Short story in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt Recharge
The bus was on time for once.
That was the one thought that circled her mind while the flurry of activity took place above her. Every day since she’d moved here the bus had been persistently late and then today, today of all days, it had chosen to arrive on time. She could almost taste the irony.
Almost. The sensations south of her brain seemed to have been switched off. She knew she had taste buds, a sense of smell, arms, legs, all the accoutrements of being a human, but she couldn’t quite access them. It was weird.She remembered getting her coffee, leaving the coffee shop and answering her phone as she crossed the street, but after that was a blur.
The bus had been on time. She remembered that. And now a face swam into view. Dark brown hair, pale skin, brown eyes and a concerned expression. He was saying her name, at least she could see his mouth forming the word but she couldn’t hear it. It wasn’t like a far away sound, dulled by the ever increasing movement she was aware was around her, it was the total absence of sound. Pure and simple.
She stared hard at the face, wondering why she couldn’t hear him. Was she deaf now? Had that happened? She couldn’t link the idea of hearing loss with the bus arriving on time. The two refused to gel. She focused harder but was immediately distracted by something dark over the left shoulder of the man saying her name.
She lifted herself to get a better look. Although it didn’t feel like lifting, there was no weight. It felt like floating. Her eyes settling on the dark figure standing forward of the crowd.
She hadn’t seen him before. He wasn’t a bus stop regular. She would’ve remembered him. Dark jeans, dark top, jet black hair and the most dazzling, electric blue eyes she had ever seen. Oh yeah, she would’ve remembered him. She knew she should feel embarrassed about looking at him so intently but it was hard to look away. His eyes blazed in his face. His skin was the colour of caramel and his hair was so dark she felt like she could get lost in its depth of hue.
He smiled at her. Just a warm smile, without a hint of anything flirty. Like the kind of smile your Mom gives you when she looks on you at a proud moment in your life. It made her feel warm. She could drown in that smile.
She watched as his lips parted from the smile and released four words. They reached her ears from the distance between her and the crowded bus stop. She heard them loud and clear as if he was standing next to her.
“Time to recharge, Cassie.”
Her mind puzzled over the words. Time to what? But more words joined the original four.
“It’s time to go Cassie, you’re not coming with me this time.”
Heartfelt disappointment tinged her consciousness. Why? Why can’t I go with him this time? She would’ve said the words if she could make her voice work but her vocal cords were giving her the busy signal. Just then a flash of bright white cut the air and brought with it a buzzing sensation. For a split second she could feel her extremities like a sharp stab in her brain. It distracted her and she lost focus, her eyes closed providing her with a slice of blank blackness. When the world swam back into view she searched the crowd for the blue eyed vision, but he was gone.
Fresh disappointment coloured everything red as another flash of light brought sound and sensation rushing in like a tidal wave. Her first sensation was pain. Pain and noise and the taste of blood in her mouth.
The face appeared again. The one surrounded by brown hair and set with brown eyes. This time she could hear his voice and all of the sounds around it. People were crying and talking and shouting. Sirens were blaring. But she could hear his voice clearly.
“It’s okay Cassie, you’re going to be okay. Your heart stopped for a second there but we got it going again.”
She struggled with comprehension as the intense pain in body fuddled her brain.
“The bus,” she muttered “the bus was on time. It’s never on time.”
The face smiled and swam out of view as a warm sensation trickled into her muscles.
The bus was always late.
Except for today. Today of all days. Her 21st birthday.