Bridget's Email: 4-25-17
The Bus Ride Through the Tunnel
A Norinko Hanasaki Research Case
The McClure Tunnel Closed Once Again
I held up this email for obvious reasons. I mean, I just came from seeing "Phoenix Forgotten", which is basically "Blair Witch" with UFOs. Surprised to see it was produced by Ridley Scott, whose latest version of Alien meets Prometheus looked pretty generic in the new trailer (especially after that awesome extended "trailer" with actors Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace--can adults still say 'awesome'; it was our word first).
Anyway, after arguments and disagreements with my editor and continuity expert, Coralie Rowe, we've decided to blog this email as is, unedited (except for the name of the sender whose name has been changed because of her age). All I can say is I confirmed it is from the Catholic school in question, but the subject matter is anything if not interesting. Just for comparison, we've got articles on the Tongs of the Wild West, the true story of the corpse that wouldn't lie still, and other strange subjects that relate to the focus of our attention--the McClure Tunnel and all its mysteries since the mid-1800s. Even today there are still new odd phenomena and tragic accidents occurring inside the tunnel. Closures have become commonplace.
Still, there's always the more topical side that relates to a blog called the Servante of Darkness. So here is Bridget's email, I hope the first of many.
Dear Mr. Servante,
I’m sorry for Suzie. She was kind of mad about
ur folklore blog. She’s
more religious than me. For the last ten months since Norie went missing, our
parents have been meeting a lot and going to Temple. Suzie goes with them a lot. She prays
and lights candles and incense for Bodhisattva at the Prajnaparamita. There are
so many things, I don’t know what to tell u. I guess I should tell u first
about the bus ride that day.
Suzie always sits by the window with Norie. I sit behind them. I like to look over Norie’s shoulder to see what she’s drawing in her notebook. She has a Tokidoki notebook. She loves that stuff, but Suzie can tell you about that. Norie likes to write poems too, some with the drawings, some just for the poems. It was Monday, June 6 last year. She was drawing a bird with a girl’s face or like a girl wearing a bird costume. I couldn’t tell.
The bus driver already let off most the students at their stops so there were only around six or seven of us still on the bus when it got on the freeway. It’s the same route all the time. First the kids on the north side of the tunnel then the kids on the south side of the tunnel. It’s the Catholic school rules that we ride the bus. We could catch the regular Big Blue bus home or the south side kids most of them can walk home but we have to ride the school bus.
And I don’t get why we have to go to Catholic school if our parents are Buddha heads. It’s like kind of the school’s fault, I think. The Nuns don’t even seem to care. I tell them our parents are Buddhas and they say, “Buddhists”. Like it matters. Buddha heads. Christian heads.
But it was that bird, the one Norie called “Buzzkill” and then she wrote two poems about Buzzkill right there on the bus. I guess it was a buzzard. Like a vulture, I guess. Norie turned around at looked at me. I was leaning against the back of her seat looking over her shoulder. “Don’t be a Buzzkill,” she told me.
Someone must have opened a window cuz Norie’s notebook closed shut like a slap. That’s when the bus went in the tunnel. The lights in the tunnel are always on. Always. This time they weren’t. No lights in the bus either. No lights from our cellphones. The bus driver turned on the speaker. I thought she was making an announcement, but she started crying. And some of the girls started screaming.
I was holding on to the back of Norie’s seat. Suzie was hiding her face in her palms. She was saying Bodhisattva over and over. Someone was laughing. I remember that. But it was too dark to see who it was. My eyes were already used to the dark, like at the movies, but I couldn’t see through the middle of the darkness.
Someone was saying “Stop the bus.” It was me. “Don’t be a Buzzkill.” It wasn’t Norie. I thought we were going to crash. Then we left the tunnel. The sunlight lit up the inside of the bus. We were all turning our heads looking at each other. Wondering who was laughing, who was screaming, who was crying. I saw Suzie look up. “Where’s Norie?” she asked me. No Norie in her seat. But her notebook was there.
That wind blew again and it blew the cover open. I saw the two Buzzkill poems. I reached over to pick up the notebook, but Suzie yelled at me not to. She scared me. She left her seat and walked down the aisle looking at every seat on both sides to the back of the bus, then she walked to the front of the bus and did the same thing. When she got to the front, she looked back at me and shook her head.
I saw her talk to the bus driver. Then she came back and sat next to me. She told me that the bus driver said ‘ang-hell’. She said that Miriam, our driver, pointed to the speaker system to show Suzie it was turned off. “Ang-hell” she kept saying. Suzie said that 'ang-hell' means 'angel' in Spanish. Then she told me that the driver is going to stop at the next gas station.
I’m going to stop here. Can you tell me if you’re going to put this on your blog, please? Thank you. If you use it, next time I’ll tell you what happened at the gas station.
Your friend, Bridget
April 25, 2017