02 May / True horror
I don’t experience terror much in my line of work. Either sitting on the couch writing, or sitting in the office typing. Either way, the only real fear I’d experienced lately was when I lost my USB stick and had to face the prospect of retyping thousands and thousands of words.
And when I found the USB stick again, in a place I’d already checked and rechecked, and discovered that I needn’t have bothered retyping all that work.
At least, that was the only real fear until Friday night.
A train came along when the bus indicator said my next bus was only two minutes away. The traffic immediately stopped (dead in its tracks LOL) and my bus stayed two minutes away for six minutes.
When the train finally passed it left jam in its wake. Traffic jam.
Although the bus pulled level, it didn’t make any great progress anywhere for another five minutes. So much so, that by the time it pulled into the next stop the bus scheduled ten minutes behind it was pulling in alongside.
The bright side to this was the bus behind pulled in front, and so we didn’t collect any new passengers at the next few stops. We may have continued not collecting them, but I stopped concentrating on anything other than the Franz Ferdinand song that I started to play over and over again compulsively because… I don’t know. I’m not wired right, maybe?
Anyway it was a fairly smooth bus ride. It turned into the street that my stop’s on, but five stops down from where we were. That’s my cue to perk up and start paying attention in case I go into a reverie and miss my stop altogether.
Four stops away I turned off my music and prepared for landing. I turned to look behind me, just because you do, and saw that the bus was entirely empty.
A cold chill swept through my body.
I have never, and I mean NEVER, been the only passenger on a bus. In fact the only time I remember seeing only one passenger on a bus was towards the end of Nightmare on Elm Street Two and it didn’t end well. Unless you’re Freddy whereupon it ended very well indeed.
I looked back one more time in case there were passengers, and they were just so short that I couldn’t see them over the seat backs.
Nope. Still empty.
Well this was probably okay. It just meant that everyone who’d been on there when I came on board had just gotten off at various stops along the way, and no one got on because the other bus was travelling so closely ahead.
I’d just sort out which button I was going to press to stop the bus, because I like to plan ahead, and then I may get off a stop early just in case.
There were no buttons.
At some point there had obviously been buttons. The poles they’d been attached to were still there, along with the holes that showed where they’d been mounted.
Where they’d been mounted until someone removed every last one of them. Perhaps whilst disposing of all the other passengers. Or, all the other passenger’s bodies.
There was a bell pull along the roof of the carriage beside me. It was hanging loosely, and ended in some weird slinky type spring, but I just went for it and pulled as hard as I could.
I felt a bit silly when the Bus Stopping light came on. Feeling a bit silly sat right alongside being so scared that I felt almost as though it was a dream. Maybe one of those ones where you don’t wake up.
So I ended up walking three bus stops further than I needed.
And at every step I counted myself lucky.