13 Dec The Serene Cyclist
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"The Serene Cyclist"Written by Salman Shahid Khan
Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
I used to live in Cambridge a while back, which is a small city smack in the middle of England, best known for the university that is as large as the city itself. But I was there for work. I had a few friends around the city, and Cambridge being a very green city, it is the ‘Cambridge way’ to cycle around to most places. I would mostly visit my friends in the evenings, and we would all stay up till late, not socializing, or drinking, but playing games, musing philosophically and finding other means of continuing our existence. On the nights this continued for particularly long I would have to cycle back halfway across the city, often in cold. This was usually quite pleasant; Cambridge is quite a safe city, and I generally enjoy being out in the dark, alone, under the yellow of the night-lights. It was one of those nights, though, that I met what felt to me like the devil himself.
It was on another one of those long quiet lamp-lit roads on a particularly chilly February night. I was halfway home and slightly wary of it being 3 am. This was late even by my standards, and this put me somewhat on edge. My senses seemed to be more alert than usual and I was unconsciously keeping an eye on every single shadow on the street, trying to avoid as many alcohol fuelled incidents as I could. As I turned into a street that told me I was not very far from where my apartment was located I started to feel much more peaceful. It was halfway across the street biking at my leisure that I noticed a man in a dark jacket cycling around 20 feet in front of me. My senses suddenly sharpened again, due to the simple fact of him seeming to appear out of nowhere. Perhaps I had not been paying as much attention as I thought I was.
The man was cycling quite slowly, and even while barely pedalling I slowly started to draw near him. It also started to get quieter on the street. It took me a few moments to realize that I could not hear the man’s bike or the many mechanical clicking sounds my bike often made. The quiet was eerie. That should have warned me, but not heeding what now seems like a very obvious warning, I kept cycling closer to the man. I found his speed quite peculiar, even more so that his dark attire, and so as I drew nearly level I glanced at his body. I say his body because his face was not very human. It was made of what can only be described as a shadow, and with eyes that seemed like he very depths of hell itself. One look left me lifeless, motionless, speechless, riding down the slope right next to him, too scared to move, too scared to act. And worst of all, I was unable to take me eyes off his.
“This way is closed” he said, in a growling voice that made my hair stand on end. “This is way is closed. Go back.”
That was all he said, but those with those words the hold his eyes– its eyes had over me was broken. I managed to find some life in my hands and I braked as hard as I could, letting him get ahead of me. He continued to cycle ahead at his eerily slow place and then, as mysteriously as he had appeared in front of me, he was gone. He simply disappeared, unhurriedly, into the shadows at the end of the street. The rest of the way back home for me was a fight against my own body. My mind would not stop reeling from the horror it had just experienced, and my heart was in my throat, unwilling to go down. I could not think. I could not rationalize. I had no refuge. I could hear again. I could hear the wind in my ears, the clunking of my pedal as I cycled as fast as I could. and unfortunately for me, I could hear someone riding a bike a little behind me.
When I finally got home, I threw my bike and rushed into my first-floor apartment, refusing to look at what was surely there. I could still hear footsteps following me up the stairs but I refused to acknowledge them as I rushed into my room as fast as I could, and into the refuge of my bed.
I could still see shadows under my front door as I finally decided to go to bed. They refused to go away.
True story from 3:49 am, 25th of February, 2012.
(This is a part of a collection of real life horror stories and memoirs currently being collected and compiled by Salman Shahid Khan. For more, please visit and follow the writer’s blog here)
Credit To – Salman Shahid Khan
🔔 More stories from author: Salman Shahid Khan
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