Nightfall

“This tower is 700 years old,” said Uncle Atticus. “The house came later.”

Lotta trailed behind. The incessant winding left her dizzy. Added to that, his tower smelt bad. Bat droppings. Damp. An unidentified animal smell that seeped beneath the doors on every landing.
Quite a start to her first flying lesson.
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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.

Silence.

“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.