Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Midnight Special by Demetra Fisher

Sitting in the therapist’s waiting room was the worst. It seemed that no matter what time I got there, I always had to wait. Waiting sucks and if you're impatient like me, it sucks even more. Today was no different. I told myself that it didn’t do any good to get
pissed off about it, but I still was.

Lately, I was pretty pissed  about a lot of things. My situation, for one. Three
months ago, life had been great. I’d had a girlfriend. My grades were okay. Graduation seemed like it would finally be a reality. Then out of nowhere, everything changed. One night was all it took to turn my world upside down.

Now, everyone thought I was crazy. All my friends had abandoned me. My girlfriend had broken up with me. She didn’t want a freak for a boyfriend, she said. Even my parents had trouble believing my story. That’s why they decided to put me in therapy.
They were hoping that whatever was “troubling” me would come out during my sessions and that somehow, I could move on. They didn’t get that therapy wasn’t gonna help me. That no matter what they or anyone else did to try and make it better, nothing could keep me from remembering that awful night.

Funny thing is, the whole thing started out pretty normal, like every second Friday of the month. That’s when I always helped out at the teen center. My town is kinda small and the teen center is the one and only “fun” spot besides a couple of fast food restaurants for kids to hang out at. The fact that this all happened in a small town didn’t matter. It could have happened anywhere and probably does. Why it had to happen here and why it had to happen to me is a question I’ve asked myself a least a million times since that night. Too bad, I’ll never know the answer.

Anyway, the second Friday every month, the teen center has a dance. Nothing special,
just a regular dance and every kid in town usually goes since there’s not much else to do.
A couple of the kids from school will dj and the music is pretty cool since no one from the school chaperone's so no one cares that the lyrics are a little racy and the dancing
sometimes get a little frisky, if you know what I mean. But hey, We’re kids, right? We need a little stimulation, now and then, so it’s all good. I was doing my usual thing,
making sure that no one stormed the door trying to get in before their turn in line, checking to make sure that no one was drunk or high or both. Well, not too drunk or too high, anyway. If I turned every kid away who looked like they were having alittle too much fun, I'd never let anyone in. Like I said before, we’re kids, remember?

The dance went on just the same as it did every month. The music got a little too loud at times, some soda spilled as usual, a little drama when some couple broke up, but nothing major happened. All in all, it was a pretty average dance. Soon, it was time to clean up and go home, which I was pretty much down with, since I’d been on my feet all night.
It was my job to make sure the trash was picked up and brought outside and that when the clean up crew finished and cleared out that the place was locked up for the night. After waiting a few minutes for the kids who had dj'd to finish packing up their equipment and haul it out to their cars, the place was quiet. I walked through the building one last time just to make sure everything was clean and picked up for the next day. The trash had all been brought up to the dumpster and everything looked neat as a pin, as my grandma would say, so my job was done. When I locked the door behind me, I glanced over to make sure the kids had remembered to close the lid on the dumpster.  They had,  so it was all good. I headed for the bus stop around the corner and didn't even have to wait. Just as I reached the stop, the bus came and I hopped on. I climbed into my usual seat, the first one on the left behind the wide seatat the front, turning sideways like I always did whenever the bus was mostly empty.
Looking around, I saw there were only two other passengers on the bus. When you're taking the last bus of the day, you don't usually see many people, but that night, for some reason,  I remember thinking there were less people than usual. The lights had seemed brighter too, but then again, maybe the full moon just made everything seem lighter in general, I had thought. So, I relaxed and settled in for the long ride home.
My stop is the last one on the route, so I figured if I shut my eyes for a while I could maybe catch up on some sleep. I was so tired. While I cat-napped, I felt the bus stop a couple of times to let people off. I never figured that someone else might be getting on. I opened my eyes after the last stop. And that's when I saw him.
He was sitting on the back of the bus in the last seat way over to the right. He looked like he'd seen a ghost or maybe he was sick, I couldn't really tell. But he didn't look okay,  that's for sure. He was shaking and muttering something to himself. Maybe he's a wino, I remember thinking. But, he didn't look like he lived on the streets, if you know what I mean. He was dressed okay in regular jeans and a sweatshirt that was from one of the more popular stores, so he must have some money, at least. And he looked clean,  too. But something was definitely off.
I kept staring at him. I couldn't help it. I was curious about him,  wondering what his deal was. Then, he looked up and caught me. I froze and my face got hot. Damn! I turned around quickly,  hoping that he would just let it go. I didn't like the look in his eye.
All of a sudden,  I felt him come up behind me. I turned around and saw that he had sat down in the second row, directly behind me.
"What are you looking at?", he asked me.
I didn't know what to say. But, he didn't wait for me to answer him before he spoke again.
"You'd better get off this bus soon, if you know what's good for you", he told me.

"Mine is the last stop", I told him. I didn't like the way this conversation was going.

"That's too long", he said. Looking me over.

"Well, it's the furthest this bus goes", I said. I'd be damned if I was going to walk an extra five blocks just because this guy had some kind of a problem with me.

"But it's almost midnight",  he said. Like that made sense or something.

"Yeah,  so what?", I asked him. This guy was really starting to creep me out.

"I'd get off sooner, if I were you",  he said so low, I almost didn't hear him.

"Yeah well,  you're not me", I told him. I had just about enough with this asshole. He wasn't gonna get me to budge until I reached my stop.

All of a sudden, I noticed that he was sweating a lot. His eyes started to bulge out a lot too. And he started to make strange sounds out of his throat like he was choking or something. He looked like he was maybe having a fit or he was about to puke. I couldn't tell which. But then he looked at me with a weird expression like he didn't know what was going on. I knew right then, that whatever it was that was happening, it was bad. Too bad,  I didn't get off the bus like he'd said I should.
He stood up then, just as I told myself that I could maybe get off at the next stop, which was the one right before mine. I was beginning to panic. I had no cell phone, so I couldn't call someone for help, but hey, who would I call anyway? Everyone I knew was either out partying or asleep at this hour. I glanced at my watch as the dial switched.




When I looked back at the guy, he was still standing in the same spot, but he didn't look at all the same. He was bigger, somehow. And bulkier. And his hands were...they seemed to be...growing! They were getting bigger and bigger and his fingernails were changing! And so was his face. I could hear the bones crunching and his skin stretching. Holy shit! His forehead was twice the size it had been and his nose wasn't anything like a nose anymore. It was more like a snout. His hands were now more like claws and that's when I shrunk back into my seat. What the hell is this? I remember thinking before I screamed for the driver to stop the bus.

That's when all hell broke loose. In the blink of an eye, the transformation was complete. The guys clothes flew off him as his body grew to double his original size.
He was now covered head to toe in fur! His face wasn't a face anymore but a muzzle.

He wasn't a man anymore...

He was more like a dog. Or a wolf...

A werewolf...

I jumped up and pulled the stop. The bus driver instantly pulled over and I ran for the front door, almost tripping on the way. When I reached the front of the bus, the driver pulled open the doors and I jumped over the three steps to the ground. I took off running as fast as I could. And I never looked back.

But, I heard.

The driver screamed.

The werewolf growled.

Then the gnashing began as the werewolf's jaws connected with the driver's flesh. The screaming continued. So did the gnashing and growling.

My skin crawled but I kept running.

I didn't stop until I reached my house and was in my bedroom with the door locked. Just for good measure, I closed and locked my window too. Then, even though I was fully dressed, I jumped in bed and pulled the covers over my head.

I stayed there for two whole days.

My parents thought I had had a nightmare. My girlfriend didn't believe me and of course, no one else did either. So now, I'm stuck in therapy. I'm pretty sure the shrink thinks I'm nuts too.

But, I know different. I know what I saw that night. My eyes weren't playing tricks on me. It was real. And I know that someday, I'll see it again.

Someday, when I least expect it. Someday when I figure that he's passed me by and that I have been lucky enough for him to forget about me.

Someday when I'm riding the midnight special again and he's on it too.

And then it will be my turn...

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