by Henry Lewi
The flyer dropped through his door early one morning. In bright red with bold white lettering it announced, “The Bus to the End of the World”. Below the title it continued,
“Transport for London is pleased to announce a new service from the weekend.”
Take the Bus to the end of the world,
See sights that’ll amaze you,
Watch the changing stars,
Get to meet new and interesting people,
Take tea with the Old Gods,
Have cocktails with such celebrities as Bacchus, Thor and Odin.
Eat Dinner in the Halls of Valhalla
Catch the Bus at your nearest Bus Stop
Pre-Booking is recommended
All Major Credit Cards Accepted.
TfL permits the use of Oyster Cards on this route
Concessionary Travel Cards will be honoured
Please book by going online at firstname.lastname@example.org
He quickly went online and found that there was a single slot left for that evening, so he booked it knowing that it was all free with his Senior Citizen Bus Pass.
So, what to wear for the event he thought, opening his large wardrobe. He spotted a white blazer with vertical red stripes, perfectly complemented by white trousers, white shoes and a white shirt, he topped this off with a red bow-tie and a straw boater with a red stripped Ribbon. Admiring himself in the mirror he thought, “I look just like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins!”
After a few minutes he muttered to himself, “that’s strange, I don’t remember buying these clothes – oh well, they’ll do.”
Just after dusk he waited patiently alone at the bus stop, no-one was around, and then he saw the bus, it was a new Routemaster – he remembered the old ones that he used to take to school when he was a boy in London. It was a number 937 – “A prime number.” The thought just popped into his head – “how did I know that?”
The destination shown on the front was, “The End of the World”.
Getting on, he showed his bus pass to the silent driver and went upstairs to take a seat for a better view, but the windows were so dark he couldn’t see out.
“That’s weird,” he thought, “there’s no one else on board, oh well, I’m sure they’ll pick up more passengers en-route.”
After an indeterminate period of time during which he thought he must have dozed off and missed most of the journey, the Routemaster pulled up and the driver announced, “last stop for the End of the World.”
Looking around he realised he was the last one remaining on the bus. “Strange,” he thought, I haven’t seen any other passengers. He quickly descended the stairs and got off the bus. It was getting quite dark and he initially thought he was alone.
“Where were all the signs to the Tea Rooms, Restaurants, Bars and Halls of Valhalla?” He wondered.
Out the corner of his eye he noted a number of black clothed figures all heading toward some bright lights. Following, he was intrigued to see that the lights flickered on and off and got brighter the closer he got to them
Unexpectedly he was at a gate when a uniformed attendant shone a light in his face and asked, “where is your admission ticket?”
“I, I don’t have one”, he replied, as the light grew brighter and more painful, “I didn’t know I needed an admission ticket,” he said trying to turn away from the light, he found he couldn’t, and it was now becoming increasingly more difficult to speak.
Suddenly he heard a voice, “It’s OK, don’t struggle, welcome back Fred, you’ve been in a coma for the last month, but it’s all fine and you are back with us. There’s a tube in your throat which is why you can’t speak, so we’re going to remove it now that you’re awake.”
About the author
Henry is now retired from the NHS, and has had a number of short stories published by Café Lit. He is a member of the Canvey Writers Group.