Zombie Clown Bus
Jennifer E. Miller
It started as a typical day. Overcast, but not cold. I waited comfortably at my bus stop. When it arrived, I climb on as I always do. I spot an empty seat in front. Its seat back rested against the windows so I was facing the aisle, rather than forward. We pass other route’s bus stops. I look at one across the street. My gaze locked at the occupants standing under the little rectangular sign. It was a man and a woman and they were laughing. Their wardrobe was ordinary business attire. He wore a suit and she wore a professional looking skirt with matching jacket. A color scarf adorned her neck. What caught my attention was their painted clown faces. Creepy stalker clowns. I could almost hear their slow, deep, evil chuckles as we passed by. I was relieved they weren’t getting on this bus.
Curious, I look to other passengers to observe their reactions; if they noticed the sidewalk weirdos. I jumped so forcefully my heart skipped a beat…more than one probably. Adrenaline surged and I felt the veins in my forehead pulsating. They were all clowns. And all of them in a daze of some sort. Looking down at books, cell phones, whatever happened to be in their laps.
Gently, I exhaled the breath I’d been holding. What the hell kind of day is this?
I blinked and shook my head, hoping the passengers would revert to their normal flesh-colored selves. They didn’t change. Then, habitually, I cleared my throat.
The noise snapped the clowns out of their trance. Like wind-up toys on cue, they simultaneously jerked their heads in my direction. Painted faces stared at me, their bodies rocking rhythmically with the bobbing bus. An array of color displayed before me. Dark, dreary, eerie face paint. All the leftovers from a makeup artist’s color palette jumbled to make weird creepy color combinations. Grey was tinted with army green, sky blue mix with brown, black with violet.
Not knowing what else to do, I smiled and nodded. I wished I hadn’t. They smiled back at me. Razor-tooth grins gleamed across their faces. Some licked their lips, slurping their tongue back into their mouths like a snake.
Weirded out, I want off the bus. Will I run into other creep-o clowns on the street? I look at the driver. Seeing that he is a normal human being, I feel somewhat relieved and hopeful that there are still regular people wandering around. I will get off at the next stop and walk the rest of the way to work. It isn’t that far.
Keeping my eyes on the “passengers,” I slowly reached back and pull the bus’s stop signal cord. I hear the familiar ding! but it also seems to trigger something else. Feeling drops, I look down at my hands and see water. I gaze up as one plops on my ear. Water weeps from the ceiling. Summoned from the pull cord? I don’t care. Get me outta here.
The clowns continue to staring at me. Water drips on them, too. It begins to wash off their makeup in trickling streaks. As it continues their skin becomes exposed from under the makeup. But it’s not normal flesh. It’s dark, wilted, and decaying. Their grins turn to frowns.The bus comes to a halt. I leap out of my seat and dash out the front exit onto the sidewalk, welcoming the fresh air. I turn around and watch the driver close the doors. Pressed to the windows are zombie-like hollow faces with deep eye sockets and rotten skin. They watched me through the glass with gaping mouths and curled fingers as the bus carries them away.
Copyrighted 2016 by Jennifer E. Miller