Sylvan Carlisle lived an exceedingly average life. He should know- every day, a
parade of those with existences much more interesting than his passed by his desk. Sylvan was a
‘To the stars!’ his parents had proudly added back when he first took the position. Now,
though, his parents were gone, and his sister viewed his position with prim disdain. Once, she
had jokingly added ‘to the stars!’ while fawning over her latest wealthy boyfriend. Sylvan had
stood up from his seat and left their home.
Three months later, that boyfriend had been gone. Nothing to do with him, of course,
Perry just couldn’t stand to keep one man at her side for any longer than ...view middle of the document...
While Perry had gotten over their parents’ death by playing the dating game, Sylvan
had found no such relief. So, he had turned to the public bus system. It wasn’t just that he rode the
busses almost everywhere- he would occasionally take a seat on a bus and get off at the last
stop, only to catch the next bus going back in the opposite direction.
Watching the scenery fly past the windows calmed him, and with a driver behind the wheel,
there was nothing else to distract him. Of course, when people asked about it, he replied that it
saved him gas money, and was better for the environment. Riding busses as a hobby can be a
difficult thing to explain.
He had once taken a night bus to Phoenix, and night-time freeway bus trips had become
his favorite mode of travel. The glittering lights of cities, towns, and towers shone like stars
on the horizon, and the softly whooshing sound of tires on road was all that could be heard
(except for the occasional snore). Sylvan had noticed that, for some reason, nobody honked
at night. During the day, even light traffic could set off a chain reaction not unlike the spread of
barking through a neighborhood of dog-owners. At night, in addition to lighter traffic, it seemed
that people were simply more willing to wait for the drivers in front of them, and put up with the
On January 23rd, Sylvan had a window seat on city bus number two, his favorite ride.
The route was long and winding, the seats were comfortable, and the driver was kind. With
the early morning sounds of dawn traffic rushing through his ears, he settled back into his
seat. His forehead rested against the window, black hair brushing across the glass, and he
closed his eyes. The bus smelled of warm leather and perfume. The steady, vibrating thrum of
the bus’ engine eventually lulled him into sleep. I’m off work today anyway… he mentally
reassured himself as he slipped into unconsciousness.
Sylvan awoke with a wide yawn. His eyes teared up slightly, and he brushed at them
with his palm, arching his shoulders forward in a lazy stretch. Stifling another yawn, he peered
around the bus, only to find it- empty. Funny. Gladdys usually wakes up passengers right at
the last stop. Did she take a coffee break or something? he casually wondered as he stood,
and stretched his arms up to touch the ribbed metal ceiling. A quick glance at his watch as he
scooped up his satchel revealed that his nap had lasted quite some time. Seven twenty-six?
That nap had lasted almost two hours! he supposed it was a side effect of cramming only four
hours of sleep in the night before.
He made his way to the front of the bus. The driver was absent. He shook his head,
slinging the satchel over his shoulder. A quick touch of the button made the doors slide open.
Sylvan made his way down the stairs and gazed at the scene in front of him. The bus was
parked in a lot, surrounded by a tall wire fence. A few...