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Just the Ticket was the third story in the anthology The Panda Book of Horror. It was written by Phil Craggs.

The story acted as a sequel to Future Legend, following on from the PussyWorlders' discovery of fate of the Celestial Omnibus.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Panda is alone in the dark in a warehouse, when strip-light falls from the ceiling, and he hears a familiar voice uttering an all-too-familiar phrase. He hides, turning off his torch in the process.

He and Iris Wildthyme had arrived in this warehouse not long before, and Iris had left the Celestial Omnibus by herself, leaving Panda to read his newspaper. He noticed a figure towards the bus, but when he got a closer look it was just one of Iris' coats. Still, he was unnerved, so he leaves the bus to look for Iris. Outside, there are dozens of similar buses to the Omnibus, and suddenly the ticket machines in all of the other buses start to print, and Panda almost drowned in a sea of tickets.

Climbing out, Panda came to see a ghostly ticket inspector, whom asked for Panda's ticket. Panda picks one of many of the tickets off the floor, handing it to the inspector, who isn't satisfied. Panda scurried off, the inspector in pursuit.

Panda leaves his hiding place, hearing Iris cussing and insulting the inspector, and he heads off in her direction.

Panda finds Iris, and he causes a distraction for the inspector which he goes off to investigate, and Panda and Iris are reunited. Iris tells Panda why they arrived in the warehouse in the first place, as she had previously tried to get the Omnibus to be bigger on the inside like it was supposed to be, but she lacked the knowledge to do it properly, which is why she needed to see some real double decker buses first-hand in order to get the relevant data. She also tells Panda that she had dismissed the rumours of the warehouse being haunted after a ticket inspector had been run over by a bus.

After coming up with a plan, Panda distracts the ghostly inspector by giving it a formal complaint while Iris finds the Omnibus and retrieves a large metallic gun-like weapon. She fires it at the inspector who had appeared outside the Omnibus, but it fails to do anything. Panda, realising how to stop the ghost, tells the inspector that his shift is over, and this causes the ghost a great deal of happiness and he begins to fade, but Iris' gun sucks in the ghost, much to Panda's dismay. Iris assures him that she'll release the ghost on an uninhabited planet, and Panda reluctantly goes with Iris' plan, and they head off in the Celestial Omnibus.

Characters[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • It's implied that the Celestial Omnibus is sentient.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

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