Snap. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine went pretty well. Some friends came over on Saturday, then we headed out. There was much drinking and reveling to be had. It was a pretty good birthday celebration.

On with the show!

______________________________________________________________

Sylvia always hated this part of the day. The bus pulled to a stop and everyone crowded on. She paid her fare and moved towards the back, hoping for a seat but knowing there would be none. She was crammed in the centre aisle, three people pushing against her body. The few times she had managed to get a seat in her three years of taking a bus, someone would invariably stand in front of her, their crotch being directly at eye height. Once, a terrible once, the bus braked suddenly and the young woman’s crotch hit Sylvia directly in the face. The young woman was mortified, Sylvia wanted to die. She had spent three hours in the shower that evening. The bus made it’s slow, steady progress onwards, people jostling against one another. She breathed shallowly, the smell of body odour and perfume was thick and heavy in the air. It was disgusting.

The trip took thirty minutes and at the end of it, she wrestled her way to the front and almost fell from the bus in her haste. She walked a little bit away from the bus stop and paused, allowing herself to breathe and relax. She always hated the damn bus, but it was the only way to get into work. She could bike in, but the last time she tried that a car had hit her, her wrist was broken in two places. She couldn’t drive. Wouldn’t drive. It was a decision she had made at seventeen and would she wouldn’t go back on. Her only other option was walking, but that could take an hour and a half, she didn’t have three whole hours to waste every day. So that left the bus.

The light breeze felt good after the sweaty confines of the bus and it carried with it the faint scent of flowers. Now she just had a short walk and she would be at home. She lived alone, of course. She had never really dated, dating would lead to sex and that was something she didn’t think she would be able to stomach. Something about it just seemed so inherently wrong. She didn’t understand why more people couldn’t see that. She didn’t have any animals, dogs drooled all over and cats shed fur. No, she preferred to be alone. It was the best option for her.

When she got home, Sylvia went straight into the kitchen to turn off the radio. She left it on to deter burglars, but while she was home she couldn’t stand the useless drivel. It was nothing but complaints and dreadful music. She couldn’t fathom how some people enjoyed it. She went upstairs and changed out of her work clothes, carefully hanging them, and changed into her house clothes. A long skirt and a long-sleeved, baggy shirt. It was still an hour before it was time for dinner, so she decided to knit until then.

She found her rhythm quickly and the clacking of the needles became a soothing accompaniment. She was knitting a sweater for herself. Something warm for winter, that was she could keep her heating costs down.

After an hour she went back into the kitchen and prepared dinner, a grilled chicken breast with some steamed vegetables. It was delicious. After, she cleaned her dishes, then went back to her knitting and all too soon it was ten thirty, time to begin her nightly routine.

When she had finished, she got into bed and picked up her book. She read five pages, then closed it and placed it carefully on her bedside locker. Sleep came quickly, and as usual, it was without dreams.

Her life continued on like this, as it had for the last ten years, for another three months. There had been slight deviations in her behaviour, in her thought patterns. Ones that were so slow and so insidious that she never really noticed. Of course she needed to get a gun. She was a woman, living alone. A prime target. After all, she had no family or friends, no one would notice her missing except for work, if anything happened on Friday evening, she could be lying in a pool of blood come Monday morning. It was for protection. That was all.

Then she began to carry it with her through the day. She had seen how people looked at her, men leering, women laughing and making crude remarks. She could ignore it all in work, but not on the bus, not when she was in such close proximity to them. One day a man even groped her buttocks when the bus stopped suddenly. He apologised to her, but she knew he didn’t mean it. He had only pretended to fall. She knew what people said about her now. That she was a slut, damaged, dirty. All because of that one hand. There would be no escaping it, she knew that everyone knew.

The bus stopped and she stepped on, paying as normal and, to her surprise, there was an empty seat. She sat down and placed her handbag on her lap, crossing her legs at the ankles. The bus stopped and a few people got off. A young man stepped onto the bus and paid, then he moved down the aisle, there was a spare seat. Sylvia watched, the young man made eye contact with her and smiled briefly before sitting down. She was shocked, appalled that no one said anything about his open leering. He was all but ready to attack her. She looked around the bus, no one would say anything, no one would do anything. Sylvia casually and calmly reached into her bag and, before anyone could stop her, she shot the young man in the back of the head. As those around her were screaming, Sylvia smiled and placed the gun back into her handbag, then she looked out the window. Everyone would know now that they couldn’t mess with her, she would be completely and utterly safe.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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