Is this the world we are living in now?

#life #world #shortstory #terrorism

Denial. That’s what you are doing right now. You need to accept the fact. And get moving. Find something else, find someone else. Her thoughts were against her as she walked through the hallway between the staff room and the art room.

The path was clean, after all the Principal had ordered punishment for any student who would litter anywhere. Things had changed. It was actually okay to take a stroll and not see wrappers/food items/covers lying around.

She reached the end of the hallway and leaned on the gate shutter. The yellow colored gate shutter still seemed old and hard to push. She could see the four school buses parked outside, Bus No. 1, No. 2, No. 4 and No. 8. 1 and 2 were bigger than the rest of the buses. They pick more students in that route I suppose.

The canteen was visible diagonally from her spot. As usual. Crowded as f*** during lunch time. Then again, I don’t feel like eating any junk today. She just stared at the faces of everyone there. She could make out her two friends, Richa and Prachi in the distance, busy having their cream-roll with a bottle of Pepsi.

Personally, she had never liked the canteen food because it was usually made the previous day. And also, she had her doubts at the authenticity of the raw materials in making the food. One of her friends, Rohit had found a dead lizzard once in the patties, and the Principal had ordered a major reform of the Canteen. It was two years ago and yet, she wasn’t confident enough. I wonder what will Rohit say about the canteen now. Then again, he transferred to another school after the year of that incident. I wonder, was the incident really one of the reasons for his transfer.

Shaking her head, she came out of her thoughts and headed towards buses. Even though children were not allowed to enter the buses during the school hours, they weren’t particularly locked. And so, sometimes she would slide the door a little and sit inside, all alone, in silence for the ten minutes of lunch.

It was a unique experience. Just sitting, no noise, closing the eyes and thinking about whatever you wanted, or not thinking at all. As usual, she took the spot in the middle row and rested her head on the bench rail. She didn’t have anything particular to think about, so she just closed her eyes and listened. Beep. Beep.

What is that sound? That is not usual. In fact I think this is the first time I am hearing this. Beep. Beep. What should I do? That doesn’t seem to be coming from far away. In fact, it feels like it is right behind me. She jumped up and searched the seat at the back. There was a green colored bag with a smiling Sun logo in the front. This must be it. I can hear it better now. She closed in on the bag, picked it up from the ground and placed it on the seat. She was going to open it when her hands froze.

Should I open it? A beep beep sound, a misplaced bag…maybe voluntarily, inside a bus. I wish it is not what I am thinking. I shouldn’t touch it. She hurried towards the main door of the bus. She was in such a hurry that she left the bus without closing the door. Her friends, Prachi and Richa saw her coming out of the bus, and that made them curious.

Prachi was surprised, as she had never seen Momo in the bus. She called out Momo’s name but she seemed to be in a hurry, perhaps flustered. What was that all about? Prachi thought. The no-reaction and rushing from Momo had made here even more curious. Did something happen in the bus? With someone? Shut up. Stop thinking dirty. You know that Momo won’t ever do such a thing, she is a vassal of principles. So what’s going on.

Prachi looked at Momo, her gaze fixed as Momo was rushing from the bus to the hallway between the staff room and art room. What has gotten into her. Prachi thought. I must check the bus. She headed for the bus Momo had just come out of. Richa said that they will get late for the class, but Prachi was determined.

She asked Richa to go to the class by herself and that she will be there in a minute. Richa parted after saying Always interested in anything related to Momo, aren’t you? to which Prachi just smiled and headed to the bus.

What the hell! It is empty, there is no one else in the bus. I didn’t see anyone except Prachi come out of the bus. Why was she acting strange then. The loud noise of the school bell started ringing, the rhythmic beating of the iron sphere with a hammer. Oh wow! Just in time. I need to find something quick. Cmmon, I don’t want to miss the period. That too it’s Chemistry. Meh.

The school bell was loud, and it felt like her heart beating faster and faster. She went till the end of the seats, took a turn and was heading back to the main door. What’s this? A bag? …With a Sun? Really? Who carries these nowadays. She looked at the bag for a second or two then realized, Was it something inside this bag that made Momo hurry away? Maybe? But should I open an unclaimed bag? It’s fine though. As long as it is for Momo, I think I have the right to know it. She sat in the same seat, took the bag on her lap and carefully unzipped it so that no contents fall out. The bag seemed a bit heavy at first, which made her think what could be inside it.

She peeked inside the bag, there was a device that was counting down. It was at 550 at that time, or so she thought. The number suddenly changed to 0. Prachi gulped, her heart skipping a beat. Her mind asked her to throw away the bag and run. But it was too late.

The blast rocked the entire school. Fortunately, the lunch time was over so there was no other student to be injured by the blast, but one of the bus drivers who was roaming the area, came in the blast radius.

Everyone in the school was shocked, and many felt that their was an earthquake. Momo had hurriedly made it to the Principal’s office, pushing other staff members, who muttered that they will punish her in the class and maybe take points of her test for misbehaving. Momo hadn’t cared, she rushed to the office, kicking open the door, gasping for breath and telling the Principal about her finding.

The Principal was scared, he had never imagined a scenario like this. This was a Public School for teaching children for Christ’s sake! He shouted How could something like this even be possible. Momo begged the principal to hurry and come to the location with her. But the bang happened. Just as they were about to exit the office, the bang happened.

Momo was shocked. The Principal was so startled by the loud noise that he fell on the floor. How could this be happening. There was no one in the bus, right? And it didn’t feel like it would go off until …. someone… opened… the … zipper… Who… She tried hard to come up with words but she wasn’t able to think of anything. She just kept staring down the hallway she had just hurried from, the scene outside looked black. The floor where the buses were parked looked black. Where were the buses… she could make out two pieces of large metal junk that were burning outside.

According to the news the next day, two people were killed, a bus driver named S. Dutta and a school girl in 10th grade, named Prachi.

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