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The Bus Station MAG
I glance at my watch again. It's one minute later than the last time I looked. He's still not here. That's not like him. Jim is usually so punctual, that's one of the qualities I admire in him. There's so much about him that I admire. But that's what's weird about our relationship. I respect his organization, his intellect, his full scholarship to Brown. He admires my creativity, my maturity, my job at the bank. But there's no affection in our relationship. We never say "I love you" to each other. I did once. We were eating at a romantic little Italian restaurant on our ten-month anniversary, and he almost choked on his linguini.
Half an hour late. Something must have happened to him. I start worrying, scenes of wailing ambulances and broken windshields spin through my mind, and I shake my head to clear the horrible thoughts from it.
I glance around the nearly deserted bus station, letting my gaze linger on the dingy walls and dirty windows. Windows so dirty you can't even see out . Not that there's anything to see outside anyway. Just more dinginess and the depressing brown of a snowless winter.
My wandering inventory of the station stops suddenly, retraces its steps, and rests on a lone figure. A girl, about my age, seventeen or so, sits on a bench, legs crossed and head bent. Her long black hair obscures her face from view. There's a book in her lap and I wonder what she's reading.
I'm torn between going over and talking to her and staying where I am. She looks content to be alone, but I'm bored as hell. Jim could be here any minute, but I have a feeling that he's never going to show up. I shuffle my feet and slowly rise, watching the girl to see if she looks up. She doesn't. I start to walk towards her, and realize when I'm about halfway there that I could end up hating this girl. I could be stuck talking to the most boring person on earth for an infinite amount of time.
I give her the benefit of the doubt and continue towards her. She still hasn't looked up. After what seems like years I reach her bench and sit down, weary from my extensive journey across the bus terminal. She lifts her eyes from her book to see who has invaded her privacy, and I finally see her face. Huge, almond shaped eyes, as green as my mother's emerald earrings, stare up at me out of a pale, delicately boned face. She runs a slim hand through her long silky hair, the blackest I have ever seen, and raises an eyebrow inquisitively. I immediately feel stupid. Stupid for coming over here, stupid for thinking this girl would want to talk to me, stupid for the nervous little cough I can't get rid of. I wish Jim would get here.
"Hi," I choke out. It sounds more like a chipmunk being strangled than the English language.
"Hi," she responds, sounding just thrilled about the fact that I exist.
"So, are you, ah, waiting for your ride too?" I realize it's a stupid question the minute the words spill out of my mouth, but the echoing silence of the station is unbearable, so I say the first thing that comes to mind.
She knows it's a stupid question, too. I watch a shadow of sarcasm pass across her face, and her eyes seem to turn an almost blackish green for a brief second.
"Yeah," she answers, evidently abandoning a witty, sarcastic response for a monosyllabic one. She effectively makes me feel like an idiot.
"Yeah, me too," I repeat myself, "I'm waiting for my boyfriend, Jim. He's never late, I don't know what's wrong. Maybe he's having car trouble. Or maybe he's stuck in traffic, or ,," I take a breath and realize that I'm babbling.
"Or maybe he just forgot," she says.
I stare at her in disbelief. For a minute her words hang in the musty air.
"Jim? Forget? He'd never do that. Never. Not Jim, no, he'd never...," my voice trails off into silence as her grin slowly turns into a low, evil chuckle.
"He'd never. Yeah, sure honey. He's probably out at your fancy Italian restaurant with some other chick. I'll bet you're the farthest thing from his mind right now."
I wonder how she knows about the Italian restaurant. It could be just a guess, but who knows? This girl gives me the creeps - I get the feeling that she's capable of anything.
"Jim would not cheat on me. We have an excellent relationship." My voice falters on the word "relationship" and she notices.
"That's what they want you to think, baby. That's the big lie they all want you to believe."
"Oh, really? You're so sure of yourself. Do you have your boyfriend wrapped around your little finger?" I challenge her
She looks at me in surprise. "My boyfriend? No. No, no, no." She chuckles again, that low, scary chuckle.
"You see?" I exclaim triumphantly.
"I killed my boyfriend," she says, quietly but intensely.
A shiver runs down my spine and my brain screams for my body to run away from this person. But I am stuck to the bench by a mixture of paralyzing fear and morbid curiosity.
"You...oh." What do you say to a murderer? Especially when she's sitting next to you in a deserted bus station? I like your lipstick?
"Yeah," she says, pulling a pack of cigarettes from her coat pocket and casually lighting one. "Smoke?"
I shake my head no, still too shocked to think clearly.
"Yep," she continues, "I knocked off the bastard. He had it coming." She flicks the ash off her cigarette and takes another haul.
"But....," my brain frantically scrambles to form words, "but what did he do...to deserve... you killed him?"
"What did he do? He cheated on me. He didn't even bother to hide it. Especially toward the end."
The way she says "the end" sends chills through me.
"I saw them together all the time. At the movies, at the mall, everywhere. He thought I was oblivious to it all. That's what he thought, right up until the second I pulled the trigger."
I wince. Blood, even the mention of it, has always made me sick. Jim always teases me about it. Where is he, anyway? It's been over an hour.
"Did you...kill him recently?" I want to know if I'm dealing with a psychopath on a rampage or if this is something buried in her past.
She grins at me and blows a puff of smoke through her nose. "Yeah, pretty recently."
I look at her expectantly, waiting for her to elaborate. She doesn't.
"Well? How recently?" My curiosity frightens me.
"Tonight," she says. "About five hours ago. You see that locker over there? Number 42-A? He's in there. And there's an empty locker next to it, waiting for his girlfriend. She's next. I know everything about her, her name, her address, her favorite color."
My breath is coming in short little gasps. This girl is crazy. I have to get out of here. I dig through my pocketbook, hoping desperately that a dime will materialize. I'll call a taxi and get out of here, get as far away from here as possible. My fingers close around a cold metallic disk and I quickly fish it out of the rubble in my pocketbook. Penny. Damn. I stick my hand back in and look desperately for a glint of silver. My vision blurs and I wipe away tears of frustration and fear. I finally find a quarter and walk as fast as my shaking legs will carry me to the pay phone.
I pick up the receiver and shove the quarter in the slot. I dial the number and put the receiver to my ear. Silence. Confusion. A million thoughts run through my head, like pieces of a puzzle coming together.
"It's dead, Brenda," a voice from behind me echoes through the lonely station.
I turn around, slowly, feeling the blood drain from my face. Her blackish, green eyes burn through me as she aims her gun at my chest, chuckling that low, evil chuckle. n