Field Trip

“What kind of accident?” She focused on the dead girl, and noticed the doll clutched to her breast. Faded, battered, torn, grayed and frazzled stuffing hung from rips in seams, the plastic head stained like the girl’s clothes and face.

“A car accident. I died. So did Mommy and Daddy.”

“Why are you here?”

“To tell you.”

She stole a glance at the frantic crowd. Another group congealed around the far end of the car and worked with similar futility at the slider on the opposite end.

“Tell me … what?”

“That you’re going to die too. All of these people are.”

She raised her eyes to look over the crowded car, but the hurtling train rose in a stomach-flopping swell of track. Her backside raised off the deck before she slammed down again with a tooth-jarring, tongue-biting jolt. The noise of the train drowned out the screams, the banging of the doors, the panic …

… And her eyes shot open with a gasp that spiked her heart. She flailed, and her hands struck the window and seat beside her as the lurching school bus bounced and rattled, wheezed and chugged up the hill. The narrow blacktop snaked around a sharp bend ahead of them. Her bulged eyes stared through the windshield spanning the width of the bus beyond the driver, six rows ahead of her.

“Are you okay?”

The voice tore her eyes from the wooded mountainside next to her, beyond the thin glass of the ancient window. The stiff seat tossed her and she struggled for balance.

It took a moment to place the voice. Beth. Beth sat beside her on the bus. School trip. To the park atop the snow-crusted mountain. Her mother made a special lunch. Beth, her best friend, always sat next to her. In a moment of tear-swelling relief the surroundings rushed back to her and the sounds churned into the roar and cough of the noisy diesel engine as it strained up the mountain.

“Are you okay?” The repeated question was more urgent. She felt Beth’s hand on her shoulder. “You look all … gray and sweaty.”

She turned, tried to smile but couldn’t. “Y-yeah,” she managed. “Did I fall asleep?”

Beth’s brow furrowed. “Uh — no, I don’t think so. We were just talking, like, two seconds ago. You sure you’re all right? Want me to get Ms. Madison?”

“No,” she said, more urgent than she meant, “no … it’s cool. I’m … okay. I … you sure I didn’t fall asleep?”

2 thoughts on “Field Trip

  1. Emmsy

    No one has commented on this yet? Oh me oh my!
    This one is AMAZING! I can’t remember exactly what I said when you posted it on DA…but I do remember becoming slightly obsessed for a few days…^^; Just sayin’.
    And now I have to stop reading your amazing work and be ‘mature’ and ‘responsible’ by going to bed so I can go to class and work tomorrow. =( Darn you, reality…I’m gonna beat you someday…

    …Well…maybe just one more….

    EMMSY!! I’m so happy to see you! Thank you for coming by and commenting! I’m glad you did. I hope you bookmark the site and visit as often as you’re able. I’ve missed seeing you around!

    1. Emmsy

      =D You have a folder in my bookmarks all to yourself. =D
      I’ve missed reading your stuff! And I finally have a day off tomorrow! =D (I work at McDonald’s now..and for some reason, the scheduling manager likes me and gives me lots of hours without me having to ask for them. I’m very blessed.)

      That is a blessing! I’m sorry to be late getting back to you on all your kind, wonderful comments. I’ve been very busy with job hunting (and catching!) and writing a non-fiction book for a UK publisher. Thank you for stopping by and letting me know you’re around! Now, I’M the one who’s been blessed! 🙂

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