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The Chronicles of a Public Bus (part 3.13)

by Ventomology


Monday, 15:00, route 40 eastbound

Before his dad even steps on the bus, Martin can taste the scent of an accident. The bus itself has a lingering iron smell, both inside and out, which can be attributed to the fact that the bus had likely passed the scene of the accident once or twice that day, but Martin’s dad is so inundated in blood and burning rubber that he must have been one of the officers cleaning up the event.

Martin’s inquisitive side tells him this is an excellent opportunity to dig up new information for himself and Divinity, but he makes the internal arguments that his dad will be suspicious of any questions, and Divinity really isn’t a positive influence. As he weighs the consequences of investigating or not investigating, Martin unzips his backpack and searches for a book. He can’t break his planned act of innocent curiosity before he decides to use it.

His senses keep automatic tabs on Mellie and his dad as they step onto the bus and walk towards him. Their steps are heavy, and their breaths are damp with regret. They speak in whispers, and their voices drop further as they near Martin, but he can still hear them.

“Honestly, Mr. Stevenson,” Mellie hisses, “I don’t think anyone will ever figure out who she was.”

“I’m sure there’s something someone can do.” Mr. Stevenson’s eyes flick towards his son, and he bends down in a vain attempt to keep the conversation secret. “She could have left a ghost, or we could bring in a medium.”

Mellie’s armor clangs with a particularly heavy step, and she pauses to look up at Mr. Stevenson. “I had no idea you were such an opportunist,” she says. Then she puffs out her cheeks and drops into a seat three rows behind Martin. “You and Martin both. Huge opportunists.”

“Well, that explains where he got it from.” Chuckling, Mr. Stevenson lowers himself into a seat across from Mellie and rests his wrists on the back of the row in front of him. “In fact, now that you mention it, he’s probably using his enhanced senses to eavesdrop on us right now.” He raises his voice and lifts his chin, a pristine smile gracing his face. “Isn’t that right, Martin?”

Martin thumbs the pages of his book and listens to the whirring of paper sheets thumping against each other, pretending he didn’t hear.

“Or maybe not,” Mr. Stevenson says. He turns back to Mellie and puts a hand up to his mouth. “But going back to the problem at hand, now that we have access to ghosts and such, I think it wouldn’t be too difficult to figure out who today’s victim was.”

Mellie runs a hand through her fiery hair and groans. “But the investigative team already talked to a ghost from the hit-and-run incidents and learned nothing. The poor girl was hit too quickly, and then she ran off halfway through the interrogation, saying some kind of energy was calling her. Even if we had a medium to summon specific ghosts, I’m pretty sure the results would be the same.”

With one hand on his book to keep up the ruse, Martin fishes his phone from his jean pocket and flips it open. He ignores a slew of private messages from Divinity and Willow, who seem to be asking him to back up their theories on why Drake is single, and selects the group text.

Drake has just updated everyone on the latest conversation between his mother and grandfather, but his longhand way of writing shows in such huge blocks of text that Martin scrolls to the bottom without paying attention and focuses on the conversation behind him. Hopefully, his ears do not swivel or twitch and give him away.

“Even when Rick talked to us, he couldn’t say much beyond what we already knew,” Mr. Stevenson argues. “There’s really only so much witnesses can say, especially when the perpetrator is invisible.”

“I doubt it’s any different for the victims. They couldn’t see the driver either.”

“You never know with magic.”

Martin smiles. That’s exactly what he would have said. He taps a button on his phone to keep the screen lit up and waits for a tendril of information with actual weight.

“And see,” Mr. Stevenson continues, “with this particular victim, finding her ghost may be our only chance of identifying her so that we can inform her relatives of her passing. She was too disfigured for any casual acquaintance to know, but spirits are recognizable, especially if she’s still wearing distinctive clothing.”

Sighing, Mellie taps the wall. Her chainmail dress clinks with every minute movement. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask people at the apartment complex to look out for a ghost in a leopard print coat. I just don’t see the higher-ups agreeing with that kind of action if they haven’t done it already.”

“Maybe it will be on the news tonight,” Mr. Stevenson offers.

Mellie huffs, not at all careful to hide her feelings about her superiors or Mr. Stevenson’s ideas, and Martin allows himself to smile at her distaste. She has no idea how helpful this will be.

Careful of his fangs, he licks his lips and addresses Divinity in the group text. Though his phone buzzes moments later with Willow’s frantic, capitalized worries, Martin cannot wipe the grin from his face.


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1080 Reviews


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Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:22 am
Kaylaa wrote a review...



This is Yams here for a review on Review Day!

The bus itself has a lingering iron smell, both inside and out, which can be attributed to the fact that the bus had likely passed the scene of the accident once or twice that day, but Martin’s dad is so inundated in blood and burning rubber that he must have been one of the officers cleaning up the event.


This sentence is rather long, and it would flow smoother if you cut it up into smaller pieces so that the reader didn't have to take a breath so often in their mind while reading. I suggest you cut it up, ending a sentence at "that day" and then starting with "Martin's Dad", cutting out the "but" in between.

I like the way that Mellie talks and their dialogue. They make me want to read more of the story, which is exciting. I don't have much to say about this, because I like it. This chapter just seems kind of uneventful. It would be nice to add a little bit of spice to it. Maybe that's just me.

I like the mellowness of it that it's a fantasy though it can have such a laid-back chapter. I applaud you for that, as I wouldn't really know how to do that. It doesn't feel like it's some "epic" story the whole time.

From the start I've also loved your concept of this story, but I haven't sat down to read it yet.

Overall, this was a laid-back chapter that could've had a bit more imagery, though it isn't all that needed. There wasn't much to complain about and I liked the character Mellie but found Mr. Stevenson kind of weak?

I haven't read the rest of the series, but I should!




Ventomology says...


Wow, I don't think I've ever gotten a comment about long sentences before. The change you're suggesting would alter the way this sentence is meant to be read, but I'll try to keep the rambling in check in the future.

Thanks, and happy Review Day!



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Sun May 29, 2016 3:58 pm
Rydia wrote a review...



So I saw this in the green room and the title intrigued me and I'm here to take a look!

Specifics

1.

“Well, that explains where he got it from.” Chuckling, Mr. Stevenson lowers himself into a seat across from Mellie and rests his wrists on the back of the row in front of him.
I'm finding this a bit hard to picture because if hes sitting across from her then the row in front of him is her seat so that seems a bit awkwardly phrased. Or do you mean the row behind him but which is further toward the front of the bus or are you using across to mean on the other side of the bus, like with the aisle between them?

2.
Drake has just updated everyone on the latest conversation between his mother and grandfather, but his longhand way of writing shows in such huge blocks of text that Martin scrolls to the bottom without paying attention and focuses on the conversation behind him. Hopefully, his ears do not swivel or twitch and give him away.
The last sentence seems a bit off. Maybe because it's too direct and like the narrator is hoping that doesn't happen, rather than him. Perhaps it would be smoother as 'He hopes his ears don't swivel or twitch and give him away.'

Overall

There's very little to critique here! This flows very smoothly and you have a solid trio of characters, all with easily distinguishable personalities and an interesting plot. I think you've done a good job of weaving the ghosts in and giving us information on them without breaking character to explain why there are ghosts in this particular world and what that means.

Also, Mellie is a very cool name and a fiery redhead wearing chainmail? She sounds like the kind of character I could get to like! I think Martin and his dad are cool too, I especially liked the part where his dad tried to check if he was eavesdropping on them - that's a nice way to show how well he knows his son.

Good work, maybe I'll check out the other chapters in the green room a bit later and see if I can be more helpful on them!

~Heather





Resistance is futile.
— The Borg