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The bus sits at the station, rumbling and shaking like a great angry beast that canít be bothered attacking the pests that infest it. These pests are idle themselves, shuffling thoughtlessly aboard and dumping their change into the collection bin, then elbowing their way to itís innards to take a seat that was clearly designed for someone much smaller. The overweight driver stares straight ahead, hunched over the steering wheel with an expression of numb dismay on his face, acknowledging none of them. No one speaks, and no one makes eye contact. Itís cold, itís gray, itís abysmal and itís like this every damned day.

Itís 5:10pm in the city, and going-the-hell-home time. Looking down the windows of the bus one after another I see nothing but the bored, blank faces of people who are tired, dreary and not living in the moment. Not a single one of them, driver included are really on the bus. Theyíre day dreaming about home, or work or far away places. Some sit and stare, some listen to music, some read romance novels but none of them are actually on the bus. Theyíre all coping with life and reality as theyíve come to know it, by escaping it every single chance they get. Little do they realize.

I stand on the sidewalk as the snowflakes slowly fall, watching this mundane occurrence with what would look like peculiar interest if anyone were to actually notice. Scenes like this have caught my attention a lot since I found out. At first just for the sake of curiosity, later out of a sense of paranoia and now for pure self preservation. I really have little choice.

I catch his gaze just as the bus lurches to life and begins to slowly pull into traffic. An acknowledgment in a sea of disinterest. Heís sitting in the very back seat on the near side of the bus, and heís staring directly at me. I look back fascinated and disbelieving as always, as if it were the first time I was seeing one and just now acknowledging the insane truth sitting in front of me. His head is slightly down as he looks at me out from under his brow. A young businessman at a glance, or maybe a salesman of some kind in a gray overcoat, a gray suit and red tie. His hair is close cropped and combed back tightly over his clean shaven face. On his lap is a briefcase, which he clutches in both arms like a mother might hold a child. He is an ďaverage manĒ, looking no different than anyone else, but I know the truth. I know what he is. Our gaze locks as time moves in slow motion.

His eyes widen slightly as we share a moment of mutual, uneasy recognition. I can see the hatred building as he glares at me, as if heís looking at a spot three feet behind my skull. Although this one has never met me before, this ďaverage manĒ absolutely despises me and were the circumstances right he would see me dead here and now. I can feel his anger building as he looks through me. The malice, the hatred, the pure and complete sense of loathing. I infuriate him. He wants to see my guts ripped out and smeared across the sidewalk. He wants me to suffer and die horribly by his hand, right now. This moment. His rage and hatred are palpable, as he tries to maintain an air of nonchalance. Iím trying to not attract attention myself, but Iím sweating despite the cold and starting to shake as I unwillingly maintain our stare down. Finally, the bus slowly pulls this ďaverage manĒ out of sight into the dense, heavy traffic of the city. I can still see his face.

I know, and he knows that I know. They all do, and they absolutely hate me for it.

Itís time to get moving.

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The following comments are for "10:18 - Chapter One"
by datter

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