280 Stops

A novella for the Internet about the 11 bus.

- ten -

Mrs Christine Bennett

Outward appearance

Christine is someone your eye wouldn't be drawn to normally. A middle aged, slightly frumpy looking woman. She has dark hair cut into a bob that doesn't really suit her round face. Wearing a navy blue housecoat with a poppy of remembrance pinned to the left breast. She carries two well thumbed John Grisham paperbacks, a punnet of grapes and a box of maltesers in a plastic bag.

Inside Information

Christine is willing the bus to go faster so she can get to Selly Oak Hospital soon. Her son, Michael, is recuperating there after his third tour in Afghanistan. She momentarily worries that people won't respect her because he was injured at his base camp rather than during action. She worries further about what she'll tell people but quickly chases that thought away. She's quietly thankful that she has a son to visit in a hospital rather than a graveyard. She offers a quick short prayer of thanks.

What are they doing or thinking

In her coat pocket Christine runs her finger along to the next decade of her rosary beads and the words echo in her head as she unseeingly gazes out of the window. She bought this string of beads from the gift shop at an abbey in Hereford where she was on a painting retreat weekend. She's taken more comfort in her previously lapsed faith since Michael was put on rotation to Afghanistan and feels a pang of guilt each time she prays for the protection of her son. She brings her attention back to the inside of bus and makes a mental note of which passengers are wearing poppies or not.