Hello All. Here we have Cathy Vella’s new short story based on your title;
‘THE LAST TWO PEOPLE LEFT ON THE NIGHT BUS.’
It’s a beautiful little story so please read it and show Cathy some love by sharing it and spreading the word.
Thank you for your continued support and we hope you enjoy our second batch of short stories.
THE LAST TWO PEOPLE LEFT ON THE NIGHT BUS
by Cathy Vella
Macy stared at the flowerpot on her knee; she gripped it tightly as the bus made its way over the bumpy terrain. Her mother told her that her great-grandmother had grown real flowers and that they had a beautiful smell. Macy’s rose smelled of plastic and it had tape around its stem where she had once snapped it. Someone had once tried to take it away from her. The petals, once red, were now brown.
She didn’t know how long she had been on the bus, but it felt like forever. One by one the others had been escorted off the bus. She had assumed that she would have been one of the first to get off, as she had a number 5 scrawled on her overalls. There was no one on the bus now apart from her and the man sitting right at the back. She wondered if he was special like her, or if he had done a bad thing.
She looked back at him; he was smiling. She frowned.
Her mother had told her not to talk to any one on the bus, and that she was to do as she was told. If she was a good girl, she would get to go somewhere special. A special place for her special girl. No one told her where the bus was going; nobody ever came back, so nobody knew. It was her very own adventure. Her mum had made her promise not to get angry.
“Can I sit with you please?” The man stood shuffling, clutching a bag at his side. Macy hardly moved before he shoved his way onto her seat. He sat too close.
“I’m Thomas,” he beamed. “What’s your name?” His tongue stuck out between a big gap where his top teeth should have been and his eyes darted left and right.
“Macy.” She didn’t like the man sitting so near. She didn’t like his funny teeth and googly eyes either.
“What you got there, Macy?” He pointed in the direction of the flowerpot. He had big fat fingers too.
She gripped tightly, ‘It’s my flower. It’s a rose. It’s mine and don’t you touch it.”
“I won’t touch it. I’m 33 and I’m very clever for my age, that’s why they let me stay so long. How old are you?’
“I’m 15, but I’ll be 16 soon.” She felt silly all of a sudden and her face felt hot.
“Do you know where you are going, Macy?” He tilted his head onto one side.
“Nobody does.” She looked out of the window and saw her dark reflection staring back at her.
“I know where I am going!” He nodded to himself.
“No you don’t!” She closed her eyes and blanked out the image of her face. She couldn’t be bothered talking anymore, and she turned slightly and rested her head on the window. It felt cool. She felt a hollow pit inside of her, and she didn’t know whether it was because she was hungry or because of the bad thing she had done. She didn’t mean to do the bad thing. She wanted to go home.
“I bet there will be real flowers where we are going?’
“You’re just saying that, you don’t know.”
“I will pick you a real flower, and you can wear it in your hair.’
His eyes flickered left and right as he turned to her, and he smiled again revealing his gap. Her whole body flushed, and she fidgeted in her seat. She wanted to run away, but where would she go? She looked at her frizzy hair and ugly face reflecting back at her. She didn’t want him thinking about her horrible hair; she wanted to pull it out. She wanted to tell him that he was stupid, and that he had a stupid face, but she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and let the wave of anger pass.
“Can you read?’ He rummaged in his bag and pulled out a tiny book.
“Of course I can read.”
“I don’t see so good, will you read something for me?’ Macy looked at Thomas’s face and took the book.
“It’s made of paper.” She ran her fingers over its cover. “They don’t make paper ones no more.”
“My friend made it for me.” He giggled like a child and put his finger to his lips.
“That was silly, if you can’t read.’
Thomas was silent, and his smile faded. She felt bad.
The words in the book meant nothing to her, but he seemed to like them.
He even closed his eyes and they fluttered behind their lids.
“Where my sunflower wishes to go!” Macy laughed. “That’s stupid, flowers can’t go anywhere!”
She was drawn to the pictures that ran around the edge of the pages. There was a flower. It was yellow and bright. It had a thousand flame-like petals licking around the edge of a golden-brown centre. It tilted upwards and a glint of sunlight caught between the leaves. She looked at the brown petals on her rose and then back at the vibrant flower in the picture. She had to have it. She slowly ripped the page out of the book and slipped it under her legs, and passed the book back to him.
They sat in silence. Macy stared out of the window, imagining a future in the darkness.
Thomas sat with his hands over his bag, he was smiling and occasionally he whispered to himself.
The bus stopped.
“Would you like to hold my flowerpot?” She pressed it into his big hands and watched as he gently explored the brown petals.
“You can keep it if you like.”