280 Stops

A novella for the Internet about the 11 bus.

- five -


Outward appearance

Fluffy and white and a little rotund, but that hides a committed predator. Leaps on board without a paws as she lands and, with purpose and a proprietorial air, brushes past Donald Kelly. Striking blue and green eyes, a pink collar with a bell.

Inside information

The driver and the regular passengers know the drill and Who? does too. She gets on at the Birchfield island and off at Six Ways, cruising branches of Big John's chip shop where scraps of cod are easy to come by. She likes to be petted, but won't ask for it. She doesn't pay.

What she is doing or thinking

She sits primly on the first seat near the door, and soporifically stares ahead, the moving world her prey. A big feeder comes towards her, and she flicks her eyes upwards towards it for a moment. The feeder holds up a black box and makes a cooing noise. Sensing this exchange doesn't involve food, Who? drops her eyes back to face front. There is a brief flash of light and then the feeder walks off, pecking at the box with a finger, and then presenting it to another. Who? offers them a fanged yawn.

She waits.

The bus crosses Stockland Green and she begins to stiffen slightly and bristle. Up Reservoir Road, the bus makes the bridge and she's up. Who? trots the short length to the vestibule end of the bus, and rubs herself against the pole. Leslie Rogers leans across and rings the bell. As she gets off she looks back to Fryda Grudziński. She lets out a brief mew as if to say "thank you". Then, she's gone.