Overnight Bus

photo by Ron Pruitt


I doze off to the reassuring drone of the engine, and when I wake, there’s a girl beside me, pretty, puffy-eyed, quietly sniffling.

Outside, nightfall shrouds the desert: inside, the girl shreds a dank tissue between agitated fingers.

“I’m Andrew.”

Red eyes look up.

“Car accident,” I explain. “You just got on?”

She nods. “Sleeping pills. My boyfriend cheated.”

Her fists clench.

“Forget him. Move on.”

Lights flicker.

“He cheated!”

Heads turn as she erupts from her seat.

“Stop the bus!”

We watch her leave; a ravening spectre of teenage rage.

“Anyone else?”  Death asks.


“Another poltergeist,” he mutters.




I’ve altered this story following some of the comments, which suggested the meaning was a little vague. I hope that doesn’t seem like cheating to anyone who reads it now, but there’s no point asking for feedback if you don’t act on it – when you agree!

The story was written in response to the photo prompt by Ron Pruitt, for the Friday Fictioneers challenge on Madison Wood’s website, where you will find lots of links to other authors answering this prompt.

28 thoughts on “Overnight Bus

  1. Interesting concept, Trudy. Strong dialogue, too. I was, however a little confused. The girl was a poltergeist?
    Thanks for the comment on my story and the warm welcome. I love this diverse group. It’s the highlight of my week.

    • Thanks Rochelle, I had another confused comment, so I revised to clarify the meaning. Yes, she’s dead, not ready to move on, and so becomes a poltergeist and Death lets her off the bus. I think it reads clearer after the revisions, so your comment was very useful.

  2. Dear Trudy,

    I really enjoyed this story. Very imaginative and well rendered. i like how Death referred to her as a poltergeist and even more how he let her go. Wonderful tale.



  3. I liked this phrase, “the girl shreds a dank tissue between agitated fingers.” You used lots of strong words, but I wasn’t sure if she was a poltergeist or those left in the bus were.

    • Thanks for commenting, I found it useful, and I’ve revised my story a bit – to clarify the meaning. Everyone on the bus is dead, and the girl becomes a poltergeist because she’s not ready to move on – she’s still got boyfriend issues.

    • Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. I shall pop right across and look at your story now.

  4. Love this. So clever. I gasped when I realized it was the “bus of death”… also confused re. the poltergeist at the end..so glad you explained it. Nice work.

  5. good one – I like how when they look at each other, you know something is wrong – and I devoured the rest of the story to find out what it was.

  6. I didn’t see it before you altered it, but the way it reads now is very clear to me. This was a very wonderfully rendered and imaginative take on the prompt and I loved it!

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