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The Chronicles of a Public Bus (part 1.01)

by Ventomology


Monday.  14:30.  Route 31

It is during the school rush at the bus station when the woman first appears on scene. She’s an odd-looking sort, odd enough that people actually make room so she can move about. Or maybe it’s the luggage that makes people take extra care of her. No one wants their toes run over, even if they’re wearing heavy boots.

For a minute or so, the woman flounders through the ocean of students, her platinum blonde hair and leopard print coat setting her apart from the sports jackets and beanies of everyone else. She wanders this way and that, a frown settled on her thin, red lips.

Finally, the station guard waves for her to stop, mostly because he’s obligated to help and because he has to make sure she isn’t anyone suspicious. Pulling his cap down so that the edge just tickles his ears, he walks towards her through the thinning crowd.

They speak for a few moments before the guard lifts a hand and points to a bus near the center of the lot.  Without saying a word, the woman whips around and heads straight for that bus.

This whole affair is watched from inside this particular bus, and by multiple people. It is two young ladies who call special attention to the event though, one of them more than the other.

The taller of the two smirks as the leopard-print woman begins heading for their bus. Flicking her mass of curly black hair, the tall girl lifts her voice into airy contempt.

“Oh! Look at me and my perfect, straight, golden hair!” she says. A few chuckles bounce about the bus, though they are muffled by the sound of the heating system.

“Aren’t I just so fabulous? I’m so great that I don’t even need to say thank you to anyone!” Then the girl lets go of the bar she’s been holding and gestures at the ruddy red sleeves of her jacket. “And this fur coat! It cost a fortune, I tell you. Not real, of course, because that would be animal cruelty, and not to mention illegal, but it’s so high-quality, and it’s a designer brand. From Paris.”

The shorter girl cringes. “Divinity, why do you have to make such a fuss all the time? What if that lady hears you?”

Divinity takes back her hold on the bar and bows slightly. “Oh, dear Willow, someday you will learn that the ratio between offensive and funny is almost always directly proportional. There are even scientific studies on it.”

“Then science is a butt,” Willow grumbles.

A second later, the leopard print lady boards the bus, first heaving her suitcase over the small gap between the pavement and the door. She must be wearing heels, Willow thinks, because there is a clipped, plastic click when the woman steps inside. Divinity, of course, notices that the woman’s suitcase is also printed with leopard spots. Leaning over, she mentions this to Willow, and the shorter girl scowls so darkly that her face fades to violet.

“Relax,” Divinity whispers, a chuckle floating beneath her voice. “I was only pointing it out.” With this, Divinity pats Willow’s purple cheek and straightens. “I suppose I should attempt polite conversation now, correct?”

“I would like that,” Willow says.

“Alrighty then, what’s a good conversation topic?” For a few moments, Divinity strokes her chin, tracing the outline of an imaginary goatee. “Oh! I know. Where’s Drake been? I haven’t seen him on the bus for a while.”

Groaning, Willow puts a hand to her forehead and pinches her brow. “Really, Divinity? He was gone all last week, and you’re just now asking about him?”

“It’s not like we ever talk to him on the bus. He just sits in the corner and stares out the windows, thinking about very important and paramount Drake things.” Running a hand through her curls, Divinity strikes a heroic pose. When she speaks, her voice is lowered to a false tenor that’s too smooth to be male. “I’m Drake, and I must mentally review trigonometric theorems while ensuring that my widow’s peak is super conspicuous.”

Willow hangs her head, second-hand embarrassment coloring her face a deep, hot pink.

“It was spot on, I know,” Divinity says. “But seriously, where is he?”

“Home sick.”

Divinity’s face stretches in surprise. “For the whole week? Did he get a viral infection?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Willow says, shrugging as high as she can against the weight of her backpack. “I just shove the day’s school stuff through the mail slot, and he shoves yesterday’s stuff back at me. We don’t talk.”

Divinity reaches around someone else’s overfilled bag and presses the stop button, creating a pause that allows Willow to soak up the sounds of the bus. In the back, a few middle school kids are cursing so hard their brains might fall out. It’s been months since anyone tried to stop them, but the quiet that walls around the kids tastes of exasperation and contempt.

Up near the driver, a few students gossip about an exchange student, but Divinity is back to talking before Willow can eavesdrop for very long.

“Figure out how sick Drake is, cool? I want to hear about all the medical procedures.”

Before Willow can ask why though, the squeal of the bus’s brakes sets in, and the crowd of students left standing stumbles forward. The bus lurches forward and then stops, air hissing as the front door glides down to the curb.

“Here we are,” Divinity says. “I’ll catch you tomorrow!” Then she squeezes through the blob of students already filtering off the bus.

Divinity’s stop is the busiest on the route, and it takes a full minute for everyone to unload. From her new seat, Willow watches the crowd dissolve through the streets, waiting for the bus to move again. She admires the towering apartment buildings that envelope the bus in shadows, their worn, red bricks sitting sturdy for eternity.

The back door whispers as it closes, and a lady shouts, the noise drawing Willow’s attention back to the bus. It is practically empty now, save for the driver, Willow, and the leopard print lady, who is in the midst of disembarking.

Or rather, the lady would be disembarking if her suitcase weren’t stuck in the door.

“Open the door, you nitwit driver!” she yells. As she struggles to yank her luggage free, her heels clatter on the floor, and her coat slips partway off her shoulder.

The driver sighs and pulls down a small lever to release the door and its unfortunate captive. Immediately, the leopard print lady sweeps out of the bus, and her suitcase bounces to the sidewalk with a hollow clack. The back door slides closed once more, and the only noise left is the low rumble of the engine.


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Sun May 29, 2016 8:15 pm
Rydia wrote a review...



So I just realised that's all the chapters for now and I should go find something else in the green room but since I said on to the next one, I'm going to at least review the next first one first!

Specifics

1. Oh we're not starting on the bus? Interesting! Though I guess the station is practically the bus if we're talking about a bus station? Okay I'll shush and get back to reading...

2.

They speak for a few moments before the guard lifts a hand and points to a bus near the center of the lot. Without saying a word, the woman whips around and heads straight for that bus.
You've got an extra space there, before without.

3.
This whole affair is watched from inside this particular bus, and by multiple people. It is two young ladies who call special attention to the event though, one of them more than the other.
This feels a bit wordy/ redundant and I think it could be cut down to a sentence. Like 'The whole affair is watched from inside the bus, by one young lady in particular'.

4.
“It’s not like we ever talk to him on the bus. He just sits in the corner and stares out the windows, thinking about very important and paramount Drake things.” Running a hand through her curls, Divinity strikes a heroic pose. When she speaks, her voice is lowered to a false tenor that’s too smooth to be male. “I’m Drake, and I must mentally review trigonometric theorems while ensuring that my widow’s peak is super conspicuous.”
Did I tell you yet that I love Divinity? I think she'd drive me crazy in real life but she's such a fun character!

5.
“Figure out how sick Drake is, cool? I want to hear about all the medical procedures.”
I know this is fragmented because Willow was tuned out but it strikes me as a touch odd. The first part is't so easy to say out lour either, or maybe I'm just not used to hearing cool used to mean okay.

6. Is the lady on the bus side when her case gets stuck? Why? Was she late getting up or something and jammed it in the door? It seems more likely that it would have closed on her bag as she was getting off if the driver got impatient and pressed the button too soon, though usually people get off the bus first and then people get on so it would seem really weird for him to have closed the door in between. Basically that part of the chapter seems unrealistic and I think you could have her just generally making a lot of fuss as she tried to drag the case up the aisle and still draw enough attention to her.

Overall

It's a nice opening chapter. Maybe not as smooth as some of the later ones but Divinity carries it well with her fun dialogue and Willow is the perfect amount of exasperation. It's a nice first chapter and I might catch up on the rest some other time when it's not review day.

All the best with this!

~Heather




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Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:01 am
NympheaLily wrote a review...



Top of the morning, NympheaLily here!

So I noticed you just recently published a later chapter of this and I'm excited to read it. I decided to start at the beginning of this series, so be prepared to hear a lot from me.

I thought this story was a great start and I can't wait to read more of it. Your transitions were flawless and I couldn't find really any punctuation or spelling errors, so a big thumbs up from me!

I was kind of confused on who was speaking during the Divinity-Willow part, but that's minor. Here are a few things that I loved:

-“Open the door, you nitwit driver!”: Crying with laughter! It reminded me so much of the silly old ladies you see/hear about on the internet.
-“Then science is a butt,” Willow grumbles.: I feel the exact same. This is so relatable.

Well I wish I could write more, but I must go. I have some studying to do for science because "science is a butt" ;) And as always, KEEP THOSE FINGERS TYPING!
Ciao!
~NympheaLily




Ventomology says...


But if science is a butt, that means you can kick it.

Anyways, thank you so much for being willing to put in the time to review this story! There are a lot of chapters, so I look forward to hearing your opinions and advice.

If you ever need anything reviewed in return, feel free to ask me! Thanks again.



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Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:04 pm
Songmorning wrote a review...



Hello! I'm looking for a new story to review, and this looked really interesting from the title. I'm also trying to clear the Green Room, however, so I'll start my official reviews on your chapters that don't have reviews yet. I will be reading the story from the beginning because I want to get the whole story and not just pieces of it, so I might make a comment here or there too. ^_^ I like the beginning so far, and the concept as well. It's a unique idea.




Songmorning says...


Oh no! I'm sorry! I meant for this not to be a review. Since I accidentally called it a review, I should say a few more things about the chapter. I like your writing style, and your characters were each introduced with very strong personalities. Your descriptions are also very dynamic and creative, and the story has quite a modern style. I'm not entirely sure what kind of bus this is yet, though. It's called a "Public Bus" in the title, but it seems rather like a school bus to me--except for the lady in leopard-print with a suitcase. Are there city buses that kids sometimes ride on to school, which aren't specifically school buses? I know very little about buses, since I live in the country, so pardon my lack of expertise. :) I'm finding this to be a very enjoyable read.



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Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:28 pm
ulala8 wrote a review...



Wowza! I saw your part four in the green room and decided that I should probably read the other parts as well and let me tell you, I am not disappointed in the slightest! I've actually reread this several times, trying to find something to critique and honestly, I struggled to find anything. This is quite the polished chapter here, and I was never disinterested, though I have to wonder about the part that Drake will play in future installments, considering that this story is filed under "action/adventure and fantasy". I'm so excited to continue reading!
I did find two errors, or parts that may need a little help.

and the crowd of students left standing stumbles forwards

Here, you just need to cut off the "s" at the end of forwards. I actually had to look up exactly why this was an incorrect usage but as it turns out, "forwards" is to be used when in contrast to other directions (i.e. forwards and backwards). So now you know.
but the quiet that walls around the kids tastes of exasperation and contempt.

This one isn't so much an error. I just thought that the use of the word "walls" sounded awkward and took from the experience of reading it. It gave a more solid imagery, but it also sucked me out of the story, which isn't the best thing. It's up to you whether or not you want to change it.
One thing that I noticed as I was reading through one last time was just how "formal" Divinity speaks. I was on board with it until she punctuated herself with, "cool?" near the end. When you're speaking as characters inside of quotes, you can feel free to have grammatical and spelling errors. I suggest that you should maybe change "want to"s into "wanna"s because it makes the character seem more "natural". Normally, people don't put hard "t's" on words because they're lazy, and even if Divinity isn't lazy, I'm sure she would slur, especially if she punctuates with "cool".
Still, this was overall amazing and most of these critiques were just nitpicking anyway. I had such a nice time reading your story and I look forward to reading the rest of them.




Ventomology says...


Alas, the following chapters are not nearly as pretty as this one. Divinity does have a reason for speaking the way she does, I just haven't gotten there yet.

Thanks for the review! I'll go and fix those errors you pointed out. :)



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Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:28 pm
AstralHunter wrote a review...



Salutations.

If I am to defeat you in our Agni Kai, the least I can do is make your first chapter for LMS II my final element. (I am referring to this link for the Agni Kai and this link for the Four Element Challenge.)

My Legend:
Red - correction
Orange - suggestion
Green - addition
Blue - removal


It is during the school rush at the bus station when the woman first appears on scene.

Present tense? Now that is indeed a daring endeavour. You know how I feel about using it, and I would have been more content if you had opted to use the historic present tense instead, but personal preferences differ. Go ahead with whatever narrator and tense you prefer!


She’s an odd-looking sort, odd enough that people actually make room so she can move about. Or maybe it’s the luggage that makes people take extra care of her. No one wants their toes run over, even if they’re wearing heavy boots.

This is a perfect example of your dry sense of humour that I adore so much! It is simply one of the many things that makes your writing so unique, and it is an excellent decision to introduce your readers to it so soon already. If they don't like it, then you imply early on already that they may take their boring sense of humour and kindly leave.


For a minute or so, the woman flounders through the ocean of students, her platinum blonde hair and leopard print coat setting her apart from the sports jackets and beanies of everyone else. She wanders this way and that, a frown settled on her thin, red lips.

This description satisfactorily captures how... lost and out of place the woman is. Goodness knows how she found herself at a school bus stop, but she did, and I must admit, I cannot help but grin and shake my head. ^_^


Finally, the station guard waves for her to stop, mostly because he’s obligated to help and because he has to make sure she isn’t anyone suspicious. Pulling his cap down so that the edge just tickles his ears, he walks towards her through the thinning crowd.

As with the woman, this guard's characterisation is subtle and exceptionally well-written. You, more than anyone else I know, excel at this type of story, and I am glad I recommended you choose this option over the other two, since chracterisation is obviously your forte.


They speak for a few moments before the guard lifts a hand and points to a bus near the center of the lot. Without saying a word, the woman whips around and heads straight for that bus.

By using "and", it feels as if you want to stretch the sentence out longer than it has to be, and even though I am prone to write long sentences myself, I still try to shorten them wherever I can (and wherever shorter sentences would be more effective). Thus, I suggest splitting the sentence into two.


This whole affair is watched from inside this particular bus, and by multiple people. It is two young ladies who call special attention to the event though, one of them more than the other.

Up to this point, the story had been about the out-of-place woman who was searching (we assume) for a bus, but now, you have swifted the focus from her onto your actual characters. It is a technique which shows skill, and while many fall into the trap of waiting too long to introduce the protagonist/s, you did not. Well done.


The taller of the two smirks as the leopard-print woman begins heading for their bus. Flicking her mass of curly black hair, the tall girl lifts her voice into airy contempt.

And without a single bit of dialogue, we already know much about one of the two girls' personlity. Truly, Buggie, you are amazing. (Stop being so good! I don't like to gush...)


A few chuckles bounce about the bus, though they are muffled by the sound of the heating system.

Who, other than you, would have thought of describing children laughing in such an original way?


Then the girl lets go of the bar she’s been holding and gestures at the ruddy red sleeves of her jacket.

Not only is this a clever way of describing what the girl is wearing, but it also alliterates. (And I love my alliteration.)


“And this fur coat! It cost a fortune, I tell you. Not real, of course, because that would be animal cruelty, and not to mention illegal, but it’s so high-quality, and it’s a designer brand. From Paris.”

That is so something you would say and do!


“Oh, dear Willow, someday you will learn that the ratio between offensive and funny is almost always directly proportional. There are even scientific studies on it.”

I am not too sure about the validity of that last sentence, but the first is certainly true.


“Then science is a butt,” Willow grumbles.

Euphemisms... You know, I see Willow as you and Divinity as one of your friends. (I might not be too far off, actually.)


“I would like that,” Willow says.

It seems almost as if Willow is Divinity's conscience - not the kind who reminds her when she has done something wrong, but the nagging kind to whom she would respond with a bored "yeah, yeah..."


For a few moments, Divinity strokes her chin, tracing the outline of an imaginary goatee.

People just love doing that, for some reason.


“Oh! I know. Where’s Drake been? I haven’t seen him on the bus for a while.”

Here, Divinity speaks to Willow, but when she had asked whether she should attempt to make polite conversation, I had the impression it was with the woman, not Willow herself. (Hence my comment two above this one.)


He just sits in the corner and stares out the windows, thinking about very important and paramount Drake things.

I cannot describe how much I enjoyed reading that.


When she speaks, her voice is lowered to a false tenor that’s too smooth to be male. “I’m Drake, and I must mentally review trigonometric theorems while ensuring that my widow’s peak is super conspicuous.”

No work of yours is complete without at least one example of musical and mathematical jargon, and lo and behold, they appear in consecutive sentences. ;)


Did he get a viral infection?

While viral illnesses are more contagious than bacterial illnesses, they are also more common. For example, the common cold and influenza are both caused by viruses, whereas cholera and TB are caused by bacteria. True, Drake is unlikely to have either of those, but you get the gist of it.


“I wouldn’t know,” Willow says, shrugging as high as she can against the weight of her backpack.

Wait, so Willow actually wears her backpack sitting in the bus seat?


Divinity reaches around someone else’s overfilled bag and presses the stop button, creating a pause that allows Willow to soak up the sounds of the bus. In the back, a few middle school kids are cursing so hard their brains might fall out. It’s been months since anyone tried to stop them, but the quiet that walls around the kids tastes of exasperation and contempt.

Up near the driver, a few students gossip about an exchange student, but Divinity is back to talking before Willow can eavesdrop for very long.

This part is confusing. I realise you were looking for a reason to describe the other passengers, but I don't think this was your brest choice.


Like I have said, this is quite the impressive chapter. Not only has my legend at the top of this review been reduced to looking pretty, but you also made of me a gusher. I suppose this means you have singed me in this review, not the other way around, but we shall see who is left with the burn at the end of today.

Good luck with your story, and may future chapters be as outstanding as this one! (Alhtough, a few errors here and there won't do any harm... :P )


This review courtesy of
Image




Ventomology says...


HUNTER I LEAVE IN ONE HOUR. I don't have time for an Agni Kai!

Also, do you not ride public transportation very often? The other person who commented on the stop-button part mentioned that she had never ridden a city bus before. I shall endeavor in the future to ensure that the fact that this is a public bus and not a school bus is clear, and I will avoid public-bus lingo.

Thanks as always!
-Buggie



AstralHunter says...


Aww! You know, you sound just like a mother who told her son that she's late for work and doesn't have the time to play. But I'm gonna beat you anyway, even if it isn't as fun. *mumbles*



Ventomology says...


Please. Just because I haven't reviewed your chapter yet, doesn't mean I haven't read it.



AstralHunter says...


I know, since I've read all three first chapters last weekend already.



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Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:05 pm
Kaylaa wrote a review...



I like how unique you are is the first thing I have to say, I read through the story and just, it feels different from other stories. I think I could tell which one you were if they put two slips in a hat and made me guess which one was who.

I love the leopard print lady, this is what I'm talking about unique, she actually made me laugh, too, and I rarely ever laugh, so, props to you, my friend!

The characters are just, realistic, they're so human I can't even explain. At first I thought you were a whole bunch of little people doing so good on this, because, I rarely ever see a human in a story.

I don't have any problems with the story as I can see, so, fantastic job! I'll be following your Lms novel too ._. (I have like 4 I'm following)




Ventomology says...


Aww, thank you so much! I'll probably end up following a bunch more lms novels as well, so I'll look for yours!



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Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:07 pm
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TinkerTwaggy wrote a review...



Greetings, Buggie! Should've done this long time ago, but hey, at least I finally arrived! So... Let's do this!

I. Impressions of the Shell Master!

I didn't detect anything to nitpick, but don't take my word on it: English isn't my native language after all. Putting that aside...

-I'm liking how normal this is, for some reason. I don't relate to @EnderFlash's hesitation about the bus part, since I take the bus quite a lot myself and know what's in it, so I didn't have any trouble understanding this part, personally. Also, I'm really liking the names you've given to your characters. Divinity and Willow? I'm sold!

-Congratulations, you managed to create a human being. I AM NOT being sarcastic, and allow me to explain.
See, initially, I didn't like Divinity's behavior at all, because a situation in which a character just enters in a public place and is being mocked at because of the way he/she dresses is something that I utterly despise. And then you managed to present Divinity's character in a pretty good way, as she seem to be the friend that lieks to go on the edge, or something. Which... can totally be likeable. So straight aways he has pros and cons introduced to us. I find that quite well done.
-And I like the duo formed by Willow and Divinity, too. There seem to be a good chemistry between these two, and it's nice that you managed to introduce it in this first chapter.
-Personal opinion there, but I really like teh way you handle your narration. "Or maybe it’s the luggage that makes people take extra care of her. No one wants their toes run over, even if they’re wearing heavy boots." <-- I just love how "personalized" this sounds.
-Originality = check. You nailed that present tense, that is part of me liking that narration of yours.

End of the Impressions!

...And... I don't think I have any suggestions for this. It appeared clear enough to me, you threw a few elements that makes us wonder what's going to happen enxt or why was it important (like the lady Divinity mocked, who was the center of the narration for quite some time)... This was a really good first chapter, so thhe only advice I'd give would be that you make sure to keep going, as I want to know what happens next XD

Cheers, Buggie!


~Shell Master Tortwag




Ventomology says...


Aww, thanks Tort!



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Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:44 am
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EnderFlash wrote a review...



YESSSS FIRSTTTTT -shot-

I personally love this chapter. It's descriptive, defines Divinity and Willow well, and introduces a mysterious leopard lady who may or may not be important. Sets everything up swimmingly.

Divinity reaches around someone else’s overfilled bag and presses the stop button, creating a pause that allows Willow to soak up the sounds of the bus.

Ehhhh, this line's a little confusing. What stop button? What's it pausing? How come she's pausing something? I can kinda infer that it stopped some sort of sound, but I don't remember there being a sound before...

The detail is good, but I admit it gets a little confusing at times. I'm not really sure what position they're in. Hey, it could be just me though, since I almost never get on public buses except for on trips. I don't even know what a bar is. If it is just my ignorance about buses, feel free to correct me. >.<

I'm going to learn (totally not rip off) from Tortwag and give a couple of my first impressions/thoughts of this story.

1. Divinity seems like a fun character that has plenty of oppurtunities for development.
2. Exchange student? Oh boy, if my instincts from reading dozens of manga is correct, that means something big is happening! ... or, I just read too much manga.
3. I'm not completely used to present tense, but you pull it off well. I can't spot any tense-shifting.
4. I wonder where Willow's going. She seems to be the only one heading there.

Ha, pathetic review is pathetic >_> That's a good thing for you, though! Not many problems that I could spot. Either that, or I'm a terrible reviewer. Let's hope it's the first option. -x-




Ventomology says...


Don't worry! You're not a pathetic reviewer at all! (Honestly, you probably get across more than I do. I'm just long-winded.)

Also, thanks for the feedback on the bus stuff. I ride the city bus all the time, so I'm not always sure what other people know.




"Be happy, my friend; and if you obey me in this one request, remain satisfied that nothing on earth will have the power to interrupt my tranquility."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein