Illustrated by Daniele Murtas
Lynda started screaming on the bus. All clamour no glamour, like the bus itself. It was a metal-tearing shrill. She didn’t know why she was screaming and couldn’t stop herself from doing so. Her screaming terrified and confused her.
The other passengers didn’t know what to do or what to say. Some stared at Lynda, others scrunched up their faces or covered their ears, and one or two with earphones hadn’t noticed anything unusual going on. One man sitting near the back of the bus slyly started recording Lynda’s wailing and later uploaded it onto YouTube and Facebook, where it would be shared a few million times.
Lynda kept shrieking, standing, holding tight onto the rail as the bus slowed with a groan.
“What’s wrong, love?” The driver placed his hand on Lynda’s shoulder but she kept screeching.
Taking the opportunity whilst the bus had stopped, some people decided to leave, fed up with her caterwauling cries, their ears throbbing. Lynda didn’t blame them for preferring to walk rather than endure the noise she was making; if she were in their position she knew she’d do the same.
But she wasn’t, and she didn’t know why this was happening to her. She’d always eaten the right food, exercised regularly, and went to church on Sundays. She was the kind of woman who knew that everything had its place and everything was in its place. She was never late or disorganised, and plans B and C were always ready but never implemented. And despite this, she always made sure she didn’t hold any sense of superiority over others. Her friends and work colleagues wondered how she managed to be so seemingly perfect, regarding her with envious admiration.
Lynda knew they’d love to see her lack of control now.
The only way she could distract herself from her screaming was to imagine she was in a cartoon; her teeth jutting out, tongue zigzagging as her tonsil swung like a violent pendulum, her voice shattering the bus windows. She could feel them vibrate, and knew they were close to breaking.
The bus was nearly empty now, and the driver was speaking to somebody on his mobile phone. Lynda closed her mouth in the hope she may be able to hear what he was saying. She tried to seal her mouth as if skin had grown over her lips, but this only muffled the noise. She looked at the driver helplessly and sat down in one of the empty seats. At least the bus was already on-route to the hospital, and she’d be able to sit for the remainder of her journey. Perhaps losing control wasn’t so bad after all.