( I thought some of you would like to read what goes on in the imagination of Laurel. Posted with permission!)
|The inspiration? Laurel calls this the "creepy" bus because it's always sitting there. I think she's been reading too much Stephen King!|
The bus stood upon the blackened cement in total tranquility. It greeted the weeds in its engine as a cactus welcomes rain. Signs and stickers were stuck upon the peeling paint; they showed worlds of other times and places. The tires were flat, and the windows were streaked with dirt. If you looked at this monstrosity from the road, you would expect a man in rags to come stumbling out of it. The children of the town know better. This bus, this place, is a bad place. It reeks of rotting flesh and the screams of nightmares. Its presence fills the air and is a knife in the back of the otherwise pretty town.
Paige walked towards the dirty, yellow bus. Her heart was pounding as she remembered the story of the monster in front of her. She had grown up with the story; as a matter of fact, she was dead scared of Emily Johnson, the ghost of bus 1349. According to rumor, her boyfriend had brutally killed Emily after she caught him cheating. She now haunted the bus, and killed anyone who dared to enter.
Paige glanced at Chase, her best friend, then looked over his shoulder to Olivia and Norman. It was important that she got on that bus. If she didn't, she'd never be popular. This was so important, in fact, that she must put aside all the fears that had been drilled into her very being. In order to be an insider, she thought, I must do this.
They finally reached the edge of the pavement that was the old buses kingdom. It seemed to glare at Paige as she came closer. She looked again at Chase.
"Don't go in," he pleaded. "You don't need to."
"You don't understand." Paige pulled her jacket closer to her and tucked her hands in her pocket. "I need to do this. I need to be known and popular. If I do this, I get into the group and-"
A groaning noise floated past them like a midsummer breeze, chilling them to the bone. Chase looked at Paige. It was an are-you-sure sort of look. Paige balled up her fists; she was absolutely sure.
Paige stepped onto the pavement and everything seemed to freeze. The birds stopped singing, holding their breath for some unspoken future. Paige, scared half to death, closed her eyes as she walked toward the bus. She thought that not seeing the bus would make her fear go away. After what seemed like hours, Paige finally ran into it. Her head made a thud against the metal and the four of them started laughing nervously. Paige laughed the fear away, thinking it was just a silly story now. A story for curious toddlers.
Paige pried open the glass doors and, taking one last look at her friends, leaped inside. The overpowering smell of rust and bad meat came off the inside of the bus in waves. Carcasses lined the floor; she couldn't tell whether they were animal or human. Paige told herself they were all huge rats that had been raccoon feed over the years and continued to walk forward. She stepped down on something greasy, and she looked down to find a pretty sky-colored sundress. Something dark covered the front of it. Paige looked away, unsure of what it was.
She took another step and slipped. Bones scattered everywhere and something large, yet light, fell on her chest. She lifted her head to see something white and blurry. Her glasses had fallen off. Frantically searching, she could find them nowhere near her. She lifted the object off her chest and brought it closer to her face. She was confronted with a skull; a human skull. She screamed and ran farther into the bus.
At the very moment Paige started running, Chase strode into the bus. He had decided to go with Paige, to keep her safe from any wary rodents or homeless men. He saw Paige running in her blue dress, towards the back of the bus.
He ran after her, calling her name. "Paige? P-Paige?" The bus frightened him, and Chase had a stone in the pit of his stomach. As he followed Paige, the bus seemed to stretch out and become thin. It went on forever it looked like, and Chase started sweating as he ran faster.
In front of him, so far away, Paige screamed his name. He pushed his legs to go faster and faster. The bones in the front of the bus were now turning to full corpses. That bad meat smell was now definitely decomposing flesh. Through all of this, Chase took no notice. All that mattered now was saving Paige from whatever demon had her.
When Chase finally reached Paige, she was sitting on a black, sticky, unidentified substance. The dress she had on seemed to be covered in the same goo. She turned, hearing Chase's pounding steps, and he realized that it really wasn't Paige at all.
This girl was sickly pale. Her blackened hair cascaded down her shoulders in pretty little curls. Her puffy red eyes were a shot of color across her white skin. To Chase, she was beautiful. He leaned toward her.
The girl stood up and pushed Chase. "You jerk," she cried. "You no good, cheating, lying jerk!" Chase looked at her in awe as color flushed on her cheeks. He was in a trance; he already believed he was in love with this girl.
All of a sudden, Paige, the real Paige, ran into Chase. "What are you doing here? We need to get out, and now. There's something going on in here, and I'm so scared." She started to cry, then noticed the girl in front of them.
The girl reached out to Paige. Her ocean eyes were full of pain and misery as she touched the side of Paige's face. "You, too? Men are horrible, aren't they? Come live with me Paige. All the others did."
Paige glanced at the dead girls surrounding them. These were fresh kills for whoever lived in this bus, too. Chase could practically feel their body heat still slipping away from them. This was the first time he had noticed his surroundings, and he was now just as scared as Paige appeared to be.
"What? No. No, no, no. I can't 'live' with you. I-I-uh have a house already." Paige had a feeling about this girl; it was a feeling she didn't quite know the name of. She thought about it for a minute, and her eyes flashed with knowledge. "Emily?"
The girl smiled. "Yes, I'm Emily. Now, Paige, help me. You don't need any man. They all turn out to be cheaters. You can live with the girls and me. Now, let me take care of Chase for you."
Paige looked up at Chase. "Take care of him?"
"Kill him, of course. We can't have him roaming the world and doing this," Emily held out her hand again. There was a scream from Paige, and she became a crumpled mess on the floor. Her hands were held over her head as another piercing scream lifted from her mouth.
"What did you do to her?" Chase screamed. He reached down for Paige, but she slapped his hand away.
"I'm showing her what Alex Elliot did to me 50 years ago." Emily stared at Chase, as if he should have been taught this fact in school.
"Oh, god, what kind of man was he?" Paige stood up and looked at Emily.
"He was my knight in shining armor. That is, until I found him kissing another girl," Emily sighed. "Alright, now its Chase's turn."
"No," Paige screamed. "He's not like other guys. He won't do to any girl what Alex did to you. Please, take me instead." Chase looked at Paige, astounded, but could not seem to speak.
Emily turned toward Chase. "Fine. Don't make me regret this." There was a flash of light, and Paige screamed again. Chase was pulled toward the front of the yellow metal cage. He was thrown out the doors, and into the night.
Olivia and Norman seemed to have left hours ago. Chase got up and dusted himself off, crying. He had just lost his best friend, the love of his life, and it had all been to get into a stupid group.