Chapter 5

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I always hated taking the bus anywhere. Even as a kid, taking the bus home from school everyday with Meri was torture. I just couldn't stand being in the rolling tin can, surrounded by people that could probably give me the flu and the occasional disease. I was prepared to bet that ninty-percent of them didn't wash their hands after they sneezed.
The thought made me shiver.
"Do you still have a chronic fear of buses?" Meredith asked loudly, as she paid her fare and made her way to the back. I ignored the looks in my direction and did the same.
"It's not a fear of buses, it's a fear of whatever's crawled inside them." I replied, having to grab onto an overhead railing to stop myself falling. I screamed internally when my hand closed around the wet metal. I didn't want to know what I'd just touched.
The world is so disgusting.
"Have you caught a disease yet?" She laughed, as I collapsed onto the seat beside her and desperately tried to rub away whatever germs were on the palm of my hand.
"It was wet, I just...ugh.." I shuddered and tried to focus on looking out the window, rather than the slimy feel of whatever was left on my hand. Meredith smiled before shutting her eyes and putting earphones on, with music loud enough for me to hear coming out of them. I didn't bother reaching for mine, instead I just let my forehead lean on the cool glass and tried to block out everyone else talking.
I couldn't believe we were going to travel so far to find Randy, when he probably couldn't help us with anything. How did I let her talk me into this? I'm pretty sure I'd spent more time outside today than I had in the last two years. Maybe we could stop and get food at some point...I was starving. But then again, it could've just been the smell of cheese and onion crisps of the guy in front of us tempting me. Meredith always liked that flavour; I couldn't stand it. I wonder if she still did now.
I was about to turn and ask her, when I realised she'd fallen asleep with her head on my arm. I grinned and slowly reached into my pocket for my phone, careful not to wake her.
Her mouth was open, there was no way I was going to let this perfect opportunity slip by.
She woke up when the shutter sound of my camera went off, and sat up, dazed.
"Mm...are we there yet...?" She mumbled, drawing her hand across her eyes.
"Nearly." I saved the picture and decided to show her later, when there was more space for her to try grab my phone to delete it.
"...What are we going to ask him when we get there? I mean...what are we actually going to do?"
I shook my head in answer to her questions.
"I dunno, this was your idea."
"Yeah but you're meant to be helping me."
"We could've just Googled it."
She sighed and shook her head.
"That's not-"
"This is our stop, let's go." I cut her off hurriedly, moving to press the button to signal a stop, (I almost cringed at having to touch the rail again).
We walked out and down the road in more silence, only speaking when I had to tell her to take a turn or stop and wait for the traffic lights. She didn't respond the whole time, just looked down at the path or twirled a lock of her hair around her finger. I sighed inwardly but didn't say anything, mostly because I wasn't sure what the point of making conversation would be. And it's not like I needed to apologise, I'm pretty sure Googling it would've taken a lot less time. But was she mad at me at all, or just thinking over what to say..? I had no idea, girls are weird.
"Is that it?" She finally said, barring my way before I could walk past.
"Yup...that's the junkyard alright..." I said, looking up at the piles of scrap metal towering on either side of us. Meredith walked inside the gate without hesitation; I was willing to bet she had no clue where to look for Randy and would get lost in three minutes without me.
"No, no, not that way. Follow me, the office is this way." I lightly took hold of her arm and steered her away from another steel mountain, and down the dirt track that led to the shabby little cabin that Randy practically lived in.
"You sure know your way around here, don't ya?" She muttered, squinting and keeping her head down from the dust that sprang up every time we took a step.
"I had a lot of free time when you were dead." I agreed, slowing down slightly when we got closer to the squat, grey building.
"What about going to school and eventually becoming a lawyer?" She asked, as we paused outside the door.
"I never liked wearing suits anyway.." I shrugged, before knocking on the door.
A muffled voice from inside called out "Just a minute!", and then there was a lot of shuffling noises.
"Prepare yourself for the worst smelling fumes imaginable when that door opens." I warned her, taking a step back for good measure. She raised an eyebrow but followed me anyway.
The door flew open, scattering a few cans and takeaway wrappers onto the floor, and a red face with a mop of brown hair peered out at us.
"Hello Randy" I sighed. His face lit up and he leapt down the tiny step towards us.
"Cal! I knew you'd be back!" He exclaimed happily, throwing his arms around my neck happily. I felt close to be crushed, I'd forgotten how strong he was, what with lifting things around here and all. But even worse than that was his body odour, my eyes were watering.
Meredith stood to the side, watching me get strangled with a bemused look on her face.
"Help!" I mouthed, trying to worm my way out of the sudden display of affection. She smiled and shook her head, a mischievous glint in her eye.
"I ship it." She replied.

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