Welcome to Urban Legends: Author & Artist #SpookyShowcase. This autumn 2019, the strange and unusual is unleashed! Featuring the best authors and artists in the horror landscape, come back each day the month of October for a scare. You can find the master posting schedule here,
Expect dark stories, myths, legends, and creepy creations that will make your spine tingle. Remember, urban legends aren’t true…are they?
No Ticket Required
by Kim Plasket
Inspired by the bus to nowhere.
Looking out the window of this dingy apartment I would see it going by, I used to wonder where it was going. It never seemed to stop, just slow down. The windows were dark but I could see the shadows of the people. I often thought about getting on a bus or a train and simply leaving. It had to be better than where I was and it certainly had to be better than the alternative, which was just death.
The gun sat on the small table close by. If I wanted, I could touch its cold metal, knowing it would be there if I needed it. I had the pills and knife also close at hand, anything had to be better than how I was living right now.
The cold hand of death would be an improvement. So much had gone wrong with my life. Some of it I was more than willing to take the blame, but most of it was because someone else was determined to take over my life and I wasn’t strong enough to say no.
Now I sit, staring out the window, thinking one day I was just going to climb on that bus and see where it took me. My life was useless—full of dead end jobs, no relationship (unless you counted one night stands) just so I could feel something.
My parents kicked me out of the house for something I didn’t do. Various jobs ended up either failing or they fired me. Got arrested for stealing, which was an accident. The charges were dropped, but I was still humiliated.
My relationships were a joke. I really hate thinking about them. I’ve been used so many times, I feel like a handkerchief in old folks home in the winter. Totally used up and not worth the snot being blown into.
It was one failure after another and I was barely surviving. My apartment was freezing since the heat was rarely turned on. I had no food at all since I had no job. If I didn’t pay my rent soon my landlord was going to kick me out. So what choice did I have? It was either run away or die.
Glancing at the clock, I wondered how long would it take for the bus to come back around. I never really watched before but now I really wanted to get on it. I got some change together, hoping the fare wouldn’t be too high and stepped outside.
The rain was coming down in buckets. It seemed as if the hail was mixed with the snow but I didn’t care. I walked down the street. It was dark and the street was empty, as if the whole world vanished and I was the only one left. As I walked, my footsteps echoed off the surrounding buildings, the puddles hardly masking the sound.
I heard an engine coming from behind me, a sudden lurch of fear grabbed me. “What if the bus doesn’t stop and let you on?” I decided I would simply run after it. I didn’t have a shred of dignity left.
It wasn’t a bus but a lone truck flying by me as fast as it was going on the rain-slicked road. I wondered if it was being followed, but the only other sign of life on the dark street was the flashing sign on the hole-in-the-wall bar at the end of the block.
Dismayed, I decided to head home. A bottle of Jack would ease off the hunger and let me sleep. I no sooner poured my drink and settled in to watch out the window when I saw the bus on the opposite side of the street.
It slowed down, then stopped, as if letting out a passenger or waiting for one. I could see silhouettes in the windows, and for a moment I thought the bus was full of demons, not humans. The silhouettes seemed disfigured and misshapen.
“Optical illusion you idiot,” I muttered to myself, wondering if I should hurry out to catch it or wait another day. “It would take too much energy.” The depression was so deep by then, I just didn’t care. If I caught it, great. If not, it didn’t matter.
Several days later, I sat on the front steps of the building after another series of bad job interviews. Why was I still bothering? There had to be something better for me. I’m not sure how long I was out there. The sky went from slightly overcast to dark as pitch. In the inky darkness, I thought I saw lights on the road. I stood up thinking if it was the bus, I would catch it this time.
The air grew colder as it drew closer. I stepped up to the curb. If it was a truck or another car, would I be able to step in front of the car? I would find out. It was getting closer. The way the headlights were, it was a larger vehicle, so I was pretty sure it was a bus. It slowed down as it got close to me, then kept going.
“Oh hell no, I did not sit outside for hours freezing so it could go right by me,” I muttered, my breath coming out in puffs of smoke. I found myself running after it.
“Stop!” I screamed, disturbing a couple of rats on the side of the road.
The bus screeched to a halt and the door opened. I stepped inside the bus and within an instant I wondered if I made the right decision. The bus driver didn’t speak, didn’t tell me anything. I fumbled with my pockets trying to get the money out. I didn’t even know the fare.
He put his hand on mine. His hand was so skinny, it was as if a skeleton was touching me. His voice was gravelly, as if he hadn’t spoken in so long he nearly forgot how.
“Move along, make room for the next passenger.” His voice sounded half dead.
I tried to get a good look at him but his hat was pulled over his eyes. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, but I shook it off and walked towards the back of the bus.
I didn’t know where to sit, so I finally just sat in a seat. I didn’t look around at all of the other passengers, I just stared out the window. I took a deep breath and instantly wished I hadn’t. The smell that assaulted my nose was a combination of despair and diesel fuel.
It is hard to imagine how one could get so low, the lowest point in my life.I had no hope at all. There was nobody I could call. I sent out an impassioned plea, hoping someone would see my despair. Either they didn’t see it or just didn’t care.
I barely saw the world passing by. Time seemed to have stopped, as if the world outside this bus was separate from those within. I didn’t hear a single word from anyone other than the bus driver saying every so often, “Move along. Make more room.” His voice sounded as if death was speaking through a human.
Once in a while, I heard a rustling as if someone was moving around, then a muffled ding when someone requested a stop. The bus would go along for a little more, then stop. Not a word was uttered from the passengers on the bus, those getting off or getting on.
My despair led me to think I was all alone, but sitting there made me realize there were others who were feeling the same way. Maybe I wasn’t so alone. If I was able to come to terms with how I was feeling, maybe there was a chance for me after all.
The bus slid to a stop. I heard the door open, then someone took my arm. Nothing was said. I stepped off the bus, feeling a weight being lifted from me for the first time in a very long time.
I walked off the curb right into the path of an oncoming truck.
About the Author
Kim Plasket is a Jersey girl at heart relocated to sunny Florida. She enjoys writing mainly horror and paranormal stories. She lives with her husband and 2 kids. When she is not slaving away at her day job, she can be found drinking coffee and planning the demise of some poor character. She also enjoys drinking coffee with her friend and fellow Author Valerie Willis.