Amelia gripped tightly to the handles of her seat as the single engine aircraft bounced and shuddered, shaking on every axis’.
‘How could this be happening?’ she thought, looking down at the rapidly approaching landscape below.
“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday,” the pilot called over the radio as the plane dipped again causing Amelia’s stomach to lurch up.
“Billy,” she yelled over the thumping and whining from the engines. “Billy, what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry ma’am,” he replied, glancing over at her, his eyes so dilated the looked entirely black, “looks like we’re going down.”
The expression on his face told Amelia all she needed to know. He was petrified, all hope of surviving this gone, and if an Alaskan bush pilot this scared, she knew it was bad.
“What do we do?” she called, wishing there was something, anything, that she could do that would give them just a few more minutes in the air.
“Brace yourself,” he yelled, the muscles on his arms taut under the strain of trying to keep the plane in the air.
“And if you believe in God,” he added, “pray for us!”
Amelia closed her eyes, wishing there was some way she could have one more conversation with Dale. To tell him all the things in her heart, all the truths she’d been keeping to herself for far too long.
Billy gave a blood curdling roar as the plane slammed into the first tree, the impact snapped the left wing off the craft sending it ass over teakettle down the side of the mountain. Amelia felt every bone jarring impact, her body shaking like a rag doll. With each jolt she prayed that the end would come quickly. Dying slowly in the middle of nowhere Alaska was not something she wanted to think about. If she had to die, please let it be quick.
Thankfully, on the next impact she was knocked unconscious her head slamming into the bulkhead of the plane. She never felt her seat ripping itself from the frame of the aircraft, flinging her free of the burning wreckage, plunging through the trees and over outcroppings of rocks before sliding to a rest at the base of the mountain.
Coming to later, Amelia found everything upside down, her head throbbing and her body aching. She was in a white wonderland still strapped into her seat, what was left of it. With cold, aching fingers she fumbled at the latch pinning her in, tears forming as she fought to free herself.
It seemed an age before she was able to make the mechanism release her, sending her sliding further down the steep incline, her head hitting several hidden rocks on the way down.
Seeing stars, Amelia managed to clamber to her feet, a wave of nausea overcoming her as she reached out with her left arm to steady herself on a nearby tree. Something was wrong. Her shoulder radiated with pain every time she tried to move it. Cradling it close, she blinked away the encroaching darkness that seemed to be trying to creep in at the corners of her vision.
Perceiving nothing but whiteness in every direction, she decided to continue down the mountain, away from the wreckage, hoping it was the right thing to do.
After walking for what seemed like hours, trying to stave off the exhaustion and nausea the caused her to vomit and dry heave more than once, that Amelia saw, of all things what looked like a small cabin in the middle of nowhere. Stumbling forward, her throat too raw to even call out, she managed to reach the door. With the last of her strength she forced it open, falling into the cold unlit interior.
Dazed, Amelia managed to crawl inside, barely remembering to shut the door before burying herself in a pile of dingy fabric piled in one of the corners finally giving in to the darkness that had been playing in her peripheral vision took over, sending her into a dreamless sleep.