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The 8:08 pulled out just as she ran up to the bus station. She sighed. So much for getting an early start to the week. Still, after the heavy weekend she’d had, she ought to be glad she wasn’t still hungover and running late.

She settled down on the metal bench. The next bus would be there in ten minutes, so she had a little time to kill. She pulled her handbag onto her lap and started to pull her book out.

She paused, staring at her hand. There was blood around her fingernail.

“What the… how the hell did I do that,” she muttered to herself. “Must have caught it on something.”

She shrugged, pulled her book out, and sat reading until the bus arrived and spilled schoolchildren into the station.

She showed her pass to the driver and got on, settling herself down in a window seat. It seemed quieter than usual today, and although she tried to carry on reading the motion of the bus and the dull roar of its engine lulled her to sleep.

Blood. Red, hot and sticky. Dripping from the end of her knife. She ran her finger along the blade and brought it to her lips…

She sat up with a start. Her heart was racing, and she felt a sudden rush of heat in her cheeks. She looked around nervously. She hadn’t missed her stop – that was good. She sat up a little straighter and put her book away. She obviously wasn’t going to get any more done, not with this drowsy feeling in her head and the taste of hot blood in her mouth, tangy and vital, and the memory of people screaming.

Her head jerked up again. There was somebody staring at her. A man in a dark suit, sitting on one of the sideways seats at the front of the bus. He was holding a newspaper, but he was staring over the top of it, looking right at her. She tried to avoid his gaze, but she could feel his eyes on her. Why was he staring at her? Had she got food on her face or something? Was her hair standing up?

She risked a glance over at him and froze.

The headline on the front of his paper read “Vicious Stabbing – Woman Sought”, and the photofit underneath looked just like her.

© Kari Fay