“What a stupid hat.”
“Stupid hat, Eric?”
“That couple that just got on Sylvia. The man is wearing a stupid hat.”
Sylvia looks to the front of the coach. A man in a black trench coat and wide-brimmed fedora looks back at her. Pathetically wispy facial hair. His girlfriend is probably a prostitute, judging from the sight of those clothes.
“They look stoned.”
“You’d have to be stoned to wear that hat, Sylv.”
“Why are you picking on the hat so much? You used to wear the same sort of thing.”
“Yes Sylv, and I was stoned.”
Sylvia gives up and looks out the window. The weird couple in the front take their seats and the coach pulls away.
“Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen” announces the driver. “Our drive up to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne should take us around three and a half hours today. My name is David, and if you have any questions for me please wait until we stop to ask me, because I’m not supposed to be talking while I’m driving.”
A few people laugh awkwardly.
“Ha ha ha. Yes. I hope you have an enjoyable journey everyone.”
“Did you send Maisie’s birthday card?”
Eric doesn’t answer.
The mention of his own name shakes Eric from his concentration.
He looks to his wife.
“Did you send Maisie’s birthday card?”
“Yeah… Yeah I sent it.”
He looks back to the weird couple at the front.
“What are you looking at?”
“That weird hat guy. His girlfriend looks ill.”
Sylvia watches them too. The man holds the girl while her head lolls to and fro.
“They’re probably on drugs Eric, you’re right.”
“I don’t want her to be sick.”
“How considerate of you.”
“No, I don’t want her to be sick because it’ll set me off.”
The weird man and his girlfriend get up walk toward the toilet at the back of the coach. She falls about as he tries to guide her.
“There. She’ll throw up in the back and then you’ll be fine.”
Eric looks at her uneasily.
An hour later. The weird couple still haven’t emerged from the toilet.
“I can’t wait anymore.”
“Then just go Eric.”
“They’re still in there though.”
“Go and knock. They’ve been in there for long enough.”
Eric debates his choices. His bladder wins out. He stands and walks toward the toilet.
His nose recoils at the odd smell coming from within. Not waste of any sort. Smells old. Musty. Dank. Rotten.
He pauses. People are looking at him. Come this far, better finish the job.
He raises a wrinkled knuckle to the door and knocks.
He pushes the door slightly.
Did he imagine the weird couple? He looks round to the other passengers. They look as confused as he.
He steps inside to urinate. Regrets it instantly.
Pain sears through every muscle in his body. All he can see is purple.
Then the pain stops. Now he is in a room.
No, he is above the room. Looking down. A stone room. The weird couple sit in the middle, alone. The girl looks completely different, but it’s her. It’s not Ashley. It’s Kiya. But she is the same.
“I was a child, Setka. I needed to have my own life and experience things away from you.”
“I gave everything to you. I risked everything. I put every part of myself into keeping us together. I had my doubts, like you, but I worked through them. I knew it was worth it. I knew it was worth it for you.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what else I can say.”
He looks away from her with a tear in his eye.
“One day you’ll regret it Kiya. One day you’ll realise what you gave up.”
“You need to move past this. It’s been thousands of years. Literally thousands.”
“Well, I guess you meant more to me than I to you.”
He removes an ankh from his coat pocket and plunges it into the back of her neck. Her eyes light up and she becomes rigid.
The light from her eyes emanates through the room. It consumes it.
Eric shields his eyes. He closes them.
And then he’s back in his seat.
He looks round in confusion. Sylvia isn’t aware anything is wrong.
The weird couple sit at the front of the coach. Calmly.
He looks down to his lap, realising it is moist.