A Long Ride

She stared out of the windows absently, her mind elsewhere, mulling over the events of the past few weeks. No matter which way she looked at it, the ordeal did not make any sense.

When the Greyhound pulled into the station, her heart skipped a beat. She saw him standing with the crowd of people waiting to take their friends or family home. He was there and not there, to be exact. He had the look of someone stretching their legs, watching the bus out of curiosity, and nothing more. She knew him better than that. Her head ducked down as she searched through her purse.

By the time the bus pulled out of the station she had organized the contents of her bag. Someone would think she was stupid if she was pretending to look through her bag . . . For the lie to work there had to be some semblance of the truth.

She didn’t really care about what someone else would have thought about her. If someone did ask, she could always say that she saw an ex in the crowd, and didn’t want him to see her. That was half the truth; the man she didn’t want to see, and she wanted him to know that she was on this bus even less. Was he her ex though?

That was the question she kept asking herself. She had never seen him before in her life–which had been fine–until two months ago. Strange thing began to happen in her hometown, all directed towards her, and she was forced to move.

A frantic buzzing made her jump. “Shit,” she pulled her phone out of her pocket.

Are you okay, Marianna?

She texted back: Yes, I’m fine.

Where are you?

Marianna never told anyone she was leaving. After mulling it over, she opted out on a return message. A few minutes later and she told them that she was busy . . .

Busy trying to figure out what she was running from.

All she had ever wanted in life, more than anything else, was to be left alone. If anyone asked from who she wouldn’t be able to answer. Marianna would only be able to shrug and say that she’d know the person when she saw them. This feeling she had carried with her her whole life. It was intrinsic, engrained into her.

When she began to see those strange people, it was déjà vu.

Sighing, Marianna closed her eyes. What she would do to sleep in her own bed. Who can I ask for help? she thought; that question had been floating around in her mind for a while. If she only told half the truth, she could get half of the help she needed, and the rest would remain to haunt her.

“This can’t be a coincidence,” she told herself. “It just can’t.”

“What can’t?”

The voice came from the passenger behind her. Marianna bit her lip, embarrassed; she had spoken out loud without even knowing it. She turned around.

It was him.

He gave Marianna a thin-lipped smile . . . It seemed to be too wide on a face that was all wrong. If she squinted long and hard enough she could see him for what he truly was.

“You can’t run from me.”

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