The Oddity

Five years ago, the FAYZ barrier in Perdido Beach, California came down, along with all the anomalies it brought. And now, in a city in England, the laws of the universe are being broken once more as nearly a thousand kids under 15 are trapped within the confines of a strange barrier, where life soon becomes a struggle to survive. This is the Oddity, and the tale of those within.

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2. Two

Two
251 Hours 47 Minutes

It was warmer than usual outside, Ethan noticed, as he ran down the corner of the street with May and Chris by his side. Ebony and Raoul were just behind them, hand-in-hand. It was early June, but it was supposed to be a cold day today. And it was supposed to be cloudy. One look up proved that false; the only thing in the sky was the sun, shining brightly. However, looking up showed no signs of a barrier, which gave Ethan a sense of hope; perhaps it was just the school affected by this.

They turned right at the street sign, and were met with a grave sight as the highway that cut through town was visible. It was a massive pile-up of vehicles: cars, trucks, buses... none were exempt from the collision.
"Oh my god," May said, putting a hand over her mouth. "What happened here?"
"Quite clearly all the drivers vanished, leaving the cars to crash," Chris said.
"So this really is happening," Ethan said. "It's just like Lynn said; everyone over fifteen's gone." They continued to stare at the road in front of them for a few minutes, everyone half-hoping the police or an ambulance would come, and explain what had happened. Instead they simply heard the harrowing wail of a baby coming from one of the nearby houses. Nobody said anything as they crossed the highway, seeing no new traffic at all.
"It's kind of weird, you know?" May said. "Crossing this road and all. I mean, it's never empty. Not even really early in the morning. It's not normal."
"May, I hate to burst your bubble," Chris said. "But I think it's safe to say normal has crashed and burned."

Ethan's housing estate was in a fairly quiet area, with no real damage or graffiti anywhere. The cul-de-sac of houses looked similar from the outside; they all had perfectly cut front lawns, and various cars parked on the road side. The only exception was one house, where the car, a red Volvo, had rolled forwards, stopped by the wall of the house. The engine was still running.
"I imagine that this is the scene we're gonna find all across the city," Chris said absently, looking at the car. "Wonder who owned that car?"
"Old Maggie," Ethan replied. "You know, that friendly lady who breeds Labradors?"
"Oh, yeah," Chris said. "I remember now; we bought one from her for my cousin's birthday."
"Hey," Ebony said, pointing across the road. "Ethan, your house is open." The others followed her gaze, and saw Ethan's house, number 3, had the front door wide open. A handbag was laying on the floor, and the thin trail of smoke from a cigarette was visible once they got close enough.
"My parents must have just arrived home from work," Ethan said, stepping on the cigarette, putting it out. He grabbed the handbag, and stepped through the doorway. "I'm just gonna get changed; you guys can go grab a Coke from the fridge if you want."

Setting the handbag down on the dining table, Ethan ran upstairs and into his bedroom. He pulled out another outfit; a green t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and some high tops. He kicked  his school shoes off, and pulled his tie off of his neck, setting it down on his bedside table. His blazer and school shirt were next, and so were his pants. He quickly slid into the new outfit, placing his school uniform in the laundry basket, even though his parents wouldn't be there to actually do anything about it. A heavy sigh came from Ethan's chest, and he wiped at his eyes, repelling the first signs of tears. He quickly tied up his laces, and made his way downstairs, finding the others in the kitchen, each person drinking a can of Coke. Ethan opened the fridge, and also grabbed a can, opening the top up.
"So, now what?" he said as the refreshing drink poured down his throat. "My parents aren't here."
"We could try May's house," Chris said. "She does live the closest."

The walk from Ethan's house to May's took a total of twenty minutes. On the way, they passed a small girl of about three, who desperately wanted to know where her daddy was. The only thing that the group could offer was for the girl to go to the mall and look for a girl called Lynn. This seemed to make the reality of the situation hit home for them. They also passed an overturned delivery truck, crates of groceries scattered along the road. However, there was nothing haunting about May's street. It was near the highway, but a nice enough neighbourhood. Except for that one young couple who seemed to hold crazy parties all day. The silence was unnerving.
"My house is the one with the flower pots," May said, leading them along the street. They stopped just next to a large grey SUV, and walked into May's house.

May's house was smaller than Ethan's, but still a nice place. The walls were adorned with a floral wallpaper, and lined with framed pictures of May and her parents at various holiday destinations. The carpet was an immaculate white, and Ethan felt as if his mere presence here was violating some rule. May had fallen silent, her face pale. They walked into the living room, which continued the same décor as the rest of the house, and May let out a strange sobbing sound.
"Hello?" she called out. "Mum? Dad? Anyone there?" The distant sound of a dog barking and a car alarm was the only answer she got. 
"It was worth a shot, at least," Ethan said, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Yeah," she said, taking a few calming breaths. "Just needed the confirmation that they're truly gone."
"Which probably means that Lynn's theory is correct," Chris said. "There's not really much point in looking for our parents."
"So what do we do?" Raoul asked.
"I guess we should probably make sure our houses are okay, for starters."
"Lynn's at the mall," Ethan said. "So we should probably go see if she has any idea about how to deal with any of this."
"Yeah," May said. "Let's do that."

--

Aimee glanced up from her iPhone for the thousandth time as the bus swerved sharply around the corner. She hated taking the public bus, but it was either that or walk to school. The bus hit a bump in the road, causing Aimee to bounce, falling forwards. She gripped onto the seat to steady herself, breaking her fall. She returned to her previous sitting position, and continued with the app she was using, trying to ignore the conversation going on between two very loud old men.

It was only bad luck that she managed to miss the school bus; Aimee had to go to a dental appointment today at ten in the morning, and it was either now or wait until December; every other available appointment was during the exam period. And they were a little more important than some basic dental hygiene. But at least it got her out of her first four periods, which meant that she only had to deal with an hour and a half of the idiotic students at her school. It was kind of funny that out of the three high schools in the city of Suffeld, Aimee's was renowned for its astonishingly high grades and performance from the students, yet it had the worst group of teens  that she had ever seen. The other public school was on the south side of the city, and whilst it wasn't brilliant grade-wise, at least the majority of students there got along. The third was a private boarding school on the outskirts of town, and nobody ever really knew anything about that place, except that the fees for that school were extortionate.

The toddler in the arms of the woman in front of Aimee started crying loudly, the sound drowning out the two old men. Aimee groaned, and turned up her music, hearing nothing but the voice of the singer and the heavy drum beat. She nodded her head in time with the tempo, losing herself in the music. She tended to do that a lot, in and out of school. It helped her ignore the daily problems that faced her. Especially those at school; Aimee had a special type of hatred for them.

Throughout most of her school life, Aimee had been one of those kids who never stood out, got average grades, and had a couple of special friends. Well, up until October, at least. She had shared a secret with her closest friend, Carmen, in the hope that Carmen would keep the secret. Carmen swore to secrecy, but the following Monday at school, Carmen had spilled the beans; everyone knew about Aimee's identity as asexual. The mocking and the taunting was nothing compared to the burning betrayal Aimee felt. She had trusted Carmen with something like that, and Carmen had stabbed her in the back. And for what purpose? 

Aimee changed the song on her playlist, listening to something more acoustic. She looked out of the window at the sight; they were crossing the bridge that went over the main street. The vehicles below were zooming by rapidly, and Aimee found herself fixated, until someone tapped her shoulder.
"Yes?" she said, turning her head around, seeing the woman with the toddler.
"Pardon," the woman said, speaking with a thick Yorkshire accent. "But could you go under your seat? Babby's dropped his bottle there, and I can't move, not with 'im on me lap; the bugger weighs a ton."
"Okay then," Aimee said, leaving her seat. 
"Cheers," the woman replied. 

Aimee crouched to the ground, looking  under the seat, and found the bottle of milk; it was resting against her school bag. Aimee grabbed it, but let go immediately; the bottle was extremely hot. Waiting a few seconds, Aimee wrapped her hand around it again, finding it had cooled slightly. She lifted it away from her bag, and crawled out from under the seat. The song was changing to a fast  paced, up-beat electronic one. The music was blasting at full volume, but Aimee didn't have any free hands to turn it down. Instead, she tugged one earbud from her ear using her mouth, and stood up, turning to face the woman.
"Here's your -"

But where the woman had been sitting mere seconds ago was now empty. Aimee looked around, and found that the entire bus was empty. Except for her. And the toddler, who had fallen to the ground. He was screaming.
"Ma! Mama!" The cries of despair wouldn't stop coming from the baby, but Aimee ignored them, her entire body frozen. No, this couldn't be happening... And then, Aimee heard several loud crashing noises. Her body moved almost robotically to the window, and she looked out, seeing the cars below piling into each other. The blood drained from her cheeks, and Aimee began to breathe heavily. This wasn't right. Not at all. And then, Aimee looked out of the front window of the bus, through the now empty driver's section. The bus was still moving rapidly forwards. The bridge took a sharp right turn a little further ahead, and the only thing in place to stop people from falling off was a metal railing. It would be useful in stopping an average person, but a four-ton bus was a different matter. Another cry from the toddler. Aimee had to do something; if she didn't, then the bus would simply careen off of the bridge, and fall a hundred feet, crashing into the road below. If that happened...

Aimee suddenly found herself running to the driver's seat, her entire body shaking in fear, tears coming from her eyes. No, she couldn't let the fear take her, not if she wanted to live. She gripped the wheel of the bus with her hands, and sat on the seat. She could see the pedals just below her feet. However, Aimee knew very little about driving, and had no idea which one was the break. Her foot came down on one of them. The bus started moving even faster. The next one did nothing. Which left the third one. It had to be the break.

The bus was now mere inches from crashing into the railing, and with a cry of horror, Aimee pressed down on the pedal, not stopping. The bus slowed abruptly, and Aimeee lurched forwards as it pushed through the railings, coming to a complete stop as the front section dangled over the edge.
"Not so hard," Aimee said shakily, taking deep breaths of relief. She had saved both her life and the toddler's. As if hearing her thoughts, the toddler began to cry again. But now, Aimee could tend to him without the threat of certain death. "I'm coming; don't worry," she called out to the toddler, emerging from the driver's seat.

However, the exact moment that Aimee stepped towards the toddler, the bus began to move. Aimee froze as everything began to tilt towards the front of the bus, seeming to happen in slow motion. The toddler looked up at her with green eyes that were not unlike her own. He let out a sob. Aimee stepped towards him.

And then the bus fell over the edge of the bridge.

It happened all at once; Aimee had no time to do anything, no time to grab the toddler, no time to save herself. A horrified scream came from her mouth as she grabbed onto one of the rails on the bus, hanging on for dear life as she watched the toddler fall down the now vertical bus, onto the windscreen. He wailed and wailed and wailed, and Aimee could do nothing but scream and look past him as the road below drew closer. They were less than a metre from impact when Aimee shut her eyes, and thought of her mother, praying for her to save her somehow. 

The bus hit the ground with a forceful impact that shattered the windscreen. The toddler's cries were silenced. The bus then fell forwards, once again returning to its vertical position. Aimee lost her grip, and fell  down, slamming into the roof. For a moment, everything was calm, and then a car sped down the road, sans driver, and slammed into the bus.

The force of the impact was enough to start the bus rolling down the hill that the road was on. Aimee was thrown around the bus like it was a washing machine, slamming into what felt like every seat as the wreckage drew closer to the bottom of the hill. The Co-Operative grocery store at the bottom of the hill stopped the bus from rolling, and Aimee was flung against the side of the bus, smashing one of the windows.

Aimee forced her eyes open, but that was all she could do. Her arms and legs wouldn't move. To her right was her bag, the white material coated a deep red. Pens and books were scattered across the book. It was a disaster zone in here. But Aimee realised something was missing; the toddler. She barely realised this before a tiny crumpled figure fell from the driver's seat, hitting the side of the bus next to Aimee with a thud. She looked over at the mangled corpse, and screamed. Tears soon followed, and Aimee began to shake uncontrollably. She was going to die; no doubt about it. Dead. 

"Oh, god, please," Aimee whimpered, suddenly feeling weak. "I don't want to die. Please! I just want to live!" She lost the strength to speak, and continued to plea inwardly, until her vision began to cloud, her only thought to not die, to stay alive.

And then, Aimee lost consciousness, her head falling backwards, her blonde hair soaking in the pool of blood caused by the toddler's corpse.

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