A simple bus ride, right? At least that's what Maria Jacob thought.
|Personally I missed my truck. It had been a deep forest green, four-wheel drive, and I had to actually climb to get into the monster. Reason I didn’t have it anymore… My Ex husband took it when he kicked me out of the house. He hadn’t even bothered to tell me in person that he wanted the divorce. We had been married for eleven months, dating and living together for two years before that. The jerk even took my house in the deal. What did I get? My laptop, and a headache: which was probably why I had taken the bus. I had to meet with my editor, well, the man that was running my website. I was living in a crummy little apartment in a crummy little dying town in the Appalachians, and he lived in a small city near Philly. Figured letting a bus take me up would save on gas and trying to coax my rust bucket, the only thing I could afford after the divorce, really, why the hell does a truck driver, who’s on the road twenty days of the month need a four bedroom house, besides, he hated the place anyway, up the mountain passes. It gave me time to write at least. The meeting was on Thursday; I’d get into Reading, bypassing Philly, Tuesday night. Gave me time to relax in my hotel and learn a little of the layout of the town. I was going to rent a car; there was another place I wanted to check out anyway. Then it would be back to my little whole in the wall apartment back to writing stories for teens to drool over.
Pressing my back against the seat the laptop sat on my lap, I had eight hours of battery life, then another battery in my bag. It would be enough for the trip up at least; I’d charge the batteries at the hotel.
I was facing backwards, on one of the benches that went to the side. It was late night, so for the most part the bus was empty. Besides me there were half a dozen other passengers, two were dozing in seats further up, while a group of four were in the back playing with an acoustic guitar. I was tempted to pop in some music when they started up. Smiling at the group I almost laughed. None of them looked older than mid twenties, which made me think a few college buddies.
But they looked like a mismatched group. The one playing the guitar was dressed in flannel and torn jeans, looking like he was more at ease in the grunge scene on the West Coast. The woman singing softly was in a sleeveless sundress, white cheap sneakers, the kind you used to be able to get for eight bucks in the early nineties, but now cost sixteen dollars. I shouldn’t talk though, I live in the same kind of shoes, traction sucks for running, but they’re comfortable.
The other woman was dressed in knee-high boots, a short black punk skirt, the black tank she wore over a black fishnet top sported a white skull with a dagger in it’s mouth. She even had the black hair and make-up. Her companion was dressed in nice slacks, a dress shirt, and had bands across his arms. Both frilly looking like garters that should have been on the Goth girl’s outfit.
“Any requests?” The grunge boy asked noting I was watching them. His eyes were a soft golden brown. The sunshine nest to him looked up, her crystal blue eyes reminding me of the ocean in Hawaii. I had been there, once before when I was a kid.
“Aw, sugah you have to have one,” Her accent was genuine Southern. I had to crack smile. There were some things that I wished I had been able to pick up; the accent was one. Instead I have this English accent mixed with a little Texan drawl, and I’ve never been to Texas or England.
The boy paused. “Angelica, here.” He handed her the guitar moving to look out the window.
“Alx?” I sat up a little, as he stood moving closer to me. I thought he was headed for the front of the bus, but he stopped beside me.
“Miss Jacobs, you may want to put your laptop away now. Trust me.”
How’d he know my name, I made sure my face wasn’t plastered over the blog I write for Dixson. There was a curse from the driver, making me slip my laptop back into the hard pack I had.
“What’s going on?” One of the pair ahead of me asked right before it happened.
Alx wrapped his arm around me bracing the other on the seat. His three friends had already moved forward protecting the other two passengers while the driver yelped. The bus jumped forward. I heard grinding gears and knew a big rig had hit us; the back of the bus started to cave in towards us. Before I knew what was going on the man scooped me up in his arms handing me to his finely dressed companion.
“Oak, take the girls out of here.”
Who was he talking about? My pack was thrust at me, the guitar case was thrown at sunny southern, who caught it one handed.
“Probably, go. Get Jacobs to King Magiral.”
Okay, why me? I mean I’m a mediocre writer at best, and not special at all, if anything I was born under a bad sign. I would have had to with all the crap I’ve dealt with in my thirty years.
Not like I could complain at all about the situation. The man, Oak, if I caught his name right, was bounding for the front of the bus blocking my sight of anything behind us. Angelica was on one side, and the other girl was to the other side, as if flanking us. Oak didn’t use the door, by now the bus had stopped dead in his tracks. We barreled through the windshield; he curled around me.
Before I could even scream we were bounding down the country road, the two women moving along side us, the dark one motioning for the other two to move. I watched as she turned around, something in her hands glowing as she stood her ground.