The intense ticking of the clock grew louder and louder as the hand reached that sacred time. Finally—it was 9 PM. I threw off my surgical gown and locked the kennels, saying a sweet goodbye to the animals as they slept.
I've always loved my job. The idea of saving the lives of others has appealed to me as a child. Although I'm not wearing any cape or tight-fitted superhero outfit and I don't work with humans, the idea of working with animals is just so much better to me.
Anyway, 9 pm was the end of my shift. I helped in theater and tended to the animals. Any death or having to put down any animal always hits me the hardest. The animals bring me a sense of happiness and seeing an innocent life die right before you isn't an experience to just forget.
The receptionists are the ones to lock up the veterinary, so I waved goodbye to them and strolled to the heavy glass door that was marked with hand prints and smudges from children and other visitors.
The sky was clear and black, and street lights gave the area a deep orange glow. It was a quiet night, typical for the winter season.
I took a deep breath of the chilling air, adjusted my jacket, and started my journey to the bus stop.
I've never liked this road. With all of the pubs and bars in this area, you can imagine idiotic teenagers speeding and dangerously driving on this street. Unusually, there was nobody in sight. Just silence.
I crossed the road with only the chilling breeze in my ears, and I took a quick glance at the time on my watch. 9:05 pm. The bus should arrive at the stop in 15 minutes.
Suddenly, the loud roaring of an engine shocked me as a car sped around the corner, narrowly missing me. The driver just plainly didn't acknowledge my presence and just carried on driving. He was probably drunk or high with his equally-stupid friends. I was so pissed at how rude and ignorant some people could be.
The sound of the engine faded out and the red lights of the car thankfully wouldn't stay in my sight any longer. With my heart pounding and with clenched fists- I continued to travel to the pavement on the other side.
I reached the stop in ten minutes without any other distractions, its quite a walk because the streets are stupidly longer than normal here.
There were about five people there already. Many of whom were people like myself, trying to get home after their work shifts. I see these people a lot after my shifts each Tuesday and Thursday.
I was going to start conversation with one of them, but they all seemed very... out of character. I'm not sure why, but they just seemed very dull and, well... maybe it was just the cold, but something didn't seem right with them. To break the awkwardness I was feeling, I pulled out my phone and played some games, pretending to be occupied.
Finally, the bus slowly pulled up. The interior lights flickered and dimmed as the bus door opened with a surprisingly loud creak.This bus was old and worn down. The windows were plastic and scratched, and the engine rattled the entire thing with an unnerving sound.
I had a brief feeling of dread as I patted my jacket, searching for my bus pass - which I eventually found sandwiched between my phone and my wallet in my left pocket. Everybody gathered in a line to get on the rickety old thing, and I was last in line.
I approached the bus driver. His face was pale and full of white stubble. He was overweight and middle-aged, but what struck me the most was his disgusted, seemingly angry or irritated expression on his face. His eyes were bright green and with these unusual features combined- he gave me a disturbing and strange feeling of dread. I felt like I should go and get another bus. With the doors closing behind me, I quickly pressed my pass up to the scanner and after the faint beep it made, I continued to make my way upstairs.
The lighting and atmosphere was even dimmer than the area downstairs, and the seats were torn and dusty. There were about Ten people up here. Three of which were at the same stop I was at.
Anyway, I sat down onto a seat and instantly brought out my phone again. The light from the screen was the warmest thing here, it felt reassuring.
The bus pulled away from the stop. The windows rattled vigorously and woke a sleeping man up who sat across from me, I chuckled to myself at the sight of him wiping the dribble from his chin and then I returned to look at my phone.
The connection was weak on my phone, but I managed to look at some news stories that had cropped up today whilst I've been at work. Nothing was of interest, the stories were mostly about the economy and politics. With my battery very low and with the lack of entertainment, I shut my phone off and stared at the newly formed raindrops that were racing each other on the windowpane.
With a loud and terrifying noise, the bus came to a sudden stop which instantly made me jump in my seat. The entire bus seemed to shut down after this random occurrence. Its engine, its lights... everything.
With no source of light other than a distant street lamp outside, I looked around and peered over my seat to see other people sat down, looking confused- like I was. Everybody was silent. All I could hear was the very faint patter of the rain against the window.
The bus then gently rocked... and moved for a second.
I was confused and I worried whether the bus had completely gone out of power or not. This wasn't the best place to get stuck in, with the thriving night-life and the dangerous drug addicts and drunk people around every corner, and with my home 30 minutes away - I prayed that everything was fine.
Was somebody getting on?
I could hear the bus doors open downstairs. The loud hissing and creaking of the doors made me feel uneasy and anxious. A few moments passed and we were still all sat in silence and darkness. I anxiously hid and closed my eyes. I hated the dark and the silence was utterly consuming- but this was some unusual fear and anxiety I haven't felt in a long time.
Then- slow and loud steps was the only sound in the entire bus... they were coming nearer, and nearer. Somebody was coming upstairs... I was terrified and all I could think were worst case scenarios. A murderer? A creature? Some insane crazy person intent on a bus massacre? The list could go on, and on, and on.
I gulped in the cold air. What is going on? Each step got painfully louder, and yet again made the bus move sharply.
I closed my eyes as my heartbeat throbbed inside my ears. The steps stopped... and my breathing also stopped for seconds until I heard the being speak—
"Okay people, there has been a slight complication..." the person said.
I looked up instantly to see the moody bus driver peering over all of us with his pale and fat face. I could feel a wave of relief upon me, even though this guy did creep me out. He spoke in a low and grumbling voice a typical old person would have.
"We cannot pass down here, there has been some issues that authorities have to deal with down this route. We will have to turn around, and take a slight detour..." he mumbled.
Nobody said anything. Something wasn't right... the driver's face seemed concerned and sympathetic. At first I thought it was the police dealing with a pub fight, or maybe a water main had burst and flooded the road. He was blocking the large window at the front with his rotund and large size so I couldn't see anything in front of us.
I tried looking over my seat to see anything but I couldn't. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to ask him for the truth;
"H-hey..." I said- breaking the awkward silence. "Do you know what's happened?"
He completely ignored me and carried on speaking;
"...Does anybody want to contact home? There will be an extra twenty minutes added to the journey..."
I slumped back in my chair and joined the silence. He exhaled deeply and then returned to make his journey back downstairs. I looked around at people, they weren't interested about what was going on and continued to either fall asleep or text on their phones.
I wanted to know what was going on, so I rose up from my seat and made my way to the front. Condensation covered the entire window- I couldn't see anything. I could see lights... blue lights.
Before I wiped the window to see what was going on- in the corner of my eye I saw movement outside from one of the other windows. I paced over and looked out.
It was the bus driver... he was talking to a police officer. The matter seemed quite serious judging by the police officer's expressions and body language.
I stumbled over some seats to return to the large front window. I wiped the cold glass with my sweaty hand. The cold water streamed down my wrist and rested on the sleeve of my jacket. Blue lights from police cars and an ambulance on the road in front seemed to light up the entire upper level of the bus. I flinched at the brightness but regained my senses to analyse the scene. My breath kept on fogging up the glass and it was hard to fully see what was going on. I could obviously see the group of emergency vehicles but it was hard to determine what had happened. There were over 10 people in fluorescent green and yellow jackets from the emergency services gathered around and ordering pedestrians to turn back.
One of the police cars backed up, revealing what the problem was. There was a red, crappy car. The glass all over had been cracked or smashed, possibly from an impact of some sort. Nothing seemed too wrong bu- wait...haven't I seen that car before?
It couldn't have been... could it? I'm sure I had seen it.
It was the car that raced past me on my way to the bus stop. Despite being angry and pissed at them before, I felt glad. I wanted them to learn their lesson.
That was until I saw the blood. There was blood streaming from the top of the drivers door of the car. I panicked when I saw it, I didn't see it at first because the colors blended in with the car. I searched around for anybody near the ambulance, I searched around for another passenger of the car, but there was no sign of them.
I mean, blood can't stream from nowhere... they must be still in there.
My heart stopped as I realized that these people could be dead. I looked behind me, the passengers began talking amongst themselves and looked outside their windows as the blue lights from the emergency vehicles caught their attention.
I looked back and saw doctors gathered around the vehicle, assessing the condition of the passengers, probably.
This couldn't have happened for no reason though, could it?
A sudden feeling of confusion fell upon me. This was Bakely Street. This is the street where the veterinary is. This is the street... where I work.
But wait- they passed here before so why did they pass here again? Maybe they were lost or maybe they were dropping people off.
I tried to focus on what could have caused this. I then saw the doctor who seemed to be analyzing the conditions of the passengers look solemn and shake his head to his colleagues... was the driver dead? I felt so guilty from the vengeful feelings I had before.
The group of men stepped back and walked away from the scene to talk to police officers.
Then I saw it.
A person was lay in front of the car. It was the victim.
Their brain matter was brutally scattered across the road and their body was lay in a mixture of blood and other fluids- possibly digestive fluids. Their intestine had completely burst through their abdomen due to the pressure of the impact and their limbs were torn and mangled in inhuman ways.
The sight made me want to vomit, but I couldn't help but stare at what I was seeing.
I suppose the other passengers behind me eventually saw what I was seeing when I heard a mixture of gasps behind me.
I took control of the sick feelings and continued to look at the sight.
I saw Ken and Abbie, the receptionists who I work with on the pavement outside, seemingly shocked and upset by the strange accident. Other shop owners stood outside their shops and talked with the police. They may be witnesses to this accident. I wish I could help with the situation but I know I wouldn't be able to exit the vehicle and I'll be turned right back like everybody else.
I spotted something unusual. Although this victim had become completely unrecognizable- I spotted something familiar.
No... No. I'm being stupid. This person could obviously have the same red and black jacket as me. It seemed similar but, who knows, this jacket is in fashion... apparently.
I tried to analyse the victim. I completely freaked out.
This person was wearing everything that I was. The shoes, the watch, the jacket, even the exact phone I have had been thrown across the road due to the impact.
It must be all a dream, that can't be me... NO. It isn't me, it's all just a dream. I'm going to wake up any moment now. RIGHT NOW.
The bus began to start up again and we backed away from the scene. I stared at the window as my eyes filled with burning tears. I stood up in the middle of the bus and punched the chair in frustration, sending up a cloud of choking dust. Nobody noticed anything.
Full of rage, frustration and blinding grief I screamed until my jaw muscles stretched and felt like they had snapped- and until my throat grew irritated and began to bleed. Why? Why me? Why now?!
It all makes sense now.