Just before Christmas I went back to South Wales in order to visit some friends and family. Naturally that meant that I had to travel from Manchester to Cardiff; the cheapest option was Megabus, so that was that decision made.
I’m no stranger to Megabus travel, so the journey itself wasn’t particularly looked forward to with any excitement. The journey began in Shudehill Exchange and ended at Kingsway, Cardiff. Between those two stops I’d made several entries on Facebook, crafting the tapestry with a weave that slowly added the surreal until it became something almost psychedelic – I adore taking something normal and making it into something odd and fantastic.
I would have done a lot more too but there were such horrendous conditions on the M5 that the Birmingham-Manchester driver that was to replace the Cardiff-Birmingham driver was caught in traffic for almost two hours and I needed the battery power.
Anyhow, here’s The Megabus Saga.
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Entry I, 17 December, 09:53
With the coach fifteen minutes late and still awaiting departure (whilst I sit in my favourite seat above the Megabus’ fore stairs), so begins my step-by-step [holiday] return to South Wales.
I’m cold, cramped, and I’m sure that I just heard a crisp packet open behind me.
Entry II, 17 December, 13:30
This Megabus has horrendous connection. I can’t even get into messages.
The guy who sat next to me has departed for the open freedom of the fabled “outside”, where you can’t even see the roof. The myths that I have been told by native passengers call it The Sky but I pay no heed to their superstition.
There’s a guy over there watching Space Odyssey: 2001.
Entry III, 17 December, 14:27
More people came onto the Megabus. They replace the spaces where others had fled into the wilderness of Outside, never letting the gaps where my comrades once sat grow cold. I hope that they find peace but myself, along with these newcomers, have condemned ourselves to The Long Wait, where our collective presence is transported across time and space.
We wait and we watch as we trust ourselves to our new god, Megabus Driver.
We dare not speak his true name, but he has remained silent since I came unto his earthly vessel. His last words we all deem prophetic now. We live under the wisdom “we dun do five pahnd Wednesdays anymore”.
We still cannot see the roof of The Sky but it grows grey. Have we angered Megabus Driver somehow? Is that what happens to the others when they leave? Must we sacrifice to appease Megabus Driver?
Entry IV, December 22, 16:15
I sit on Megabus again. I feel like Randolph Carter.
Entry V, December 22, 16:28
Something on the Megabus drew me to the concept of sleep. I recall the red snake before us all, in The Outside, slithering constantly forward like the blood cells of an entire nation. I call to mind how it stares, how it hypnotises. I know it lulls me to sleep.
I loathe the mere notion of it, thinking it somewhere close to relieving my body of it’s Descartes marriage and, in some indescribable fashion, taking upon a journey of its own.
My Dreamquest was not quiet, filled with all those newcomers to the megabus. They sit near me now but in my quest they were wailing creatures, a mocking, twisted version of themselves that held their hands over their mouths and screamed in silence.
With a start I awoke to the sharp breaths of a child crying. A child that remains unknown. I do not recall a child on this vessel.
An old memory, or at least the shadow of it, gives me the impression of a god that controls the vessel with some great fortune wheel. The imprint of a mind controls it, but it is not a mind I relate to. I hear words, unfamiliar and distant, like someone whispering into your ear from far away.
“We dun do five pahnd Wednesdays anymore”.