Note Just a reminder that this is a first draft, and this and the other bus section are amongst the most first-drafty so far. The final draft will give the driver a name, and suitably eighties-pulp style brief backstory, and try to explain how the earlier mentioned traffic jam has cleared up enough for the bus’s wild ride.
A double decker bus shouldn’t be able to take a right angle bend at speed. The driver had swung over to the left as he approached the cross junction, so that the swing to the right could be as wide as possible. Then he had pulled the big wheel around by the armful, holding tight and leaning as if his body weight would make a difference to the centre of gravity.
The tall vehicle pitched over to an almost impossible angle as time seemed to slow and it threaded between an oncoming van and the traffic lights. The inside wheels were light, getting no traction or grip. The bus connected with the barrier protecting the pavement from traffic, and the jolt brought the wheels back down again. It scraped along the barrier, bending it and, briefly, riding up it, then swung back out onto the road.
There had been horrible crashes and thuds from both floors of the bus, accompanied by screams, as the passengers and their attackers were thrown around by the violent turn. The driver could look in the mirror that gave him a view of the whole bottom floor of the bus to check on the noises, but he really didn’t want to know.
He had been unable to get a call through to the depot. So he was just driving, faster than he ever had, until he found somewhere he could get out and away from the horror he had taken on. Habit was making him run along his usual route in his search for escape.
The bus was under the railway now, where it pulled into Salford Central station. Across the road a pair of buses, one of them running the return journey of his route, were taken on passengers outside the station entrance. He could see the surprise, then shock, of the other drivers as his bus, still on the arc of the turn, headed across the road toward them.
Pulling the big steering wheel back around, the driver got the bus straightened out, then turning away again. Not soon enough, though. The speeding double decker struck its fleetmate at a shallow angle, scratching along its side then curving away. Both buses lost mirrors and a couple of windows.
The bus still had momentum, and the driver wasn’t ready to stop. Foot still down on the accelerator, he pointed his vehicle up the hill and into the centre of Manchester. The road ahead wasn’t empty, but traffic was light enough that he could thread through gaps. Bashing the horn constantly, he scared other drivers out of the way. Pedestrians at a crossing scattered as he bore down on them, the klaxon sound like a howl of anger.
Somehow, the bus lumbered up the road with only a few glancing blows off other vehicles. There were cracks forming from the edges of the windscreen, and sections of bodywork were dented or beginning to peel away where welds and rivets had separated.
The junction crossing Deansgate was clear and, even running a red light, the double decker crossed it without hitting anything. The street on the other side of the junction narrowed, but was clearing as the next lights turned green and a short queue of traffic moved on.
He still didn’t know where he was going, just on. Trying to run away from the monsters in the box with him. He glanced quickly across at the damaged window by the doors. What if it shattered and they got out? Could they climb around his guard and into his safe cage? He’d have to get out before they could do that.
The window to his right had turned a silvery grey as the safety glass cracked. He hadn’t noticed before. It must have happened when he hit the other bus. Was it weak enough that he could punch it out? Making a fist of his right hand, he hit it. Certain he felt some give, he hit it again.
The glass bowed away from his blows. Another punch, and there was a small hole in the window. He cried out in victory. All he had to do now was push out a big enough opening, then he could find somewhere safe to stop and clamber out.
He hadn’t been paying attention to the road ahead. The lights were red again. That didn’t matter so much, he would have run them, just like several others. It was the vehicle entering the junction from the right that was the problem. He had enough time to register the black cab in front of him before the bus hit it.
The bus didn’t come to an immediate stop. The taxi collapsed under the impact, folding under the heavier vehicle, then dragging it to a halt. The driver was thrown forward, folding double around the big steering wheel, breaking his jaw and losing most of his teeth against the top of it.
He blacked out, so he missed the way the front window on the top floor exploded outwards as a passenger flew through it to land several metres ahead of the accident. Passengers and attackers tumbled down the aisle or crashed across seats, forming a gory pile near the doors.
When the driver came around, he retched at the sharp taste in his mouth, and the feeling of lumps catching in his throat. It took him several heaving coughs to realise he was bringing up his own blood and teeth. Dizzy, but coming back to his senses, he looked around.
There was a crowd at the doors, on both sides. Those on the outside were trying to operate the emergency release to get in and help the obviously injured people on the bus. Those on the inside wanted out so they could eat their would-be saviours. There were more bloodstained, vacantly hungry bodies trying to get off than he had let on. How had that happened?
He didn’t have time to ponder that question. A large figure stepped in to block his vision of the doors. The one with the knife in him who had tried to batter his way through the safety screen. Except now, the safety screen was gone. As the bus had flexed during the collision, the latch on the safety screen had popped open. The frame was so bent now, that it would never sit in place again. It had swung open, and the driver’s attacker now had access to him.
He tried to move as the horrendous, blood splattered face leered at him. But his body didn’t want to respond. Had the crash done permanent damage? Did that matter, with this man-thing reaching in to grasp him. He batted away the hand. One, twice, then a big fist wrapped around his wrist.
The ghoul, or zombie, or whatever it was, pulled the driver closer, and leant in to bite his face. His nose cracked and crunched as the skin around it tore. The beast shook its head, rending the feature from the driver’s face and chewing at it. He tried to scream, but it came out as a gurgle. Between the injuries from the crash, and the wound where a large part of his face had been, he was drowning on his own blood.
It was almost a blessing as the darkness came in again, and he was no longer aware of what was happening to, and around, him.