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Harriet waited for her bus. It was five minutes late. She stomped her foot as she twiddled with her phone. The bus was never late: what's going on?
Harriet used the screen of her phone as a mirror. She combed her bleach blonde curls with her fingers. She pouted her scarlet lips before placing the phone back into her handbag.
She was greeted by a red double-decker bus. When the doors opened, she scanned her card and took her usual place. She sat in the closest seat by the door.
The bus was packed that day, but there was a twist—everyone was dressed up. She sighed, crossed her legs and tried to think nothing of it.
Three girls, sitting opposite Harriet were dressed as pirates. They all threw their phones towards the sky, hiding their double chins. They squealed like banshees: it strained Harriet's ears.
A viking sat next to her with a can of coke. He nodded at her and she smiled back out of pure politeness. As he did, a wave of fishy aroma escaped causing Harriet to yank and turn away. She leant towards the wall, but the viking rubbed her shoulders against her.
To make matters worse, Harriet got a whiff of his armpits. She covered her nose, guarding herself against the scent of stale sweat from someone who could do with a nice scrub.
Thirty minutes into her journey felt like an eternity. She was frustrated being the odd one out. At the back row, she found a man dressed in a red and blue suit covered in spiderwebs. The man waved at her.
“Hey Harriet!” the man called. “Come over here!”
In a normal situation, Harriet would ignore a stranger. This case was different. Anything to avoid sitting next to a smelly pervert was just what she needed. Pure impulse sprang her out of her seat as she ran to the back row.
“I thought it was you.”
Harriet was puzzled. “Do I know you?”
The man removed his mask. The blue eyes and freckly nose reminded her of a nerdy boy that she went to primary school with.
“Yeah! That's me. Are you going to Comic-Con?”
She shook her head. She thought her lanyard with her work ID would give it away. “What's that? I'm on my way to work.”
“You don't know?”
“No. I've been wondering why everyone is dressed up so strange.”
“You mean cosplay!”
Harriet managed to get a better look at everyone on the bus. She was the only one not dressed up. The fifth row were girls all dressed the same; white pigtails dipped in neon colours, deranged make-up, red jacket and short denim shorts. They were all carrying a bat.
Besides Liam were two people in anthropomorphic suits. One was a grey cat with dopey blue eyes, and the other was a black and white dog with shaggy ears.
They both waved at Harriet.
“A bit early to be celebrating Halloween isn't it?” Harriet asked.
Liam chuckled. “This is Josh Apples and Stuart Hillier. Remember them?”
“From our school?”
Liam nodded. “Well, today they're known as their personas: Gorgeous Blossom and Buttercup Paws. They're what we call furries—and they're very friendly, but vastly misunderstood.”
“And what are you meant to be?”
“Spiderman!” Liam replied. “Don't tell me you've never heard of him?”
She shook her head. “No idea.”
“I guess you're not a geek like us.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” Liam said.
Harriet pressed the red button in front of the rails. “I'm off to work. See you later.”
“See you later, Harriet. Nice to see you again.”
She hoped never to meet that smelly viking again. She didn't do very well at work, she couldn't stop daydreaming about Liam crashing through the glass and rescuing her from the 9-5 torture.
She relied on black coffee to concentrate, but it wasn't every effective for some reason. When the clock stroked twelve, she was the first into the staffroom. She got her phone out and discovered a post from her colleague, Flora Gloss. The status was posted 5 seconds ago.
Priority Ticket for London's Comic Con this weekend. I've got a spare as my friend couldn't make it. £15.
Harriet felt a sudden buzz penetrate her. Her fingertips banged on the screen as she typed: YES PLEASE!
Okay then Harriet, the ticket is yours!