A Sudden Crush(4)

By: Camilla Isley


I smile at him, then fix my attention back on the wall in front of me. All this wobbling is making me nauseous. If they don’t let us up soon, I’m making a break for the washroom whether the steward likes it or not.

Abruptly, the plane drops down sickeningly fast. Screams erupt around me, my voice among them. I grip the armrests for dear life. Okay, now I am worried. The plane is vibrating badly, making all kind of ominous sounds. Suddenly all the plane’s oxygen masks drop down with a loud bang.

This is not a good sign, is it? Aren’t the masks supposed to come out only in the case of an extremely serious situation? As if it wanted to answer my question, the plane drops again. I don’t waste any more time with philosophical musings. I take the mask and pull it on my mouth, securing the elastic behind my head. Now, besides people screaming, I see a couple of passengers crying, and some others praying.

The plane does another sharp jolt downward, and I’m vaguely aware of a hand pushing my head between my knees. I see a flash of light and hear a loud blasting sound…then everything goes black.





3


The Island


“Mmm, mwaw,” I yawn drowsily.

A good night of sleep was just what I needed. I feel so much more relaxed now. What better way to wake up than having my newly wedded husband caress my hair as the sunlight gently grazes my skin? Before opening my eyes, I inhale the smell of exotic flowers, tropical fruits, and the scent of the sea. I listen to the birds’ musical tweets and relish the light breeze brushing over my face. Liam must have opened the window to let in the fresh air. This is more like it! I had this bad dream where we were on the plane and everything was going wrong. There was that horrible man, then the perfect storm, the explosion…I was caught in this nightmare where the plane crashed. How silly!

I feel a heavy tug at my scalp.

“That’s a bit too harsh, honey…AAARRRRGHHHH!” I scream as I open my eyes and see a hairy muzzle inches away from my face.

“Eek, eek!” The monkey bares its teeth at me before climbing on a taller branch, protesting loudly. “Ook. Hoo, hoo, hoo.”

A monkey? What is a monkey doing in my hotel room? Did it break in? Isn’t this the five star resort? Where am I?

I try to move my neck. Ouch! It hurts. My neck and shoulders, along with every other muscle in my body, feel sore. My head is throbbing; I can feel the blood pounding against my skull. My face is trapped under something plastic-y and yellow. Did I buy a sleep mask? You know, one of those things you put in the fridge before you wear them, that are supposed to regenerate your skin as you sleep? Because I don’t find it very comfortable.

I remove the offending plastic thingy from around my neck, but the effort is too much for my sore shoulders and I collapse backwards again. Despite the pain, I turn my head to the right—tropical jungle. Then to the left—jungle again. And, finally, upward—my legs are stretched above me, clad in my military green cargo pants—my favorite to travel—and I can see the points of my white sneakers. I look at my arms and see I’m still wearing the lilac cotton t-shirt with three-quarter sleeves from yesterday. Why did I go to bed with my clothes on? But I’m not really in bed, am I? No, I’m sitting in some sort of reclining armchair stuck in between tall coconut palms. That’s odd!

I try to dismount, but something holds me firmly in place. I look down at my lap and see a light-blue seatbelt tightly fastened around my body. Seatbelt, plane, crash! It wasn’t a dream!

I unfasten the belt and wiggle sideways to land clumsily on the moist, fern-covered earth about four feet below. My seat, the ogre’s seat, and what looks like a chunk of the plane are wedged in between thick tropical vegetation above me. I inspect the ground around the wreckage to see if somebody else is here. I rummage in this tangle of equatorial bushes, but I don’t accomplish anything besides adding some scratches to my hands and forearms. I’m glad at least I’m wearing long pants.

It looks like no one else is here; this entire area seems deserted. My heart drops. Where is Liam? What happened to him? I have to find him. I frenziedly search through the underbrush, as if I could find Liam hiding underneath, but after a few minutes I’m exhausted and have to stop. I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday afternoon, and my body feels emotionally and physically worn-out.

I try to calm myself. I spin in a full circle one way, then back around the other way, but I can’t see anything or anyone. It’s just rainforest all around. Despair gnaws at me. My heart feels like it’s about to explode from fear and agitation. This jungle is oppressive and I need to get out of here. I spot a small gap among the trees and decide to move in that direction. I fight my way through the waist-high vegetation, and finally reach a clearing.

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