was no accident. Those things did it and they'll do it again. Even now I
can still hear those scratchy little voices saying, “Meat. Meat.”
know the story from the papers; cross country bus blows a tire and goes
crashing into a ravine in the Arizona desert, thirty-seven dead or
vanished and one survivor.
of you might think this is an appropriate punishment. At the time
fleeing from New York to Los Angeles seemed like my only option. Did I
think about Claire waiting at the altar in front of an audience of her
family and friends? No, not at all.
happened about an hour after we crossed the state line. What I remember
is the bus swerving and pitching over. Everyone was thrown against the
ceiling then back to the floor. We rolled seven times in all. I struck
the roof of the bus head first, there was a loud crack that I felt and
not sure how long I was out, long enough for the bus to stop rolling
but not much more than that. All around me people were sobbing and
groaning, some were calling 911, the pale light from their cell phones
casting an ugly glow over everything. The bus had landed on its side, a
pair of seats had torn loose from the floor and I was pinned beneath
them. Only my head and left arm were free but I couldn’t move them. I
couldn’t even feel them. I was right beside a dead man, he was staring
at me with a surprised expression.
things came crawling in through the shattered windshield. I thought
they were children at first but the light of the cell phones revealed
they were naked, gray skinned Things. The people near the front of the
bus started screaming. Groups of the things surrounded each survivor and
started chanting “Meat. Meat!” before dragging them away.
Whenever those things came upon someone that had died they would prod
and sniff at the body experimentally. Once were sure of it they would
hiss “Corpse.” and move on.
Most of the survivors were too injured to move, those that did try to run or fight didn't make it far.
I knew what I had to do, I laid perfectly still in the blood and the broken glass with my eyes closed and my breathing shallow. Be dead. I thought to myself, Be dead.
I listened to them toy with the dead body beside me, lifting its head up and dropping it back down on the broken glass. “Corpse.” The thing sounded disappointed, “Corpse.”
you would have screamed by now. How long could you have held your
breath? How long could you have laid still? There is no doubt in my mind
that being hidden under a pile of twisted metal and fabric is one of
the things that saved my life.
Just one of them.
things began sniffing at me, their breath smelled of rot and reptiles. I
imagined my skin prickling with revulsion. I was sure Those things
would notice, I was sure that any moment They would take me like the
of Them took an experimental bite out of my arm. I only noticed because
of the warm spray that hit my face. There was the sound of thoughtful
Then they left.
did Those Things take the survivors? And why didn’t the police and
paramedics find any footprints or drag marks in the desert sand? The
authorities are blaming coyotes but they’ve seen the teeth marks on me.
No coyote leaves a wound like that.
The police just won’t believe me. They roll their eyes and tell me I was unconscious and dreaming the whole time.
given up trying to make them listen. I just want to go home, I want to
get out of this hospital and out of this state but the doctors say it
isn’t safe to do that. They say I have a long recovery ahead before
travel becomes an option. Internal decapitation is what they call it.
When my head hit on the roof of the bus my spine separated from my
skull. I’m paralyzed from the neck down, I can’t feel anything; not my
legs or my arms, not even a bite on the shoulder. That’s what saved me.
parents and brother are coming to see me. They couldn’t afford a flight
from New York, we’re not wealthy people, so they’re driving here. Dad
called a couple of times from the road to check in. He even called to
let me know they when they were crossing the Arizona border.
Thing is I haven’t heard from them since, and that was two days ago.