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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

When John, a young ambitious law student, gets a visit from his best friend Mark, the two decide to hang out and spend time together. However, the bus ride home takes a turn for the worse. While John notices several repeat issues with the bus route, mark has no clue. The ride is the beginning of Johns desension from reality in Glitch - part one of a three part series.

P.S. the book will soon be free and is free here

I worked hard my entire winter and spring quarter for this moment: My summer vacation. I didn’t have to return to school until September 3rd and everything was sweet! The summer became even sweeter when my best friend Mark decided to come to town. He left a few years ago to attend another university and his visits were pretty rare. We mostly communicated via email and phone chat so having him here in the flesh was going to make this summer something else! Old memories flooded back giving me the feeling I had when we just entered college and ran rampant at night. Those were moments I’d never forget.

High street today was littered with people walking into different stores and those just standing around on the sidewalks talking to their companions. I watched the sun reflect on different sunglasses and women’s glistening skin as our bus rushed forward with the same obnoxious sound most massive engines had.

“Man, Mark Walker! What have you been up to since moving to New Hampshire?” I asked looking out the window and watching the passing people as we made a right turn on Arcadia and High. Mark shook his head grinning as he moved his deeply curled, dark brown hair from his face. I noticed a triangular hint of sun glimpse on his left forearm, making him appear lighter than his typical dark brown complexion. I thought it kind of odd that I took notice to it, so deciding to ignore it, I turned my attention on Mark again.

“Eh, same old, same old. Since graduating I’ve been looking for a job. I don’t wanna intern.” Mark said. I looked up at him, surprised, wondering why he wouldn’t. I, myself, was interning at Key and Jacobs law firm while I finished my Bachelors program. I wanted to have experience before I entered my Master’s so I could knock one thing off the list as I entered my Doctorate program.

“I know, I know,” Mark finished saying “But it seems like a waste of time to me. I just wanna work!” Mark said raising his hands and dropping them dramatically while laughing.

“You’d probably get a lot more work if you interned. Trust me, they look for crap like that. Experience and blah blah” I said. I didn’t like interning either, but it made sense. Who would want to hire someone that didn’t have hands on experience?

“Yeah, I guess.” Mark said looking back out the window. Didn’t we already pass this street? I thought as we came back around and passed a Hookah spot on Arcadia. What is he doing?

“Hey man, have you talked to Denise yet?” I asked Mark. It was his ex and she’s …changed.

“Yeah man. She has gotten faaattt!” said Mark mocking Stewie Griffin from Family Guy. Mark could be a jerk sometimes, but I don’t think he would ever say that to her in fear of hurting her feelings.

I chuckled as I silently agreed. Normally, I had no problem with a woman’s weight, but she went from maybe 100 something pounds to 200 within a year. Wondering what happened, I decided to not talk about her weight gain.

“What happened with you two? You dump her because of the weight?”  I asked. One minute the two are conjoined at the hip, the next minute they’re breaking up for whatever reason.

“Nah, man. Although, I couldn’t really see her weight while Skyping. We just didn’t work out”

“Why not?” I pried. I didn’t dare ask her. She gave me the look of death every time I passed her on campus. While I was good at ignoring it, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell I did to her?

“She wanted to get married, dude, fucking married. Can you believe that?” Mark said shaking his head. “I’m already in another state, how would that even work?” Mark said looking out the window.”Besides,” he finished“I’m too young to be married.”

“Hmm. Why’s she mad at me?” I asked, seriously wondering. I couldn’t help but notice we passed the same Hookah store when I seen the same hint of sunlight hit Mark’s arm.

“Why does he keep coming down this street?” I asked Mark.

Mark shrugged saying “This is the first time we came down here, isn’t it?”

“No, this is like the third time he turned down this street.” Mark looked at me as if I was crazy. Feeling crazy, I tried to make eye contact with the driver only to notice the rearview mirror was angled to where I could only see the top of his head.

“Anyway.” Mark said changing the subject “She probably thinks you have something to do with it”

Raising my eyebrows, I asked “She does?” wondering how. I always had a girlfriend. I wasn’t the multiple women type, but Mark was. She knew that when she met him. I guess, I thought as we turned down Arcadia and High; passing the empty bus stop for the third time. I looked over to see the same glimpse of light hit Mark’s arm as we passed the same Hookah shop. What the hell? I thought looking at Mark who was staring at me in confusion.

“Now do you notice that we turned down the same street again?” I asked

“Nah man, but you keep phasing out, what’s up?” he asked me.

Beginning to get angry, I looked up to ask the bus driver “Why do you keep going down the same street?”

Saying nothing, the driver kept going as he turned down another street. Thinking he was ignoring me, I carefully got up form the back seat and walked down one step, staying on the bottom step and holding onto the yellow support bar.

“Excuse me?” I asked again louder.

“He probably thinks you’re crazy.” Mark said looking out the window. Seeing the same spot of light hit his left forearm for the fourth time made me even angrier. Is he trying to kidnap us or… something? I thought stupidly, walking to the front of the bus. Mark trailed behind me this time thinking I was going to hit the guy. I wasn’t, I just wanted to stop being ignored.

“Hey?” I said giving the guy a forceful nudge on the shoulder. His head began to turn as I leaned in to try and meet his eyes. His head continued to turn until I only seen the back of his head as his chin touched the left side of his shoulder and back. I still couldn’t make out his face completely as his head continued to turn in a position I thought was humanly impossible. That scared me into wondering how I could get off the bus while it still moved. I looked back to Mark to see if he saw what I saw only to see Mark and a man talking at the back of the bus. We hadn’t made any stops, so how did this guy get here?  I looked back at the driver to see him facing the road again. Cowed by the bus driver and the anonymous stranger, I decided to try and get some answers from Mark instead.

Walking to the back of the bus seemed to take an eternity as I bumped into each black plastic seat and held onto the yellow bars for support. The driver made the same turn on High and Arcadia; passing the same empty bus stop; passing the same Hookah store.

Further inspection of the gentleman Mark was talking to gave me a crawling chill as I noticed his dark, sandy blonde hair, his blue basketball shorts, and white t-shirt. I noticed a small tear on his tennis shoes and a scar on his forearm that resembled mine.

Walking up the small steps, I eavesdropped on the conversation hearing the man talking to Mark say “Hmm. Why’s she mad at me?” The man focused on Mark with a look as intent as mine when I asked Mark the same question earlier.

Getting closer to the man, I tapped his shoulder to see if he recognized me, or realized we were wearing the same outfit. I refused to believe it was me. How could it be?

The man continued talking with Mark as if I didn’t exist before the driver slammed on the brakes, knocking me down the two small steps and onto the floor by the rear exit. Falling with a loud cough and onto my spine, I managed to protect my head from the impact with the cup of both my hands.

“John?” Mark said, running down the steps and peering into my face.

“John?”  Said the guy, having the same pale green eyes as me. The same scar on my cheek that I got in the fifth grade while playing hockey. The same cologne I was wearing and the same chipped, bottom tooth I had when playing high school football.

“John?” Mark said again concerned,

“John?” said the perpetrator eyes lighting up and grinning

“John?” Mark questioned again, shaking my shoulder

“JOHN!” the guy exclaimed, breaking out in laughter. The entirety of his eyes shifted from a snow channel on a bad connected, old fashioned television to dark red. Then green, blue, and finally back to my pale green irises. I backed up not knowing what the hell was going on as I tried to make sense of it. I didn’t do drugs, so I knew that wasn’t the case, and I knew I wasn’t sleeping.

“John! John! JOHN!” The perpetrator shouted eyes quickly shifting from the snow black and white of a bad connection to deep blood red. It was so deep that the outlines of his irises were hidden. Face reddening and spittle flying from his mouth as he grinned, the man grabbed my shoulder. Jerking back and swinging my left hand at the guy, I managed to sit up and back up closer to the rear door.

“John? John? Dammit John are you tired?” asked Mark as I looked over from my original seat. The bus slowed across the street from the Hookah store and at the empty bus stop.

“Alright gang, I have a flat. It could take a while; you might need to wait for another bus. Sorry for the inconvenience” said the bus driver. He stood stretching his back hiding his short cropped, fine grey hair under a COTA baseball hat. His swelled belly poked out as he twisted from side to side with his hands on his hips. Mark complained about the inconvenience while I stood dumbstruck with no idea on what was happening.

“Did we not pass this stop like five times already?” I asked Mark. I treaded lightly in fear of sounding crazy, but I think it was too late.

“No man, we literally just got on. Maybe we should walk, you need some air …I guess,” Mark said raising his eyebrows briefly, giving me the “Wow” look. I knew he thought I was crazy, but I know what just happened.

Walking to the front of the bus past the driver, Mark began talking again. I assumed he wanted to ignore my weird behavior and I just let him.

“Hey did I tell you about what happened between me and Denise?” Mark said looking at his shoes.

The driver looked at me in satisfaction with sharp blue eyes, thin pale lips, and even paler, almost translucent skin. Closing the door and driving off, I stared, bewildered, as if I could see through the back of the bus and look the driver eye to eye. I thought he had a flat? I questioned as Mark appeared unfazed. He’d probably think I was insane if I brought it up, so I decided to ignore it. I’d figure something out as soon as I got home to the security of my bedroom and internet access.

Remembering Mark asked me a question; I shook my head and said “Nah man, what happened?”

“She wanted to get married, dude, fucking married. Can you believe that?” Mark questioned, nudging my arm with his elbow to see if I agreed.

I didn’t know what to believe anymore.





Submitted: July 30, 2015

© Copyright 2020 Sue1111. All rights reserved.

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