Leaning my head back against the seat, I sighed and thought about what Gabby had told me.
Something really, really wierd was going on.
Slumping down next to the window, I drifted into a listless sleep, managing not to have any more creepy visions or disturbing nightmares.
Sometime the next morning I opened my eyes to find that in the night the bus had left the barren landscape and was now rumbling through a city.
"We will be making our last stop here for several days," Beth droned over the intercom. "The bus will be parked in front of the Retro Diner Stop, and will be departing at three. Make sure to be on board by then or the bus will leave without you."
Several minutes later I walked into the diner, followed by a few other people who had been on the bus. The diner was crowded, but I found a seat at a counter beside a brightly-dressed hippie-looking woman and ordered a soda. Then I stared out the window with my head in my hands until I saw the woman looking at me intently.
"Yes?" I demanded, feeling somewhat annoyed. I had never like being stared at.
The woman gently touched the tips of her fingers to her temples and said, in a thick accent, "Dzu are not of ze normal clan, are dzu?"
"Ze normal...people. Dzu can see ze spirits, can ze?"
"Umm..." I swallowed hard. "Actually..."
The woman smiled. "I am Zazila. I read minds. I understand that dzu are lost and confused, aren't dzu? Dzu has ze gift, but dzu does not understand it."
She grinned, and I noticed that most of her teeth were black. "I haz be sent a mesage from ze spirits as well, to watch for dzu here. I has something for dzu."
She reached behind her and pulled out a small cardboard box, about two feet long and six inches high. "Dzu get back on ze bus before dzu opens this, alright?"
When I took the box from her a shiver went up my spine, almost as if someone was pointing a gun into my face. "I don't take things from strangers," I told her almost harshly, shoving the box back at her.
She gave me a sly grin. "Don't worry, it will come for you."
A few hours later, after a walk in the park, I climbed back onto the bus and clambered down the aisle. I leaned over, preparing to sink back into my seat, when something caught my eye.
It was the box.
Muttering in annoyance, I carefully opened the lid and drew in my breath. From inside the box, something began to cry.
It was a human baby, maybe about a month old.