no response, it seems like no one even heard me. We reach for a curve and… “NO, LOOK OUT!” the girl and I shout but we’re too late.

I now stand by the side of the road next to the small crowd looking at the squashed car. There is a family of three standing next to their car, the mother has her arms wrapped so tightly around her son, it makes me wonder if he can even breath. It’s like she’s trying to shield him from any harm, present or future. To my left is a young woman who covers her face with her hands as the emergency team tries to pull out the bodies. Next to her are four young man murmuring something about a cursed road. And even before the emergency team pulls their bodies out and declares them dead I already know they won’t make it.

Next time I will try harder, next time I will get home and no one will ever have to get hurt again. But for now, I need to get back to my hiking spot and pray that the next driver won’t fall asleep. By then, the date will probably be February 22, 2024. And maybe the next driver will be you, maybe you will help me get home. I’m not a bad person, I’m just trying to find my way home.