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For years, my parents have told me about a crazy bus crash that happened near our house years ago. One morning, just days before I was born, my mother had been out in the garden, plucking weeds, when she heard a horrible noise.
It was a series of high-pitched screams, then screeching tires, followed by a tremendous crash. All of the people in the area rushed out of their houses to see what was going on.
Down at the bottom of the old coach road, they found tire marks leading to a nearby cliff, and they saw the wreckage of a bus down below. It had apparently driven straight off a cliff and crashed down the jagged rocks at the bottom. The people ran down where the smoking wreckage was lying strewn about, in an effort to help survivors. They were horrified when they discovered that it was the local school bus and all the passengers on board were their own children.
The bodies of the dead kids lay tangled in the twisted metal. Some had been thrown out of the bus as it fell and their bodies had smashed against the rocks, killing them on impact. Others had been decapitated by flying glass and shards of metal inside the bus. The parents were screaming and crying as they found the mangled remains of their sons and daughters in the charred wreckage.
When the ambulance and fire department arrived, they found no survivors. Every single child on the bus had been killed in the crash. It was the most horrific disaster the area had ever experienced. In one horrible moment, the entire generation had been wiped out. The parents of the dead children were inconsolable.
A few days later, a huge funeral was held for the kids who had perished. People came from miles around to pay their respects and share in grief. Almost every family in the area had lost a child in the incident. Some have even lost two or three. Almost 40 small coffins were lowered into the ground that day.
An inquest was held shortly afterwards, and the police got to the bottom of what had happened and finally determined who was to blame for causing the terrible crash. It seemed that a mental patient from the local insane asylum had escaped the night before. He had broken into the bus station and stolen a driver's uniform. That night, he lay in wait until the doors of the bus station were unlocked. Then, he crept aboard the school bus and drove out through the gates without alerting anyone.
That morning, he drove the bus along the countryside, picking up unsuspecting children who were waiting by the roadside. He was dressed in a bus driver's uniform, so nobody suspected a thing. Once he collected every kid on the route, the mental patient floored the accelerator and drove at high speed off a cliff.
The people in our area never forgot the terrible accident that the escaped mental patient caused. When I was growing up, there was not that many kids to play with. Most had been killed by the crazy bus crash. The only kids who survived were too young to attend school at the time.
The story I am about to tell was when I was thirteen years old. My parents allowed me to go to the movie theaters in town. I met a bunch of friends there and we had a great time watching the movie. Afterwards, we lost track of time and it was very late by the time we decided to go home.
I must have been waiting at the bus stop for a half an hour before I realized that I missed the last bus. Cursing myself for being so careless, I wondered how I would manage to get home. It was not that far of a walk, perhaps a mile or two, but the roads were treacherous at night, in our area, there were no street lights along the way. A lot of people had been hit by cars as they walked the darkness.
I found a payphone and called mom. My mom answered and I told her that I'd missed the last bus home. She began to panic, telling me that my father was out and had taken the car with him. She would not pick me up. I told her I would walk home, but she begged me not to, saying that the roads were much too dangerous at night. Even worse, it was beginning to snow, which meant that even if a car did manage to see me in the night, it probably would not be able to have time to hit the brake before it hit me.
She said that she would try to contact our neighbors and see if they would be able to drive into town and pick me up. After I hung up, I began to get impatient. Eventually, I decided that it was best to just walk home, hoping for the best.
I was walking along the lonely dirt country, trying not to trip into a ditch or pothole, when I saw headlights behind me. Whether it was a car or a bus, it was coming very fast, and quite noiselessly through the snow covered road.
As it drew nearer, I could make out the outlines of the vehicle. It appeared to be a bus and my only hope was that the driver would be able to see me and stop for me. It came around the bend of the road, and bathed me in bright light. The headlights blazed through the darkness like a pair of fiery meteors.
I jumped to the side of the road and waved my hand but the bus passed me at full speed and for a moment I feared that it missed me. But then I heard screeches that it stopped for me a short distance away. I ran as fast as I could to the bus and came up to it as the doors swung open.
As soon as I stepped in, the door shut behind me and the driver took off again at full speed. The bus was very dark inside but as my eyes began to adjust, I could see that it was almost full, despite the fact it was late at night. I found a vacant seat and sat down, resting my weary legs.
The atmosphere felt cold. Colder, if possible, than outside, and there was a strange and disagreeable smell. I stopped and looked around at the other passengers, they seemed silent. They did not seem to be asleep, but each of them looked ahead. The deathly silence was unsettling and the smell was quickly unbearable.
I felt much too ill to say anything at all. The icy coldness inside the bus chilled me to the bone and the strange smell was making me sick. Shivering from foot to head, I turned to the young boy next to me and asked if I could open the window.
He did not answer. He didn't even blink.
I repeated the question more loudly but still no answer. When I could no longer take the stench, I reached across and tried to open the window but the latch broke off in my hands. It was then the window was covered in cobwebs and mildew. In fact, every part of the bus started to look in a terrible state of despair. Almost decay. The leather seats were crusted with mold and the floor was literally was breaking and rotting away from my feet.
I turned to the boy next to me again and asked "What's wrong with this bus?"
Without saying a word, he turned his head slowly and looked me in the face. I will never forget that look as long as I am alive. My heart turned cold and blood drained from my face. His eyes were as wide as if they were going to pop. His face was as leathery and pale as a corpse. His bloodless lips were drawn back, showing big yellow teeth.
The word that I was about utter died upon my lips, and a dreadful feeling of horror came upon me. I became aware that everyone on the bus was staring at me with the same look on their faces. Their awful faces were rotting in flesh and shirts covered in dirt. Only their eyes, their terrible eyes, were living; and all their eyes were staring at me menacingly.
A shriek of terror had burst from my lips as I ran down the aisle, I threw my self against the door, and tried to open it. In that single instant, as the door swung open, I heard a crash and the bus rocked back and forth like a ship. Then, I heard many, many children's screams before it went black.
It seemed as if I was unconscious for days, as mom woke me up in a hospital. She told me that I had fallen over a cliff near the old coach road. The only reason I did not die was because I had fallen into a snow drift at some jagged rocks. I had 2 broken legs, a broken arm, and a deep scratch on my forehead. I was found by a farmer who took me to the local hospital.
Some may call me a liar, some call me crazy, but think what you want. I was a passenger, on the crazy bus.