you begin to frantically text BIG POSSUM WHAT DO to Cici
"--I think it's a huge opossum."
. . .
"Are you sure?" The bus asks with such a... disconnected, professional tone that in the midst of such an absurd moment, you almost laugh. She asks the question like you're agreeing to a terms of service or exiting from an app.
"Yeah I'm pretty confident," you state quietly. "It's definitely some kind of... rodent, or marsupial or something, it's just mutated to fuck. ...Do you have any kind of protocol or like, procedure you're supposed to go through for this, or--"
"I need to update. One moment, please."
. . .
Your phone boops at you to signal a new text and you nearly scream.
Cici's text: YELL AT IT
. . .
Second text: THEYRE MORE AFRAID OF U THAN U R OF THEM
You take a deep breath
and quickly type back CICI IT IS THE SIZE OF A CAR
. . .
The bus' headlights go out
followed by the interior lights
and then the engine turns off.
You sit in both silence and darkness for a terrifying two whole seconds before the screen in front of you flashes the words
"Please remain calm. This is the recommended procedure."
and you actually breathe again.
The mutant possum does not just magically go away, though.
It stops hellscreaming and instead begins wandering up to the bus.
Closer now, you can see vague masses squirming beneath the matted hide of the creature. You also realize that the chunk of bone jutting out of its chest is almost sort of smaller-possum-skull-shaped.
You phone boops. You definitely also make a noise this time.
The awful possum stops sniffing at the bus and instead stares blankly at nothing because it has no normal eyes while the huge fuck-off eye in its mouth just looks all over the place in a way that would honestly be disconcerting in any context but is doing a REAL god damn doozy HERE
the text says B SLOW B SUBTLE THROW SMTHING TO DRAW ITS ATTNTION OR SCARE IT
a very long, slow breath, like it could be your last one because hell,
rise from your seat.
You retrieve one piece of candy from the maybe half a bag in your pocket.
You wait for the monster to not act like it's staring right the fuck at you before you lower one of the bus' windows--
and you throw the candy.
The creature stops
and jerks, slightly, when the candy hits the pavement.
You hold you breath as you watch, wide eyed.
It begins to wander off, toward the candy.
You let it get as far as you think it's going to go before, through gritted teeth, you very flatly request the bus to
"Fuckin' gun it."
The second the engine kicks back on the mutant is back to screaming but you give zero shits, absolutely none because the bus is getting the hell out of here. The obstruction does not give chase.
You breathe, hard. With slightly numb hands, you text Cici back to thank her and tell her you're on your way.
By the time you can manage to speak again, you have about two blocks left. You finally decide to bring it up. "I... feel kind of weird just calling you The Bus? How do you feel about nicknames, or... like... I was thinking," despite how much you practiced this in your head, it is still an incredibly hard topic to approach, "maybe... Cherry...? Because, y'know, it... it uh... sorta sounds like Chariot...?
"You can call me whatever you like, Plaire."
you survived the giant rat only to be killed by the bus
you are dead, rip
Not really but you are dead silent and (you suspect) bright red the entire rest of the trip. Seriously, she should not be allowed to drop a line like that out of nowhere in her husky confident adult lady voice, it just
yowza bo bowza you were not ready
You thank the bus quickly and awkwardly and escape the moment you reach the stop, barely absorbing the directions she gives you to reach the theater (and promptly starting to walk the wrong direction before you realize it and have to turn around like a goof)
You walk the remaining distance between the bus stop and the Schiddy Cineplex (which, from a distance, you can see the sign; that is, in fact, the official name of the business in question). You stay under the street lights as much as you can, now quite wary of colossal vermin but managing to power through with the power of Brainsate and not because you're too busy being hot for robot voices to worry about anything else.
you reach the Shittyplex.