About 30 miles away, a seventeen year old boy was waiting for a bus. He looked moody.
He occasionally caught the old lady glancing at him, and when he did, she would smile and give a nod. Trying to be friendly. But he knew that, behind the pretence, the lady was tremendously frightened of him.
The boy’s name was Adam Quinn. He had blazing red hair, and wore a long black coat with large brass buttons along the sleeves. His arms were folded. His whole body language said ‘Stay away from me.’
He watched as a bus drew up. It was the 55. He waited for a few seconds, and then sidled up to where it was parked at the side of the road.
The driver looked him up and down.
‘Well?’ he said after a bit.
‘Just take me to the last stop,’ Adam said, looking out from under his fringe.
‘OK, that’s gonna be £1.80,’ the driver said, frowning.
Adam rolled his eyes, and then he reached into his pocket. He pulled out a black rod, about seven inches long, and gave it a small flick. He smirked, watching as the driver scratched his head, trying to remember what was going on.
‘Er…’ he said, confused.
‘Keep the change,’ Adam said.
‘Sure, thank you,’ the driver said, and waved him on.
He walked to the back of the bus. There were only two seats left – one next to the old lady, who smiled at him again. He glared at her, and then sat in the other seat, next to a sixty year old man.
‘So what do you do then?’ the man said.
‘I don’t do anything, I’m a student,’ Adam replied.
‘I worked in the mines for fifteen years when I was your age. Jesus Christ. Bloody students.’
‘I speak,’ the man said, spluttering slightly, ‘I speak Finnish, Swedish, Spanish and German. Never did me a bit of harm. Jesus. Doesn’t make any sense, no sir.’
Adam shrank back in his seat, not wishing to talk to the man.
‘Now, the Spanish word for beer,’ the pensioner continued. ‘That’s cerveza. Trouble is, nobody bothers nowadays, do they. Bloody idiots. Never try. And the buses as well. Frigging stupid. Were you late on? Oi, Carrot Head -’ he shouted at a little red headed girl further down the bus ‘- Were you late on this bus? Jesus Christ. Are you ignoring me? Little midgets.’
Adam sighed, and gripped at the rod again. He took it out and flicked it at the man.
There was a flash of blue, and the old man disappeared, mid sentence. The people on the bus looked at him, very worried, but another flick of the rod took care of that. They all went back to reading their newspapers or staring vacantly out the window. Adam folded his arms and sank back in the chair, waiting for the bus to finish its route.
Three miles away, a sixty year old man sat in the middle of a roundabout. He looked very bewildered for a few minutes, and then started loudly swearing.