As she looked up at the sky, Ada decided that pine trees are the assholes of the plant kingdom.
The rain was a slight drizzle, yet the pine needles gathered all those tiny beadlets of water and condensed them into thick, heavy drops that fell on Ada’s head and made her flinch each time. She didn’t have an umbrella of course, she had forgotten it home. Ada just stood there, trying to find cover under a tree that seemed to hate her.
She waited for the bus, which was late. As usual. The plastic canopy over the bus stop was missing for some reason, never replaced. The only rain cover around was a tent from a shop, but it was too far behind and she couldn’t see the bus coming, if it ever decided to. There were other trees of course, but they were all pine trees. The fact that she lived in Pefki area of Athens didn’t help her case, as it translated to ‘Pine Tree City.’
Ada enjoyed the rain. When she was feeling sad, it complemented her feelings. And she was sad quite often. But rain is romantic only when you’re inside and warm, with a hot cup of tea. Not outside, under a pine tree, with heavy icy-cold raindrops falling periodically on your head.
As if to taunt her further, the city had installed those electronic displays that showed the expected arrival of buses in minutes. Of course, it didn’t work properly. Oh sure, it seemed like it did, it had a European Union stamp and everything, but it was accurate only once or twice per week. Like the saying with the broken clock, it just happened to get it right every now and then.
She was alone out there, no one else was waiting for the bus. It wasn’t that cold, just a rainy Spring day, but the raindrops were freezing for some reason and each one was a sudden stab of high altitude temperature. Ada crossed her arms and tightened her inadequate Spring coat. It was too thin. Ada didn’t have anything else to wear, her heavy one was an old granny-style one, because it was precisely that. An old coat from her yiayia, her grandmother.
The kids made fun of her for that coat, so she preferred not to wear it and endure the cold.
Her big round glasses were holding on to raindrops. She was aware that it made her look silly, but it was bothersome to wipe them every now and then. They should invent wipers for glasses, like cars have.
Ada checked the time on her phone for the millionth time. The bus was over forty minutes late. She sighed, expecting to see her frozen breath but there was just a hint. She merely felt that cold, it was subjective. She thought for the tenth time about going back home. It wouldn’t be that warm, but at least it was dry there. Nah, she didn’t want to go home. She didn’t want to spend more time than she absolutely needed to around her yiayia and her cousin.
She turned around, walked under the tent and waited for the bus, taking her eyes off the road for a mere second.
Then she cursed.
At that precise moment, the bus came.
Silent. Electric. No warning whatsoever.
Ada muttered to herself, “What am I supposed to do, walk backwards or something?” She ran to the bus stop but of course, it didn’t detect anyone there. The self-driving bus didn’t even slow down, it just wallowed on at it’s slow but steady pace. Ada yelled and waved wildly at it but it didn’t stop.
A person would have stopped. A human driver. The on-board computer hadn’t detected her at the bus stop, so that was it, moving on.
There were people inside the silly small bus, and they turned around to her but they just stared. They could have hit that damn button, made the vehicle stop, but they did nothing.
Ada cursed, spitting raindrops as the bus waddled on the rainy road. Then she sagged and slouched, eyeing the bus with menace.
She took out her phone and loaded one of her custom-made apps.
She pointed the phone to the bus as if wielding a magic wand, and gave it a flourish with her wrist.
Then she tapped a button, and the bus stopped.
Ada walked angrily towards the self-driving bus, hopped on and looked at the startled passengers. She sniffed audibly and sat down, dripping all over the place.
She tapped her phone again and the bus moved on.
Ada is gonna wreak havoc in Athens. This is an upcoming novel in the God Complex Universe. Join the Mythographers to get an email when it’s published: