OK, I admit I’m no Stephen King and horror is not my thing. But it is Halloween and that puts me in the mood to share a ghost story with you. This is a story from my first book, “Things I Remember,” and it happened just the way I describe it.
THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT
The man next to me said he was dead. I looked around the bus. We were the only passengers. It was late and raining hard.
“Pardon?” I said.
“I don’t understand. You look ok.”
“No, I’m dead. I’m the only one who knows it, though. My wife didn’t believe me. She left, took the dog. My boss said I needed professional help. Too late I told him.”
“Umm.” I looked at my watch. Almost midnight. This bothered me. I should have been home four hours ago, but my car broke down. Had to leave it at the garage and take the bus for the first time in my life. Just my luck I get stuck on the midnight bus with a man who thinks he’s dead and it’s raining cats and dogs.
I got up and walked to the front of the bus.
“Pardon me, sir, how much longer till Mission Avenue?”
“Listen. This guy back there is sick or crazy or something. He’s…”
“Yeah, that’s George. Don’t’ worry about him. He’s dead.”
“That’s crazy,” I said to the driver. “He’s as alive as you and me.”
The driver snickered.
I turned back to the man who told me he was dead. He was pulling strands of white hair from his head.
I dropped to the seat behind the driver and watched the man. Just then, the bus slowed to a stop and a woman climbed aboard.
“Hello Miss Martha.”
“Hello John. You’re running late.”
“Sorry, it’s the weather, Miss Martha.”
The woman walked past me and smiled. She didn’t carry an umbrella, but she was as dry as a bone. She took the seat across from George.
“Hi George. How are you doing tonight?”
“I told them I wasn’t feeling good. Nobody listened, though. They never listen.”
“I’m sorry, George. You know how they can be at times.”
I listened to their conversation, watching the man pull hair from his head. I was not feeling too good myself at this point.
Then suddenly, a strong wind rattled the bus and jarred me back to my senses. Standing in the middle of the bus was the bus driver, while the bus continued to roll down the road. I looked around the divider and saw the bus driving itself.
“Well, George, we’re almost there,” the driver said. He opened the compartment above the seats and took out a black lunch box. “Here you go George. You take this. It’ll get you through your trip.” The driver handed the box to George.
“Thank you John. You’re a true friend.”
I looked around the bus knowing there must be a hidden camera somewhere. This couldn’t be for real. Then the bus stopped.
George and Martha got up and walked to the door with the driver behind them. The driver stood at the door waving as the two walked out into the darkness.
Then he looked at me, with eyes hollow in his head and a wild smirk. “Next stop, Mission Avenue.”