Charlie’s Travels by Michelle Elvy

Charlie Hancock missed the bus. Started walking.


Charlie Hancock boarded the bus, sat in a seat in the back, the  same seat he always chose.

He didn’t stop anywhere or talk to anyone, just kept walking.


He looked around at the familiar faces, the ones he saw every evening on the Number 9, felt a pang of guilt — but only a small pang.

Out past the town line, to where Main Street turned to gravel and then dirt.


He remained calm as the bus came to a stop at the corner of Pine. He slid down low in his seat and waited for the next passenger.

He came to a field, sat under the shade of a large oak and began to cry.


Sweat beaded his brow as he watched the man board the bus — this man whom he’d planned to follow home and shoot for all the right reasons.

He pulled out the gun, tossed it far as he could, forsaking revenge.


But on this night the man was carrying a bundle which cooed and smiled while he paid the driver.

Then Charlie wiped his brow, stood up and walked toward the grassy spot where the gun had fallen. There’s always tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow I might not miss the bus.


And Charlie, losing all resolve for all the right reasons, decided then and there against revenge.

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Filed under Michelle Elvy

13 responses to “Charlie’s Travels by Michelle Elvy

  1. derin

    Your writing always makes me think. This one specially so. Brilliant.

  2. Wonderful use of arrangement, Michelle. It reminds me a bit of hypertext, but the paths open and exposed in this form. Nice work.

  3. Len

    wow, michelle. this was really superb. you did so much with it. clever, creative, intriguing. this should win an award.

  4. great format + story! fascinating, the way the story can be read in different ways, that it doesn’t have a definite shape.

  5. I love use of format. This theme is great for exploring different paths, but weaving two together is compelling.

  6. Kim Hutchinson

    Very cool structure. Charlie travels a long way in this one.

  7. The format and the words work together so well. I honestly didn’t think it would when I first saw the style it was written in, but it fits the story perfectly. Loved the ending.

  8. Al McDermid

    This is great, Michelle, the parallel realities. Him picking up the gun again, thinking about tomorrow was a very nice touch.

  9. wow, wonderful form and you wrote yourself straight into my heart with that crisp existential edge at the end. marvelous.

  10. Michelle, this blows me away, the double edged realities, the mirrored choices, the layout and creativity involved. I love the trip we take, the way a bus might, and where we end up here is just phenomenal! Options endless. Mmmmmm.

  11. stephen

    when i started reading this, i didn’t expect to move through a garden of forking paths. i like the idea of stories that are endless series of bifurcations, each choice excluding some, opening others, each path generating a sequences that are not like any other, but still inside a static form (text)…

  12. Randal Houle

    I thought this story had wonderful form. The use of the duelling storylines really sets it apart. Bravo!

  13. Pingback: Week #31 – Missed the bus | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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