...The bus comes to a jarring and screeching halt...
Trevor, mesmerized by the oddity of the mostly "blank" gaming magazine, comes startlingly refocused on his immediate surroundings within the belly of the steel beast of a city transit bus as he simultaneously struggles not to fall over as the bus changes it's momentum, shifting his body weight.
He drops the magazine on the seat next to his, crosses his arms, resting them on the metal rail of the set in front of his, then resting his forehead on his arms.
It's going to be a long bus ride...
Several moments pass and Trevor raises his head, adjusting his thin, round glasses as he slowly raises his view over the top of the spectacles, slightly bent forward, still pondering over the magazine, while slowly scanning left and right, this strangely unfamiliar scene that now fills his senses.
The bus is completely motionless. Half of the lighting that lines the metal grip rails up high are now flickering wildly, creating flashing strobes of nearly fully lit chamber when lit, while producing huge, half darkened, nearly pitch black sections when not.
It is now solemnly quiet.
There is no one else present within the bus.
"Where'd everyone go...?" Trevor asks himself audibly, in a curious and disoriented manner.
Trevor looks down his chest, there is soot and dust here and there on his clothes, which he thoroughly pats and brushes off.
"Ahh, why so dirty...?"
Gritting his teeth, he looks up and also notices that it is seems very dark outside, although his watch says it is 5:32 PM, which he verifies with a quick gesture.
The ride apparently over, Trevor makes his way up the bus, towards the rear exit door.
The door is closed, but with a good, hard push to the center bar, it creaks slowly open to reveal...
Cold, dark, windy, quiet and somber night.
Completely devoid of a single soul but himself.
Trevor pokes his head out the door, as if to test if it is safe to come out.
He steps out of the confines of the city bus, looking hard in both directions, up the sidewalk and street, then quickly turns to observe the opposite side behind him, and then finally straight up at the night sky, which appears starless and void.
He is in a part of the city that he is not familiar with at all.
Hapless but not helpless, Trevor begins to walk briskly in the direction the bus is facing, where his destination lies.
Not one to over-think these kinds of extraordinary situations or events, he begins to eye the street signs, seeking familiarity with even a single one of their names, but finds himself with each oncoming sign, at a loss.
He reaches a large intersection.
The traffic lights are all taking turns flashing on, off, yellow, green and red. Trevor stops as something catches his attention out of the corner of his eye, some subtle movement, across the street...
He turns to make his way towards the source of movement and as he nears the subject in question, finds himself in a deep sense of increasing uneasiness in the pit of his stomach.
In an alley nearby, lit only by a few yellowed and aged security lights, a half charred, half clothed human corpse hangs by a long, thick rope, idly twisting, slowly in the gentle breeze.
With one knee bent, crossing the opposite, straightened knee, as if purposely placed in such a manner.
A huge, toothy, half flesh-flap covered grin and one, hanging, dried up, sooty, dangling eyeball makes up the notables of the face, as the rest of it seems charred and flaking, as if half burned, half left left out in the sun to bake gradually over the course of maybe a hundred years...
At least this is what passes through Trevor's mind, among a myriad of other far-fetched ideas of what the hell happened to this thing that was once a person.
Trevor creeps ever closer to the dangling cadaver, fixated and entranced by details playing their way out in his mind.
As he approaches, he notices something he couldn't see before when he was further out in the street.
A darkened silhouette of a slender, shadowy, scaly, writhing creature, wrapped around the torso of the corpse, idly nibbling and ripping strips of rotten flesh from it playfully and satisfyingly.
Trevor freezes immediately after noticing the creature's presence.
Just as the creature is enjoying another rotten sliver of flesh, the two lock eyes for what seems like an eternity.
Trevor is rapidly overwhelmed by feelings of building anger emanating from this "thing" the longer the eye contact continues and begins to slowly and cautiously back away.
But too late! The creature drops it's snack, raises it's head in a spiteful and nasty open mouthed hiss, then begins to uncoil itself and slide down from the hanging corpse.
All the while keeping it's gaze fixed on Trevor.
Trevor turns quickly to run.
Sprinting down the street, Trevor is running for his life as he hears the creature behind him thrashing through metal trash cans and dumpsters back in the alley, maddeningly hissing and clawing to be free of the debris, scratching and clawing it's way over the steel fence to begin it's heated chase of it's prey.
As Trevor runs and runs for what seems like forever, a thick and tumbling fog begins to gradually roll in, filling the street around him, drowning out visibility in the direction he is heading.
He slows to a jog and sees a flickering light source in the distance.
He goes up an inclined street, down another as the city quickly changes to country-side and the buildings give way to grass-lined, dirty road.
Up a steep hill, about a quarter of a mile away, Trevor sees the source of the light and the "fog".
The "fog" is not fog at all, but smoke, coming from a fire.
There is a large, 3 story house on the top of the hill that is on fire, and Trevor's heart begins to sink.
Trevor continues making his way to the burning house, as he watches the silhouette of a strangely familiar young man clamber down from a 2nd story window, hanging by the edge and tumble down the ground, taking a moment or two to recover and then running away into the night.
A few moments pass, Trevor makes his way to the front door of the house, eyes welling up, now fully recognizing this house. It is HIS house. The house that he was raised in. As he realizes this, he tries to choke back his emotions, but somewhat fails.
A shrieking scream from the 3rd floor pierces the night.
The fucking door will not open.
"Mother FUCKER!!!" Yells Trevor frustratingly, bashing his shoulder into the door and then kicking it in disgust.
He makes for a nearby window, picking up a large piece of wood, shattering the window into a thousand pieces with it.
He clears the edges of the window of jutting glass with the piece of wood, discards it and climbs into the window hurriedly as the screaming continues.
Trevor is now in a smoke filled living room.
It is hard to breathe and he grabs the bottom of his shirt, pulls it up to his mouth to help filter the smoke.
He makes his way up the large flight of stairs, twisting and turning seemingly forever up and up.
"Hold on Johnny! Hold ON!!" Trevor yells as hard as he can.
He reaches the landing of the 3rd floor, as he bends forward to rush down the hall towards the source of the screaming, but stops in mid stride as he peers slowly into one of the large bedrooms.
Two bodies lie in bed together holding hands, blackened, smothered by licking flames that are engulfing most of the room.
He looks down ashamed, bitter, tears streaming down his face, slowly shaking his head in regret and discontent.
Moments later he is sprinting down the hallway, panting and coughing with his shirt tail to his mouth.
He reaches the last room, grabbing the door frame to stop himself.
His brother's room...
His brother is laying face down near a half opened window.
Trevor runs over to him.
Grabbing up in his arms and trying to shaking him to consciousness.
"Johnny! JOHNNY!!... ...I'm sorry..."
Trevor is sitting by the window in his brother's room with his brother's body in his arms, crying, looking around desperately, trying to figure something out, something, anything......while half of the house is now engulfed by flames.
His brother emits a choked-back grunt and Trevor looks quickly down at his face.
Johnny is silent and motionless for a few moments, then...
"...I HATE you..."
Johnny's eyes open-wide, filled with a deep, dark, glassy blackness, piercing disgustingly up, right into Trevor's eyes.
A loud, screeching, roaring, siren like, ear-splitting scream is issued forth from johnny's wide-opened mouth as Trevor drops him to the ground, clutches his ears and falls over to the side, writhing in agonizing pain.
Pain so agonizing that it knocks him unconscious...
Snaps Trevor, as he bursts back into consciousness, lifting his head off his crossed arms he had been resting on a cold, metal seat rail.
He is back on the bus.
It is broad daylight again.
The only ones on the bus are him and the bus driver.
The bus comes to a creaky, shaky and gradual stop.
The bus driver looks into his rear view mirror at Trevor, making raised brow, perplexed eye contact with him, then turning to say, "End of the line buddy..."
Trevor looks back and forth, still in a half panicked, confused daze, nodding his head in compliance.
He brushes himself off quickly, shaking his head trying to clear the haziness, while making his way clumsily to the back door of the bus.
"Oh wait, my mag-..."
He looks back to the seat he was at, where the magazine was left...but there is no magazine...
The bus door creaks open loudly.
He ponders for a moment and exits the bus into the blinding, bright daylight...