Bus 317

Finalist in the 'Write Along 2018' competition

The clouds closed their grey hands around the blue sky, gathering into a thick wall that hid the afternoon sun. The little light that managed to escape cast a hazy orange glow over the sleeping mountains.
Feeling just as trapped, I sat in silence as the crunching of bus wheels driving over gravel sent vibrations through my seat. Time had swept the smooth town roads away, along with everything I knew. Confusion was stirring within the bus, the hushed conversations of the other passengers forming a concerned buzz.
Against the window I saw my faint reflection; Anneka James, hair light blonde with green eyes that mimicked the hue of the pine trees outside. They stared back at me questioningly, cutting into my thoughts. Where am I?
We had all stepped onto the bus knowing where we would end up. I remembered the clinking of coins as I slipped them into the driver’s hand and being handed a ticket in return with the words ‘Feather Street, Northington’ printed in bold. All I knew now was that those words were wrong. We were further from Northington than I’d ever been.
The thick fog lowered itself into the valley, showing us its ghostly dance as we rushed past. The diminishing sunlight was slowly replaced by the moon’s silver glow, which turned the trees into tall, ethereal figures that waved us goodbye in the wind. We sped further into the night, the darkness closing off the world like a cloak. Despite the sense of panic that was welling within, I felt sleep beckoning me, pulling on my eyelids and forcing yawns out of my mouth. I gave in, drifting off into dreams.
I was tossed into a whirlpool of images; the bus driver’s eyes, icy and lifeless as he pulled us further from home, unresponsive as we told him to turn around; the swirling clouds, shaping themselves into creatures that lead us through the mountains; raindrops racing each other down the window while the wind whistled its haunting tune. As hours drew on, my dreams began to fade until my eyes eventually flickered open, staring into the blinding light outside. The bus came to an abrupt stop.
The doors flew open and everyone stood up and shuffled their way out. I was anxious to find out where I was. Nerves and excitement were stirring together in my head as my feet met the grassy earth with a muffled thud. “Bus 317.” The driver’s deep voice sprung out from behind us as we swept our gaze across the endless forests surrounding us. “Welcome to Feather Street, Northington...” ‘This isn’t Northington,’ I thought. I caught an amused glint in his eyes as he made his way through the crowd.
“...A thousand years ago.”



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