It was hard to recognise anything through the window, but there was not much, except for trees, as far as I could tell. The fat guy was pacing up and down the gangway, sometimes stopping and looking outside, than walking the exact same way again, only to find the same view through all the windows he was looking through. I turned to him and said: ‘Hey! We need to get out and see where we are!’ He seemed oblivious to what I was saying, still pacing back and forth, his confusion and fear clearly on his face. I walked over to him and touched his shoulder to get his attention. He turned around as if lightning had struck him and looked at me as if he was seeing me for the first time. He started to stutter: ‘What’s going on?? What is this?? Where are we??’ Despite my own, hardly oppressed panic, I realised I had to calm him down somehow, if only to help myself. ‘I don’t know man, I don’t know…the bus-driver…’, I turned to look at the driver’s cab again, the memory of the horrible face still clearly in my mind. ‘What about the bus driver?’, he asked meekly, his face a battleground between slowly accepting the circumstances he was facing or becoming completely delirious. ‘There, there…he was….’. I was unable to speak out what I had seen, which did not exactly shift the battle on the fat guy’s face towards acceptance. ‘What’s your name?’, I asked, realizing that I had to keep talking, otherwise we might both go nuts.
‘So you are Irish, I figure?’
‘Yes, I was born in Dublin, but studying here.’ I suddenly felt a ‘presence’ of something coming from somewhere far away. It seemed as if this something was so strong in evil power and hostility that no living being wanted to be close to it.
‘Ok, my name is Asmodean, I am from Amsterdam and I work here. Listen man! We gotta get out of this bus, and quickly. There is something, something coming towards here and this is not good. Don’t tell me how I know that or anything. It’s just a really strong feeling!’
‘Yes, I feel it it too and it’s malicious, he whispered, so silent that the words were a mere breath.
’We have to go’
‘Yes man let’s do it, I agreed, goose bumps running down my arms. And with that we made for the door. A few hard kicks got the fittings loose and slowly the door opened. We did not bother to search the bus for anything useful. The feeling of this presence that was coming closer to where we were, was getting ever stronger. I could also start to feel something more than that. He had been right, this entity was malicious and not only that. It was so full of raw viciousness that my body was trembling in fear, while my legs started to run almost by themselves.
We were heading into the woods without even looking where we were. Yet, it was obvious we were in a very deep forest. We had to pass by large trees almost constantly. Whether they were oak, pine or fir, I could not tell. All was dark. We were jumping over branches and stepping on stones and twigs. Thomas was not running any slower than me, fear giving him wings. His fat belly jumped up and down, while he ran besides me and his heavy breathing was the only audible sound to me. We had been running for about ten minutes and just when we started to become slower, of mere exhaustion, not because we felt we should, we started to hear the sounds of metal being bended and squeezed. It sounded like big machines at work on a construction site, only without engines.
The entity had arrived at the bus, that much was clear. Howls started to mix in with the breaking metal and they did not seem to come from one voice only. They were loud and angry, a guttural sound that was as horrible as it was disgusting. It was certainly neither human nor animal to produce those bloodcurdling screams. We were running again, the thought of having to face what was behind us striking terror in our hearts. Trees flashed by as our steps were becoming faster again. We were running for our lives, nothing less than that.
It seemed we made no progress. The sound of breaking metal had stopped a few moments ago. Yet the howls were still there and they became ever more urgent and excited. They were catching up! We both knew it, we felt it. Thomas eyes became ever wider, his breath more heavy by the minute. His large body could not take this pace any longer and I was afraid of what might happen when it would simply refuse to keep going. There was no time to think about that, though. The sounds of these ‘Things’ seemed to get closer by the minute. We would not make it! I could feel it in my heart.
It was a disgusting truth to realise that and fear is not the right word to describe it. Nor would terror, anguish or dread describe it correctly. Coming to accept that one’s life might come to an end in a few minutes is nothing but mind-blowing in the worst of all senses. Just when those thoughts were creeping inside me like nails ripping into flesh and my mind and body was not able to fight off that horrible fear in my heart anymore, in this moment when I was sure that whatever was behind us would just bring an end to me and throw me into oblivion in this moment I saw the light.