A little background on the gang's hometown: It's depressing. The rundown town is one of those places that seems to suck people back when they try to leave.
Take, for example, Zach's dad, who left a few years ago to pursue his dreams. Within three months, he had returned to the city. Zach was unimpressed.
Zach, Poppy, and Alice have gathered at the bus stop and are preparing to depart for Operation Bury the Creepy Doll. The bus is way behind schedule, but it turns up just as they are about to give up.
Alice seems ambivalent about the trip. Zach knows she's going to get in a lot of trouble with her super strict grandmother, but selfishly, he wants her company on the quest.
The gang boards the bus. There are only a few other passengers, and the kids take their seats in the back. Zach questions Poppy more closely about the plan: Does she know where they're going? Well, sort of… not really. Hopefully Eleanor will clarify along the way.
It's time for a nap. Zach and Alice doze off, while Poppy stays up to make sure they don't miss their stop.
Poppy yells, which wakes Zach. She is being harassed by some crazy guy who smells bad.
The crazy guy's name is Tinshoe Jones, and in addition to being crazy (he thinks the bus driver has been possessed by aliens), Tinshoe Jones is sort of a pervert. He seems to be really interested in Poppy.
Sensing he should be the girls' protector, Zach's panic starts to rise; he's not sure how to handle Tinshoe Jones.
Tinshoe says something interesting: He says he's not going to talk to the blonde. Could he mean the Queen?
Speaking of the Queen, evidently she is so creepy that she even gives Tinshoe Jones the creeps.
When the bus pulls up to a rest stop, Tinshoe continues harassing the gang. For a fleeting moment, Zach thinks the bus driver is going to come to their rescue. But he doesn't.
Zach, Poppy, and Alice escape the clutches of Tinshoe Jones and head into the bus station. They try to regroup and strategize—riding the bus all the way to East Liverpool now seems out of the question.
Some of the bus station employees seem to recognize the gang as runaways, so the teens book it into the unknown town.