Kids on a School Bus

In a tragic accident, a school bus carrying 30 school children crashed. Many, including the driver, died. But each have their own story to tell. And here it is. Just for you.

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1. Prologue

The sky above the scene was completely clear.

It was a fact that disturbed me to the core, which is quite a feat seeing as death is something that I document every day. It was not quite the manor of the death that ate away at me: I’ve seen countless humans come to jagged, unclean ends. In truth, it was the fact that the world seemed to show no sadness or grief for this bloody wound. The crystalline halo of sky was clear. The sun shone. And perhaps, in some nearby tree, there was a bird, emptying its lungs of fresh song.  But somewhere there were parents who were emptying their lungs of song. Their light had been extinguished. And I felt their pain like a blazing hole. But soon I would take these children by the hand and lead them up a shaft of light. It was time for them to come home.

I watched the events unfold below me, the scene constantly changing. The yellow school bus had fallen onto its side in a pathetic, helpless position. Ambulances were crowded around, body bags littering the area. Parents crumpled in agony on the sidelines. News film crews were dotted around the place, waiting for a signal from the studio. I took a chance and walked down a ripple of dappled sunshine onto the roadside. Everybody could see me; but no one wanted to, so that was that. I scaled the bus and as I did so, I tuned into a variety of different reports on the situation.

 “Breaking news, Ladies and Gentlemen…”

“…A school bus…”

“… carrying 35 school children has crashed…”

“… ages ranging between 12 and 16…”

“…today. It is thought that there are only a handful of survivors…”

“… the driver of the bus has also died and…”

“…the list of the dead is thought to be growing over-night. Back to you, Sally.”

“Parents have been informed and our thoughts are with…”  

“…the school will release a statement tomorrow.”

Perhaps it is enough to make people look up from their dinners and pass a comment of: “Dear me, how dreadful!” I thought. Perhaps, when they are kissing their own children tonight, they will think of the ones who I will be carrying in my arms.

I moved on. The first one I found was crinkled underneath a seat. His name was Joshua and I untangled his soul and began to cradle him. “I’ve got to get home, sir.” He argued, struggling out of my grip. “My Mum will be waiting for me; I’ve got to get home. Please let me go home, sir.”

“I know, Joshua.” I soothed, “You can’t go home.” I took him by the palm and moved on. And as the languid sunset hit the bus, I carried and walked hand in hand with the children and the old, thinning bus driver. Some wailed and floundered in sorrow. Others followed and smiled, as though they had just woken up from the most beautiful dream. I kept my counsel, as always.

But they were not just children I was carrying up that shaft of light. They each had their story to tell, some good and some bad. And they wanted me to listen.

And who, dear reader, could deny them that?

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