The Bus Stop by Rose Larsen

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SUMMARY: As children, we are unarmed and uneducated in dealing with fear and more often than not, incapable of changing the environments in which they breed. Thus, a nightmare takes wing in the darkest recesses of the mind.

I see myself and my brother of one year younger sitting side by side on a bus stop bench illuminated by an overhead street lamp. The only light is that which encircles the bench and outside of the circle is absolute darkness. We are waiting, but I don't know why or for whom we wait.

From within the darkness, we begin to hear scuffling and scraping sounds echoing towards us. In fear, we cling to each other terrified of the unknown and what it has in store for us. The lamp light flickers as if to warn of eminent failure and I spring to my feet in fright.

Turning back towards the bench, I stare in horrified disbelief at the empty place in which my brother just sat and suddenly I hear his pleading screams slicing through the darkness which awaits my entry. Sacrificing the light and my safety, I take my first tentative step into the black abyss. Glancing over my shoulder back at the light from whence I came, I witness the lighted bench shrinking away as if a great chasming distance had been placed by the dark forces beckoning me.

Once again, my brother's horrified cries pierce my ears and spur me into running towards his voice. Suddenly, I notice a multitude of blood red specks of light moving steadily towards me out of the pitch black void and the strange scuffling scraping sounds from earlier were back yet more pronounced. The lights came ever closer as my heart hammered so loudly as to convince me of near bursting. A slight wisp of fetid breath on my cheek and a light touch upon my arm was enough to send my tiny feet furiously running back to the light. The bench appeared as if miles away and my feet felt weighed down, nevertheless I ignored the wet trail of tears coursing down my face.

After what seemed an eternity, I stumbled into the light and crashed upon the ground sobbing in despair over the loss of my little brother to the evil entity beyond. Suddenly, from out of the night, the dark forces in their absolute determination to destroy me, mistakenly stepped into the light which protected me. Dawning realization set in as I saw them for what they truly are.

The red lights of their eyes gleamed in fury and their white fangs dripped with spittle as if in hunger. Yet, it was the robotic movements of their limbs which made me realize they were dolls-the "life-sized" dolls I had wanted as a playmate. As they entered the light, they exploded violently as if the light itself held a sanctimonious power defying their evil intentions. Thousands upon thousands of slithering insects came cascading in an overflowing mass out of their carcasses.

I crawled to the bench and sat upon it wearily, still afraid and still unknowing of what's to come. I worried and wondered how long I could stay within the circle of light before the lamp flickers out for good. Placing my face in my hands, I sobbed uncontrollably for what was lost. Moreover, I wept at the injustice of it all and my lack of power to save my brother as well as myself.

Suddenly I felt familiar comforting arms cradling me and offering me comfort in my darkest hour. Beside me once again and sitting on the bench is my little brother. A surge of complete joy and relief lifts my spirit and I embrace his small form lovingly. He tells me everything will be alright. I raise up my head to peer into his eyes, and my heart freezes. My brother was truly gone, for the eyes staring back at me have turned blood red.

The End

Written by Rose Larsen

Based on true events of a reoccuring nightmare between the ages of seven and nine while placed in the foster care system.