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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3. Yardley

I felt Alfred slump down upon my soldiers. He was tired and broken and we had a long journey ahead of us. Sleep, innocent, I breathed, Soon you will fly. And as we walked, I listened to more. Releasing their stories, letting them breathe was a blessing. Their souls were once un-pruned and over-looked. The madness had ceased: the children could breathe.

I found Yardley clinging to the fraying fringes of the group. She seemed to recoil in my presence. "You're not God" She concluded bluntly. "God isn't real, no, he isn't." I shook my head calmly.

"You're right. I am not God." This released the stony grip on her conscience somewhat. "And I am not Death, either."

"He doesn't exist, does he?" She persisted and I shrugged at her.

"I won't influence your thoughts, Yardley." And then it dawned on me. She wasn't afraid of the reality of God. She was scared of what would happen if ever she met him. "If there's somewhere I need to go, I, I... I shouldn't be here, it's too beautiful, too pretty. Where am I meant to go? I don't belong here." Her soul was matted with fear, crumpled and scrunched. I smoothed away the wrinkles and worry and set to work. And in return, she gave me a story.

 

 

The blue car drove down the road. A splodge of colour on a monotonous grey stretch of tarmac. Yardley watched her father drive away blankly, out of her bedroom. She was watching the cause of the problem escape her grasp. She had lost. And how she hated to lose.

Yardley’s mother was asleep in the next, encased in a duvet. She would not be waking up until late afternoon, having been disturbed by the phone ringing. It was the police, informing her that her daughter had died on the way to school. 

Yardley tugged her hair into a neat pony-tail and brushed a speck of dust off of her jumper. She sat down at her dressing table, and pulled out a drawer that contained a hoard of expensive make-up: Frosted-plum eye shadow, gold eye liner, macaroon flavoured lip gloss, designer lip stick and bottles of fake tan. Yardley applied the make-up quite meticulously: first, a sliver of silver eye liner, followed by a thick coat of red lip-stick. She puckered her lips, and rolled them out again into a pursed position. Finally, she stood up for a final inspection. The full scale mirror never lied. Immaculate. Flawless. Fabricated. A gush of fury passed over her and she threw her fist into looking glass. It smashed and slit Yardley's hand into 5 neat and bloodied scratches. Her mother made nothing more than a grunt. The make-up was lined up along the dresser like little soldiers. They taunted Yardley. They fed her and she ate and she hated them. She smashed the bottles against the wall and they slivered down, into smooth little trickles. Even in death they jeered at her. 

Yardley stomped down stairs in a fit of streaming, agitative angst. She ran her hand under the hot tap in the kitchen, and watched as the blood trickled out. She tasted it but recoiled: it was bitter. Yardley opened the cupboard door and found a box of Cheerios. She took out the packet, and emptied it all out into her mouth, The pulp that she mashed and grinded up was sweet and nourishing but it wasn't sufficient. It didn't dull the pangs of hurt. 

A stream of sunlight poured into the kitchen, seeping through the drawn curtains. It made Yardley think of the new life that would be arriving soon. A baby sister or brother, a half baby sister or brother would have arrived by the time she had got home from school. But it wasn't a real child, it couldn't be. It's a devil, Yardley reminded herself, It's the reason why Dad ran off with Paula, it's the reason for all our unhappiness. If Yardley couldn't make her Dad see it, then she'd make someone else show him. And she knew that there was now a real reason for her Dad to stop loving her. He would love the baby that came from a woman he was happy with. 

They thought they knew her at school. They thought that they had figured it all out. Yardley Timmons had a large house, a face clad with make-up and a mouth full of spite and hatred. A merciless bully. But that wasn't true. Her father had been made redundant by his company and thought it best to run off with a former client and get her pregnant. Her mother paid barely any attention to her. So that's what she sought most of all , in the only place she could find it: attention. Yardley wanted someone to blame for her problems, even if they were not responsible. First she would make people fear her and then, if she wanted, they could love her too. Often, people loved her because they were scared. No one wants to be at the bottom of the pile because they know that there is always someone to fill up the space. And Yardley was the invigilator of this. Yardley needed a scape goat: but she was far from an idiot. She was quite noticeably intelligent in fact, but even she was tired. Her parents separation had been horribly jagged and rough and she and her Mother had become severed. Their conversation was static and their affection stale. Yardley only wanted to point the finger at someone else. And the best thing was, she didn't even have to try hard. 

Yardley remembered the video that she had posted on facebook of Alfred Wilks the night before. She had spotted him, lagging behind the rest of the boys during P.E, on her way to the Science block. She identified Alfred and became warm and fuzzy inside. It was funny. Someone was failing: and it wasn't her. Now, wouldn't it be something if she could pick this out and blow it up? Yardley took out her phone and with a giggle, began to film. It filled her with delight that, after just 6 hours of uploading it to facebook, she had managed to gain the traction of 30 likes. It wasn't world changing, but it was something massive. To both Yardley and Alfred. And it was fun to hurt him because it meant that she didn't have to hurt, for once in her life.

Hastily, Yardley brushed her teeth, removing any pasty grime from inbetween the gaps. She threw some books into her bag, trying to avoid the make up stains that had set on her wallpaper. She left the room and looked in at her mother, one last time. She felt empty. But there wasn't a gaping hole in her heart, or anything. That gaping hole had been stuffed and stitched up crudely, and now it was just a patch. 

Yardley saw the school bus coming down the road. She glued on a new mind-frame, a mind-frame that was both cold and warm. She paid no attention to the bus driver but rather slouched her way down the aisle. Yardley saw Alfred sitting next to Melissa Cortman and decided that this was a corner that she should push her authority into. "Ewww!" Yardley squealed. "Two little stinkies sitting in a tree! Get a room!" She turned away, to sit at the back of the bus but something unexpected happened. Melissa said: "I'm sorry. You're speaking. What makes you think I care about the bull that comes out of your mouth?" Yardley froze momentarily. She felt dead, pierced by a bullet. It was a taste of her own medicine and she did not like it. "Whatever, stink-bot." It was pathetic, but sounded sort of sleek, so Yardley left. 

In less than 2 minutes, she would be dead. 

 

 

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