“Ah!” someone in the bus shouted.
Zhao Yali grabbed Luo Yuan’s arm tightly. Her fingernails were poking into his skin but he didn’t feel it. He was distracted by the sight of a gray rat the size of a kitten speeding across the road outside the window. It was extremely big compared to normal rats, and it seemed very brave. It did not leave, it just hid somewhere nearby. Its entire body was gray and its fur was shiny. It had very sharp teeth and a pair of blood red eyes.
"Come on, you bloody animal!" The driver sounded mad as he pressed on the accelerator. The bus moved at a fast speed.
The rat kept watching it until it had disappeared. Then it jumped across the road and ran towards the field. They were near Yushan when the bus reached a fork in the road and turned into the mountain pass. Most of the trees in the area had been burned. They could even see the bombshells. The most dangerous thing, though, was the small stones and rocks on the road. A bunch of them hit the iron boards of the bus, producing irritating sounds. Despite that, it was an overall smooth journey, which made Luo Yuan feel slightly relieved.
The bus drove on for a few minutes and then took a turn. The driver suddenly pressed on the brakes and stopped the vehicle. Right there, in the middle of the road, was another bus that wasn’t moving. The driver looked at it and took out his phone nervously. He dialed a few times, but nobody picked up. In the end, he threw his phone to the ground, checked the area around them and grabbed the axe. He talked in dialect with a few passengers who were sitting up front, and then pointed to a button inside the driver’s panel. He pushed the door open, got off, and then shut it again. Then he started walking towards the other bus.
“What did he say?” Luo Yuan asked.
“He said that something must have happened up front and he has to go check. He asked to open the door for him when he returns,” Zhao Yali said anxiously. Everyone was silent. The atmosphere had gotten a lot heavier.
“Ahhhh!” someone screamed loudly.
Everyone saw the driver running back to the bus, followed closely by about ten rats. He looked extremely panicked and desperate. Apparently, the rats could run a lot faster than him because a big rat had bit into his thigh in no time. The pain had the driver slumping to the ground along with his axe.
More rats rushed towards him and bit into his body with their sharp teeth. He was bleeding and screaming, and he used every last bit of his energy to get up from the ground and pull down the rats one by one in an effort to escape. The smell of blood attracted even more rats, who slowly came closer. The driver was still about 10 meters away from the bus and was trying extremely hard to reach the door. He kept tapping on it, asking for help.
“Open the door! OPEN THE DOOR!”
The passengers sitting up front looked pale and frightened. A young man got up to open the door, but a woman pulled him away and he just shut up. There were lots of people in the world who tried to be helpful to show their kindness. Some of them donated money to victims of natural disasters, others gave up their seats to elders on the bus, and others donated free blood. All those actions were easy because they did not cause them any major injuries. However, when actions of kindness became a threat to one’s own welfare or even their life, people became selfish.
"Open the door, please! Please!" the driver begged the passengers. He felt disappointed and hopeless when they refused to open the door. Meanwhile, more than 10 rats rushed up to him and bit him. "You son of a bitch! Karma will get you!” the driver moaned as he screamed in agony.
As more and more mutated rats jumped on him, blood flowed from his entire body like a river. He lay in a big pool of it. He had lost too much energy and left several blood stains on the side οf the bus while he scratched it, seeking for help.
Luo Yuan clenched his fists tightly. He wanted to open the door for the driver, but he eventually slumped back against his seat helplessly. He knew those rats would come into the bus and bring chaos and death if he opened the door. He might not be able to protect Zhao Yali in that chaos. Even though he was good at fighting, the most he would be able to do was protect himself. He was not a hero, he could only try to protect himself and those he cared about. He turned away from the cruel scene. He didn’t want to watch the driver die in such a horrible manner. A few rats climbed up to the iron bars and looked inside the bus with their bloody eyes. It was very quiet inside. The only sound was the heavy breathing of the passengers.
More rats were gathering at the base of the mountain, all of them rushing towards the bus Luo Yuan was in. In no time, the entire bus had been covered by hundreds of rats, the whole cabin turning dark as they blocked the sunlight.
"Oh my god! They’re biting the iron bars!" the girl who was sitting in front of Luo Yuan said, screaming and crying simultaneously.
Many of the rats had begun to bite the bars, a white powder falling down along with the iron flakes. Zhao Yali was holding Luo Yuan tightly. He could feel her entire body shaking. Suddenly, there was complete chaos, and the whole bus started to shake. Some people tried to call the cops, but nobody seemed to be succeeding. Perhaps the police were too busy to answer.
"The iron bars won’t last long. Can anyone drive the bus and get us out of here?" an old man with black framed spectacles asked in dialect.
After a while, a young man replied, "I only have a Grade C license. I have never driven this type of vehicle before."
"How long have you been driving?" the old man asked while looking at the rats outside.
"Two years. I haven’t driven recently though due to the escalating gas prices," the young man replied.
"I guess you’re our only option. Go ahead and try," the old man said. The young man nodded while his face turned pale. He walked to the front and sat down in the driver’s seat.
He was as white as paper as he looked at the scary rats moving around on the windscreen. He took a deep breath and whispered something to himself. He laid his hands on the steering wheel, but let go instantly. A few minutes later, the bus had finally taken off again. No one uttered a single word, because they knew the young man was completely panicked.
That was when one of the iron wires broke.
Everyone inside the bus started screaming and the young driver became terrified. He suddenly stepped on the accelerator. The bus was now moving like a mad cow, running randomly at high speed until it hit the deserted bus in the other lane.
“No! Stop!” someone shouted.
“My goodness!” Luo Yuan was in shock. He quickly pulled Zhao Yali into his arms to shield her.
In almost no time, their bus had crashed into the other bus, all its windows breaking in an instant. The scariest thing, though, was that its bars broke too, a big hole forming inside them. The bus shook for a short while before it finally stopped. Zhao Yali was leaning in Luo Yuan’s arms while she secretly looked at his handsome face. He looked strong and determined, and just being beside him made her feel safe.
Luo Yuan released her while he asked, “Are you alright? Did you get hurt?”
Zhao Yali returned to reality. She shook her head and replied, “No, I’m fine. I was just shocked.”
“That’s good then. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine,” Luo Yuan tried to comfort her. She seemed completely lost. The rest of the passengers were still in their seats. Most of them had not gotten hurt. They’d just gotten scared.
The only exception was the young driver, who was leaning over the steering wheel, not moving at all. Blood was flowing and dripping between his fingers, but sadly no one noticed his injuries. The two buses had been squashed together. Luo Yuan and some of the other guys in the bus stood up and tried to look into the empty bus next to them. He suddenly turned his gaze away. He felt an electric current shock his spine.