Regulars. There every Wednesday virtually without fail, the man with the old woman in a wheelchair. Sometimes she had a word or a smile, sometimes she was asleep. God bless her son. He was a mousy little man, didn’t work, seemed a bit, well, challenged, but he certainly took care of his mum. Her weekly outing to the market, probably the only time she got out.
Come to think, they hadn’t been there last week; perhaps she was ill but good to see her back. He watched in the mirror as the son manoeuvred the chair, an old fashioned push job, onto the bus, middle door. She was well wrapped up and hunched over. Her son lurched up to pay, seemed distracted. He made his way back and they took off. A few stops and pick-ups, some more regulars; a fat girl in a track suit with a child in a stroller.
They reached the market stop and he pulled the bus in; opened the doors. There was a sudden commotion, a shout and a piercing scream which morphed into hysterical shrieks; more shouts. Turning, the driver saw the mousy man shambling, running past the front of the bus, wearing a panicked expression, even as he took in the scene behind. Stroller and wheelchair were entangled at the door, the chair at a slight angle and what had been the old lady a bundle on the floor over which the fat girl was screaming. The child in the stroller was pointing a finger.
They estimated afterwards she had been dead for about nine days. Her son, when located, was described as severely traumatised. “It wasn’t quite Psycho but he couldn’t come to terms with the old girl’s death”; this from a council official. Charges would not be pressed.
THIS PIECE WAS LONG LISTED FOR THE FISH FLASH FICTION COMPETITION 2012