Short story: The Back of the Bus

‘Can I sit there, Mummy?” Henry had been twisting around for almost the whole bus journey, staring at the empty back seat. At the next stop I let him go; watched him clamber up onto the prickly upholstery. I heard his chatter over the noise of the engine and when I looked he was talking and laughing, his little legs kicking.

I had to call him twice when we got to our stop. Reluctantly he left the empty seat and took my hand. And as the bus pulled away, Henry raised his chubby fingers in a wave.
‘That was my real Mummy,’ he said.


This piece of writing was inspired not only the picture above, but also a conversation I had with my son when he was about four (he’s now 18). He simply came out and asked me ‘where’s my real mummy and daddy?’ He’s not adopted. If you look closely you can see a face in the right hand window of the vehicle in the picture. This short story is part of the Friday Fictioneers writing group. Each week writers from around the world attempt to write 100 words (or so) starting with a picture. This week my word count is 104.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture from Indira or to join in with the group hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields.fleeting-copyright-indira-mukherjee

43 thoughts on “Short story: The Back of the Bus

  1. I don’t know why, but I found this a little disturbing. I love how you add so much ambiguity to your stories without it feeling jarring.


  2. Dear Claire,

    An entertaining piece that can be taken two ways. It could’ve been the lead in to something eerie or it could’ve just been a four-year-old with a wonderfully active imagination. 😉 I liked it in any case.




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