Granver walked to the corner bodega to get a seltzer and, hopefully, a protein bar. It had been a long day of work and he was diligently making sure he had protein every 4 hours before making the trip back to Jersey, back home. Walking the aisles, he desperately searched for some kind of snack that would taste good but wasn't overly sugary. No such luck. He grabbed a bag of jerky and made his way to the counter. He pulled out his phone to use it to pay when the clerk grabbed his wrist. Startled, he looked up at the clerk. The skin on the clerk’s face was too tight with wisps of hair like scattered cobwebs down the back of his head. “You must stooopppp” the clerk moaned.
“Get the fuck off me man!”” Granver yelped while dropping the seltzer. It popped loudly and shot all over the front of the store.
“What the fuck, guy!” Screamed the clerk. Granver looked up. It was a completely different person. A portly guy with black, close cropped hair and a chin strap beard. “Imma have to charge you for that!”
“Y-yeah. Right. Sorry.” Granver muttered. He grabbed another seltzer and nervously dug in his pocket looking for cash. Thankfully he found a crumpled $5 and left in on the counter and walked out without looking at the clerk.
Glancing at his phone, Granver realized he was dangerously close to missing the 7:15 bus from Port Authority. He wanted to get home. Cursing under his breath he hailed a yellow cab. A yellow Chevy pulled up fairly quickly. “Port Authority, please.” Granver said, sliding into the back seat. He pulled out his phone and started browsing Insta when he noticed the car wasn’t moving. He looked up at the driver and his blood ran cold as he recognized the face staring back at him.
“You must stooooppppp...” the man with skin too tight moaned. Panicking, Granver pushed open the door on the driver’s side and fell out. Horns blaring, an Uber Black narrowly avoided clipping the cab, honking and shouting obscenities. Granver got to his feet and closed the door, when he realized the driver, an older woman, was screaming at him.
“What are you fucking crazy?!” she yelled as she sped off.
“What the fuck is going on?” he asked himself. “I gotta get the fuck home.”
Granver sprinted to the nearest subway station to try to catch the E train, hoping he’d make it in time. He pushed through the turnstile slightly too hard, causing it to hit the person behind him. “Sorry” he called behind him as he sprinted to the train.
“Motherfucker!” is all he heard in response. He made his way to the corner of the subway car, standing by the door between trains. Putting his headphones on, he flipped through songs on his phone until he eventually settled for a podcast. Granver kept his eyes down, making sure to avoid anyone’s eyes for fear of seeing that man again. 15 minutes later, he looked up to see his stop and promptly pushed his way out of the car. He looked at his phone: 7:13. He sprinted to the terminal, making it onto the bus just in time. It was pretty empty so he settled for a seat somewhere in the middle of the bus. Stretching out, he closed his eyes and queued up the rest of his podcast. He let the vibrations of the bus lull him to sleep as it made its way out of the bowels of the bus station.
He had drifted off into half of a nap, only somewhat aware of the bus’s movements. He started to drift into a full sleep when he realized someone was in the seat in front of him. He didn’t remember anyone being around him when he first got on. Glancing around the bus, he couldn’t make out anyone else's face. Just shadowy figures slumped in their seats. He glanced back and froze when he recognized the white wisps of hair. The head turned around to reveal that face with the too tight skin. “You should have stopped,” the man moaned. Granver shrank in his chair.
“What do you want from me?!” he shouted.
“I tried to warn you," the man moaned. “Now it’s too late for us.”
"What do you mean?” Granver asked. “What do you mean it’s too late for us?” Granver sat up and looked out the window. It was dark outside. But as he looked closer he wasn’t on the Turnpike. It was as if they were driving through an orchard of some kind. Dead trees thick with limbs flew by the bus. Faint lights like dangling lanterns were far in the distance. “Where are they taking us?” Granver whispered.
“It’s too late for us.” The man said as he faced towards the front of the bus. “We are going home.”
“I’m Stacey Bell. Tonight, a horrific accident on the NJ Turnpike. A tractor trailer overturned, crushing a commuter bus, killing 13 passengers instantly. News at 10.”
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