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Adam was not a morning person. He regularly slept through three alarms, dragging himself out of bed at the last minute with just enough time to shower, dress and run out of the door to catch the bus. He never had breakfast; skipping it gave him at least ten more minutes in bed.

He claimed that he didn’t drive to work because the bus was cheaper; he didn’t have to pay congestion charge, and there were no parking fees. In reality, it was because he could safely fall asleep on the bus.

He never looked at the other commuters at the bus stop. He was glad they were there because it meant he hadn’t missed the bus, but he had never even looked at them enough to register whether they were male or female, let alone any particular details.

He waved his bus pass at the driver and sat down, closing his eyes and allowing the hum of the engine and the gentle motion to rock him back to sleep. He had perfected the art of dozing on the bus. He knew every turn of the route, and knew he would wake up at just the right time.

Today, though, there was somebody behind him making a godawful racket. It didn’t sound quite like snoring, and it didn’t quite sound like an interminable coughing fit, but it sounded quite, quite horrible.

He opened his eyes and peered blearily around the bus. There were no empty seats in front of him. He looked around a little. No seats on the other side. If he looked around any further he would have to make eye contact with the heavy breather behind him.

Reluctantly, he turned.

The thing behind him looked like it might have been a woman. Might, that is, if it wasn’t missing half of its face. It looked like a candle that had been left too close to the radiator; her face was dribbling down onto her pink tartan jacket. Her jaw had almost completely detached.

Adam screamed.

He turned and jumped up, heading for the front of the bus. The other commuters turned to look at him.

“Whassa matter?”

A thing stood up in front of him. From the tweed jacket and the walking stick it looked like it was once an old man, but now there were bits of skull showing through the melted flesh.

Adam screamed and pushed it aside.

“Stop the bus,” he yelled, pushing the button frantically. “Stop the bus!”

The driver turned to look at him as he reached the door. Her nose had dribbled down across her mouth and was now dangling off the end of her chin, and she made some kind of muffled noise that he couldn’t understand. The bus didn’t slow down.

He pulled at the doors, yanking them open as the tweed jacketed thing and other distorted commuters moved towards him.

He was about to leap when he saw his own face in the rearview mirror.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Happy Hallowe’en!)

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