Bradley boards the bus wearing a striped polo and a smile.
He takes a seat near the front, the same seat he’s taken for years.
One by one children file in around him – giggling, smiling, yawning.
The engine roars to life. Over the next hour, they’ll make a dozen stops before their final destination. As school bus monitor, Bradley’s job is to make sure the kids get a fun-filled start to their day, starting with their favorite game.
“I spy with my little eye…” Bradley’s voice carries down the rows of youngsters already wriggling with excitement in their seats, “something red.”
They love this game. Some inspect their clothing. Some peer out windows. Some look under seats while others look to the roof.
Answers fly like firecrackers.
“My scraped knee!”
They bump along the road and play a few more rounds before it’s story time – another favorite part of their morning routine.
Halfway through the book a voice disrupts him.
Don’t say that.
Bradley looks up. Blank eyes stare back. He dismisses it and continues to read. A few minutes pass and it happens again.
Why are you saying that?
He turns to locate the voice. Nothing. The kids look unfazed. Could they not hear it?
I know you hear me.
He closes the book and turns to the front of the bus. The radio. It was talking – not to everyone, just to him.
There’s been an accident. A horrible car accident.