When the bus slowed, squealed, and shuddered to a stop, Howard absently rose and headed to the doors. “Hey.” He stopped. “This isn’t a bus stop. What’s going on?” he called up to the driver.
The driver was peering out into the heavy rain of the grey city. Lightning lit the streets, showing Howard a large stray dog shivering on the sidewalk. Before any of the passengers said anything, the driver walked out into the rain and put a hand on the creature’s head. The mutt didn’t move, as though it expected neither kindness nor cruelty from humankind, only perfect indifference.
Rain obscured the gradual change until it couldn’t be overlooked, making it seem abrupt. The driver’s skin sprouted fur of the same grey-brown as the hound. Howard’s bemusement turned to shock. The dog’s fur also changed, turning smooth and chocolate brown, growing larger and rising to its feet even as the driver shrank. A moment later, a new driver boarded the bus, similar to its predecessor but clearly distinct. “Sorry for the delay. Let’s get y’all back on track.”
Howard watched the dog in the rain as the bus left it behind. It looked soaked, hungry, ignored… and satisfied.