Flight 257                        1212 words     

 It wasn’t unusual for a dense fog to linger at this airstrip. The location provided the right seasonal atmosphere for such a haze. What was strange, it positioned above Lindsay’s flight without moving.  

    Lindsay Monarch, an aspiring author, landed a major book deal with Vanning Publishing in New York City promising a five-figure advance. Her eight years of hard work was a flight away from stardom. Her concern, the thick fog might cause a delay.  

    As she walked to the plane for boarding, a hoodie covered her sandy-colored hair hiding her ponytail. The cool mist hovered around the plane glowed a yellowish-gray giving off the smell of sulfur. After Lindsay entered the plane, it was cold as if the fog and mist followed her on board.  

  While she scanned the rows of seats, a passenger brushed her shoulder with his massive frame. He grinned and said, “Hello, Lindsay.” She returned the kind gesture and focused her eyes on his rugged face and a deep scar on his right cheek. She asked, “Do I know you?”  

He stared at Lindsay, forced another grin and said, “You should.”  

    As passengers took their seats, Lindsay took one halfway down the aisle near a window with a view of the left-wing. As she looked out, she couldn’t she the wingtip because of the thick fog.

   A man seated behind her said, “Like the view? You'll love the flight.”                                                                            

The flight attendant made a final check of all passengers checking their seatbelts. When she reached Lindsay’s seat, she smiled and said, “Nice to see you again, Lindsay.”

Lindsay noticed her southern accent and a silver chain around her neck with an angel pendant. The flight attendant, who went by the name Carmella, bent down holding the necklace close to Lindsay. “Like it? You did a nice job with it.”   

   A man tapped Lindsay on the shoulder causing her to turn around. “Hi, Lindsay. 

I’m Frank. I’m not the guy you think I am. When you get to know me, I’m really a nice fellow.” He noticed a bag of peanuts resting on Lindsay’s lap. He asked, “Are you going to eat those? Cashews are my favorite.” He reached over Lindsay’s shoulder.  

  “Hey!” Lindsay shouted. “Is this your idea of nice?” She saw a tattoo of a naked lady on the arm that reached for the peanuts. Though alarmed, it wasn’t the image that drew so much attention, it was the caption, "Rest in Peace, Lindsay."

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. In a few minutes, we will be taking off. Enjoy your flight.”

The flight attendant made another walk through the row of seats checking passenger’s belts. Lindsay asked her, “Could I please have another seat?”

“What seems to be the problem, Lindsay?”

“ The guy behind me makes me nervous.”

Frank overheard the conversation and humored, “She has a thing with men named Frank.” 

“Please?” Lindsay pleaded. 

“All right. You can have the seat directly across the aisle between those two gentlemen.”

“Are you kidding? They better be well-behaved.”

“They’re well dressed. They look harmless. Much better than what you said about me.”

“What’s that suppose to mean?”

“You said the reason I don’t have a husband is my taste in clothing is unbecoming.”  

Lindsay changed seats and asked the flight attendant, “How long will our flight be to New York?”

The gentleman sitting on her right grinned and said, “Did you hear that people? Lindsay wants to know how long before we land,” as he twitched his head uncontrollably. 

“Who thed anything about landing?” coming from the man on her left.    

  Lindsay noticed men’s unique habits. She turned her head 

toward the gentleman and asked, “What is your name?”   

    “I’m Detective Alan.” He pointed to the other gentleman and said, “Thith is Detective Bower. Perhaps you’ve heard of us. We’re going to New York to assist in the trial of Ruby Kelly and Carl Sheldon. Ruby is the one who faked her death for insurance fraud. Both she and her husband, Sam, flew to a remote island along with 

their agent, Carl. We located Ruby and Carl in one of the island motels. Sam wasn’t . . .”  

Lindsay interrupted, “They found floating face down in the ocean. Chapter 12, page 4, paragraph 2."  

Detective Alan said, “I see you're familiar with our work. Too bad you were careless in our strange character mannerisms.”    

    “Who are you people?” asked Lindsay. “I never met you before, and yet I know you. It’s obvious you know me. How can that be?”

“Let’s say we are close fans of yours,” said the flight attendant. 

“There’s something strange going on,” Lindsay said. This is more than a coincidence.” 

“Must be.” spoke a man from the front.

“And who are you?” asked Lindsay.

“Les. Les Dryson. Hello, Lindsay,” as he rolled up his sleeves.

The flight attendant’s eyes opened wide. “Nice biceps!”

Lindsay rubbed her sweaty palms together. “They ought to be. I created them. In fact, I created all of you. What is it you want?”

Frank said, “Nothing. We’ve taken care of everything.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. Please stay seated. We are now ready to take off. Enjoy your flight, Lindsay!” 

After the plane lifted off, Lindsay saw the strange fog from the window of the left-wing following as if it were attached to the plane. 

“ Flight 257 is right on schedule,” said the flight attendant.

“Flight 257!” Lindsay shouted. “The lady at the airline desk said it was flight 251." 

“Oops. Just a slight error,” said Carmella.

Lindsay gripped the seat arms until her knuckles turned red. Her chest lifted as she remembered the flight's outcome and said, 257 never made it to New York. It developed engine trouble and crashed fifteen minutes after takeoff. There were no survivors.”

“Oh, but you're wrong,” said Carmella. All survived, but one.”

“That’s not the way I ended the book. No survivors.”

The plane started to bounce and shake. “Ladies and gentleman this is your captain, please fasten your seatbelts. We’re experiencing some turbulence.”

The flight attendant said, “It won’t be long now. About your book, it will have the ending we all deserve. It’s sad we have to end this way.”

“You sound like I’m not going to make it to New York. If it’s change you want, I can write a different ending. I’ll even write nice things about all of you. We don’t have to end it this way.”

The plane shook causing serving trays and drinks to crash to the floor. Lindsay flipped through her manuscript trying to tear out pages hoping to change the outcome. She couldn’t. They welded together making it impossible to remove any pages. She leafed swiftly to the end. She screamed. “What have you done?”

“Like it? Soon we will get the recognition we deserve. Not the character defamation you created.”

Lindsay pleaded with her characters. “But you are not real! You are a figment of my imagination! The book can’t survive without me. You can’t remove the author.”

Carmella said, “But we have. You’re the one who doesn’t exist. Flight 257 crashed twenty minutes ago. You’re going to love the ending. Too bad you’re going to miss it.”

March 06, 2020 21:59

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