Friday, June 26, 2009

The Day the Bus Didn't Come (Unabridged)

In my efforts to decipher Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I find myself thinking of this story I wrote in my English class journal in seventh grade, over the course of several days in October of 1998. As to what in the world this has to do with Murakami, I shall be explaining shortly.

So here it is! All spelling and grammar are original and unchanged. And I didn't realize how long it was, so please forgive the prodigious length of this post.

Horror? Sci-fi? Satire? Wannabe-
X-Files? You be the judge. (I was 12, okay???)

Original Author's Note: In second grade, we were given an assignment to write about a school bus that didn't come. Ever since, whenever I get a creative writing assignment, I write about a missing school bus.

Part 1

One day, in a small rural farming community, Lindsay McGarth was waiting for the school bus with her friend Miranda Glenksi.

They had been waiting for 15 minutes.

This wasn't exactly a rare occurence. In small towns like this, there were usually not many places where a vehicle could be fixed. So if there was a problem with the bus, then a mechanic could be called from a neighboring county.

Neither of the girls wanted to disturb their parents. So they waited.

An hour pulled by.

Lindsay and Miranda waited patiently, making small talk. But still, no bus.

Suddenly, in midsentence, Miranda turned and walked in the direction of Vornholt Middle School.

"Miranda?" Lindsay called after her. "Miranda, what are you doing? Miranda!" Lindsay then realized that she to was walking. And she couldn't stop. What was really weird, however, was the fact that she felt no emotion. No fear, no surprise. She just walked on impulse.

Lindsay and Miranda walked and walked until their feet hurt. But they walked the entire 25 miles to their school.

By then, it was around 11:15.

Once Miranda and Lindsay reached Vornholt, their feet gave way and they collapsed.

Lindsay lay still for what seemed like forever. Her feet still aching, she pulled herself up.

The missing school bus sat in the parking lot.

Part 2

Lindsay stared at the bus, puzzled. What was it doing here?And why had she walked 25 miles?

"Um - Miranda? Do you know what -" her voice trailed off. Miranda wasn't anywhere to be seen.

Lindsay looked around and realized with shock that her surroundings were different.

Vornholt Middle School was a big old building surrounded by huge trees with benches scattered about randomly. The weather had been, if Lindsay remembered correctly, since she normally never bothered to take note of the weather, sunny with big white fluffy clouds. But now, the sky was gray, with the clouds still present.

Vornholt and all it's trees and benches were gone, replaced with a flat, gray windowless building in the middle of a flat, gray plain. There was a featureless road behind Lindsay that led to a parking lot that was enclosed in a barb wire fence that went around the building and a good portion of the land.

What is this? Lindsay thought, horrified. Some kind of prison?

It was then that she noticed the school bus. Still bright yellow, it contrasted sharply with the gray landscape.

Looking down, Lindsay noticed that she still contained color.

A shrill, high-pitched scream interruped her thoughts. It didn't take Lindsay long to realize she had screamed.

Why did I do that? she wondered, and then saw why.

Standing besides the front end of the bus, was man wearing black shoes, black chinos, and a black trenchcoat. His hair was also black.

"The day the bus does not arrive," he said in a flat voice. "Is the day of Judgement."

Lindsay screamed again. Instinctively, she hurled herself and the the barb gate. [I think I left a word out in that sentence.] It swung open easily.

Not stopping to think about her good fortune, Lindsay tore down the road like a madwoman, desperate to get away from the gray building, the gray grass, the gray sky with white cotton candy clouds; Lindsay wanted to run and run and keep running from the Grim Reaper, or whoever that man was.

Lindsay ran.

Part 3

The road went on forever. Long and black, with a double white line down the middle, it stretched as far as Lindsay could see. The gray prarie bordered both sides, dotted with gray shrubs.

Where am I? Lindsay thought, terrified.

She almost ran into a white octagon road sign. Printed on it was the number 98. 98 what?

"The day of Judgement."

The voice came from all directions. It was impossible to tell where the speaker was.

Lindsay screamed hysterically and tore off the road like a maniac. She tripped over a shrub and scrambled up and kept running.

Someone grabbed her arm and she stopped short.

Part 4

Lindsay whirled around.

The person who had grabbed her was a tall, beautiful woman in white. White blazer, white blouse, white miniskirt, 4 inch white high heels. Her hair was black and fashionably cut.

"Who are you?" Lindsay shrieked. "Where am I? What is this place? Who was that guy back at the building?"

The woman didn't answer. She pulled Lindsay along with her, back in the direction of the mysterious compound.

"Let me go!" No matter how hard she tried, Lindsay could not break free. The woman in white had a grip like iron.

Lindsay tried to throw herself on the ground. She had seen her three-year-old brother do that a lot because he knew that when he was on the ground, it was difficult for his parents and sister to get him to go anywhere.

That didn't work for Lindsay. The woman in white hauled her along mercilessly, walking at a steady pace and keeping her dull robot-like gaze staring straight ahead.

The compound loomed ahead. The school bus still sat out front, still yellow and like Lindsay it still contrasted sharply with everything else.

Part 5

The woman's grip on Lindsay tighted as they approached the glass doors. They swung open automatically.

There was a blinding yellow light so intense Lindsay's eyes felt like they were on fire. I'll be blinded! was all she could think.

Lindsay could feel herself being forcibly [pulled? dragged? - forgot a verb there]. Then, suddenly and unexpectidly, the light was gone.

The room Lindsay was in had shiny silver walls, floor, and ceiling. There was a metal chair in one corner. Other than that, the room was devoid of any furniture or features.

Lindsay heard a soft whoosh behind her and felt a faint breeze. She whirled around just in time to see the heavy steel door slide closed.

Lindsay's terror rose. She shaking [sic] even though she wasn't cold. Her legs were trembling so uncontrolably she had to sit on the floor.

Where am I? Lindsay wondered. Where is all the color? I have color, and so does the bus, but nothing else does.

Part 6

Lindsay felt tired. She struggled to stay awak, but soon she was sound asleep.

She woke up a while later, and had no idea how much later it was.

She was in a different room. It looked like the other one, except at one end was a table and two chairs.

Seated at the table, was the man in black, and the woman in white.

"Who are you?" Lindsay screamed.

The two strange adults didn't move or change their expressions.

"It has worked," said the woman impassively.

"She has passed the test," the man agreed in the same toneless voice.

"What worked?" Lindsay demanded.

She didn't expect an answer, but got one.

"This race deserves to live," said the woman. "The interdimensional transporter, disguised as a school vehicle, effectively sent the specimen. Mind control was effective in sending her to the school.

"The specimen responded appropriately to traumatic external stimuli.

"Test and judgement complete."

Part 7

The room dissolved. There was a floating sensation.

Lindsay hit the ground with a thud. For a moment she lay, staring at the sky, blinking.

She was by the side of the road. The sun's merciless glare started to hurt her eyes. Lindsay sat up awkwardly.

"There she is!"

Lindsay turned in the direction of the voice. Four police officers were getting out their squad cars.

What happened? Lindsay couldn't remember.


A few days later, the bizarre story was pieced together. According to witnesses and the students themselves, the school bus had failed to arrive. Then it seemed the students had started to walk to school for no reason.

The bus was seen parked in front of Vornhold Middle School. Mysteriously, one by one, the students began to slowly back out. Doctors were unable to determine the reason. They could not have been forcibly knocked unconcious; someone would have surely seen the attacker(s) and given warning. There was nothing medically wrong with any of the students. No poisinous pesticides had been sprayed recently. There were no toxic waste disposal plants nearby. It all made no sense.

And while the students were unconcious, both Lindsay McGrath and the bus had vanished. Without a trace.

Lindsay had been found several hours later, by the side of the road, six miles away from Vornholt, where she had last been seen.

The bus itself was never found.

"The Vornhold Incident," as it was called, became the most talked about "paranormal" occurence in history. Reporters swarmed the country, and quaint little Vornhold soon became a household name.

The End

So, um, yeah. Parts of this aren't 100% original. (*Sigh* I guess I plagiarized.) I used to have a little book about "real-life" alien encounters, and the author mentioned a novel some UFO researcher had written called Men in Black, Women in White. (I just Googled it and didn't find anything, though.) The gray landscape comes from a video game ad I remember seeing in one of my Star Trek comic books. Yes, I was a rather strange kid.

Plot hole: if the bus never came, how could it have served as an "interdimensional transporter" that transported Lindsay?

Now if only someone would send Lindsay
Lohan to some bizarre Otherworld and actually leave her there. . .


julie said...

I've never read Murakami - gash, another of my lies to my clients... Ok, I'll put it on my list. You got me intrigued...

E. L. Fay said...

Don't feel too bad. I'd never read Murakami either until this point. Glad I've gotten you intrigued!

claire said...

Hilarious! Hahaha!

Anyway, I've read Kafka on the Shore and it was kind of bizarre but I liked it.

E. L. Fay said...

Oh, I've got more where this came from. Sometime in the near-future I'll post my story, written several weeks after this one, about vanishing people and mysterious circles of grass. That one was inspired by an account in one of those "truth is stranger than fiction" books I used to have.

I never took either of them too seriously. They were just fun to write.

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