The desert was an endless stretch of sand rocks and a few thorny plants. The bus was almost empty. Just me travelling eastward to meet up with Kate again. On a seat across the aisle a boy and his mother.
I stiffened and started to sweat despite the cold air blowing from the A/C. The boy was a demon. I knew them from before.
The demon boy had lamplight eyes, grey with specks of venomous green, the begging kind that could make you jump from a cliff if he wanted. It was a beautiful boy, his mischievous curls bounced with the movement of the bus, but he smiled in a sinister way.
I knew that he was making plans of how to best inflict pain.
Who would be his victim?
His mother sat on the edge of her seat. She seemed to be watching and waiting as if she had a suicide bomb in her bag, but despite her hijab I knew better.
She was scared of her son.
She feared him even more than I did.
She had probably found the bodies of kittens, hidden, dismembered for her to find, she had seen the fear of a babysitter declining a job; she had cursed him but when the demon started to act she would be loyal to him.
I averted my eyes, staring into the comforting desert outside. We were to stop in Winslow in just two hours. I could leave this cursed bus, find a motel room and continue the next day. I could call Kate and tell her.
“It’s not a phobia, it’s rational, it’s real”, I mumbled, rehearsing what I would say.
She would probably give up on me this time, but I would be safe from the demon.
I would be free to go hunting for kittens just like before.
I smiled at my reflection in the window.
This is written for Magaly at Poets United trying to capture something of fears and phobia. I do not really know where the inspiration came from, I just started writing.
May 5, 2019
Oh my. I think the ending surprised even you. Yikes. This is eerily well done. I can see the child, feel the mother’s fear. The ending gobsmacked me. SO well done!
The ending was not planned… and it did surprise me.
Honestly, I’m alarmed by the ending. How am I supposed to sleep tonight?
Sorry for that…
I recently saw a cartoon on someone’s FB wall. It portrayed a man covered in swastikas, holding dynamite sticks, machine guns and other things meant for destruction. The man stood in front of an individual who was hovering by some sort of watch tower, and said, “I’m here for the terrorists…” and maybe thieves, I can’t quite remember the details. This narrator reminds me of that man. Of the sort of person who sees evil and abuse everywhere, or in specific places, but rarely takes the time to look at himself or herself in the mirror and make sense of the horror oozing from his or her own soul.
This, my friend, is a truly terrifying story. And your muse structured for maximum effect. I wonder if she has been reading the news while you weren’t looking. 🙂
I think the scariest part is what can lay there in someone right across the aisle… in more ways than one.
This went to a dark place fast. I had to catch my breath a bit once I understood we had front row tickets to the mind of a monster. This was very chilling–the paranoia, the xenophobia. I wonder how many people there are walking around like this in real life. Far too many I suspect. Masterfully done.
This is what I fear too… the good thing is that most people are way better than this.
That ending! And that bus ride…so many questions that I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know the answers to.
Yikes! This is incredibly dark, eerie and chilling, Bjorn! I have goosebumps 😮
Very chilling. I must admit to being a bit confused though about the ending. I assumed that the narrator and the boy were two different characters (and the boy was the one who killed kittens), but when I read the ending…I wondered if the narrator was the one killing kittens. Sigh. I think I am a bit confused, but the story kept me interested & questioning to the end.
I think the end is a bit open to interpretation… my intentional intention was that the narrator recognized his own demon in the boy… but it can be that he only talks about himself.
Very scary and spooky! You were truly inspired, particularly as you yourself didn’t consciously expect that ending. It’s perfect – as well as beyond startling. I think Rommy read it right. The mention of the hijab was a small clue; it bothered me a bit, but then I rationalised it …until the ending gave me a double-take.
I remember a woman I once knew, who used to say of various people that she could see ‘dark energy’ around them. It was so palpably not true of at least some of those people, I eventually realised she must be seeing through a cloud of darkness around her own head/mind, so it would be wherever she looked, apparently belonging to others but really hers.
I am not really clear either what is the real background of this. Certainly the narrator had his own darkness, but he might have seen a similar mean streak in te boy or it might have been filtered through xenophobia… when you start to enter to dark thoughts I’m not sure that you can trust the narrator at all.
Phobia rises out of darkness and you’ve created that darkness for the readers to be wrapped with phobia. Ouch! What an end!
I like the progression, the recognition of a kindred spirit and the twist at the end, Bjorn, very dark, But hey, writer, leave those kittens alone!
this is totally scary. a demon seeing his own kind. i would not like to be the bus driver. or is there even one? 😮
Well-written and shocking. The giveaway might have been the “…comforting dessert outside”, the same dessert that was “..an endless stretch of sand rocks and a few thorny plants.” You paint a chillingly dramatic portrait.
It’s a pretty dark and scary story. The demon boy with a sinister smile really scares me. But I like the narrator’s masterly skill of revealing the phobia without mentioning it. Only giving clues of this mother “watching and waiting as if she had a suicide bomb in her bag, but despite her hijab…” This indeed, is a phobia most common nowadays in most parts of the world. But phew…what an unexpected ending!
Very dark….and yet, inspired.
I loved this, creep children can be very unsettling!
Some people see demons everywhere, unaware that they are demons themselves. That’s what I got from the story. It kept me intrigued.
What a surprise ending. that bus should be called ‘Hell Bus’! Well done!
What a great and fearful read this was, I just wish that the next time you write something like this you place a large letter H for horror before we start reading, just so we can sleep at night!