|The Bus Stop
Author: insomkneeack PM
..."The trees were gnarled, grey and dead, yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that they were watching him with hidden eyes, and whispering about him in silent voices." A boy...a sign...a dead world...waiting under an icy moon... read it, yoRated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery/Spiritual - Words: 3,359 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-28-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2780545
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So, I originally wasn't planning to put this on FP, but, after a sudden influx of activity around my other fics, and people author alerting me, I decided to see how this was received.
Okay, so here's a little ficcy that I threw together this morning at, like, two AM to four AM. It was inspired by a drawing on deviantART. I was oddly entranced by this drawing, and then I suddenly had the urge to write something about it…this is what came of that urge.
Here's the link to that drawing (remove the spaces):
http :// . com/art /Merry- Christmas-to- Furipon-73550652
Uhh, warnings? None, really. I don't think I even cuss in this…O_o wow…
Oh, and some things definitely won't make sense until the end. ^__^
The Bus Stop
The trees were gnarled, grey and dead, yet he couldn't shake the feeling that they were watching him with hidden eyes, and whispering about him in silent voices.
Of course, trees, whether they were alive or dead, couldn't see or speak, but August was willing to bet that the trees in this forest defied the laws of nature.
Overhead, in a clouded midnight sky, the full moon glowed, casting a shadow white as snow on the black forest, and reflecting off the dirtied, crippled sign beside him, and setting alight the milky fog that swirled lazily around him.
August sighed, scuffing the dirt with a booted toe, watching the moonlit-grey, cracked street for any signs of the bus he was waiting for, and idly scratching at his itchy throat.
He'd been standing at this stupid, decrepit bus stop for nearly two hours, waiting and waiting and waiting. Yet, no matter how long he waited, or how much he prayed to a god he didn't believe existed, the bus never showed.
Hell, nothing showed. The street the bus was supposed to come groaning down was as dead as the surrounding forest. The only sounds August had heard during his wait had been his own sighing, shifting, and the occasional soft gust of wind.
It was eerie, and entirely too disconcerting.
However, the old man had told August to stand at this bus stop and wait. The man with the beak-like nose, the beady, blind little eyes, and the giant wart on his bearded chin had told August to wait for as long as it took for the bus to arrive, and, if he did, he'd get to where he was going.
For reasons unknown even to himself, August had trusted the man, and had done what he'd said.
So, here August was, two hours later, standing next to a dying Bus Stop sign, on the side of a crumbling road, just outside of a dead forest.
Well, August mused silently, this is what happens when you trust creepy old men.
August supposed that he should be angry at the old man, but he'd honestly brought this whole situation on himself by trusting the guy, and doing what he'd told him to. So, if August had to be angry at anybody, he'd have to be angry at himself for being such a gullible idiot.
His mother had always said that he'd trust the wrong person, and get himself killed.
At the time, he'd thought his mother was just being paranoid, and a bit cruel, but, after many other incidents similar to but not quite as…odd as this one, he was more inclined to believe that Mothers Knew All.
Or, she was just a really good guesser, he thought wryly as he gazed about his desolate surroundings, scratching at the insistent itch on his throat. I don't think anyone could predict a situation as weird as this one…
Despite the…oddness of the situation August currently found himself in, he had to admit that the forest and the broken road were interesting, if not a little creepy.
The place exhibited a silent beauty that only graveyards could seem to portray, and August had to wonder if people had actually died here, and their spirits were stuck in this lifeless place, forever haunting it. That would explain the silent whispers he kept hearing…
…or, the oppressive, empty quiet had driven him mad over the past few hours, and he was suffering from hallucinations.
A sigh of wind blew by his ears, ruffling his mahogany hair. August sighed, lifting his gaze to the ice-white moon, watching as dark, transparent clouds drifted across its surface.
He should probably leave; the Bus Stop was obviously abandoned, and, from the looks of the desecrated sign with fading black letters, it had been for a long time, now.
But something kept his boots rooted to the dirt ground. Something prevented August from leaving until he saw that bus the old man had told him about. He couldn't quite put a finger on what that something was, exactly, but he knew that it was preventing him from leaving.
So, August waited…
…and, two hours later, when his watch informed him that it was 2:00 AM, his patience was rewarded.
A low growl – a sound that made the hairs on the back of August's neck stand on end – echoed across the muted land, shattering the deathly silence that surrounded the Bus Stop.
August's head whipped to the right, the direction he was sure the inhuman sound had come from. A cold sweat broke out on his forehead as he stared unblinkingly into the milky fog, trying to see what had made that sound.
His entire body was taught, his muscles straining against the confines of his skin. His hands were clenched tightly, his nails biting into the skin of his palm with crescent-shaped teeth.
The growling got louder, came closer, and one of August's hands snapped out to the crippled Bus Stop sign, squeezing the icy metal with an iron grip. His body unconsciously moved behind the sign, accepting the miniscule amount of protection it could offer.
A brief passing of a thought flashed through his mind, telling August that the dead forest would offer more protection than the dilapidated sign post, but the something that had kept him from leaving the area smothered that thought, and it was quickly forgotten.
The growling was now almost deafening, the trees around August vibrating from the force of it. Two balls of murky, yellow light shone through the milky fog, and August's imagination went wild, wondering what kind of monster had two large, yellow eyes, spaced several feet apart, and growled loudly enough to shake the very ground he stood on.
His mind conjured terrifying creatures that were built like giants, and slithered along the ground like snakes; monsters that craved human flesh.
And August was most definitely a human.
He gulped, and he winced when the action felt like a ball rolling down the ridges of his throat. His other hand reached forward to grip the sign below its pair, and August was shaking so hard, the sign was beginning to squeal in distress.
Another squeal, one more piercing and much louder than the sign's, filled the air, dancing a deafening tango with the growling that was now all around August. The air was thrumming with the sounds, forcing August to cover his ears to keep from losing his hearing.
When the lights started to grow brighter, almost blinding in their yellow intensity, August squeezed his eyes tightly shut, and he began rocking back and forth behind his meager protection.
A soft gush of air, and the growling, squealing monster was right on top of him, drowning August in its presence.
Then, the squealing stopped, and with a loud hiss, a blast of hot hair blew August's hair away from his face, and whipped his clothes about his thin body.
Shaking harder than August thought was physically possible, he slowly, achingly opened one of his eyes, squinting passed the sign.
What he saw made him drop his hands and open his eyes to their absolute limits in shock.
Sitting just in front of August, growling lowly, was a large, yellow bus. It looked exactly like one of the buses he used to take to school – the only difference being that this bus looked just like his surroundings: old, dying, faded.
The yellow paint was chipped and cracked in so many places, it looked like a giant, intricate spider web had been woven across the entire surface. Three windows had large, jagged holes in them, little pieces of glass glittering in the moon's icy glow. One window was even missing completely, and August could see nothing but a deep blackness that not even the moon's all-encompassing glow could penetrate.
With another loud hiss, the door creaked open, revealing a skeletal hand sitting on top of the handle. August's eyes followed the bony hand up an even bonier arm until it met the gaunt, paper-white face of an old woman, gazing down at him with a dead expression, black circles coloring the spaces beneath her dull brown eyes.
"H-hello?" He called hesitantly, not moving from his spot behind the sign, his hand reaching up to his throat to itch it.
The woman didn't answer, her lifeless eyes just staring at August, unblinkingly, her body not moving at all.
"Excuse me, ma'am? Where does this bus go?" August asked, watching the woman watch him.
Again, she didn't answer, and still, her eyes just stared at August, waiting with her bony hand on the door handle.
August gazed up at the woman, his mind bringing up his conversation with the old man that had sent him here.
"Where will this bus take me?" He asked the man, his head cocked to the side in a questioning manner as the man before him shuffled about the small shack, doing nothing in particular.
The old man grunted, moving to sit in an old, rickety-looking chair. "It'll take you to where you need to go."
"But where do I need to go? How can the bus take me where I need to go, if I don't even know where that is?" August implored, scratching at his throat.
The old man stared up at August with blind, blue eyes, his aged face sympathetic. "The bus will know."
"Just go to the Bus Stop, and wait for however long it takes until the bus arrives. When it gets there, don't ask questions, just reach into your pocket and pull out whatever's in there. Then give that to the bus driver, and go to where you're taken." The old man explained, his voice low and gravelly.
August frowned, and reached into his pocket. When he found nothing in that pocket, he moved to the next and the next, until he'd checked them all. "There's nothing in my pockets."
"Not yet." The man stated cryptically, his eyes staring unseeingly at August, "Just go. Everything will make sense when you arrive at your destination."
"No buts." The man interrupted, his tone patient, but with a slight warning, pointing a gnarled finger out the door, and at a long, winding path that disappeared in the milky white fog. "Just board the bus."
With a sigh, August nodded, and left the shack, following the path the old man had pointed out to him, the fog swallowing him in seconds.
August blinked the memories from his mind, and, slowly, hesitantly, stuck his hand in a pocket. His fingertips brushed against something, and August swallowed, gripping the something and pulling it out of his pocket.
In his hand was a plain, white ticket. Little black letters were printed neatly on the pristine surface.
August frowned at the letters, trying to decipher their meaning. 'Local' must have had something to do with his transport, and his name was obvious, as was his age – eighteen. But, what did 'DOD' mean? And what about the 'MRDRD?' And what did it mean by 'right?'
The bus groaned, drawing August's attention back to it. His grass green eyes traveled up the steep stairs, and back to the woman still sitting there, unmoving. Her expression was still dead, and her eyes still did not glow with any sign of life.
Swallowing thickly, August stepped out from behind the sign, and walked slowly towards the bus. When he got to the door, he turned and looked back at the Stop, the fog swirling lazily through the dead trees.
The icy moonlight allowed August to see everything in startling clarity as the fog suddenly blew away. The trees, grey and gnarled, their spindly branches reaching towards the black sky were still and silent, their hidden eyes watching August sorrowfully.
For some reason, August felt like this was goodbye.
But, before he could think more on that, the something from earlier prompted him to turn around, and step up onto the bus. When his boot-clad foot touched the sticky step, a shiver passed through his body, and he shuddered, but he ignored it, and took another step.
When he reached the top, the woman finally moved, the hand on the handle shifting so it was held, palm up, in front of him. August placed the ticket in her hand, another shiver shuddering through his bones at the ice cold feel of her dry skin.
She took the ticket, and dropped it in a small box August hadn't noticed before. Then, she grabbed the handle, and waited, staring at August with that infuriating, unblinking expression. August got the hint, and walked down the aisle, picking a seat in the middle of the bus, and dropping down into it.
With a creak, the woman closed the bus door, and the bus roared as its engine was revved. Then, slowly, it moved forward, and August was being taken to where he needed to go.
August glanced down at his watch, reading the glowing, green letters with a sigh, his other hand reaching up to itch at his throat.
He'd been on the bus for six hours, and, steadily, the bus had filled up with other people. They all appeared just as confused as August was, but none of them spoke, only looking around at the other faces silently, or staring out the windows, trying to see where they were headed.
August didn't bother looking out his; he knew that all he would see was black, black, black.
The bus was crowded, every seat filled with a man, woman, boy or girl of all different shapes, sizes and colors.
Everyone had stood outside the bus for an extended period of time, like August, and everyone had eventually boarded, handing the old woman their ticket.
The bus was mostly still. Every once in a while, though, someone would rub or scratch or blow on some part of their body. Whenever August saw the guy next to him rub his chest, he got the sudden urge to scratch at his throat – and he did.
Now, the bus was slowing to another stop, the brakes squealing. When the bus came to a complete halt, it hissed, and the old woman opened the door again, but this time, she let go of the handle, and she sat with her bony hands in her lap, staring out the windshield that showed nothing but black.
The bus shifted as someone clomped up the stairs.
A man, just as old, just as pale, and just as bony as the woman stepped into August's line of sight. The person next to him – a guy about his age with blond hair, and blue eyes – shifted slightly so he could get a better look.
The man stared at them all with dead eyes, before his hand lifted, a piece of paper in its bony grasp.
"Anderson, Jessica." He said, his voice raspy and completely emotionless, his dead eyes gazing down at the paper. "Andrews, Jordan. Baker, Allen…" The man continued reading off the paper, his soft voice projecting easily through the bus.
"Hemmington, August." August blinked when his name was called, and sat up straighter, scratching his throat, idly. The man ignored him, and continued to call out several more names. When he was done, his eyes lifted from the paper. "Follow."
With only a second of hesitation, August, the boy next to him, and everyone else whose name was called stood up, following the man from off the bus in a single, quiet line.
Once August was off the bus, he looked around, noticing that they were surrounded completely by the same milky fog that had been present at his bus stop. Then his eyes landed upon two large boxes – boxes that looked a lot like elevators.
Everyone else seemed to notice the elevators, too, and they were all staring at them curiously. The man ignored everyone's stares, and started walking towards the elevator on the right. August's peers looked around at one another, before one girl shrugged, and followed the man. August was right on her heels, and he could hear the soft footfalls of the others behind him.
When the group was standing in front of the elevator, the man pressed the 'up' button on the elevator. In fact, when August looked closer, the only button on the elevator was the 'up' one. So, this elevator only went up?
With a soft ding, the elevator doors creaked open, and the man pointed to several people, August included, and motioned them into the elevator. August furrowed his brows confusedly, but complied, stepping through the doors behind the blond he'd been sitting next to on the bus.
When five people were all standing inside the elevator, the man pushed the button outside the doors, again, and the elevator doors slid shut.
With a shudder, the elevator began ascending. August looked around, taking in the plainness of the small elevator, and scratched his throat unconsciously. It was a simple, grey box. Above the doors were two buttons. The one on the right had the letter 'E' underneath it, and the one on the left had the letter 'H' under it.
Neither was lit.
No one inside the small compartment spoke, all standing silently as the elevator made its way towards wherever they needed to go. Occasionally, someone would rub, scratch, blow or shake some part of their body, but that was the only type of movement anyone made.
Soon, the elevator began to slow, and August watched as the 'H' button lit up.
The elevator slid to a stop, and they sat there, silent, for several minutes. Then, the elevator doors creaked open, letting in a light so white, and so bright, that August had to cover his eyes.
When the doors were finally completely open, a shadow blocked the light, and August slowly opened his eyes, blinking at the man before him.
He was tall, he was incredibly handsome, and he wore all white. A small smile adorned his chiseled face.
"Welcome." He greeted softly, his voice a pleasant sigh over August's ears, "Welcome to your destination. Welcome…to Heaven."
All righty, then. So, there ya go. I was trying a new style – like, being more descriptive, ya know? I'm not sure I succeeded, but I did have fun writing this…
I'll let you draw whatever conclusions you want about this, though I did throw hints throughout the entire fic. Plus, the ticket was a dead giveaway.
If you're so confused you can't even think straight, feel free to ask me what the hell was going on. Although…I think it's rather obvious, don't you?
Anyway, reviews keep me writing, people. Without them, my motivation to do so drops dramatically. Plus, I can't ever get better if you don't tell me what I did wrong, right? So, review and critique, please!