I was sitting at the bus stop. I didn’t know why. I wasn’t trying to go anywhere. The sun was blazing overhead and the cars all looked ugly. I guess I was trying to sit in the shade. I looked at my wrist to see what time it was and remembered I hadn’t worn a wrist watch in almost 20 years. The shadow on the cement had moved considerably since I’d been sitting there. I figured some time had passed. I was confused. I never would have thought about the “why” if what happened next hadn’t happened.
I didn’t hear her coming, but before I knew it she was there. She sat down next to me. The woman, I guessed to be middle-aged, was wearing an orange sundress that made her skin look brown and shriveled and her liver spots a darker shade than they probably were. Her light brown hair was ratted and tangled, streaks of grey here and there. Then I looked at her face. There wasn’t one, so I quickly looked away.
I thought about it for some minutes. Where was her face? There was no mouth, no nose, no eyes! How does she see? How does she speak? Should I look again to make sure? No! that’s a horrible idea! If you look and she has no face, you’ll go crazy! But, I looked before and she didn’t have a face and I don’t think I’m crazy now, just still confused.
My logic seemed to make sense so I turned my head, as if to look down the street, and tried to catch another glimpse. My eyes darted over to her head once, twice and on the third time, I lingered on her.
I thought at first that her skin was smooth, like the mask of Cobra Commander, but after further examination, I saw that is was really disgusting. It look liked cooked chicken skin and leather. lines and wrinkles ran like streets and rivers on a map. Warts of different sizes were pushing their way to the surface and tiny little white hairs would catch the light of the sun, reflected off of passing cars.
I was frozen in disgust. I wanted to turn way but couldn’t. Something drew me to her but whatever that awful feeling was that filled my heart with choking terror wouldn’t let me turn my head back to the street in front of us. Then, it happened.
It was so slow it was almost as if she were under water. Her head turned towards me! She “looked” at me! Her eyeless face looked deep into my eyes and held me captive. The horror! I felt something pulling me closer to her, closer to that skin, that faceless head!
A loud roar screamed and made my fast beating heart skip a number of beats, but my eyes were still locked on that skin covered skull. The roar did not come from the woman, it came from the bus that stopped just a few feet from us. The doors opened with a shrieking hiss that was deafening. Neither the woman, or myself, moved. Our horrible faces still locked on one another. Thankfully, she slowly turned her gaze to the bus, then back to me.
She was going to get on that bus and she wanted me to come with her. This was never said. It was felt. She stood up, not breaking her eyeless stare, checked the bag over her shoulder, turned her ugly head away and walked onto the bus. The driver didn’t seemed unnerved by her presence. He stared at me as if he was asking me to hurry aboard. I looked at the bus for a long moment. I knew if I got on that bus, I would never get off of it.
I looked at the driver and shook my head. The doors hissed shut. The traffic light ahead was green and the bus left me there, alone. I didn’t look into the bus windows as it passed. I don’t think I could have handled it if I saw that grotesque head again.
My mouth was dry and my feet were now in the sun. Across the street was a McDonald’s and a Del Taco. I had a new choice to make.