Post-Industrial Revolution: Supersam (short story)

I just went down to the Supersam to buy some butter and water and oats and beer and this thing happened so while I wait for the beer to cool down I'll write this. Incidentally my vision feels strange like the world is a screen and green lines appear without my agreement to their appearance.

So on the bus I sat down behind a man with wounds all over his head. Some fresh, some scabbed, some old and scarred and gnarled, some scarred but smooth as though from wounds made before he grew skin.

I stood waiting for the doors to open and let me out to go to the Supersam and as they opened with all the grace of a broken plate I allowed for some old women to demount before myself. They were not old, close up. They were not young but they were not old. One of the women had her face split in two by a deep scar that looked like a chink of time had fallen from her flesh. Like a perfect razor had told her that she no longer owned this particular part of her body that had before seemed so integral.

I stared at her and then looked away, conscious that she was conscious of my staring. Why this bothered my I don't now. But there it is, I stopped looking and then I got off the bus.

I did my shopping at the Supersam, slowly and steadily, but always with one eye on the time because the bus finishes its journey a few stops from the Supersam and loops back around like a cow and drives back the other way so that if one is careful, as I was, with the time, one can gather one's shopping and say thank you in a broken language that no one really understands, and certainly no one likes to hear, and arrive at the bus stop in time to get back on the bus the other way.

And on that return bus the woman with the scar was, but I don't know how, for she had gotten down before me, after which I had gotten down, at the Supersam. Me, to do my shopping, and her to go to where I did not know and did not presume to guess at, being a stranger in this place.

And when I sat down, facing her across the bus, she looked at me with eyes that said 'do not look away now'. Eyes that urged me to examine her more closely and I did, because to not do so would be rude, and in this place rudeness is a serious thing. So I followed the clean line of the scar up to her hairline and saw that it carried on over and across her head and as she saw me following the scar up on her head, she tilted her head down so I could follow the scar that cut through her hair, parting it at an unfamiliar angle and then she started to spin around so I could follow it down the back of her head and neck and she lowered her pastel and dirt coloured coat down her back so I could follow the perfect scar to where it ended just next to the edge of her shoulder blade.

She pulled her coat back up around her shoulders and turned around so she faced forward in her seat once again and nodded at me and looked out of the window. I looked around the bus and the other people who had seen what had happened were pretending to look out of the window and I could not say now if they were really pretending or were just looking out of the window.

It is known that I am foreign to this place, and so perhaps I thought, as I got down from the bus and arranged my shopping in my hands, it is that everyone stares at her the first time around and she has developed a way of helping those who stare and in a way it is quite beautiful but in another way it makes me hate this place all the more.