• The Bus Incident

    The war is over, or at least my part is.
    I am riding on a military funded bus back toward my home town. The bus is air conditioned, upholstered, and has a DVD player at each seat. It is nice to be back in the AC. My only regret is the weirdo sitting to me. I am in the back of the bus, to the left side, and when this guy came in the only available seat was the one next to me, so I guess it can’t be helped.
    This guy has short brown hair, but I guess that is quite common coming from the army. The strange part is that he is not wearing military garb, but jeans and a T-shirt. He has a blank, endless stare behind his glasses.
    I decide to break the ice.
    “So, who are you?” I ask.
    “No one,” he replies, not averting his gaze.
    “Umm… where do you live?”
    “Broken fork.” this guy is just getting stranger and stranger.
    “Umm, do you like music?”
    “Metal aflame.” I assume this is a band.
    “What’s your favorite song?”
    “Blackened air.” Must be an emo band.
    “Well, do you watch TV?”
    “Falling figures.” This answer didn’t even remotely make sense, but I am persistent.
    “So, do you have family?”
    “Final darkness.” He picks up an old book and begins to read. The book looks old, really old. Tenth century perhaps, but I am no antique expert. The title of the book is “Grim Reaper”.
    The stranger closes the book and stands up. The bus is still moving, so I try to tell him to sit back down, but before I can he begins speaking.
    “Potential souls,” he says to the bus passengers, “you have one chance to save yourselves, take advantage of it!”
    No one even pays attention to him. The stranger doesn’t seem to care, and sits back down.
    We drive for a few more miles. The stranger taps my shoulder, I switch my attention to him. He hands me a note.
    ‘If you wish to be spared, avert from the left side’. I mouth ’okay’ and loom out the window. He definitely isn’t mentally stable, probably best to avoid conversation. It wasn’t uncommon really, many of my army comrades back in the service developed PTSS, post traumatic stress syndrome. It used to be called ‘shell shock’, which I for one fell to be more appropriate.
    I continue looking out the window when a hand obstructs my vision. It is the stranger’s hand, and it is pointing to something outside. I look and see a cloud of smoke rising from the trees in the distance.
    Why was he pointing that out? It probably was a forest fire, but it not near out route.
    I hear an obnoxious noise from my right ear. It is the stranger’s cell phone. He answers it, listens and hangs up.
    “I must depart soon,” he says, seemingly to no one.
    I look back out the window. I something fall into my lap. It is a folded piece of paper, probably another note. I turn to say something to him, but he is gone. Could he have departed while I was looking out he window? If so, then who gave me the note? It didn’t matter, at least the stranger was gone.
    The bus halts and the I hear the driver’s voice over the intercom.
    “Passengers, the fork on the road is under construction on the right side, so we will be making a small detour to the left.”
    Fork in the road, why does that phrase seem do significant to me?
    Broken fork.
    Coincidence. I make nothing of it.
    We take the left side into a forest.
    We drive for a few minutes and the bus makes a sudden turn. There was a raccoon in the road and the bus driver was trying to avoid it. One wheel hit’s a deep pot hole and the whole buss turns on its side. No one is hurt.
    I hear a loud roaring noise. I look out the window on the back door. A massive fire is raging towards us. The fire surrounds the bus. The exterior paint catches fire, making it look like the metal frame itself was on fire.
    Metal aflame.
    No, it can’t be, I try to stand up from my fallen position when the seat, that would have been on the right but is now above me, comes loose from it’s screws and falls onto me, pinning me to the ground (wall).
    If you wish to be spared, avert from the left side
    If I hadn’t been in this seat, this would not have happened.
    Smoke begins to fill the bus. It makes me a little dizzy and greatly impairs my vision.
    Blackened air.
    I see the silhouettes of my comrades falling to the ground, probably from smoke suffocation.
    Falling figures.
    I begin to loose focus, but retain enough to grab the note the stranger had given me off of the, newly turned floor, wall.
    I open the note.
    I laugh a little. “How funny,” I say. I look at the note one last time and refold it before the smoke inhalation causes me to loose my sight. However, it does and I collapse.
    The note now lay on the bottom of the upturned bus, which is now serving as my coffin. The heat causes the note to curl open and reveals the message written on it.
    ‘I am the Angel of Death’.