“Hey Beth,” I wandered over to the driver, “Beth, when’s the new bus coming? Beth?”
She glanced up at me. She had red-rimmed eyes and mascara smudged across a cheek but tried to hide that she had been crying.
“Beth…It really wasn’t your fault.”
“I don’t know what happened, but of course it was. Who else’s fault could it have been?”
“It was…fate, or something. Never your fault.”
“…As for the bus, it should be here in the morning. I’d-I’d recommend booking into a room…”
Suddenly the whole room was plunged into darkness and-being late evening-there were shouts from the other people in the room who also couldn’t see.
“What the hell?”
I heard movement from behind the check-in desk and the voice of a clerk echoed around the blackness:
“Um…I’m sorry, we appear to be having a blackout.” After more movement and some muffled whispers, she continued, “Unfortunately, no torches seem to working either…”
“The computers have gone too,” I heard Aidan call.
“Hang on! We have everything under control,” another voice called and the light came back on.
I frowned. And so did Beth.
“The computers still aren’t working.” Aidan said, resisting the urge to hit the monitor.
“A mere electrical fault, sir. We will get everything up and running soon.”
I thought maybe I should try and ring my mother again. I seized the pink phone from my pocket but, at once, I could see it was switched off. Frowning again (I’m sure I didn’t touch it after my last call), I stabbed at the power button. When there was no response from the phone, I tried again but still nothing happened. Must be out of battery, I guessed.
I turned back to Beth, who was also fiddling with her phone.
“Out of battery?”
“It was full last time I looked at it. Must be a county-wide electrical failure…”
It’s weird that nothing was working then…At least the evening newspaper had arrived. Aidan turned, bored, away from his broken computer and grabbed one of the first papers off the stack.
Before I had a chance to say any more to Beth, I was interrupted.
“Meggie…” Aidan’s soft voice was mellifluous but tinted with regret.
He held out the newspaper. On the front page was the headline CAR-CRASH ENDS IN TRADGEDY with, well, a picture of a wreckage, but also, an old photo of my mother.
“No!” I snatched the paper from him and stared at the article, speed-reading the printed information. Out of the corner of my eye, a flash of colour in the picture caught my view. I drew the paper up closer to my face and gingerly inspected the scene of the car wreck. In the background a girl about my age dressed in a custard yellow Oxford University jumper (like mine) held a large card that clearly read HELLO, MEGGIE G. And, from the looks of it, she was grinning manically.
“Beware of the day communications run out and the girl in yellow on the paper will see you.” Oh, god, that’s what the mystic said…I cupped a hand over my mouth to hide the sob.
Was this my day of darkness?