Book One in the CUSA series
(C) 2017 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
Rosa’s father turned towards the front of the bus and began screaming at Chassis. “Nobody told me there was a drug-worshipper on board!”
Now everybody was awake. The little Kwang children and the beautiful young Chinese girl were all looking back at Rosa’s father like they couldn’t figure out how he had gotten on the bus. Everybody else was trying to ignore him.
“Daddy,” Rosa said. “Forget it.” She pulled his arm.
“Go sit down, Rosa,” Daddy said.
“Sit down!” He shoved Rosa away so hard that she stumbled and had to catch herself on the hard rubber floor. The lines on the mat cut into her hands. She watched what happened next from the floor.
Rosa’s father had turned back to scream some more at the drug addict. “If you don’t get that needle out of your arm I’ll break your neck, I swear I will! I’ll kill you!”
Rosa couldn’t see Firoz’s response, but before her father could do anything, Chassis stopped the bus so suddenly it jerked everybody forward. Rosa fell over again onto her back.
“What’s your problem, mister?” Chassis shouted from the front, rising to her feet.
“Nobody told me there was a drug-worshipper on board!” Rosa’s father answered her. “So what?” the driver said. “He paid his money like you did; he gets to ride on the bus!”
“Not with me!” Rosa’s father insisted.
“You want off?” Chassis replied, threateningly.
“I want him off!” Rosa’s father said, the spit in his throat making his voice rough.
Rosa’s Mamma was up by now, and she had pulled Rosa to her feet and out of the aisle. “Eduardo!” she said.
“Nobody gets off this bus unless I throw them out,” Chassis said, coming towards Rosa’s father.
“No, Kata,” he said, holding out his hand, stopping Rosa’s mother from coming any closer.
“You need to tell me what your problem is, mister,” said the driver. She shoved past Rosa’s Mamma and was right in her Daddy’s face. He should have been scared, but he was crazy, now, like Rosa saw him only when he was talking about drugs. His black eyes were wide open like big, bottomless pools.
“No prosperity without sobriety,” Rosa’s father quoted in English. “Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration!”
“I see fear!” Firoz answered loudly. It was the first time he had spoken. Rosa could see the addict’s face now. He was looking all around like he saw things moving down the walls that frightened him.
“Look, mister, I’ll give you one warning,” Chassis said. “And then I’m going to throw you out, with or without your wife and daughter.” She was tense, like she was getting ready to move on him. Rosa’s heart started beating faster. Was Chassis really going to throw her father off the bus?
But Rosa’s father didn’t seem to have heard the driver. “Your wine is not as my wine!” Rosa’s father shouted, pointing at Firoz. “And your bread is not as my bre—”
Something exploded loud enough to drown Rosa’s father out. The bus rocked once to the right and stayed there. Rosa tried to keep from falling into the space between the seats.
Chassis braced herself, and then she cursed in Spanish so everyone could tell what she was saying. Rosa didn’t like the sound of it, too much panic from the adult she had relied on to keep them together. There was another explosion, and the bus rocked again. Now it was leaning towards the front. By the time Chassis got to the front of the bus, there were four more explosions, and the bus rocked and leaned a different way each time.
Then Rosa heard glass shattering, and Chassis got to the driver’s seat front really fast. The pretty Chinese girl started screaming. Rosa noticed that the Kwang kids by contrast didn’t make a sound. They had already gotten down behind the seats. Even little Samoae was holding completely still next to her mother. Obviously those kids had been through something like this before.
More about Motherless Child
When Rosa’s mother loses her job with the Corporate United States, her family must flee or be killed in an employee purge. Taking the dangerous bus trip across the Unincorporated States, they are ambushed by bandits. Hopelessly separated from her family, Rosa is rescued by the people of Ascension, a small backwoods Virgilna town with a terrible secret.
Seventeen years in the making, Cole’s book about a girl trapped between two Americas serves as a reminder of what the United States has become, and what it still could be.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Girl With the Bow and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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