Marie and Alexander ran to the bus terminal at top speed and skidded to a stop at the wicket. They bought two direct tickets to Kaleyvale and waited on the covered platform for the bus to arrive. Marie sat there quietly as Alexander began to pace along the strip of concrete, clearly agitated. Marie decided not to bother him and keep her mouth shut until it arrived.
It did eventually arrive... a half hour late but still, it arrived. The usual commuters didn't grumble since apparently there were somedays it refused to arrive at all. They got on and picked their seats, Marie by the window and Alexander on the aisle again, and waited for the bus to leave.
The driver spent 15 minutes outside forst on a smoke break then to get a coffee and when he returned, the bus wouldn't start. He tried for a few minutes before breaking the bad news to the passengers and going out to talk to the terminal maintenance department. Alexander sighed furiously and put his headphones on, clearly not in the mood to talk. He blasted sometihng loud and Marie just silently looked out the window at the passing people
It took them an hour or so to get the bus up and running again. It was now close to noon and they hadn't even made it out of the city. Alexander stayed in his crouched position, still fuming at the bus company's tardiness and looked ahead at the road with a deadly expression on his face.
Marie watched the countryside changed as they went along. She saw the progression from urban to suburban to farming rural. She liked looking at the farms and reminded her of home a bit. He heart sunk a bit wondering about her family and how they were doing. She hoped they weren't beside themselves though it was likely they were. She tried to focus on the passing farms and the rows on rows of crops to keep her mind from pining.
After a few hours, they entered some forests and foothills with thickets so thick, it was hard to see out. Marie soon grew bored of just watching the green trees and looked over at Alexander. He had taken his headphones off and was laying back in the seat asleep. Marie giggled to herself at the sight of him snoring there but she didn't disturb him. He hadn't slept in a while. After a bit, she looked to see raindrops on the windows and her own lids grew heavy with fatigue. She lay back as well and shut her eyes.
Marie was nudged slightly awake after a few hours. She looked up sleepily to see Alexander looking down at her. "Hey sleepyhead. We're here," he said gesturing out the window.
Marie yawned and looked outside to see a sprawling midsize city of mainly industrial sectors and working class neighbourhoods. It was very run-down looking and dirtied from litter and old soot from some coal processing plants that were here before. It wasn't anything like the capital but then again, the capital was its own big city in its own dimension. Marie looked at Alexander with a raised eyebrow. "You know, it doesn't seem all that shocking now that they picked this place."
Alexander nodded his head in agreement. "Well, this city always has had a crime problem. I remember studying our local geography a while ago and my teacher didn't speak well of Kaleyvale."
"Hm," Marie pondered as they pulled off the expressway and into the city. She noticed a lot of people were out and about but looked at the people on the bus with distaste. Marie sihed away from the window and leaned closer to Alexander. He laughed a bit and patted her on the shoulder. "It's ok. Nothing's gonna happen to you," and with that the bus pulled into the station.
They soon got off and began to walk a bit, trying to orient themselves as well as waiting for another sign. Marie walked silently with Alexander until they reached another industrial part of town. She looked up at him with an almost exasperated expression. "Well, what do we do now?"
Alexander paused and sighed before he turned to look at her, confusion and worry all over his face. "I don't know," he said and walked a little more. Marie followed silently, trying to choke down her anxiety. After a few moments, Alexnader began to sniff the air and looked back at Marie with a worried expression. "Do you smell that?"
"Smell what?" she asked but soon caught a whiff of what he was talking about. It was a horrid scent. The smell of bad lunchmeat but around ten times worse. She looked over to see he had gone to the dumpster of a meat processing plant and flipped the lid.
"Good God!" He screamed and jumped back from the container. Realization and fear making his body tremble. Marie grew scared and walked towards the dumpster, curiosity getting the better of her. When she passed him, he was sitting crouched on the ground, holding his head saying, "she's there. All those weeks, she's there," repeatedly.
Marie decided not to ask and look in for herself. Her eyes widened in sheer horror and she now understood Alexander's reaction. The girl he'd been hearing. The one she saw that one time. The small blonde-haired girl they tried to save as well, lay mangled and dead with the putrid remains of cows and horses slaughtered for dog food.