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CREECH, Sharon

Walk two Moons

'Oh,' I said. 'Around...

'Taking a pee, eh?' he said, referring, I gathered, to whoever was supposedly with me. 'A helluva road to be driving at night, isn't it? I do it every night. I work up in Pullman and live down there...' He pointed to the lights of Lewiston and the black river. 'You been here before?' he said. 'No.' 'See that?' He pointed to a spot somewhere below. I peered into the darkness. Then I saw the severed tree-tops and the rough path cut through the brush. At the end of this path I could see something shiny and metallic reflecting the moonlight. It was one thing I had been looking for.

'A bus went off the road here - a year or more ago,' he said. 'Skidded right there, coming out of that last turn, and went sliding into this here overlook and on through the railing and rolled over and over into those trees. A helluva thing. When I came home that night, rescuers were still hacking their way through the brush to get to it. Only one person survived, ya know?' I knew.

43. The Bus and the Willow

When the map drove off, I crawled beneath the railing and made my way down the hill toward the bus In the east the sky was smokey gray, and I was glad for the approaching dawn. In the year and a half since the trail was hacked out, the brush had begun to grow back. Wet with dew, straggly branches slapped and scratched at my legs and hid uneven ground so that several times I tripped, tumbling and sliding downwards.

The bus lay on its side like an old sick horse, its broken headlights staring out mournfully into the surrounding trees Most of the huge rubber tyres were punctured and grotesquely twisted on their axles I climbed up onto the bus's side, hoping to make my way down to an open window, but there were two enormous gashes torn into the side, and the jagged metal was peeled back like a sardine tin. Through a smashed window behind the driver's seat, I could see jumbled mess of twisted seats and chunks of foam rubber.