The Bus Stop This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Joshua could care less where he was going. To him anywhere was fine. He couldn’t bare the sight of this hick town any longer, his hometown for twenty-one years. Charleston. That was the name. He smiled, what a stupid name, he thought. I could have come up with a better name than that.

He leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees, and hands on his face. Joshua Hyrum was leaving. Leaving what was his life, his family, and any memories that could remind him. The street smelled like crap. The bus stop bench he was sitting at, even worse. Flies buzzed in and out of the wastebasket next to him.

He briefly thought about why he was taking some bus instead of the Jeep, and with that, the memories flooded his eyes. The glass, the twisted metal.., the blood soaking into the pavement. He couldn’t stand the images. The terror of seeing his wife-to-be in the driver’s seat, head smoothed over, and arms still holding the horn down. And his daughter, laying in that ditch while the horn eternally blared. In one night, his life was gone. In one night, nothing.

The dreams were the worst he supposed. Your mind had a way of changing things like that, morphing them to be even more terrifying, sadder. Cold sweats, migraines, screaming in the night. He couldn’t help it.

Any help that was sent, he ignored.
Even the pastor, who had personally known the tragedy of sudden loss, he turned away.

He hoped that by leaving, he could erase his old life, start anew. But, how long would that take? How long does it take to throw away such a cherished life, so suddenly?

“Hi,” a young girl’s voice called.

Joshua did not look up, he only mumbled a ‘hi’.

The girl, dressed in a clean, blue dress plopped herself onto the bench. She started to play with her golden hair, clad in a blue hair tie. “What’s your name?”

Joshua raised his shoulders. “Don’t have one.”

The girl stopped midstride, and looked at Joshua with a confused face. “How could you not have a name? Everyone has a name you know. Even I have a name, and I’m only five, almost six.”

Joshua still did not look at the girl. Though he did glance at the sky for a second. The clouds overhead were starting to get darker. It was going to rain soon. He could already feel it getting colder. The girl tapped his shoulder.

“You look sad mister.” She scooted closer to him. “You know, when I was sad, my mom used to sing a song to me. Although she wasn’t very good at it.” She leaned over to whisper. “Between you and me, I only laughed at her bad singing and dum songs…”

Joshua felt a shiver. “Where is your mom anyhow? It’s gonna rain soon you know. You shouldn’t be out here in this.”

“Oh, well she died.” The girl looked down at her shoes.

Joshua raised himself up to look at the girl. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… well…” He sat completely up and faced the little girl in blue. “What about your daddy? Is he around?”

She still looked down, twiddling with her shoes. “He’s around here, somewhere… but I think he’s lost.”

“Do you know where he might be? I can help look for him…”

“No. He needs to look for himself.” She looked up at Joshua and smiled. “I have hope for him.”

Joshua’s heart skipped a beat. His blood ran cold, and his mouth fell open. Sitting next to him was his daughter. How, he couldn’t believe. He was in shock; there was no way she could have been there. “Sammy! Baby your alive!” With tears swelling in his eyes he reached out his arms to hug her, and fell onto the bench. With shock, he looked up. The seat was empty.

It started to rain.





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