On a Sunday evening in 1997, I was alone in a computer lab at uni, trying to meet a deadline for an assignment that was due in the following day. Buses ran infrequently in this area of Canberra on Sundays; mostly about fifty minutes apart. I knew that the final bus for the night left the terminal at 7pm, usually a little later, so I was aware that I needed to leave myself enough time to make it from the lab to the bus stop. In the whole three years of spending many a Sunday night trying to finish off assignments at the last-minute, I knew that this last bus never, ever had a habit of running early. But if I missed it, I was going to be out of luck. The University was located in the middle of nowhere; if I missed that last bus, it would be a very long, cold walk home. I knew I was risking it being out in the dark - Sunday night in Canberra is not the most happening of places - but thought I had no choice but to go in to campus and finish off work that was due in the next day. On this particular night, I decided to leave the lab a lot earlier than usual. I figured I’d just wait at the bus stop and read my book. My work was all done and I felt no other reason to hang around. The bus stop was located on a quiet, lonely road inside the university grounds. It was very dark, with the only source of light coming from a single bulb that hung desolately over the shelter.

No other students were around. Considering I had come here most days for the past three years, I didn’t feel the isolation to be a big deal. I was more annoyed that I had to wait a whole twenty minutes for a bus. I hadn’t been waiting for more than a minute before a bus travelling in the opposite direction pulled up at the bus stop on the other side of the road. As the bus then took off, I saw two young men approaching me from across the road, walking about a metre apart from one another. Assuming they were just students, I didn’t think anything of it. It was only when they stopped,  ‘waited’ at the bus stop with me - one standing on either side - that I instantly knew something was  something was very wrong. The men didn’t say a word to each other, let alone look at one another, yet I instinctively knew they were ‘together’. It only took a microsecond to work out what was going to happen. There was only one more bus stop after this one and that was the terminal. Why would they get off one bus, then cross the road to wait for another bus, going in the opposite direction? Why were they ignoring one another? Why did the air suddenly shift, accompanied by a ‘knowing’ that slowly crept over me; a realisation that the end for me was near? The man to my left sat down beside me, got out a book and started reading. The man on my right just stood in silence, slumped against the side of the shelter, occasionally glancing back at me. After a few moments of what felt like eternity, I realised something else was wrong. Too much time had passed, yet the man on my left had still not turned a single page of his book. He wasn’t reading. He was waiting for something. Instantaneously, like a continuous stream of grainy Super 8 images reeling inside my head, scenes of my life literally ‘flashed’ before my eyes. In my mind’s eye, I saw float before me, in very acute detail, the face of every single person that was close to me. Being 1997, I didn’t own a mobile phone, but I remember thinking at that very moment, that I would have given my right arm for one – if only to call my friend at home and tell her where I was. At least when it happened, they would know where I was. I was too terrified to move, let alone breathe. If I moved one inch, shifted my weight, reached for my bag…would that set them off? The next few minutes moved by very heavily. The air was stiff and solidified with fear; it felt as though I was sitting underwater. I knew it was at least twenty minutes before any bus would be coming. The adrenalin surging through my body enabled defined, enhanced thoughts to fly at me - sharp as clear-cut crystal. I knew my choices: get up and make an absolute run for it, or stay very still. The seconds dragged as I worked out when to make the move. But suddenly I remembered that the bus stop was entirely surrounded by thick bushland and large, desolate car parks. It would be minutes before I reached the main road. To be chased by two men - what chance did I have? With all the courage I could convoke, I made every attempt to act ‘normal’ – a vain attempt to show these men I wasn’t scared. The man on my left then began to slowly edge himself along the seat, closer to me, still staring blankly at his book, occasionally flitting his eyes over to the other man on my right. Every passing second felt like an hour. And with each passing minute, the man on my left crept closer along the seat. It was at this very moment when I understood the meaning of helplessness, and was seconds away from breaking into tears. Then … like a burst of the most incredible sound imaginable, there was a rumbling roar in the distance -- the sound of a bus coming down the road, an unthinkable ten minutes early! When I finally managed to acquire the strength to stand up, I flagged the bus down. As the bus pulled up, the driver’s face looked so friendly, it almost made me erupt into sobs. As the bus doors flew open, a huge smile broke over his face. “Lucky I got you, love,” he chimed. “I’m never running this early!” In that one moment, I could not help but believe in the existence of interventionist angelic beings - even if they did come in the form of a Canberra bus driver. I shakily sat down in a seat. The men did not get on the bus. As I learned of events later, I wondered if the freak timing of the bus was mere coincidence, or some type of transcendental intervention. In 1997, two young women were murdered. Police divers later recovered the knife from Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. In the newspaper were two mug shots that I instantly recognised - they were of the two men at the bus stop.

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