Copyright 2011 by Maxwell Avoi
All rights reserved. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
I woke up bleeding.
I was lying on my back in the rear of a room that I didn’t understand. There was smoke and screaming all around me, terrible smells drifting through the air, and sparks crackling through the air. I sat up in stages, my body creaking and protesting, and waited for my brain to make sense of it.
I’d been on a trip. I was going to a new town to start over after the last one hadn’t worked out. I’d been on a bus.
That’s when the room made sense again. I was looking at the interior of the bus. It was on its side, the entrance pinned against the ground. The smoke was gathering around me and I knew that I had to get out. I remembered a terrific shock and a huge flash of light that had left purplish afterimages on my retinas. I’d landed badly and I was bleeding from a wound on my head somewhere.
I worked my way out from underneath a seat that had me pinned and started to crawl toward the front. That seemed like the best way since there were strange things all over the place and I didn’t trust my balance enough to try and step over them. I heard a woman crying up ahead, begging for help, but before I could get to her I had to make my way around a body lying crumpled near the ceiling. It was burning and was so far gone that I couldn’t tell whether it was a man or a woman. It was the source of the smoke, though, I knew that. It burned brightly, without any indication that it was ever going to stop.