Clare McCullough

Short Story

Apocalypse at the Bus Stop

Marissa wakes on the volcanic concrete. The sun was high in the center of the sky. The day had been hot, despite the fact that it had rained last night.

Little dried worms and the dampness of her clothes are Marissa’s only company besides the dismembered limbs that are scattered about her. A rotting smell hangs in the air. A large crow caws at her from the other side of the parking lot.

Marissa groans as she sits up. Fumbling through her fanny pack she takes out a small wet wipe and dabs at her forehead. What a strange day. Having freshened up a little, she stands and steps over a piece of human leg. The evidence of the war aka development aka liberation from the former democratically elected oppressors.

Marissa hiccups and leans against the wall of the abandoned corner store. She had a half-finished bottle of rum tight in her grip. A freshly burned photograph that had pictured two small girls lie in a pile of ash at her feet. Shuffling away from her mess, Marissa sits at the bus stop. Marissa hiccups and drinks. Her eyes tried focusing on the horizon where it seemed to her that a black figure was approaching. Marissa hiccups again. A small percussive sound reverberated in her skull as she slouched against the dirty pole of the bus stop. No, two black figures.

By the time she had stopped hiccupping, the two figures had materialized into full-blown people. One, a small woman with wire-rimmed glasses and delicate wrists checks her watch. The second was an old man with chess pieces on his tie. The young woman rifles in her purse and sighs exasperatedly. Marissa starts to tap her feet on the ground. Another crow joins the other larger crow and they all seemed to be too many that she could reasonably talk to. So, she turns her attention to the two people in front of her.

            “Did anyone find anything useful?” The old man rubs his knees after sitting down carefully.

            Marissa just shakes her head.

            “When is this bus going to come?” The young woman exclaims.

            “You tell me” The old man lights a cigarette.

            “I’m not the one who has the radio.”

            “Shut up”

The sound of the wind grew louder. Marissa pulled her dirty clothes tighter around her torso.

            “Eugene, do you have another?” Marissa squawks at the man. He squints at her, spits on the ground and clears his throat ending in a finale of spit that he lugs at the ground.

            “Uck” Marissa’s face contorts.

            “Fuck yourself little B-I-T-C-H” She crosses her arms and settles back into staring into the neck of her bottle.

            “When is this bus gunna get here?” The young woman adjusts her scarf to block the smells coming from the body parts around the bus stop. Only the wind answered her repeated question.

            On the wings of the east wind you could hear them before you saw them. A great rumbling as if shaking the ground. Marissa groans in discomfort.

            “Fucking Harleys. Can’t they just keep their cacophony to themselves for just a split second?”

            “Big words for such a sad sack. Who’re you tryin to impress?” The old man’s chessboard tie fluttered in the wind. Marissa shot him a look that could kill and stood up, turning to the young woman.

            “Maria?” The delicate woman glanced back and looked forward. “Maria?”


            “I think- maybe this time…”


            “Maybe this time you could talk to them? We got your back you know and they’ll stop, you know that they always-“

            “I know that they always stop” Maria cut her off. Maria checked her watch again. “I would’ve thought that – with everything going on that I wouldn’t have to deal with this”

            “I know Maria” The old man interjected. “It’s just that I talked to them the last two times and the last time Marissa talked to them.”

            There was a flash of black leather a studs turning the corner. The old man placed a small bottle of asprin in her hand. Maria gripped it lightly but didn’t move her other hand from her face.

            “WHOA NELLIE!” A big voice exploded from a small man on an even bigger Harley Davidson. “WHAT DOYOU SEE HERE” Maria said nothing. “I SAID- I SAID WHAT DO YOU SEE HERE?” Maria’s lips moved but nothing came out. “SHY??”

            Maria was visibly pale and trembling as she held out the bottle of asprin. The biker looked at it and took it from her, inspecting the bottle thoroughly. Looking through every pill by dumping the lot into his palm and putting on his bifocals. He nodded appreciatively.

            “THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION.” He laughed hugely and carefully put every pill back into its bottle. “DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU CAN SPARE?”

            Maria shook her head.

            “WHAT ABOUT YOU TWO?”

            “What about us?” the old man protested the attention.

            “WHAT ABOUT YOU TWO?”

            “We don’t have anything else.”


            Maria piped up- “We’re- we’re waiting for the bus.”

            “THE BUS TO WHERE?” The Harley was the only sound in response. Marissa started laughing and took another swig of her bottle. “THAT BOTTLE LOOKS YUMMY” Marissa stopped laughing and put it behind her back. The biker laughed again and flashed a gun at his hip. She capped the bottle and offered it to Maria. Maria edged back, not letting her back face the biker and handed the small amount of liquor left to the biker. The biker uncapped the warm alcohol and downed all of it. The stream of clear drink making his beard shinier than it already was. He smashed the bottle near Maria’s feet and laughed again at her jump and rode away.

            Maria looked at her wrist again. “When is the bus going to come?”

Leave a Reply

Join our Mailing list!

Get all latest news, exclusive deals and event updates.