The Bus Trip to Heaven – a short story.

The bus wound its way the edge of the cliff. Precariously positioned on the narrow road, it was an odd feeling, considering when she looked out of the opposite window, there were rolling green hills, with animals and houses dotted around. She had never been to such a place, and the sheer beauty (as well as the sheer size of the cliff) took her breath away. At every corner there was a new view, another mountain in the distance, a waterfall that seemingly springs from nowhere, a village tucked away in the foothills. Strange yes, but somehow it all made total sense. It was every beautiful scene she had ever seen or dreamed of, all in the one place.

They had been driving now for several hours, and what surprised her the most was the other passengers. Some were completely ignoring the view, others looked bored and some like herself, that were spellbound.
Except for one. A young man sat near the front, facing away for her, not moving. Still as a statue. But she could see his reflection and his face was constant movement of emotions. Like her own she imagined, but his was different, as though this was a strange new world, and he was almost scared of the trip. Maybe it was a certain naivety on his behalf. She wondered why he would be scared, seeing views like this would not mean something scary at the end of the road.

The road started climbing into the hills next to them, winding in and around the natural shape of the earth. Ahead of them lay a large area of bush land and looking closely, she could see the road disappear into the darkness. The road kept winding, feeling almost as though it were tying them in a knot. She started to feel dizzy, no lights anywhere, and with no certainty of their direction the bus suddenly felt stiflingly closed in. “Will it ever end?” was her thought on the cusp of fainting.
Rounding one last bend and the sunlight appeared as if out of nowhere, and between the faint feeling and the sudden light, her head started pounding with an impending headache. “Seriously, just what I need” she whispered to herself whilst reaching for her water bottle. Where was her water bottle? She was sure she had bought it with. That was really annoying.

Looking around she was surprised by the other passengers, still, unimpressed by the beauty of the place. Why, how could you not be affected by this.
It was then she noticed it. The young man was no longer in his seat. She looked all over the bus, front and back. No, he wasn’t anywhere. Where did he go? And what about the two kids behind her, and the old lady on the back seat.
She tried to call out, but no voice came. She tried again. Still, no voice. Standing up from her seat, although it was more like she was floating, in a panic she tried to call out, to get someone’s attention. Nothing would come out, and it was as though no one could see her.
The driver had seen her and after she started to approach him, he called out, and in an instant she was back in her seat. How did that happen, she hadn’t moved and yet she was again seated. And it was also then she realised how quiet it was. there was no noise, no engine from the bus, no chattering. What was this place, she pinched herself, was she in a dream. More like a nightmare.
She started shaking uncontrollably, scared, until an older lady sat beside her, calming her with a touch.
“It’s ok my dear, we all have to take this trip, it’s been so long since I was here, but now it’s your time. Don’t be scared now”
She looked up “Grandma! What are you doing here?.. but you’re dea..how did you get here…?”
“Yes dear, remember when you were just a child, of 8 if I remember, and I was in the hospital. You brought me a picture you drew, flowers, and us both dancing in the sunshine”
Sitting in stunned silence, she looked at her grandma, who looked exactly like she had 10 years earlier.
There were no words for such a long time, it felt like an eternity. The understanding crept in, and she remembered exactly where her body was.
“Where are we? What is this place?”
“On our way to Heaven dear. I’ve been sent to help you through. As with everyone here, they have their helpers, a guide if you will. Some have left already, and the young man you were watching, he’s still alive, it’s why he was so scared, it wasn’t his time yet. You’re nearly ready, and we’re nearly there”
Heaven? No, not now.
“But.. my family, mum and dad…” her voice trailed away, even though it was all just thoughts.
“They’ll be fine my dear, they’ve come to accept your passing is inevitable. They’ll survive, in time”

They rounded another bend before she could say anything else and the view that greeted them was beyond anything in her wildest dreams. The sight was such she swore she could hear the angel song of harps, and the butterflies and flowers all around made her heart sing.

***********************************************************************

The family stood huddled around her bed, tears threatening each of them. A woman sat close, holding the hand of her daughter watching her chest rising and falling gently, slowing. “I wonder if grandma is there with her, I hope so” a young man, her brother, stated, “it would make her feel comfortable, welcome”
They had been here with her for several days, the illness had ravaged her body, and it was about to take the last vestige of life. She was too young to go, but they knew this day was coming, had prepared for it. They would survive, slowly learn to move on. To live again.
Her body stirred, and she took one last breath, a sharp intake of air and then… nothing. Her chest stopped moving, her eyes settled beneath her closed lids and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

**********************************************************************

Hope you enjoyed that one which started out as they tend to do, on another track altogether.
Jen 🙂

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