Seventeen-year old Anya Spencer stared
miserably out the window. She blinked back tears as the rain splattered against
the bus windows. Lightning clacked above in the dark sky. The bus bounced along
the lonely highway as it sped down out of Skylar, Montana.
The artificial lights above her head hummed
insensibly and were way too bright. Anya was beginning to get a headache. But,
despite the headache, her mind buzzed from thinking endlessly about the events
of the past couple of days. Had it only been such a short time?
It was only the second week of summer vacation when Anya heard that her parents
had planned on volunteering Anya for a two-week counseling session. She was
going to spend two weeks in July counseling a group of ten-to-twelve year old
girls at a recreational camp in Montana. It would not have been so bad, except
those two weeks corresponded with the two-week trip that the rest of the senior
class was taking.
had been so irritated that she had to take care of a bunch of noisy, smelly
children. She was so jealous that the rest of her friends were lying in the sun
and flirting with all the celebrities on the beaches. Anya planned to sulk the
entire time at camp.
did not turn out so bad. Actually, Anya was beginning to have fun after a
couple days. She was in love with the cute little young girls that she was in
was Elizabeth McDonald, whom everyone called Dizzy, because she made herself so
dizzy thinking about boys. There was Amanda Cornell, the shy, clever cutie who
was practically attached to Anya. There was also Crystal Briggs, the always
hyper, athletic one, who was always bouncing off the walls. There was also
Lauren and Lorna Hawley, the twins. They loved play tricks on Anya. They were
harmless, but their favourite trick was to confuse Anya as to who was who. The
sixth girl was Stephanie Anderson. She wasn't like the other girls. She was
timid and scared. She was homesick for her mother. She would sit all alone
during meals and activity time. She made no friendships with the other
girls. She would not participate in any of the camp activities. Except
when it came time to go boating out on the lake. Stephanie loved boating. She
would sit up, alone, at the bow of the boat and quietly watch the tiny lake
Anya was too busy flirting with Derek, the
boys' counselor, to notice that the skies were getting gloomy. The weather
report predicted rainy weather for later that evening, but it turned out that
Mother Nature was a little early. The wind began whistling and billowed
the sails of the boat aggressively. The waves steadily grew larger and rocked
the small boat.
All the girls and
the boys were scared. Derek and Anya were running around trying to steady the
boat. No one paid any attention to Stephanie, until she screamed and fell over
into the water.
By then, it was raining. The skies grew
stormier. Stephanie's shrieks horrified everyone. Anya panicked and jumped
over. She thrashed in the water, searching for Stephanie. She could hear the
girl, more than she wanted to, as she screamed and cried and choked on the
water, but she couldn't see her. It occurred to Anya that Stephanie could not
swim, and even if she could manage to stay afloat, the waves and rain would
surely pull her under.
Anya felt so
horrible. She had let Stephanie die. She drowned. No one blamed her, but she
day, Anya was on her way home. They had sent her back. Anya couldn't handle
herself. So, Anya found herself on a lonely bus home thinking about the sweet
little girl that she had killed.
continued to stare out the window. There were only five other people on the
bus. Everyone sat far from everyone else. It was so quiet.
Anya didn't notice when a young man in a beat
up leather jacket came to sit next to her. He slid silently into the seat. He
looked sorrowfully at her.
"It wasn't your fault, Anya," he whispered. Anya sniffled as if she had heard
him. Of course, she did not. She couldn't hear him. Not yet anyway. "It
shouldn't be this way."
Lightning cracked far above. Anya jerked in her seat. The other passengers
murmured softly. It was the season for bad weather. Rain splashed fiercely
against the windows. Wind howled outside.
bus driver, whose had introduced himself earlier as Ted, came on over the
intercom. He basically said that no one should be alarmed.
got up from her seat. She climbed over her male companion, without knowing it.
She walked down the aisle to the bathroom. The man was compelled to follow her,
but he remained seated. "It should all be over soon," he said to himself.
on a cue, the bus rounded a tight curve. The bus skidded on the pavement. A
woman passenger cried out, but the bus straightened itself.
was around the next curve that the bus met a semi-truck. It happened so sudden,
not one of the vehicles had time to react. The bus swerved, trying to avoid the
collision, but the guardrail was in the way.
bus went over into the woods. Bouncing aggressively as Ted tried unsuccessfully
to brake the bus.
was thrown to the wall in the bathroom as she tried to steady herself against
the mirror. As she leveled herself, she felt blood oozing down her cheek.
bus crashed into the black lake at the bottom of the hill.
screamed as she was battered against the ceiling. She was crying and screaming.
Then she blacked out.
Marsden and Kevin Young surveyed the scene before them. The rest of the
paramedic's crew was unloading five other people from the wrecked bus submerged
in the water. They looked down at the girl they were working on. She was the
youngest, and also the most injured. She was breathing faintly. Very faintly.
She wasn't going to last, they knew it. She was coughing up blood and shaking
was nothing they could do for her. She was as good as dead as she was dying.
seventh mysterious passenger stood next to her. He was unharmed. He watched
her, almost miserably. He didn't like seeing her in pain, but he was unable to
Something happened as Anya took her last breath. Her eyes closed. Steve and
Kevin wrapped a body sheet over her corpse.
Mr. Smith took
hold of Anya's hand.