It was Friday at 6:55pm and Sara was waiting to board the 7pm bus to Boston. She dreaded the five hour bus rides home to visit her parents. Boredom set in fast for antsy people like her and she hating sitting still. And the worst people in the world always wanted to be her seat partner: a woman with a pungent tuna fish sandwich and no ability to close her mouth while chewing, a man with wandering hands that “accidentally” grazed her thigh, a sleeper who seemed to think her shoulder was a pillow.
As she boarded, she picked an empty duo of seats toward the rear of the bus. Ten minutes later they were on their way and by the grace of the goddess no one had chosen to sit next to her. Perhaps her luck would last and they wouldn’t hit any traffic.
She spread out and tried to read her book. Five pages in, she couldn’t concentrate so she browsed Netflix but everything on there was crap. She checked the time: 4 hours and 25 minutes to go. Great.
She leaned her head against the dingy window and watched the trees wiz by. Slowly she began to hear a soft hum. It was coming from the slight crevice between the window and its plastic sill. She scrunched down and put her ear to the gap. The sound was strange and she couldn’t place whether it was mechanical or alive.
She sat up and peered into the small opening but all she could see was pitch black. Her puny overhead light was ineffective so she tried the flashlight on her phone but even that wasn’t strong enough to penetrate the darkness.
Undefeated and ever curious, she ventured a finger down into the small slot. It was slim and she could reach down just an inch before her knuckle blocked the way. She pushed down as hard as she could, crunching her bone, and felt something hard and ridged. As she ran the tip of her finger across it, it moved. She snapped her hand up with a little squeal and the man across the aisle shot her an evil side eye.
Her heart was racing from the sudden adrenaline rush and she realized that the sound had stopped.
She leaned her ear against the plastic siding, just to be sure, and heard nothing. Then the wall bulged outward and smacked her against the cheek. She reared back and it bulged again, as if it had begun to breathe in quick, shallow breaths.
She scrambled over to the aisle seat and looked around at the other passengers but no one seemed to notice a thing. Side eye guy and his seat partner were fast asleep. The bus was alive and these fools were sleeping through it.
The crevice between the window and the sill was opening and closing with each breath the wall took, so she slowly crept back over to the window seat. Steeling herself, she inched her finger back down into the open slot.
She instantly felt the sting of a dozen needles pierce her fingertip. She wrenched her hand up and her finger was oozing thick, dark blood. Her skin was gone and she could see bone. She started to scream as the side of the bus grew until it burst open, giving birth to a million tiny, flying bugs; their wings and gnashing teeth creating a mind numbing hum.
Sara was covered in half a second. The bus swerved in the commotion and she was thrown into the lap of the man across the aisle. She wasn’t screaming anymore. But he was.
One hour later, authorities found the wreckage of the bus in the woods alongside I-95, 250 miles from Boston. It was filled with 54 skeletons, picked clean of skin, organs, tendons, and blood. There was no sign of what caused the horrific scene.
The vehicle had sustained minor damage to the front bumper but the rest of the bus was in perfect condition. Wildwood Bus Services was able to fix the vehicle and promptly return it to the driving rotation. The next trip would be Friday at 7pm.