There was a chill in the air. I stood at the bus stop, waiting, amongst a crowd of kids. I felt different, though my parents assured me I was no different. ‘Is it ok to dislike kids if you still are one?’ I often asked my mum. She'd laugh, and send me on my way.
Everyone's breath was misting in the air before them. Like smoke billowing from a dragon's mouth. Everyone's breath, that is, except for mine. It made me feel self conscious, even though no one really noticed. They were all too busy playing games and catching up on the latest school gossip. I wished I had breath that billowed.
I shuffle onto the bus and lurch my way onto a seat. Next to me sits one of the girls whose breath billowed. I envy her. She smiles at me, a small, shy thing. I do my best impression of a smile and hope that my jaw doesn't loosen. Some would say that's an irrational fear, but they probably never met my uncle Seamus. If they had, they might worry too.
'Hi,' it's a tentative greeting.
'Hi,' I sigh. I really have nothing to talk to her about, her shiny raven hair is tied into two pink pig tails.
'I once killed a bat with a stick,' she whispers.
‘On purpose?’ maybe she could be interesting, after all.
She grins, it’s unsettling, I like it. ‘It squeaked,’ she keeps her voice low, her eyes widen. ‘I had my dad stuff it, so I could keep it. We didn’t tell my mum, she wouldn’t understand.’
I nod, my mum doesn’t understand me either. ‘Can I see it?’
‘Sure,’ she says to me. ‘Wanna have a play date after school?’
I nod again, careful not to be too enthusiastic, I could lose my entire head.
‘That’s great.’ She sits and stares past me out the bus window for a while. Then all of a sudden she puts her face real close to mine and breathes out, ever so quietly ‘I always wanted a zombie friend.’