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Public Transit

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I wake up very early in the morning, because I need to go to work. I get dressed, brush my hair and tie it up. It gets caught in one of my spiral tapers and I untangle it gently. I put on my headphones and my boots, and head out the door. It's unusual for me to go to work this early, and it's still dark out. I decide that since it's still dark, I'll take a bus over to the terminal instead of walking. I head over one street to where a small 24 hour store lights up the bus stop. It's quiet. I wait for the bus for a few minutes before it becomes clear it isn't coming. I wander over to the store and walk in. No one's there, and everything in the store looks boring. I start to walk back out because I'm not interested in buying anything, but a woman comes from out back.

'I know you,' says the woman. 'Or my sister does. Would you consider making a sign for my door*?' She points to an empty space on the glass door. 'I'm having a sale but don't have any signage.'

'Sure,' I say, but I can hear the next bus coming. I don't have time to inquire about her sister or about the sign design. 'I'll talk to you about it later. My bus is coming.' 

I walk back outside thinking about designs for the sign, and the bus pulls up to the stop. The bus driver waits too long of a time for me, which I'm happy about because I won't miss the hourly bus to my job, and I'm far too tired to run. I get on the bus, and show my pass, and then I sit down near the front. The only other person beside the driver and I on the bus is another woman I know who works in the same building as me. I do not know her, but I recognize her. We smile at each other but do not say anything. I bob my head to the music playing through my headphones.

The bus gets to the end of the street. The bus driver stays stopped at the stop sign for too long. I stand up to get a better look to see if anything is different with the road. The bus driver is supposed to turn left here. He pauses, then reaches up and changes the number on his bus with the little computer. It says 16, the number of the bus that heads out into the more rural area of the city I live in. He turns right. I pull the rope to signal I want off, because I don't have time for foolishness and I'll just walk to the terminal. He doesn't stop at the next marked 16 stop on the road and instead keeps driving. Very, very fast.

I walk up front and start asking the driver to let me off. It's strange and I need to go to work. He looks at me standing past the safety line and not holding on to anything, and slams on the brakes. I fall, then everything goes black.

I realize I'm sitting in the front of a box van, and the other woman is in the back of the van. She doesn't seem concerned so I stay calm. I text my boyfriend and let him know I think something fishy is happening. He calls me. I still have headphones on, so I try to speak into the microphone as softly as possible, though I know the driver will hear me anyway. I say that the bus was detoured and I didn't know how long it would take me to get to work. I try to keep my voice from shaking. We say our 'I love yous' and hang up.

The bus driver turns to look at me. I notice we are driving down a road with fields around, and there is flesh or fat, or some sort of animal byproduct spread across the sides of the road as if it had fallen off of an overloaded truck. 'That boyfriend of yours is really annoying me,' the driver says with a smile. He reaches over and pulls the left spiral taper out of my ear, and he puts it in his mouth, and swallows it. I can feel the empty hole where the heavy plastic had been. It feels wrong. I type 911 into my phone. I'm not being murdered by some freak who found an out of service bus.

I hit 'call' and nothing happens. I hit 'call' again and it rings, but no one answers. I hang up and try again. It doesn't work this time.

We are pulling into a factory or farm yard. As soon as the van slows down I fling off my seatbelt, open the door and jump out as fast as I can, stumbling, and keep hitting 'call' while backing away from the van. 

'Hello, 911, what is your emergency?' a woman's voice, calm, over the phone.

'Ple-' I am cut off by the van door opening. The driver has climbed through the back and forces the other woman out, topless. She is screaming and crying.

Blood drips from her, and I see why. The driver has used a knife to make an incision down her spine. He pulls her toward me by the flaps of her skin, peeling them back as she is screaming. He laughs.

'Ma'am? Ma'am, I'm sending police to your location.' A small voice over the phone. I shriek like an animal as he comes toward me, still pulling the other woman by the skin of her back. She is sobbing and pleading for her life. 'Ma'am, stay calm, are you alright?'

I drop the phone as he gets closer to me. The sun is coming up. What a beautiful sunrise, I think to myself.

I then wake up.

My phone is making noise at me. It's 4:15 AM, and time to go to work. This is the only day this week I have to work so early, and I groan as I roll out of bed.

I brush my hair, get dressed, and put on my boots. I decide that today, instead of walking, I'll take a bus to the terminal, just so I don't have to walk in the dark.

Author's note: In real life I am an artist. It is not uncommon for me to be asked things like this.

This was based off of a nightmare that I had. You may be wondering why, in the end, she doesn't consider her dream a warning. People often forget what they dream as soon as they sit up after being awake. There's studies and science and stuff to prove that. Just thought I'd explain why my character wouldn't remember what happened to her in the dream.

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