A short story

This is my second post and the first in which I will share a short story. The concept came to me whilst driving to work in the dark and wet countryside. It was a what if? question. What if I woke up on an isolated bus with no recollection of how I got there?

The story wrote itself and within a short time it had been finished. I plan to share many more and would appreciate feedback on all elements; the structure, the flow, the concept, errors and any other information you wish to share.

Feedback is key to progression and I thank you in advance.

So here it is, for all to see…

A journey to the unforeseeable

Tish waited patiently as specks of rain lightly caressed the windows of the bus.

She rested her forehead against the cool surface of the glass and closed her eyes. The night had been blanketed in darkness with no sign of stars or moon offering light, so looking outside was futile. The only option was to wait. The low hum of the engine was a soothing sensation as was the vibration the bus emitted as it delayed its departure from the stop.

Tish had woken not long before, stranded on the bus, alone, with no recollection of how she ended up on such transport. Anyone else may have been alarmed, but not Tish. She remained calm, conducted herself in a professional manner and took her surroundings into consideration. The bus was unlike any other she had ever travelled on.

The width was of normal size, but the length stretched on covering three buses. Apart from her own, the seats were all empty, revealing a cotton fabric covering the seats with light blue patterns with white specks that made her think of a perfect summer day. There was no advertisement or screen to indicate where she was and no rubbish littered the floor or seating and the air was scented with lavender.

Tish checked her belongings to find none on her. Her bag had been misplaced, there was no sign of her phone or purse and all jewellery had been removed from her person. This did not affect her. Any other time she may have panicked, losing her composure to anxiety and trembling at the thought of being stranded. None of that was there. There was nothing but emptiness.

“It’s a quiet night, it seems,” a boisterous voice boomed at the front of the bus. “We usually get more takers than this. Don’t you worry though young lady, we will get you there soon enough and get you comfortable.”

Tish did not flinch or jump at the sound, but remained silent resting against the window. She thought of Jack, Joseph and Jenny, her three young creatures she had bred when she was such a young cub herself with Daniel Dann, her English teacher. They would be safe with him, she was sure of that. He may have made an abysmal husband and an even bitter rival in the courtroom, but he was a magnificent father and could not take that away from him.

The bus rumbled to life, the brakes were released and continued on smoothly as Tish’s reverie washed away and her eyes opened. The fine rain spatters had now transcended into large rain drops hammering against the glass as if adamant it would break through. It took Tish back to days stretched out on her window seat, listening to the winter rain fall as it soothed her as she read the most recent best-seller. Reading she would miss the most of her daily habits, even more so than her friends. Books were her closest companion; unlike people, they were always there for her, ready to take her mind off the troubles and take her on a journey that no friend could imagine.

Tish straightened herself, smoothed down her plaited skirt, buttoned her checked coat and lifted her hood over her head so it shaded her eyes. The pain that she had been feeling in her stomach hours before waking on the bus had finally gone. It was a relief to remove all pain but the feeling of emptiness was an unusual one. Removing emotion and sensation from a person left them in a blank space, as if life and soul had been depleted and all that remained was a casing of human flesh.

“We are almost there now,” the voice boomed from the front once more, jolting Tish out of her thoughts and back into reality.

As the bus decreased in speed, Tish collected herself and stood. Her legs were unbalanced as if she had not stood for days. She took a final look around the interior of the bus and was content. Her seat caught her eye as it was the only one that was stained with a sanguineous liquid. The bus halted abruptly but Tish remained upright. The doors hissed open. Tish prepared herself for the unknown and headed towards the exit without prompt, ignoring the driver and taking three steep steps into the blistering weather.

As the rain blasted her, the doors hissed shut and the bus continued on its journey. There was nothing but darkness. No sign of light, no sign of life. Tish took a step.

Light blinded her from above. The rain faded and the cold was replaced with warmth. Once her eyes had adjusted, Tish removed the hood from her head and was greeted by a short nondescript bald man in a cheap and creased grey suit holding a clipboard. The room she found herself in was a small box room, containing four white walls, a blinding light from above and a grey door that stood tall behind the bald man.

“Lauren Leticia Lomas of 16, Flat Road, Kent,” the bald man started in an effusive manner. “This evening you were struck with a bullet to your abdomen, rupturing your intestines and leaving you to bleed out. The second bullet, intended for your heart, pierced through your lung. You lay in pain for some time, your life draining away, until you finally passed. Your time of death was twenty nineteen on the fifth of October.”

This was the news had been waiting for, but without any emotion, there was no expression on her face. The feeling of emptiness remained.

“You have many options to consider before crossing over the barrier of life and into death,” the bald man said as he took a step back and pulled on the door handle of the grey door.

“It is time to discuss those options. Lauren Letitia Lomas of 16, Flat Road, Kent, my name is Cyril Syed, I will be your guide for the foreseeable future.”

The bald man allowed the door to creep open, took a step to the side and glanced at Tish with a smile. There was no welcoming light emitting from the doorway, just darkness. It summed her night up. There was no other option but to walk in and succumb to the unknown.

“Welcome to the afterlife, Lauren Letitia Lomas.”

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3 thoughts on “A short story

  1. Thanks for sharing your short story! Since you mentioned that you’d like some feedback, I thought I’d include a few thoughts in my comment:

    The image of “a cotton fabric covering the seats with light blue patterns with white specks that made her think of a perfect summer day” is sharp and clear. I could distinctly picture the pattern of the seats. It makes the reader realize how we know the exact pattern of the seats on a bus without even being aware that we noticed it.

    “There was nothing but emptiness.” The common reaction is to make a scene and become frantic, but your character is more real than that. She’s numb. It’s something your readers can relate to. I would suggest making her even more removed. Instead of her patience (in the beginning), make her numb and cold. Focus on the raindrops; they add to the removed atmosphere.

    The numbness continues when “all that remained was a casing of human flesh.” That definitely captures what numbness feels like. It feels like our insides have been carved out (couldn’t resist throwing in a Halloween-themed simile).

    “Tish prepared her for the unknown” should be “Tish prepared herself for the unknown,” but I like the following idea – “headed towards the exit without prompt, ignoring the driver and taking three steep steps into the blistering weather.” To be more specific, I really liked “without prompt” and “three steep steps.”

    “Welcome to the afterlife, Lauren Letitia Lomas.” Great ending! There’s so much curiosity! It’s strange and removed and therefore makes us interested to get deeper into the characters.

    You could easily make this into the first chapter of a book. Or a series on your blog – another scene is another blog post. Best of luck with your writing!

    Like

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