Based on a story that used to freak me out when I was a kid, mixed with a recent personal experience.
I was dreaming that Kim and I were having sex. I had that dream a lot but this one was weird because we were having sex in our World History II class. I watched myself go down on her, kissing her breasts and stomach before diving into the forbidden area, where girls aren't supposed to go with other girls. It didn't really seem unnerving to me to see our professor watching us, maybe if he had looked excited or pervy, but he just looked bored. Suddenly Kim was gone and I was standing in front of him, still naked.
"Lydia, you need to wake up." He said in Kim's voice. I looked at him, puzzled at a woman's voice coming out of a 50 year old man.
"Lydia, you need to wake up right now, seriously!" Then everything faded away...
We were still on the bus. My sleep addled brain tried to figure out how that was possible. Maybe I hadn't slept as long as I had thought. Panicked, I lifted my head up from Kim's lap and looked out the window. Instead of the streets and buildings of a town or city, all I could see was trees.
"Kim, where..." I said started.
"We both fell asleep we missed out stop." Kim interrupted.
"How many stops did we miss?"
"The fuck if I know." Said Kim, pulling out the bus map from her backpack.
I looked around the bus while she ran her finger over the map. The bus was empty except for one dirty looking old man, probably homeless, sleeping hunched over with his head in his lap. I looked out the window again, just trees and more trees, and a full moon that just made it look lonelier than it would normally. Panic welled up inside me again. What if we did get lost out here and no one ever found us again?
I looked at Kim. She was bent over with the map on her legs, her head almost touching it. Her thick brown hair was matted and tangled from traveling for two days with no shower. When she looked up, she looked calm, like usual. The few times that I've seen her excited or angry were the times that I've really been scared. I calmed down a bit.
"I know where we are." She said. God did she looked tired. I bet I look worse though, I thought. She pointed at the map.
"We're four whole stops past Esquire."
"You think we can catch a bus back?"
"No, I think this is the last bus, the line stops running at 1 AM. Wherever this next stop is, I think we just need to get a hotel for the night and try to catch one in the morning."
I sighed. Not too bad of a situation, at least we could shower and sleep in an actual bed for once. This trip had been fun, but had taken a lot out of us too. I imagined our car sitting in the parking lot in Esquire, by the McDonald's where we had left it. The place would be closed by now, it's windows dark, the only light shining down from a street lamp and the moon. We could be in that car right now, I thought. For some reason this made me sad. I looked around the bus again, this time at the driver. All I could see was the shadow of his head behind the grating that cut him off from the rest of the bus. He probably has a home he wants to get to as well, I thought, poor guy.
Kim looked like she was going to fall asleep again. I shook her awake.
"I'm okay" She mumbled, "I was just resting my eyes."
I laughed. "That might work on Mrs. Mirra, but it's not..." I trailed off.
The bus had stopped. The driver turned around and yelled through the grating. His face was still a darkened shape that I couldn't see very well..
"LAST STOP, EVERYBODY OFF!" He yelled so loud that it made me jump. The dirty old man woke up and started to shamble off the bus. Kim calmly picked up her back pack and stood up. I did the same and we walked off the bus, into the freezing cold night. I tried to get a glimpse of the driver as I walked past but I still couldn't see him, just a strange dark shape hunched over the steering wheel...
"Did you bring your hoodie?" Kim asked as we stood on the bus station steps.
"Yeah, I'll put it on." I said, slipping my coat off. The old man took out a bundle of newspapers from under his coat and laid them on the ground. Then he laid down, covered himself with more, and then fell asleep.
Even with my hoodie and thick jacket on, I was still cold. The early March wind found every way possible to get at you and bite your skin.
"Of course we had to get dropped in the middle of nowhere. Just our fucking luck." Kim grumbled.
It really was nowhere. The road that lead away on both sides was lined with trees and that was all there was.
"There's got to be a town around here somewhere." I said, "It doesn't make sense for a bus to stop where there's no people."
"Well this one does apparently."
I sighed and turned to look into the darkened window of the bus station. It was a very small building. I could see a ticket counter and some seats and not much else. Kim tried the doors.
"It's fucking locked." She said and gave the doors a hard kick that echoed under the metal awning. The old man didn't move.
"There's got to be a town around here somewhere," I said again, looking down the road to the left. "And we can't stay here, or we'll freeze."
"Fuck" said Kim loudly. "I hate when shit like this happens!" She sounded mad, but like usual, her face didn't look it. She gave the station door another hard kick and sighed.
"Oh well, we might as well get going." She said and started to walk down the road. I followed. The dim light of the station receded into the distance and soon it was gone after we trecked up a large hill...
"So a dog walks into a bar.."
"And he asks for a drink. The bartender says 'toilets around the corner.'"
Kim chuckled. "That was stupid." She paused. "Got anymore?"
"Why couldn't Bill Clinton blow out his birthday candles?"
She laughed again. "I don't know, why?"
"Because he doesn't inhale."
She snorted. "Where do you come up with these stupid jokes?"
"I used to read lots of them when I was a kid."
Kim didn't reply and I looked into the trees we were walking past. The still darkness underneath them unnerved me. I kept imagining things moving under there, waiting to spring out at us and drag us into their lairs to feed...
"Hey," I said, "Do you remember when we were in high school..."
"Yeah, I remember high school, don't you?"
I laughed. "Shut up. Do you remember when you put a tack on Mrs. Garcia's seat?"
Kim laughed louder. "Yeah, oh god..."
"And when she got up it was stuck in her ass and she didn't notice it?"
"You were the one that told me to do that, remember?" She said, laughing.
"Yeah but we didn't get in trouble for that one. Remember when you dared me to throw that chicken patty up in the vent and I did right as Mr. Dunbar walked into the lunch room?"
"And it fell right on his head? I almost died laughing!"
"I almost died too, but not from laughing!" I paused and waited for her to get quiet again. "I'll never forget what you did for me though."
"Well it was my idea and I didn't want to see you get in trouble."
"Can I tell you something?"
"Sure, of course."
"That was when I really fell in love with you for the first time."
Kim was quiet again.
"Oh Lydia. Why did it take you so long to tell me?" She asked after a bit.
"I...I...just..." Kim cut me off.
"Look, there's a light up ahead." She pointed down the road.
And there was, it was far off but there it was....
Kim looked puzzled.
"Why would there be a hotel all the way out here?" She asked.
"There's probably a town further down the road. And who cares why? It's freezing."
The light that we had seen was coming from the the hotel's neon sign.
"PINE WOOD'S HOTEL." It said. In smaller letters underneath was "able TV, no ool, no pets." And under that a darkened "VACANCY" sign. Kim walked up and knocked on the door. It seemed like forever before her knock was answered. The middle aged woman who opened the door looked mean.
"What do you want?" She barked and held her robe closed against the cold. "Don't you now what time it is?"
Kim looked puzzled again. "Um, we got stranded by the bus and need a room for the night. We have money to pay..."
"Stupid kids," said the old woman, "The damn thing only runs till 1 AM."
Now Kim looked annoyed. "Yeah we found that out, are you going to give us a room or not?"
The old lady stepped back. She looked shocked, and then annoyed, but she opened the door and let us into the small check-in area. We heard her mutter something about 'common decent folk's bed times' as she fumbled around behind the desk for a key, throwing it on the counter.
I reached for it and she grabbed my hand. I could feel her bony fingers digging into my skin.
"Money first!" She barked and let go. I quickly withdrew my hand. I went and sat in a worn out easy chair while Kim paid. The hotel owner had seriously given me the creeps and I didn't want to look at her again. I thought about how glad I was that Kim was with me. I don't know what I would have done without her...
The room was small but comfortable. And very warm. We stripped down for bed without saying anything. I fell asleep listening to Kim breathe next to me, tightening the cheap blankets down around my body...
When I woke up the bedside clock said 3 AM. Kim was singing quietly.
"And I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan..."
I looked over at her but the room was pitch dark and I couldn't see anything.
"I'll be sitting drawing pictures in the sand..."
"Kim..." I whispered softly.
"And when I see you coming, I will rise up with a shout...."
"Kim what are you doing?"
"And wade in through the shallow waters, reaching for your hand..."
I elbowed her in the ribs but she kept singing.
"If it proves to be his will that I am first to go..."
I shoved the pillow over my head, but I could still hear her.
"And somehow I've a feeling it will be..."
I started to get mad.
"Kim, what the Hell? Shut up!" I yelled and slammed my head back down on the pillow. Everything was quiet, except the wind outside, which was howling now. I fell asleep again....
When I woke up the second time, the clock said 7:30. The room was still pitch dark. I looked over at kim, all I could see was the dark shape of her back. I got up and walked over to the bathroom. When I came back, she hadn't moved. I grabbed her shoulder and shook it to try and wake her. She didn't move. This was pretty normal, she was a hard sleeper. I flicked on the bed side light, which usually woke her up.
I didn't scream right away. I thought I might have been dreaming. But when I grabbed her and turned her over, it hit me full force and I shrieked until I couldn't anymore.
Her pillow was soaked in blood. And Kim didn't have a head.