The last bus down the Tanjong Pagar route was flagged down by a young girl just outside of Har Par Villa. When she paid the conductor, for some reason he did not put the coins in the money bag straight away.

Soon the girl gestured that she wanted to get down, so the conductor pressed the bell. As she got down, he looked out the bus window to see where she was going and where her house might be. She did not move, however, and just looked at him. Something about the look she gave him made his skin crawl.

In reflex action, he looked at his hand.

Where he had been holding the coins, there were only dried leaves. He told the bus driver what had happened.

The next day when the bus conductor looked out of the bus at the spot where the girl had got down, he saw no houses, only a cemetery.

Another version goes like this:

This was the last bus to Changi. As you probably know, the road is pretty tortuous towards the Tanah Merah side and the bus driver was happily taking these turns at speed. But he stopped suddenly when he saw a girl in white jeans flagging the bus down.

The girl climbed the bus. The driver and the conductor both passed some remarks saying what was she doing here all by herself, but she just paid the conductor the fare without saying a word. The conductor punched out a ticket and gave it to her without paying too much attention because he was busy counting the day’s takings

The bus driver sped on merrily.

As the bus approached the terminus, however, the conductor remembered that the girl, who had gone straight to the back of the bus, had not got down yet, so he turned to ask  her where she wanted to get down.

There was no one there at the back.

Frightened now, he rushed to the driver and told him what had happened. The driver looked towards the back. He could not see her.

When they had stopped the bus, the conductor dug into the money bag to take out the coins the girl had paid him. As he reached in, his fingers closed around a strange object instead. When he took it out, he swore and dropped it. The driver turned to see what had happened. The conductor seemed to be staring at the floor, aghast, but the driver could not see anything there.

“What is it?” he asked the conductor.

When the conductor could finally find his voice, he said, “ a bone, she paid me with the bone of a finger.”

But this final version is our favourite:

Two friends were waiting for the last bus, but they were afraid they had missed it; it was so late. There were no cars passing by, no phone nearby to call a cab; they were stranded at this bus stop. They were getting quite nervous. It was late. What could they do?

Then, as they looked up, they saw a bus slowly approaching them. The last bus! They hadn’t missed it after all!

Now, this was many years ago, in the days when the buses had only one door and that was in the middle of the bus and a conductor would collect the fare. When this bus halted at the bus stop, the two young boys quickly dashed up the bus in relief.

Then the bus started moving. Only after a few minutes did they realise there was something seriously wrong here.

First, the bus was moving far too slowly.

Second, there was no conductor to collect their fare.

 And third, when they got curious and checked, they found there was no driver.

Their hair standing, their hearts in their mouths, they looked at each other in shock and started to scream in horror.

Then the bus stopped.

And the driver and the conductor came from behind the bus – where they had been pushing it – to see what the fuss was all about.

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