The seat shook. The ground jumped. The ceiling rattled. The windows distorted the images all around into a vibrating glob of darkness. The obnoxious rumbling of metal kept all alert, accompanied by the faint sound of Pink Floyd playing in the background. Everyone in ear shot wished the commands of the children’s chorus would be adhered to in the near future but they all knew deep down that they were just wasting what few brain cells they had left from the day before. Better to waste them on this than the inevitable joy eating vacuum soon to come.
The seats, arrayed like two rows of gravestones, each held a different name. None knew the names of those adjacent to them. Neither did they care. All they could think about was the horror to come at the end of their voyage. They prayed the journey would never reach its end in hopes of gaining some long-lost slumber. Every pebble on the endless sea of pavement, once trampled by the tires, sent a wave of reality to those trying to sleep, reminding them that they would not be granted this luxury during their travels.
When the bus came to a halt, legs crossing the isle parted their separate ways. Children flowed onto the bus like a school of fish. Each one with the expression of pain and numbness at the same time on their face. Each chose which gravestone to add their name to, some had two names, some just one.
The vessel approached the end of its voyage causing the mutual feeling of seasickness among the passengers. The bus stopped and the children stood up. They crossed the River of Stix to get off the bus. They all made their personalized remarks on the way out. All tried to mask their inner despair to the helmsmen with their gratitude, but the only noise they really made were indistinguishable grumbles. The helmsmen prayed for a blessing for the poor children as they walked down the steps to the Underworld and off the bus.
The last one off hopped onto the sidewalk and put his hands under the straps of his backpack. He walked slower than the rest being that he was in no hurry to reach the fast approaching prison. He knew that once one goes in there, they can’t escape for what seems like 10 years. A 10 years full of struggles and obstacles trying to stop you in your path to success and reaching home, or at least reaching your home the same way you left it. It takes courage and perseverance to even enter such a place much less make it out.