The Bus Ride

By Chef Deltise

I had a cold, a really bad one (I’m not as resilient as normal people), and I was in desperate need of something that could alleviate some of the symptoms. I wasn’t very fond of going to the doctor, and it was about 8 PM, so I wasn’t in the mood to wait at some clinic. I wanted immediate remedies that I could take, then go to bed, and wake up in the morning feeling slightly better. I was skeptical about things like NyQuil or any over the counter medication, mainly because I was afraid that I’d somehow screw up the dosage, or take the medicine at a time I’m not supposed to (like a medicine you take only after dinner, and I end up taking it in the morning). I had a fever, so my ability to think clearly was dramatically lowered. I couldn’t go on the internet and look up home remedies, because the bright monitor gave me painful headaches and nausea from trying to read the on screen text.

My car was broken, and it’s probably best that I don’t drive anywhere in my condition. My only hope was to take the bus to my Aunt’s house and ask for that Vitamin C syrup that I always took. ( It was a unique syrup that you could only buy in the Philippines, it’s relatively popular there as a cheap universal illness treatment for colds and similar ailments )

I crawled out of bed, put on some clothes, grabbed my coat, grabbed my phone, my wallet, my bus pass ( Free bus passes for students at the local university ) and headed out. The night was very cold and the humidity was low, which was common for this area at this time of year.

I walked down the street, cold and with a cold, which probably wasn’t for the best, arriving at the bus stop at a nearby corner. I was familiar with the bus times, and today there’s a bus that pulls in at 9PM. It is the third to the last bus for the night, the final bus arriving at 11PM.

I waited for the bus for what seemed like hours, and finally it arrived, almost empty, with no one getting off at my stop. I boarded, presented my pass, and took a seat at the back.

On the bus were three people: A man, a woman, and a boy (probably middle school age). The woman sat with the boy, taking the window seat, the boy sitting in the seat near the aisle, and the man sitting in the seat across the aisle from the boy. All 3 of them occupied the same row, so I assumed they were a family.

The boy was shaking in his seat, I assumed shivering from the cold.

The bus began moving.

It was a long bus ride until I’d arrive at my Aunt’s house, I called her before I left to let her know I was coming tonight for the syrup (She’s the type to sleep during the day, and work from home overnight, so bothering her at this time was nothing.

The boy… The boy began shaking more uncontrollably, what seemed like a seizure. I saw the father reach over the aisle to hold down the boy, surprisingly though, he pulled what looked like a scrap of leather from his pocket and covered the boy’s mouth with noticeable force. The mother seemed to be rummaging through her purse for something.

I was too sick and incapacitated from vehicular nausea to be concerned. But then suddenly I heard the boy start screaming through the leather held to his mouth. Audible, Comprehensible, Violent screaming.

“Help Me!” He was screaming. This wasn’t a seizure. His screams were with his head tilted back over the headrest, almost direct at me, several rows behind him at the very back.

It appeared the mother had found what she was looking for in her purse and she, what seemed like, hit the boy with it on the chest. I couldn’t tell what it was, and it seemed like she held it in a fist, then brought the fist to his chest and held it there. As if she was stabbing him with it. I would’ve noticed if it was a knife, but it wasn’t. Maybe a syringe? Or one of those insulin pens for diabetics?

The boy instantly stopped his squirming and seemed to go limp, sliding back into a normal sitting position, his head slumped forward. The father having returned to his seat, putting away the leather used to cover the boy’s mouth.

The boy then vomited, a sort of unnatural vomiting that was far too lengthy in duration, too loud, and too intense. It was as if he was vomiting his intestines out, sounding like buckets of paint hitting the floor. The man looked at the boy with an expression of disappointment.

The bus driver remained totally unresponsive to what was happening. Everything went quiet for a few minutes, the boy remained limp, the mother fixing her purse, the father trying to get comfortable.

I was even more nauseous, my fever worsened. I try to make my coughs quiet so that they wouldn’t hear me.

Suddenly the bus hit a pothole, the mother shouted swears in a low voice, as the contents of her purse spilled into the aisle.

Syringes. Dozens of syringes. Filled with all kinds of random translucent chemicals.

The father looked down at the aisle with all the syringes, then looked back at me, making eye contact.

I was staring, Dammit. They noticed me staring!

The mother looked back too, staring dead at me as well, having stopped what she was doing.

‘Oh god, what do I do?’ I thought at the time.

The bus enters a tunnel, making the entire bus dark. Periodic road lights from inside the tunnel illuminate the bus briefly, from front to back, every few seconds.

Every sweep of the road lights into the bus, reveals the man and woman’s distorted expression towards me.

The bus driver still apathetic.

The bus exits the tunnel, and the normal street lights return even levels of light back to the bus. I grow nauseous.

They’re smiling at me. I can see them clearly.

Blue and red lights can be seen ahead of the bus. A police roadblock. I grow more nauseous.

The bus driver showed no intent of stopping, his arms seemed stiff. After squinting… I noticed…

The bus driver had a syringe stabbed into his neck, and left there. I grow even more nauseous.

The man and woman’s sinister smile and penetrating stare filled me with fear.

Then I pass out, the fever had taken control, I think.

I awaken in a hospital room, surrounded by men in suits, women in scrubs, and doctors in lab coats. I’ve been too drugged up to understand what they’d been telling me when I awoke. Now that I’ve sobered up I sit in my hospital bed, writing this. I have a broken arm, major bruising, and twenty three missed calls from my Aunt.

A detective told me that the bus rammed through the police roadblock, head on, merged off the road, then stopped in the grass median between the highway lanes. He says that a man stepped out of the bus, and resisted arrest, requiring all the officers on site to hold him down and arrest him.

The Bus Driver was dead long before impact, the boy was dead and found sprawled in the aisle amongst a pile of syringes. And I was found slung two aisles forward from my original seat. I asked about the woman on the bus. The detective says there’s no trace of anyone other than the Bus Driver, myself, the boy, and the man. So, I try to describe the woman’s features as best I could.

What really put me off, was that the nurse overheard us, and said a woman matching the description tried to visit me everyday. Luckily the police investigation prevented me from receiving visitors during my recovery. However, they were unable to trace her and I’m a suspect now, alongside the man, in the murder of one Caucasian Male, Age 12; and one Hispanic Male, Age 34.

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