Everything was going well, the passengers were beginning to show the Christmas spirit, knowing that their fares would help one of the children’s charities. Some of the younger people started singing Christmas songs, and at one point almost everyone aboard joined in. It was almost time for her to pull in to the terminal and take a lunch break, when it started to snow.
“Oh, drat!” she exclaimed. “I do hope this doesn’t build into a really heavy fall. I hate driving in heavy snow storms.” She slowed a bit, and drove carefully. It kept snowing, and about half an hour later, the wind picked up. Next thing she knew, it was a full blown blizzard. Then the snow started swirling, more and more snow, whirling faster and faster. Arwin gripped the wheel and peered out the windshield. I looked like a white tornado. That thought made her giggle a little, as she remembered a kitchen cleaner her Mom had told her about that was called the White Tornado in the commercials. The giggle didn’t last long, as she became more and more worried. At least no one else was in danger, as the last passenger had got off before the storm was too bad.
By this time the storm was so wild, the snow whirling by so fast, that she couldn’t see anything but the white snow. She did catch a glimpse of a cow sailing by. It looked like it was standing quietly in a meadow. Either that or it was frozen stiff with cold or fright – or both. She thought she distinguished a car, too, but it was so vaguely seen through the snow, she wasn’t sure.
“I wonder if I’m jinxed?” she thought. Last year when I drove the Santa Special, I had all kinds of trouble. Rolled over off the road, nearly hit a moose, skidded into a deep snow bank. Now this! Hey Santa, couldn’t you please make this an easy trip for me?”
A couple of times she thought she heard sleigh bells, but couldn’t see anything. She wondered if it was the jolly old elf, or if someone was out on a sleigh ride. If they are, she thought, I hope they are well bundled. It looks cold out there.
On and on the storm went, carrying the bus along. Oddly, there was no feeling of wheels on a road. But then Dorothy’s house was lifted high off the ground in that tornado. Maybe the bus was floating, too. Hmmm…she thought, I wonder what the Munchkins would think of the bus? And do they have any more wicked witches for me to land on? She giggled again, and realised that she was getting just a little silly. She knew then that she was really scared.
After what seemed like days, the snow began to taper off and the wind lessened. In time the wind died, and she could see through the falling snow. Eagerly she looked out, trying to find some familiar landmark. At first, it was not too easy to distinguish what lay out there. She could see that the bus was in the air, but couldn’t see any ground. Finally, the snow had tapered off and almost stopped, and she could see below her.
“Oh, no!” she cried. “There is no land. I’m falling into an ocean! This bus won’t float; at least I don’t think it will. Oh, help! Wait, is that a boat?”
But it was too late. Even as she tried to make out what the dark for on the water was, the bus hit. Surprisingly, there was no splash. The bus nosed down and broke cleanly into the water, and kept going down. Arwin sat, dazed and wondering as it sank slowly down. After a while, it leveled out, but it was still floating. She could see the bottom still far below. No water entered the bus, and she was still able to breathe comfortably.
It took a second but then she saw that there was an odd fish swimming alongside the bus, looking in at her. When it saw her looking at it, it tapped the window with its nose. It seemed to want her to open the window. Oh, well, she thought. I might as well, I can’t get out of here anyway, so why be picky about drowning? She opened the window beside her. There was no rush of water, it was as if there was an unseen barrier there.
The odd looking fish moved closer. “Don’t worry, Arwin, you are quite safe. Drive straight ahead and you will soon be able to land the bus, and then you can drive to your destination.” With that, it turned tail and swam away.
Arwin stared, shrugged, and put the bus in gear. Valiantly she drove ahead, following the fish’s orders. Whatever have I got into now?! she sighed.