On the Bus: The Ragged ManbyZrnko_Pisku©
On the Bus is a chain story that does not rely on any previous or incoming chapters. Each submission is considered stand alone and only relates to the others via the bus.
The bus driver was about to close the door and pull away when one last passenger stumbled up the steps and held out a ticket. Grabbing the ticket the driver tore off one of the stubs and handed the remainder to the ragged man who shoved it into the pocket of his threadbare raincoat. He then began walking down the narrow aisle toward the back of the bus.
As the man moved slowly past each successive row the other passengers began to tense up and fidget as he approached, in some cases actually sliding to an aisle seat to block him from sitting next to them. Several passengers fanned their faces and frowned, some even held their nose after he passed.
He finally found an empty pair of seats and sat down, ignoring the two passengers in adjacent seat rows getting up to move to other seats. Unbuttoning his raincoat he folded it in half and placed it in a bin above his seat. He then sat down running his hand down his face, his fingers carefully running down the jagged line of a fresh scar. As his hand reached his chin he ran his palm over the three day stubble dislodging some dried food and bits of lint to fall onto his lap.
Brushing off his lap, something that alarmed several passengers, he leaned back, put his head against the window and closed his eyes. Soon his breathing calmed and he fell asleep. Only then did many of the passengers relax and let themselves close their own eyes.
The bus continued westward into the night and one by one most of the passengers fell asleep. In spite of the apprehension the trip continued without incident. The driver glanced at his watch and then checked his gas gauge. Looking at a passing exit sign it appeared he was confirming he had enough gas to reach his next stopping point.
Suddenly the ragged man sitting alone in the seat row screamed out, "No you don't," and leapt at a couple sitting in a seat across from him. He grabbed the man, pulled him out of his seat and threw him to the ground as something hit the floor and rattled down the aisle.
The ragged man briefly turned his attention to the woman, reaching up, grabbing his raincoat and tossing it to her. She quickly covered up concealing her naked and sliced panties. As he turned back to the man on the ground two other passengers grabbed him and pulled him away from the man, while a third passenger picked a knife up from the floor.
The woman watched as the passengers subdued the ragged man holding him in his seat as the other man got up, dusted off his suit and sat back down next to her. He took her hand and squeezed it firmly.
"What did you think you were doing?" one of the passengers screamed.
The ragged man replied, "It wasn't me, it was him, he did that to her."
By then the bus had slowed to a stop and the driver called out. "Hold him down, I've called the police." He then walked to where the ragged man was held. Looking over at the woman he asked, "Are you okay?"
She looked up at the man in the suit then answered, "Yes, now that they stopped him."
"What about you sir?" the driver asked the man in the suit.
"It was a bad for a moment there, but now that you have him I'm okay."
"Well, the police should be here shortly and we'll see about getting him off the bus," he nodded at the ragged man.
When the police arrived they immediately handcuffed the ragged man and led him off the bus. Passengers watched out the windows as then put him in a patrol car. Before they pulled away with him they also walked the well-dressed man and woman off the bus where they all talked for about fifteen minutes.
Finally the well-dressed man and woman climbed back onto the bus and took their seat where they sat silently as the police cars pulled away and the bus driver closed the door and started up the engine. He pulled out onto the roadway continuing the journey.
After an hour or so when most of the passengers were asleep the well-dressed man leaned his head back and closed his eyes. His hand firmly grasped her long hair as her head bobbed up and down on his lap.