; witness
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									By Tara Dogancay


       In the dead of the night, the quiet darkness was suddenly interrupted by the flashing of
harsh lights. It struck her eyelids as it blinked rapidly through her tall window. The frost on the
window caused there to be instant and brisk tessellations on the walls of her room, and she
awoke with a weak gasp. Her exposed feet hit the cold, wooden floor as she feebly ambled her
way to the window. Her face was stunned by the brightness of the lights as she realized they
were the blinking lights of a Greyhound bus that usually did not make its way down the alley of
her New York apartment. She was instantly intrigued by how unusual the occurrence was, for
that alley only aided the homeless or the suspicious and was never the site of a midnight bus
stop. The engine of the bus had been a deep huffing that had resonated in her ears as all her
senses had now begun to heighten.

       Suddenly, the door of the bus squeaked open and a young man, barely past his mid-
twenties, boarded the bus cautiously as he urgently searched his surroundings. Not only did she
find his behavior rather odd, but his appearance as well. Looking down upon the scene, she could
see that he was wearing all different shades of black and dark gray, all mismatched and scattered
from his untied tennis shoes to his worn jacket. He did not seem as if he was prepared for what
he was about to do, whatever that was. This was also dictated by his face. His expression was
riddled with anxiety and fear as he scampered aboard the bus, grasping his own body with his
arms tightly, shielding himself from the bitter cold.

       The bus sat still in time and she did not know why. She knew there was something
strange about the man and the bus’s appearance, so she decided that she would find out for
herself, for this would be her only opportunity. She knew it could be dangerous, but she did not
care. She had an instinct in her heart that she was bound to find out what was behind the
suspicious event at such a late hour. She urgently raced around her tiny apartment for the clothes
she needed and skipped down the stairs from the third floor. Surprisingly, the bus was still there.
Waiting for her, it seemed. She tried to stay cool and collected as she stepped in front of the
closed doors and waited for the gaping invitation inside the metal monster.
       Sure enough, it came and the first thing she saw was a pair of striking eyes darting at her
from inside. The driver was quite intense, but she pushed the discomfort aside and searched for a
place to sit, hiding her face below her heavy bangs and her black baseball cap. When she peered
up, she could see the young man sitting alone at the very back of the bus, his head hanging down
like a dying bloom. He was the only other passenger on the midnight express. She decided to sit
six rows ahead of him, just close enough to the driver to see the man through the driver’s mirror,
and just far enough away from him so that she was not directly intruding.

       The bus took motion with a jolt and made its way through many dark alleyways, some of
which she had never been. Every stop yielded a new, fresh face whose eyes were drawn to the
floor with deep apprehension. It was quite an obvious pattern and she was still trying to figure it
out. Eventually, there would be no more passengers and the bus stopped in front of a darkly lit
warehouse. The men, in unison, dragged themselves out onto the pavement, creating a single file
line from the warehouse to the curb of the street. From the windows of the bus, she observed the
strange congregation and those who had just approached them. It was as if the driver of the bus
also wanted to become a witness to this event and therefore did not drive away. She was glued to
the glass as she started to take in the appearance of each man who had approached the terrified
herd, who had noticeably tensed their bodies and faces in the night. Those who they were so
fearful of were dressed in formal attire and were remarkably clean-cut. Their suits were spotless
and glossy in the moonlight, contrasting from the shabbiness of their visitors, and their cigar
smoke floated above their heads and created a single cloud. Suddenly voices could be heard;
muffled and deep, they were fairly composed and nonthreatening, but the tones changed within a
few seconds. Biting bitterness was the new tone and the suited men suddenly aggressively
approached the shabby.

       And just like that, the bus started its engine and raced away, as the echo of a gunshot
could be heard. She arched her neck back towards the back window of the bus, her thin frame
awkwardly strained, but nothing could be seen but the fading lights of the warehouse and the
moonlit pavement. She suddenly began to feel a sense of panic and shot her eyes onto the bus
driver’s mirror as he had been staring back at her with his piercing eyes under thick, black
eyebrows. They frightened her, but there was a sense of apologetic knowing in those eyes as he
drove back to the same alleyway where she had begun her short journey and stopped abruptly.
She clumsily came to her feet and rushed down the aisle to the front of the bus, but he failed to
open the door. When she stopped at the door, he grabbed her arm pressingly. She whipped her
head around the face him as he began to speak with a shaking voice.

        “Do not tell anyone what you saw. They have connections and they will find you,” He
had been shaking her arm alarmingly hard, presumably for emphasis. “Don’t tell anyone what
you saw.” He then briefly let go of her arm and briskly opened the door, grunting until she made
her way off the express. She looked up through the door at him and their eyes were met until he
closed the door in front of her and drove away. The lights of the bus flickered down the alley and
up the brick walls of the apartments until it faded to become the ordinarily dim streetlight that lit
the entryway to her building. Feeling compelled to look up as she was standing shocked in the
middle of the alley, she could see the blinds of the windows shift and move all around her as she
realized that she may have not been the only one to witness something that should not have been

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