Anya shivered and hugged her jacket collar tight around her neck. The cold October air was sending waves of goose bumps all over her body. Having just finished a twelve-hour shift at the hospital, she wanted to get off her feet as soon as possible.
Where was the bus anyway? She looked as far West as she could on Finch, hoping to spot the blue TTC headlights in the distance, but her vision was blocked by a thick wall of fog.
She started to think maybe she should start the long walk home, when she heard someone speaking to her, “are you getting on Miss?”
Startled out of her thoughts, she looked up to see a bus had pulled up in front of her with its doors wide open. Funny, she had not heard the bus approaching, yet there it stood a few feet away. Anya would have given it some more thought had it been any other night, but tonight she was cold and craved warmth more than anything else.
The bus driver was a tall woman dressed in an impeccably tailored tuxedo, with the scariest zombie costume Anya had ever seen. Sores stood out against her grey dead skin accompanied by dry blood stains across her forehead, hands and cheeks. She was practically bald except for a few errant wisps of brown hair around her ears. Her gums were black and gooey which Anya guessed was probably molasses smeared on for effect.
As she paid her fare and made her way to her seat, she noticed there was no one else on board the musty smelling bus; which was strange because it was only 8:45 pm. She chose a seat close to the front of the bus so that she could let the driver know when to let her off.
“I love your costume! If I didn’t know any better I would say your costume is real,” Anya complimented the bus driver. “I’m Anya.”
The bus driver gave her a tight controlled smile and said, “I’m Zola. Thanks for the compliment.” Zola had committed to her costume all the way; she even spoke in a creepy warbled voice.
“Are you going to a work party tonight?” Anya inquired. “I wish that could be me right now, but I’m exhausted.”
“Something like that” Zola responded while staring straight ahead. Clearly she did not want to be bothered.
Anya sat back in her seat and tried looking out the windows to see if her stop was coming up soon…weird…she couldn’t see anything because of the fog. How could Zola navigate in this weather?
“Excuse me, Zola. Do you know where we are?” Anya asked. “I have to get off at Jane and Finch, and I’m pretty sure we might have passed it by now.”
“We passed it a long time ago” Zola drawled in her hoarse dead voice. “Only one more stop on this bus” she continued, still staring straight ahead without looking at Anya.
Something was wrong. Anya was not sure what exactly, but she needed to get off this bus pronto!
“You can let me off here. Thanks.” Anya tried to sound authoritative, but she could hear the tremble in her voice as she spoke.
Suddenly, Zola stood up and started walking slowly and crookedly towards her. Anya recoiled to the back of the bus and tried desperately to open the windows, but they would not budge. Just as she was about to try breaking the closest window, she felt a cold dead hand on her shoulder.
This time Zola was staring directly at her, with the black goo from her gums dripping down her mouth as she said, “What’s the matter Anya? I thought you wanted to party tonight.”
Anya felt her knees buckle and saw the dancing spots of black in front of her eyes. She remembered feeling unusually cold as she slipped into oblivion.