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The Chronicles of a Public Bus (part 3.12)

by Ventomology

Monday, 14:30, route 31

Despite every seat being filled, the bus’s atmosphere is subdued. The air is just cold enough to be uncomfortable, and voices are smothered by the ambient noises of the bus and outside traffic. Really, only a small group near the front makes any conversation at all, and from a distance, it seems they are only moving their mouths and not making noise.

They aren’t, of course, but most of the other passengers are too absorbed by books or music to care.

“I thought the drama program only had a Wednesday pickup rehearsal after opening,” Willow says, twirling a strand of black hair around one finger. “Does Marie just ride a different bus home?”

Shrugging, Divinity picks at a sliver of dry skin under her fingernails. “She told me she was riding home with the rest of the crowd today, but she probably used one of Mr. Morey’s teleportation spells. I mean, there was a lockdown.”

“Speaking of that lockdown,” Drake starts, “what could have happened?” He leans forward and clasps his hands together to rest his elbows on his knees. “We only have emergencies when Mrs. Eaton sets off the fire alarm during a chemistry lab.”

Divinity crosses her arms and watches a weathered church building pass in the window behind Drake and Willow. “I’m pretty sure there was another accident by the gas station. I mean, look.” She gestures at the rest of the bus, careful to avoid stretching her hand in front of the lanky guy next to her. “No one on this bus even has light hair except you, Drake.”

Drake is not blonde—his hair is an amalgam of golds and browns—but he still stands out. Self conscious, he tugs on his widow’s peak and looks at the black and brown heads dotting the bus. He gulps. “That would explain why Marie isn’t here.”

“Why didn’t the school tell us?” Willow asks. She quirks her lips in a puzzled frown and pauses in fiddling with her hair.

“Oh, we’ll get a letter tomorrow. The school district is always slow.”

Satisfied, Willow lets out a short hum and squeezes her backpack to her chest. She wants to ask Drake what he will do if or when his thief is caught by the serial car accidents, but the bus is too quiet for that question, and Divinity would use any mention of Drake’s thief to springboard into investigation techniques. “How to figure out your mother’s computer password” is not a lesson Willow is interested in hearing. She considers ways to segue into a conversation about her latest triumph in P.E. but Divinity jumps up, and Willow’s train of thought crashes. “Is something wrong-

“Oh my gosh,” Divinity breathes. Without looking, she reaches for the handrail on Willow’s side of the bus and staggers to the window. “What is that?” With her jaw dropped and her eyes as wide as dinner plates, she looks almost comical.

However, the concerned bends in Divinity’s eyebrows fends off all hilarity, and Willow finds herself straining to see out the window behind her, hands gripping the seat cushions. Outside, a line of intangible blue and white shadows has taken over the sidewalk. They range from distinct figures to misty shrouds of spirit, but the queue is undeniably made up of ghosts.

“Is that Joshua McIntyre’s ghost?” Drake mutters. He is twisted around as well, nose almost touching the glass, and his backpack is falling into the lap of the person next to him, who doesn’t notice or care.

“But he was pulling out the bleachers today,” Willow says. Pressing her cheek on the window, she peers forward to see where the ghosts are headed. A block away stand the brick apartment buildings, and as the bus rumbles to the end of the block, Willow can see the fuzzy line of specters curve through the complex’s parking lot. A tributary flowing from the opposite direction joins the river of ghosts at the main door of Divinity’s building, and Willow gapes at the sheer number of spirits.

When someone finally pushes the stop request button, the following ping is hesitant and quiet, hardly audible over the murmuring crowd gathering on the right side of the bus.

“Huh,” Divinity says, pulling Willow’s attention from the window. “I never realized there were so many ghosts around. I’ll have to do some interrogating. See what everyone’s up to.” One corner of her mouth lifts, but her eyes remain narrowed. “Maybe Mr. Morey will tell Marie something interesting.” As Divinity adjusts her backpack, she schools her eyebrows into indifferent suspicion and tosses her hair.

“Don’t get into too much trouble,” Willow cautions. Drake echoes the sentiment, face still angled towards the scene outside.

Finally employing her usual callousness, Divinity rolls her eyes and grins. “I’ll be fine. Since when have I ever actually gotten in trouble for anything?” She rocks when the bus pulls to a gradual, timid stop and skips out the front door, waving goodbye as she leaps to the sidewalk. Everyone else in the crowd disembarking at the apartments has grown cold feet, and by the time the bus can leave, Divinity is halfway across the parking lot.

Willow bites her lip and watches her friend’s backpack bounce up and down. “I worry about her.”

“Me too,” Drake says. “She’s reckless.”

“And that’s not the only thing,” Willow replies. She drags her gaze from the red brick apartments and sighs. “Whatever is attracting those ghosts is bound to attract something else as well.”

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107 Reviews

Points: 487
Reviews: 107

Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:58 pm
XxXTheSwordsmanXxX wrote a review...

Greetings from The Swordsman!

Alright, I am jumping into this story, way too far in, but I have to say that I am really enjoying it. I may just go back and start this story over and figure out what everyone is talking about. To the review!

Not having a full concept of this world just yet. I am able to decipher a few things. I know that there is magic, though it doesn't seem like many people use it or they are not allowed to (Like I said, first time reading any of this story). But this collection of three friends is very well crafted. They sort of play off each other's emotions and personalities.

The idea that all of this takes place on a bus, (And perhaps the entire story does. Haven't read the rest of it) is an interesting setting to use. Not one that I see very often. Using a small, mobile area to place the story in is different from the norm.

Overall I really liked this piece, I will need to read the rest of it so that I'm not out of the loop on what is going on. Thanks for sharing it and I hope to see more from you in the future.

Happy Writing!

User avatar
737 Reviews

Points: 7258
Reviews: 737

Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:57 pm
CaptainJack wrote a review...

Hey there Buggiedude2340. It's just lizzy dropping by real quick, so without a further ado, let the reviewing begin.

I have reviewed some of the other chapters in the past but it seems I've missed a few. So that means I have even less of a clue of what is going on in The story than what was going on before. I do believe that this is told from multiple points of view. I'm also going to go with the guess here that this serves some purpose depending on whose thoughts we hear. Great job on that though because I never quite got the gold of it. Enough with my chit chat because this is where the real critique begins.

I really think I'm beginning to get the base of this story. You have this group of friends that hang out on some bus routes together. Some of them have magical powers or something like that. There was a mention of being like detectives in one of your past chapters. At one point you had a guy, who I think was also in the friend group, driving one of the buses. Besides that O don't have a clue what is going on and some of this information may be incorrect.

Before I get into the general observations there were just a couple of specific points that I had.

Really, only a small group near the front makes any conversation at all, and from a distance, it seems they are only moving their mouths and not making noise at all.

I'm trying to keep the BBCode down to a minimum because that is extremely painful to type in on mobile. The repetition of the phrase "at all" bothered me a bit. You did have a pretty long sentence so sometimes that breaks those little repetition laws. This time it didn't and just nudged me a little further towards the deep end. Consider rewording that.

Shrugging, Divinity picks at a sliver of dry skin under her fingernails. “She told me she was riding home with the rest of the crowd today, but she probably used one of Mr. Morey’s teleportation spells. I mean, there was a lockdown.”

So there is some type of magic and magical powers that exist? Is it only limited to specific characters or can everybody use certain spells?

Yes. I have succeeded in finding a chapter to review where the user actually proofread. Now you don't have to listen to one of my rants. Just imagine what I would have said.
Insert a two or three line rant about grammar, spelling, and typos.

Overall the story was pretty good but unless you sort of know who the characters are, it doesn't make any sense. What I mean is this is not a novel someone can jump into the middle of. I did and that was a mistake but I've been here for the past couple chapters so I'm getting a hang of it.

Well that's about all I have for this review. Sorry if I couldn't offer anymore comments but there wasn't that much to comment on.
Happy Review Day!
Queen of the Book Clubs
This is my 146th review!

Ventomology says...

Oh dear. I hate it when I have those little unintentional repetition bloops. Thanks for catching it! Also, 146 reviews? You're getting pretty close to another star. You go, Lizzy!

You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop Spring from coming.
— Pablo Neruda