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She walked to the bus stop just after eight o’clock in the morning, and settled down on the bench. The timetable showed that the bus wasn’t due until twenty past, but she liked to be early. She had never trusted bus timetables. She pulled a paperback out of her jacket pocket and started reading, casting her eyes up along the road at the end of each paragraph.

She liked this little routine of hers. Sitting at the bus stop gave her a little time to herself, time to read in peace, or time to think. She sniffed. It was a little chilly this morning, and her nose was getting cold. She rubbed it with the back of one hand.

She stopped paying attention to her book, although she still held it as if reading, still stared at the page and only glanced up occasionally to look along the road for the bus. She was thinking about bus drivers. The round faced one who always smiled, the odd chap who sang to himself, the young ones who drove as if they were racing, that one girl who looked too young to even have a license, even the old surly ignorant one, who never smiled and behaved as if customer service was an entirely alien concept. She sighed and looked at her watch. It was twenty-five past eight. She tutted, looking along the road. There was no sign of the bus.

Then again, there wouldn’t be. There hadn’t been a bus in three years. Not since the day the world fell apart. The nearest bus was the one on Euston Road, which had been waiting at the bus stop there at the precise moment It had happened, and it had stayed there, rusting away, providing shelter for a few lucky survivors.

She closed her book and put it back into her pocket. Some days she could sit out here for hours, pretending that a bus would come, that she would go to her office and work and then come home to her family, that the world was entirely normal and unchanged. Other days, like today, the devastation of the last three years was too much to ignore and it just didn’t work.

She got up with a sigh and went home, picking her way through the rubble of her old house to the shelter she had built in her back garden.

© Kari Fay

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