Welcome To South Florida:
A bus sped down the silent turnpike. Tendrils of thick, silver fog shrouded the empty road. The sky was the lightest of drowsy grays. The world slept as the early morning crept in.
Only the bus driver was awake, sipping at his thermos of stale coffee.
It was cold outside and even colder within the bus. Every window around the sleeping passengers was fogged. They were all quiet, left to dream their private dreams. Some were family traveling together. Others were acquaintances that had just met on the bus the night before. All were strangers more or less, one way or another.
A man sitting just behind the driver was leaving his wife and two kids. He dreamed of his girlfriend waiting for him to visit. The elderly couple across from him who were visiting their grandchildren had no dreams at all, but held hands tenderly as they slept. The mother and father and their two twin girls with matching braids in the middle of the bus all dreamt of better things than vacations. A thin, older man in his slacks and blazer kept dreaming of the young man in his twenties who lived in the apartment across from him and his fiancé. He dreamt of the feel of young, rough hands.
In the farthest seat in the back, the little girl slept. Her big sister was beside her, a blanket draped across them both. Her brother, just a few years older, slept on the other side of the bus alone.
The little girl’s head was pressed to the window. She’d fallen asleep watching the dark starless sky pass her by. Her slow, calm breath steamed the foggy glass. Her dreams were peaceful. She dreamt of home.
Her brow started to twitch.
Something dark started twisting her dreams, distorting her home.
Her breathing grew faster.
The man just behind the bus driver started to breathe faster.
The elderly couple holding hands as they slept tightened their grip on one another. They wheezed a little as they started to dream an unpleasant dream.
The mother and father and their twin girls were breathing faster and heavier too, starting to squirm side-by-side.
The thin older man’s erotic fantasy disappeared and his heart started pounding, the fear overpowering the pleasure.
The little girl’s dreams changed too quickly. They shifted into memories, sharp, terrible memories. They weren’t hers; she wasn’t supposed to have them. She didn’t want to have any of them.
Sweat trickled down her brow. The nightmare kept growing stronger. Stronger.
The memories were mixing, melding, shattering all at once violently.
The little girl woke up screaming at the top of her lungs.
Every single person on the bus woke up shrieking in a horrible chorus of terror and agony.
The bus driver flinched from the piercing screams. His thermos fell and coffee flew everywhere. He jerked the wheel and lost control of the bus.
Burnt rubber fouled the air as the bus skidded along the road. Luggage and bags fell out of the overhead compartments. The twins’ father smacked his head against the window. He didn’t notice, didn’t stop screaming. None of them stopped screaming.
The bus driver did everything he could to get control again, to not drive the bus into a ditch.
The little girl was crying, screaming and screaming and every passenger mimicked her pain, resonated her dread.
Her older brother climbed back to her and reached out, shouting. The little girl’s older sister was red and screaming, trying to shake her, trying to fight it all.
But the little girl couldn’t stop the images in her mind. She couldn’t stop her pain or any of the other’s.
The bus lurched and swerved in the empty road but the driver gained control.
Her sister’s hand lashed out at the little girl’s face.
The screaming stopped. The images faded.
The brakes on the bus screeched. It came to a lurching stop on the shoulder of the road.
Nobody knew what had happened. They had all seen and dreamt the same thing. The bus driver didn’t understand. He didn’t want to. He’d never heard anything like the screaming, never seen anything like that happen before. He turned around in the seat. Children were crying. The adults looked like they’d been crying too.
All of the passengers turned around in their seats and stared at the three children sitting in the back.
The bus driver swallowed back the fear that choked him.
All three of the siblings stood on the side of the road. The little girl reached out for her brother’s hand. He held it tightly. Her older sister was trying not to cry.
The door to the bus hissed shut.
The three watched as the bus pulled back onto the highway and left them behind.
They had to keep moving. It wasn’t safe to stop.
Their hands locked tightly, the two children followed their older sister down the road. They had to keep moving south along the highway.
The large blue traffic sign behind them was their only solace.
“WELCOME TO FLORIDA: THE SUNSHINE STATE”.
-If you’re curious to find out more about the mysterious young girl and her two siblings, then click here to read Daylight Hours now and see what happens when the sun goes down in South Florida.