The girl with the headphones pinched her nose and closed her eyes. The bus and the people roared around her, her thumb cycled the volume up and up.
She opened her eyes, and the bus was hers. The people were back behind the glass where they belonged. The girl with the headphones coiled a finger through the wire, and leaned her head back against the window. Frost and steam did battle behind her, in the gray streets.
The old steel worm chugged along, bending in the middle – armor rippling around a corner. A tall boy with corkscrew hair dangled from a white pole. His eyes were black and curious, making a naked cartography of her shape.
The girl frowned, and her thumb moved.
The boy let himself hang from the rail, his body making a triangle between the floor and the roof. He smiled at her, and refused to get behind the glass where he belonged. His shirt was a grimy green, and had a mermaid printed with blank ink.
Her stomach crawled and she turned her face toward the front of the bus.
The mermaid boy twined around another moment, then thudded to the floor when the bus screamed to a stop. The girl with the headphones gritted her teeth in satisfaction.
He hooted and grumbled, then pulled himself to the doors of the steel worm and was gone.
The glass reformed, and the girl was alone and satisfied.
A block later and she forgot the mermaid boy. She did not think of him again.
[Story on demand for Leigh — her suggestion too me in a weird direction, as it often does — mainly because I was thinking more about my last trip to Chicago, the City of Ice. Thanks for the idea!
For those of you playing the home game, I did write another “mermaid” themed SOD, click here to be underwhelmed. Suddenly, Mermaid.]