A claw gripped onto my wrist. “Stacy!”
“I swear I’ll never cheat again!” I screamed. “Dani!”
And Dani, who’s so crazy strong, pulled me to her seat. The width of her body allowed and the eight legs allowed her to hold onto the seat better than I ever could. She shoved me under her, so I gripped the the metal rod under the seat and held on for dear life.
The ceiling crushed down. Broken glass churned in the spinning bus. Dani held both of us tight to her seat, the space between her and me getting ever smaller. My breath was compressed. I stopped screaming.
And then, suddenly, the bus stopped rolling and remained still on its side. I took a few moments, waiting to make sure the horrific spinning was over, then pulled myself out from under Dani. “Dani – Dani, oh my god, are you ok?”
Dani struggled, but she finally pulled a couple stuck claws out from between the bus seats and fell across the aisle toward where I had been sitting. She crumpled into herself and shivered. “What just happened!?”
“I think we rolled off a cliff!”
“I’m scared.” She felt around in her hoodie pocket and pulled out her tablet. “I’m calling Mom and Dad.”
I shook my head, now feeling a little bit of blood trickling off my nose. I noticed my head hurt, and my glove came back wet when I touched my forehead. I must have hit it against something in all the crazy twirling.
You can see the scar – right here, look – still. I have to cover that with crazy makeup, and it still gives me point deductions for symmetry. I mean, I totally beat the pants off Dani in the beauty category, but you can’t accumulate too many points. You literally can’t.
Anyway, I felt a little dizzy. I put my leg against something hard and “down,” and started crawling to the emrgency door in the back. All the running lights were off, and I smelled something burning. The lithium batteries’ casings had probably cracked. I coughed in the light smoke and put my hands against the emergency exit handle.
The door banged against its casing. The hard, composite shell of the bus had crunched and twisted such that the door was stuck. I kicked at it a couple times.
Dani crawled out of her seat. “Mr. Potter? Mr. Potter, you ok?” she shouted. I noticed her legs squirm around on the sideways chairs, pulling her up from the polymeric side of the bus.
Water from the shallow creek started seeping in through the windows. “Dani!” I shouted. “Dani – we have to get out of here! There’s water and cracked batteries!” I kicked at the door again, budging it a few centimeters.
You hear that, hag? I can use the metric system. Suck it.
Dani ripped the driver’s seat apart and manhandled the unconscious Mr. Potter out. She slung him over her thorax, held onto him with a couple of her legs, and started crawling back. “Get that door open, Stacy!”
“I’m tryin’!” I kicked again, and blood from my head dripped into my eye. At last, I kicked the window in the bottom of the door out. “I got it!”
I bent down and crawled through the opening. The cold of the morning bit into my bare hands, and the cut on my forehead stung with the temperature. The smell of lithium fire was even stronger out here.
“Stacy!” I heard behind me. “Stacy – help me get him out of here.”
Though dizzy, I turned around and took Mr. Potter’s jacket. I remember the smell of his breath, like how my parents’ breath smelled after a couple glasses of wine, but more intense.
Dani fed him out through the little hole in the door, squeezing him out like pasta from an extruder. I pulled the limp spaghetti man out from the hole. I felt crappy when his feet went into the creek, but that wasn’t a big deal – flames spurted from the bottom of the bus as more of the lithium became exposed to air.
“God, he’s heavy!” I cried as I dragged him. I could hardly see – my eyes were clouding up from loss of blood and all the exertion.
Dani pushed at the door. “Just get him away from here, Stacy! Run!”
My arms gave out after I got Mr. Potter a few yards further away. “God, Dani, help me.”
“Get out of here, Stacy!”
I stumbled a couple feet, then fell to the ground. It smelled of leaf litter and frost.