Taking the Bus
"P-ch-h-h-h." The silver bus with the running dog came to a stop.
Herb jumped at the sound. Too many things still could go wrong, and the bus's air breaks made him jump. He twitched his head about to see if anyone noticed. People bustled about the terminal in their own pursuits; no one had time for Herb.
He sighed at the irony of his thoughts. He had to get out of town if he wanted to live, yet it bothered him that no one noticed him leaving. He chuckled quietly.
The door to the bus heading "way out of town" hissed open. Herb shuffled his feet waiting for an elderly lady to get on the bus. He felt sweaty under his wide brim hat and dark glasses. The trench coat was not helping either.
"Deep breath," he told himself.
Once she was seated, Herb quick-stepped by and sat on the opposite side of the bus away from the busy terminal.
Others got on. The boarding eye game of looking for a seat, accidental eye contacts and trying to avoid eye contact raised Herb's heart rate.
"Let's go people!" He did not yell aloud. Instead he closed his eyes and focused. "I'm on the bus. I was not followed. They can't find me; they can't kill me. Agnes has wanted me to leave so it could be my fault that our marriage did not work. It will add to her dramatic litany of woes. She will love it; it will be my last gift to her sorry tale."
"Well, hello there young man," said the bus driver.
Herb's eyes snapped open. A porter had brought a boy on to the bus. He had a red ribbon on his front pocket. He was traveling alone, and bus security was giving him the royal and secure treatment.
The porter, the boy and the bus driver had a long chat about bus safety, the boy's destination and how the bus driver, Ted, will keep an "extra special eye" on him. Herb's blood roiled.
"Move the damn bus!" Again, he choked on his words. "Just get me far, far away, please," he thought.
Finally, the boy took his seat in the front next to the old lady. She was speaking to him and offering him a cookie.
The driver spoke over the P.A. "We are now leaving Mars Station. Once we break atmo, we will jump to the Jupiter where we have three stops before hitting The Rim with our last stop at Pluto Station."