First post of the new year! CΩT will be back in a few days. Without further ado, take flight with the Blood Rock.
The cockpit is cold and cramped, and visibility is low, both inside and out. Dials and buttons glow like gems in the rain-enhanced dark, the falling drops hitting the front of the plane, a constant and noisy assault. The two pilots stare at the altitude and navigational readings, small remarks passed between them without looking at each other. The one on the right squeezes his arm rest when his hand is not adjusting the controls. His responses are short and quick, his colleague responding in much more level manner, addressing each remark after checking their measurements. He activates the intercom, addressing each the passengers.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we will be experiencing some heavy turbulence shortly. Please make sure to fasten your seat belts and place your trays in the upright position.” Another click and the conversation is once again just between them. “Exciting enough for your first official flight, Justin?” Justin glances over and laughs once.
“And they said it was going to be clear. Even our weathermen can’t get it right.”
“Yeah, this storm is definitely–” the plane starts to shake, and their seat belts press into their shoulders, “– a freak. God damn!” He grabs the center stick and attempts to steady the plane in vain. A couple muffled shrieks are heard from behind them as the turbulence increases, the up and down movement of the plane almost causing them to rise from their seats. Lightning flashes, flooding the cockpit with white glare, and there are more yells from the passengers. He patches in again, voice shaking from the movement only.
“Don’t worry everyone, clear patch up ahead. Believe it or not, we’ve been through worse.” Justin glances at him, but five minutes later his first claim proves true, and they glide through even darkness, the only movement the humming of the plane.
In the passenger section, signs of air sickness abound, from pale faces to sweating and shaking. The crinkle of paper bags and nervous laughter are the most common sounds. The three stewardesses move in the aisle, providing extra bags, paper towels, and bottled water where necessary. The one closest to the front of the plane opens the door to the cockpit and slips inside. As the door clicks closed behind her, the captain sees her in his peripheral vision.
“How’re they doing back there, Julie?” he says, facing forward again. She grimaces, grabbing a handhold built into the wall.
“All I can say is I’m glad this plane is small. Less to clean,” she says. He laughs and turns to Justin, flipping on autopilot.
“However, there is a passenger back there losing his mind. We’ve got our hands full trying to keep him calm.” The pilots look at each other and then turn back to face her.
“Should we be worried?” She laughs at their expressions.
“No, it’s just stressful enough without– oh my god!” Her eyes widen and she points up ahead with her free hand, and the pilots whip around to look ahead. A vast shadow rises up in front of them out of the clouds, filling the windows in a matter of seconds. The stewardess struggles to strap herself in to the auxiliary seat, metal latch clicking several times while the pilots make quick adjustments, but they are approaching the shape too fast. Justin yells and throws an arm in front of his face but the captain, who is still looking at the altimeter only face ahead upon hearing the yell. He is the only one to see an even darker patch open up in front of them, jagged edges expanding above and below the plane. The last thing they hear are alert sounds and then the sharp snap of impact.
( ©2016 Sean Dorsey )
P.S. Yes, there will be a part 2.