For this assignment I was to withhold the most important detail of a story. For example, have a man and woman witness a murder but don't mention the body. I probably withheld too much - the type of transportation, the mysterious man/crash, and the reason the two girls were travelling together. I had a lot of fun writing it, though.
What kind of transportation do you think they're on? Ferry, bus, train, airplane...?
Katy and Holly walked over to the pair of empty blue seats and sat down quickly. They put their small bags on the floor and slightly underneath their seats. More people stepped inside and walked past the girls. After some time, a rumbling came from beneath them and Holly shifted her bodyweight to accommodate the jolt she knew would soon come. It came, and once it did, she repositioned herself in order to travel more comfortably.
Holly sat on the right and scanned the people around her. She did not recognize anyone. There was a family of four nearby: a frustrated mother and tired father with their toddler and infant. Holly was grateful that the children were behaving. Suddenly, a loud high-pitched shriek came from the toddler. She decided she might have to suggest to the parents getting muzzles for their children when they were out in public. Maybe not the baby since it’s still pretty young, but the kid could probably use one if necessary, she thought. Holly couldn’t stand noisy children, but worst of all she couldn’t stand parents who let their kids get away with the most classic troublemaking. Nobody uses belts any more, she said to herself. She laughed quietly, pinching the bridge of her nose, realizing that she’d sound crazy if she actually meant that. Belts, she thought. Maybe those gangster-boy wanna-bes wear their pants with the waist down to their knees to show they’re against child abuse. They’re statements. Hah! If only.
Holly turned her attention to Katy who hardly looked at the other people. She stared outside, watching the raindrops fall and make clear paths through the fog on the window. She could not have seen anything beyond them.
“We’re never going to get there at this rate. We waited so long! Why do they even bother saying what time they’ll arrive if they come and go whenever they damn well please?” Katy glanced at the watch on her wrist. Holly wondered why Katy bothered to so often since checking the time would never increase or decrease the speed that the minute hand travelled at.
“I want to go home already,” Katy said. “We’ve barely left. I can look outside and know we’re still in the same bloody area. Can’t see much, but I know. Gosh, what is he doing anyway?”
“I think you need to relax,” Holly said.
“How are you not concerned about the time? Do you have any idea what time we’ll get there?” Katy put her head in her hands.
“Why don’t you read your book?”
“It’s bumpier than usual. I don’t want to get sick here.” Katy lowered her head to her knees. She couldn’t go all the way because the seat in front of her was too close.
“Here, have one of these.” Holly reached down and took out a small plastic container containing a variety of pills from her bag. “The little round white one,” she said.
“What is it?” asked Katy.
“No! It’s a mint!” Holly laughed.
“What are the other pills, then?”
“This is ibuprofen, this is Midol, and these are mints.” Holly pointed out the groups of pills. “I’m not a drug addict, I’m just well-prepared and I don’t like pain. Plus, I like to stay minty-fresh.” She grinned.
“You know Midol is just like a lot of ibuprofen, right?”
“Drugs are drugs. They could be placebos for all I care, as long as the pain stops.”
Sensing that Katy was not as interested in being minty-fresh, Holly closed the container and put it in the pocket of her hoodie. All of a sudden, everyone on board nearly jumped out of their seats as the trip hit a bumpy stage. Everything was bouncing and shaking for a moment.
“Jesus Christ! He’s gonna kill us!” Katy shouted and grasped her seat, squeezing her eyes shut.
“Katy, calm down! You’re going to freak people out.” Holly put her hand on Katy’s shoulder. “Lower your voice.”
“I’m sorry. I just… I don’t like travelling like this. I’m afraid of…”
“You’ll be fine. Trust me.” Holly rubbed Katy’s arm. “Just take out your book; it’ll keep your mind off things.”
“Thanks,” Katy said. “I was worried about doing this with you, but you’re actually all right.”
Holly laughed. “Thanks, I think? I was worried too, but you’re only half as bad as I thought you’d be.”
“I’m kidding! Valium?”
Katy smiled, but just as she reached for the mint, all of the pills flew up into the air and came crashing down on the floor as a huge bump shook everything on board. It caused the other passengers to scream and shout and grab onto whatever they could. Standing passengers fell to the floor, some landing partially on others’ seats. Hysteria spread like fire on gasoline, and it was the very smell of gasoline that had begun trickling in. The toddler cried and shouted for his mom while the baby started to wake up. Holly was glad to see that they were all right.
Katy began to cry. “I knew it. These things aren’t as safe as people think! I don’t want to die!” She plunged her back firmly into her seat and grabbed the edge of it so tightly her knuckles turned white. “This is why I hate travelling on them!” Her chest rose and fell rapidly.
The baby began crying and the little boy screamed. A second bump struck them, forcing everyone to abruptly shift forwards and then backwards. Shouting and groaning erupted from all around.
“We have to get out of here,” said Holly. “What are they doing up there? Why aren’t they using the intercom to give instructions?”
A large man in a blue uniform and hat stepped in front of the panicked mob. His black boots thudded on the floor and, acting like a gavel, silenced the passengers. His face was dark and serious, and his big arms hung casually but firmly at his sides. “Come with me,” he said. He turned around to walk away and people leapt from their seats to follow the man. Shouting, some people demanded an explanation for the disruption and others demanded a refund, to which the man did not respond. Katy got up as well but Holly thought it was strange to deal with such an accident in this way. No one knew what was going on, no one knew how bad the accident was, and yet they followed the man.
Katy shoved Holly. “Get up,” she told her. Holly obeyed, reluctantly.
Something isn’t right, Holly thought. Still, she followed the herd of people being led away from their seats. Something isn’t right at all.