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For one moment in time

By Nuredhel

Romance / Thriller

Crash and burn


Something is going wrong

With the singer and the song

And the music isn't gentle anymore

There's a mist across the moon

And the suns too hot at noon

And the house is dark behind the broken door

Where the flowers used to grow

Withered leaves are hanging low

And the constant shadow lies across the floor

There's a strange and empty sky

Where the wild birds used to fly

And I never tasted bitter rain before

And will the grass be gone from underneath the sky?

Will the golden flower wither soon and die?

Will the fire burn out the land?

And the sea fill up with sand?

will the last word ever spoken be why?

Why: Roger Whitaker.

Prologue: The singer and the song

He was staring out into the immense universe, his gaze gentle and filled with wisdom and as ageless as existence itself. He saw it all, everything that ever had been and everything that would ever be, it was all so very clear to him. He was ready, it would begin and he didn't want to hesitate but felt that he had to. For all it was worth, he didn't wish it to happen and yet he knew that it would. His great work would become corrupted right from the start, the song brought out of harmony by one of his own. He could not stop it, even though it hurt knowing the terrible results this would create. The fear pain and torment, the near destruction of his wonderful vision. And yet he loved them all, all of his children. He saw their flaws and their fears and he saw how they would betray him and yet he could not help it but to love them ever as fiercely as before. Children they were of his own mind, he could not end his love for them any more than he could end the love he felt for himself, even when they would turn their back on him and his biddings.

He stared at the stars, every moment in time visible to him, from the beginning to the very end, every second in the lives of every being ever created upon this world he saw being shaped by his great symphony. He saw their sorrow and their triumphs, their fall and their rise and he saw how the corruption spread through the creation like some dark festering infection. Yes, his once so trusted servant would wreak havoc upon this newly created land and yet he would never win, or would he? Could Melkor manage to turn the entire creation around to suit his own ideas? Could his great work fall into the rule of evil and darkness entirely?

He stared at the world, watched its history unfold within his own superior mind and there was one moment, one small moment in all of this where the vision became blurred, where the fate of this beautiful world could turn in both directions and he did not have the power to see which of these two possible futures would be the real one. He stared at the moment, frozen before his eyes and he knew that his vision would fall rather easily at that very point in history. No, he didn't want to risk it, he had to intervene. After all, he was the creator, the one, even of his children were to be strengthened and tempered by hardships and toil he didn't want them to be utterly lost. That could happen easily enough, a small detail could ruin it all and he turned away from the sight and closed his eyes. Yes, there was something he could do, something not even his children would anticipate. He wasn't done creating, he could do it again.

He walked towards a wall, shimmering white and beautiful and he raised a hand, pointed at the whiteness and slowly a shape emerged from the light. It was splendid, exquisite and he poured as much of his strength as he could into this being, this very soul. He created something new, something unique, he wove the very light of his own spirit into it but also the darkness harbored by the one corrupted for this being could not be entirely of light, then it would lose. He gave it ferocity, rage, strength, he awakened passion and curiosity within it, intelligence and a keen mind. He gave it the fires of the bowels of the earth, the cold of the empty void, he gave it the strength of the ever moving ice and the raging rivers, he worked for a long time until he had shaped something no world had ever seen before. He took a step back, watched his creation with narrow eyes, exquisite indeed.

Then he sang, a low gentle song that brought the creation to life and it was a part of the world and yet not, it was created on its own, uncorrupted by the disharmony of the great song. It would never be affected by that contamination, evil would never have a hold of this being because it would be its master, not its slave. In time this being could turn the tide completely and it was created to fit exactly within that moment of time when history was hanging in the balance. It would tip the scales in the right direction and allow the world to develop as he wished.

He gently touched the creatures forehead, his eyes sad. This being would have a tough life, one filled with torment and grief and yet it would be glorious and fulfilling and he would reward it greatly. But this being could not be placed there among the rest of his children just yet, the dark one would know and try to destroy it and so he sought the very fabric of space and found a reality into which it would fit, where it could wait and rest and become strong and when the time was right it would be called back to where it truly belonged to start its mission.

He sighed, feeling a bit guilty. It had not asked to become, nor had it anything to say about its own creation but he swore that he would make it up to the being in time. He opened the door in time and space and kissed its head gently one time before he pushed it through to watch it become a part of a different world, one of which he had little power. "Forgive me my child, but know this, within you rests a power unlike none other, this you one day will learn"

He closed the door and turned around, looked down upon the land he had dreamed of, watched it being shaped by his children and his grin was bitter sweet. There can be no light without darkness and without darkness the light has no power. But when these two are in balance great things may happen, he just hoped that he had done the right thing and that his visions of the future would prove to be true.

Chapter One: Crash and burn.

It was the dream again, the wonderful dream she so often had dreamt since she was a child. She was standing in a beautiful forest with huge silvery grey trees and their leaves were like gold, she stood in a meadow covered with flowers and it was so beautiful there she almost felt like crying She was wearing a very thin gown made from a shimmering green cloth that felt like silk and it was so elegant and yet beautiful and she started moving to a music she felt more than heard. She danced across that meadow, almost as if she was afloat in the air, every movement as easy as breathing, as elegant as any ballerinas and filled with the strength of a strong young body. It felt so amazing, her feet barely touched the ground and she could hear her own laughter, chiming like silver bells, she was happy, so very much so. She never wanted this dream to end because it allowed her to dream of being someone she never could be again. For a fleeting moment she was whole once more and it was almost worth the shock of waking up to the grim truth,

She was dancing around among the lovely flowers when a voice interrupted her and she wanted it gone but it persisted. "Adelyn? Adelyn! Wake up, we have overslept!"

She jerked, her eyes opened and she stared straight at the face of her foster mother who looked very flustered and confused. "Wha…?"

Her voice was gruff and she felt like crap for having being torn out of her wonderful dreamworld like that, so abruptly. "I set the alarmclock?"

Diane shook her head. "The electricity has been out, every clock is off time, hurry, we may be too late for your flight!"

Adelyn rubbed her eyes, pulled herself up into a sitting position and saw that yes, the alarmclock did only show four blinking zero's. "What time is it?"

Diane was rushing around, gathering her clothes. "Seven thirty, so no shower for you today young lady, we have to get you dressed and fed and then we have to be on your way."

Adelyn bit her lower lip, she shook her head to wake up for real. "Wait, if the electricity has been out, has Legs got recharged?"

Diane nodded. "Yes, it is ok, full battery capacity, worry not."

Adelyn turned around, grasped the armrests of her ordinary wheelchair and pulled herself into it. She was unable to move from her waist down and even though she had some ability to feel touch and heat or cold she could not control her legs at all. Her electrical wheelchair affectionately named Legs were waiting for her downstairs and she only used it when she had to leave the house. She didn't want to be spoiled by it and so she had a very strong and muscular upper torso with arms that made even some blokes jealous. Too bad her lower body was pathetic compared with it.

She got dressed with the help of Diane and hurried getting ready, her foster father Steve was already preparing breakfast and she hear his voice, he was swearing and telling the electricity company that they could go screw themselves. It was the second power outage in three days and some claimed that it was because of a solar storm that had occurred rather suddenly. But this one was worse than the last one and it seemed that it had caused huge problems all across the state. Adelyn went by the radio which played some old folksong and it suddenly started skipping between the channels like mad, weird, it usually never did that. Diane did allow her foster daughter to do most of her duties and work on her own but now she helped out simply because they were in a hurry. Adelyn was going to visit a good friend of hers on the west coast and she had looked forward to it for months. She was at college but spent the summers back at home and it got boring after a while, a trip like that was exactly what she needed.

Diane and Steve were nice, almost the best foster parents she had ever had, and she had had a few. She had no idea of who her parents were, she had been dropped off at a local clinic by a skinny meth addicted girl who probably wasn't even old enough to legally have sex and her supposed mother hadn't even left her name behind, all that was left was a note saying Adelyn and a small bracelet with small silver hearts. She often wondered who her mother were, if she was still alive and if she had wanted to keep her daughter but there was no point in wondering about such things.

She had been thrown into the system, tossed around like a ball in a flipper game and in her first three years she had three different families. It wasn't because she was a difficult child because she wasn't, she was really an ideal baby who never cried in the night, learned what she should very early and ate what she was offered without ever making a mess. The problem was her looks, she wasn't ugly, quite the opposite but she didn't appear to be human. First of all, her skin reminded everybody of mother of pearl because it was extremely pale and almost shimmering when light hit it. Then it was her hair, even as a baby she had a full head of hair and it grew at an alarming rate, so fast that she by four had a braid as long as herself. And it had a strange color, it seemed to be able to change with the light from so black it appeared to be sky blue to bright dark red or even dark purple. She had some weird slender hands with very long fingers and her ears were funny too. Some doctors believed that she had some syndrome and probably was suffering from learning disabilities but on the contrary, she outsmarted every IQ test she ever took, she was just too clever. Some thought that she was autistic since she was very quiet and hardly ever spoke unless spoken to but their tests came up short there too. She was no savant, that was for sure. The thing that people often noticed about her first and the main reason why she was in and out of different homes were her eyes, and her teeth. She was born with fangs, not just such tiny baby teeth many are born with but canines. The doctors refused to remove them because they were sure that her adult teeth would be normal, and they were disappointed because when she shed her milk teeth her new ones were just the same, just sharper and even more inhuman. Some said that she should have them filed down but the dentist in her town refused, the teeth were perfectly healthy and he didn't like the idea of fixing something that wasn't broken. She often thought of that elderly dentist with great gratitude.

Her eyes were huge, they were almond shaped and slanted and some said they made her look almost alien like, they dominated a heart shaped face so beautiful some thought she wasn't real but a doll. One eye was as green as a Granny Smith apple and the other had a weird color some described as brandy mixed with gold specks. And her irises had a black ring around them, it made her weird eye colors stand out even more and nobody managed to stare her into the eyes for very long. Her first foster parents had claimed that she was a spawn of satan and had wanted to perform an exorcism on her, luckily the local pastor had stopped them. Her second family were not religious, they were teachers and rather nice but their other children were frightened by her piercing stare and so she had to go to another family again. The third one was trying really hard to become her family but then the father suffered a heart attack and the mother could not afford keeping an extra child in the household no matter how kind and silent she was.

The fourth family was Eileen and Kim and she had lived with them until she was thirteen, that was the year when everything had changed. They had been so kind, so welcoming and she had loved them with a sort of furious affection which would have made others wonder about her sanity but those two never did. They didn't care about the fact that she was different and she was treated just like any other kid and she loved it. She did excel at school, she was an A student and lay way ahead of all the others. She was often teased by the others but she just had to stare at them and then they would back off, staring into her eyes was like staring into a mirror of yourself where you couldn't hide the grim truth of your own flaws and nobody had the guts to do that for a long time. She had friends, some were freaks like herself, gothic kids and such but her foster parents never complained about them and treated them kindly and with respect, Needless to say, she was very popular among those who did stand out in the crowd. She got her growth the year she turned twelve, she shoot up like a reed and the family doctor was getting worried, she would be more than six feet if her growth didn't slow down and only Eileen managed to stop him from putting Adelyn on hormones to disrupt the rapid growth. Eileen felt that one shouldn't interfere with the plans of nature and so Adelyn ended up being one meter and eighty five centimeters and thereby taller than even the biggest boys in her class. She was long legged and elegant and she got curves early too, perhaps a bit too much for someone her age but many meant that she would have a great career ahead of her as a model if she wanted to try that out. She did look strange yes, but exotic and beautiful and she did absolutely catch the eye of everybody the moment she entered a room.

Adelyn loved dancing, she tried all sorts of it from ballet to street dance and she had such grace and elegance she left the teachers in awe. She learned to play the piano like a professional at nine and she did also play the flute and the violin rather well. She was just a sponge, sucking in all sorts of knowledge and skills and Kim taught her martial arts and she was fantastic even there. At twelve she had four black belts in four different styles and she even won some competitions. And then it all ended in one afternoon, they had been out eating at a local restaurant and on the way back home a drunk driver lost control of his car and rear ended their van, made it spin around and flip over the edge of the highway bridge and fall down onto the road below where it was hit head on by a cement truck. Eileen and Kim were killed instantly and nobody understood how Adelyn had survived but she did live, although with serious injuries. She had fractures to her back and damages to her spinal cord, she also had some burns on her left hip and nasty cuts along her legs but the pain of having lost her step parents were so much worse.

She was placed into a special home and from there she came to Diane and Steve who were specializing in taking care of teens with special needs. They were nice enough but she missed Eileen and Kim and she still did but now she was an adult and free to do whatever she wanted to. She had rebelled as most teens do, she had tried a lot, drinking, staying out and so on and she had gotten tattoos and piercings. Diane and Steve accepted this, they knew how she felt and tried to support her as best as they could. Adelyn had a tattoo of beautiful flowering vines covering her left leg, it was made to cover up her scars and it looked almost three dimensional and she was very proud of it. It was a true work of art and worth the pain. She had a wolf on her left shoulder blade and a cougar at the right one, Kim had been of native origin and the wolf was his spirit animal as he had told her the cougar was hers. On her right arm she had a tattoo of a kneeling angel to memorize Eileen who had believed in angels her whole life. It was very beautiful too and looked very sad.

The tattoos were one thing Diane did understand but her piercings weren't so welcome, she had several holes in her ears, one in her left eyebrow where she kept a diamond stud, one in her nostril, another through her lower lip and she had pierced her right nipple, her navel and her inner labia. The last piercing had made Diane squirm and scold her a bit but Adelyn just grinned and said that she just wanted to go the whole way, there was no point in having these things done if she didn't try it all.

She would wear heavy makeup to make her eyes look even more striking and most people thought that she was wearing contact lenses and she did nothing to convince them of the truth. She was in a wheelchair damn it, she would never be one of the crowd so why not show her independency in whatever way she thought fitting for her. She would dress in black most of the time and leather with studs or skulls was her favorite. She did also love to wear t shirts with provocative texts on them or pants that looked like they had been through a shredder. It was a sort of statement, a call out as to say "Look at me world, I am still here"

Perhaps that wasn't so weird, she had encountered the stupidity of other people way too often and was dead tired of being overlooked, as if she was a thing. She absolutely hated it when someone started talking to whoever she was with and ignored her or even worse, spoke about her as if she was some vegetable who didn't understand common speech. Diane was also very annoyed by such people, when anyone stopped them on the street asking how she was doing now Diane's answer was usually "Why don't you ask her how she is doing? She is paralyzed, not deaf"

Not everybody took that sort of approach too kindly.

Breakfast turned out to be a rather hurried affair, not only were they short of time but nothing seemed to work as it should, not the stove, the toaster or the fridge, everything seemed to go haywire and Steve swore that he would sue the electricity company if this continued, not that he really would go so far, he was just annoyed and needed so vent his mind. Adelyn had a glass of half warm milk, two biscuits and an apple and Diane carried her luggage into the car while she ate. Luckily they had packed the day before and were ready. She got her jacket on and a cap and boots too and then they left the house feeling as though they were evacuating it with a disaster hanging overhead. Adelyn was dressed rather normally today, after all, she was going on a flight and didn't want the metal detectors going ape-shit on her. The wheelchair was bad enough but she had been stripped by security once and it had been both humiliating and awkward since she couldn't stand up. The thing the detector reacted to was the metal threads in the embroideries of her rather expensive bra and the guards had been just as bothered as she had been.

The car did start and they headed out of the small suburb, the airport wasn't that far away but the roads were crammed, there were police everywhere trying to control the traffic since all the traffic lights suddenly believed that they were at a trance party and were blinking like crazy. Some electric road signs had obviously gotten fried too cause she saw one which usually told the drivers to wear their seatbelts or warned them if there was a queue up ahead. Now the sign showed a weird message, there is nothing in life like slow and silly tortoises who cannot ride a tandem bike.

Steve scoffed. "Oh the wonders of the modern world, lo and behold girls, how fragile we have become. The sun burps and everything goes bada-boom!"

Adelyn giggled. "Big bada-boom"

Diane rolled her eyes, Adelyn and Steve both loved the movie the fifth element and they would quote it so often it sometimes made Diane go slightly mad.

The airport was open, people were scurrying around and Adelyn started to feel excited now, she was eager to get going and she had always loved to fly. On the inside the loudspeakers were cracking with static interference and Diane looked worried. "Maybe they should cancel the flights? I mean, is it safe with that storm and all?"

Steve just shrugged. "They do know what they are doing, these planes are safe dear. Safer than my old Dodge I bet."

Adelyn got Legs out and moved over into it, some were staring but she didn't mind this time. They hurried to the right area and she was checked in and her luggage delivered. Luckily the lady who did the check in was a nice person who spoke directly to Adelyn as if she was just a regular customer and Adelyn appreciated that. She was guided through security and Diane and Steve hugged her and wished her a nice journey. The loudspeakers were cracking like mad and the signs telling of arrivals and departures were turned off. A flight attendant followed Adelyn to the plane, she was nice and apologized for the chaos, the electrical equipment in the airport had obviously gotten a will of its own and had to be turned off. Adelyn thought of an old movie she once had seen, based on a book by Stephen King and in it cars and trucks had come to life and started attacking people. It left her with a sort of a nagging sensation in the back of her head, perhaps this wasn't the best day to travel after all?

The plane was a rather small one, she had no idea of what type it was but Steve would probably have told her the entire story of the bird, from when it was designed to where its bolts and screws were manufactured. He loved planes and the old war planes from WW2 in special, he thought that the Mustang was the most beautiful plane ever but Adelyn held a special love for the spy plane SR-71. It just looked mean and at the same time elegant, like a cobra. This machine on the other hand was only made for short flights with the sole purpose of transporting people and it was obvious. It was not at all a luxury plane and Adelyn was placed on a special place at the back designed for people with disabilities. It was made so that the wheelchair could be locked in place and function just like a normal seat and she was happy she didn't have to move over to one of the ordinary seats because it always made people stare when she navigated her dead legs into position. That was one of the times when she really hated her condition.

The plane was only half full and most of the passenger were commuters on their way to work or on their way back home from some sort of business. There were a couple of families and one of them were the noisy type. They had four children and they were extremely boisterous and tried to run around in the cabin, the flight attendant was rolling her eyes and Adelyn sent her a sympathetic glance. Such kids were a menace to control and the youngest one had already thrown a tantrum and sat in its seat bawling from the top of his lungs since he didn't get to play with his game until after takeoff.

The plane had to wait for half an hour before it was getting clearance and Adelyn was starting to feel a bit grumpy. The kids were obviously the type that didn't know what the word discipline meant and the flight attendant tried desperately to make the mother understand that they had to be strapped in. They could not be running around like that when the plane took off. The oldest one, a girl of about nine locked herself into the bathroom and refused to come out and Adelyn wished that the kid could get a good proper spanking, she was disturbing everybody and many sent the mother some rather poisonous glances. Finally the pilot got the needed permission and taxied the plane onto the runway. Adelyn had always loved the feeling of take-off, the sheer force pushing them upwards and she envied the fighter pilots who enjoyed that feeling of unrestrained power every day. The kid hiding in the small bathroom came back out sulking when its mother promised her a new dress and everybody was in their seats. Adelyn let out a sigh of relief and the flight attendant looked very relieved indeed, she sat down in her small seat and fastened her belt and the plane gained speed and then came the feeling of leaving the ground. Adelyn grinned, she knew the procedures although she never had been in a cockpit in her life. The thud of the landing gear getting retracted came just when it should and the plane soon reached its cruising speed and altitude. People relaxed again and the flight attendant went around and served some drinks to those who wanted it.

The flight wasn't that long so no food would be served and Adelyn didn't mind, she just wanted to meet Monica again and enjoy a couple of weeks with gossip and fun. Monica was one of her very best friends and she never treated Adelyn any differently than other girls, they could sit there and discuss everything from boys to politics and Monica never treated Adelyn as a person with disabilities. It was as if she didn't even notice the wheelchair and they had shared a lot of fun together. Monica had been rather frantic of late, she had met this one guy she was sure she would marry one day and Adelyn just nodded her head in sympathy and disbelief when Monica's voice could be heard through half the house. She was always yelling on the phone and Diane had grinned too while involuntarily listening in on the conversation. Monica had met her one true love at least a dozen times but Mister right always turned out to be Mister Right now and she dumped them rather fast. Adelyn knew that Monica attracted the wrong type of guys, she looked like a playboy bunny with blond hair, blue eyes and an impressive pair of breasts and some could not see that she in fact was very smart and had a very strong will. She had often joked about getting a breast reduction, dying her hair dark and getting a crew cut, just to see the reactions she then would get.

Adelyn had to grin when thinking about their conversations, Monica was so sparkly, so full of life and energy and a never ending optimism and she never seized to think that she could play match maker with Adelyn and certain boys she knew. It wasn't that Adelyn didn't appreciate the attempts, it just showed that Monica indeed cared for her but there was no use. Most guys ran in the opposite direction when they saw her or they told her rather politely that she wasn't their type. Of course she wasn't their type, who would want to date a girl bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her days? The most intimate contact she had had with a boy had been a hug and a very quick peck on her cheek and even that had made the poor fellow look like he wanted to be a hundred miles away. So, Adelyn had accepted that she would remain single for the rest of eternity and didn't really think that much about it.

Monica had talked for a good hour the day before and Adelyn had barely been able to speak at all, it had become a monologue and she smiled when she imagined Monica's eager face. The problem with looking like a bimbo was that every bloke out there believed that one drink was enough to get Monica in bed with them and they soon learned that the young miss was rather adamant when it came to that sort of activities. Kissing was alright, perhaps even a bit of touching but nothing more than that. No ding-a-ling without a wedding ring! And so she had left quite a lot of disappointed not so gentle men who had thought that they could score easily with the blonde bombshell. There is a saying that every beautiful girl has an ugly girlfriend but Adelyn wasn't the ugly girlfriend, she was the different one and she was much more striking than the blonde girl and way more exotic but her wheelchair worked as a very strict chaperone. Some of the blokes would perhaps speak to her, and even try to flirt a little but they never put their heart into it and she understood them well.

But two weeks with Monica would be wonderful, they would go to the beach and to clubs or just go shopping and she hoped that the weather would be nice. She was sick and tired of rain and fog and wanted some warmth and sun. Outside of the plane the skies were blue and some clouds were floating by like pieces of cotton candy, she stared at them with dreamy eyes and relaxed, soon she dozed off and even the boisterous kids were busy with their Ipad's and games.

Adelyn woke up with a start, she had heard something, a strange sound like someone singing something but just out of hearing range, she shook her head and took a look around her. Most of the passengers were sleeping and the flight attendant was busy helping a little old lady getting to the bathroom. Adelyn frowned, she felt cold? Strange, the cabin was heated and the temperature was normal, was she coming down with a fever or something? She would hate to get sick now. She was going to ask the flight attendant for a blanket when they all heard a strange sound, almost like a shriek and the plane suddenly dropped right down or at least so it felt. It only lasted a second or two but some passengers yelped or screamed and many looked nervous. Adelyn knew they had hit an air pocket, such things did happen often but the sound? It sounded almost as if one of the engines had experienced some sort of problem? The sound returned and the plane lurched violently to the left, the flight attendant was pale and ran towards the cockpit, the plane stabilized again but the fasten the seat belts sign got turned on and everybody sat down, looking scared. One of the kids started hollering and screaming and the mother shook it rather violently, the terror in her eyes was very apparent.

The cabin was so silent now, nobody spoke and Adelyn felt as if her own heart was trying to break out through her chest. Something was clearly wrong, the skies outside of the plane was still blue and beautiful but it felt wrong. She couldn't explain it but if felt very wrong and then it dawned on her, the sun was in the wrong position, the plane had to have turned around for the sun to be in that place in the heavens. The plane lurched again and the weird sound came again, Adelyn couldn't see the wings from where she was seated but she knew that both engines had stopped, the steady sound of the jets working to push them through the empty air had seized. She knew that even jets could glide for quite a long time, they just had to find an airport big enough for a jetliner, with the right equipment to handle an emergency landing.

She didn't panic, instead she felt a weird sort of calm. Maybe she after all had been meant to die with her foster parents and now destiny was catching up with her? Like in the movie final destination? Screaming and crying wouldn't help her at all, she only hoped that Diane and Steve wouldn't be too sorry and that Monica would remember her and still take a drink on her birthday. Some children were still crying and she could hear that someone was praying loudly, the voice strangely thin and shivering. There was a pling from the intercom and they heard the pilot's voice, it sounded calm and didn't even hint of stress or fear, many calmed down considerably because of that. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are currently experiencing some slight problems with our engines but we have plenty of altitude and will be able to make an emergency landing as soon as we localize a suitable airfield."

Adelyn took a deep breath, he was lying, or at least not telling the whole truth. The flight attendant was returning, she was smiling but there was something in her eyes that told Adelyn she was both scared and confused. She walked down the aisle checking that everybody had their belts on and that nobody had any loose objects nearby. Adelyn felt cold, in a weird way determined. She wouldn't let herself be fooled and when the attendant came by her to check that her chair was securely attached to the floor she gave the woman a calm glance. "We have either turned around already or something is very wrong. I would like to know, I am used to flying and planes and the captain couldn't fool me. "

The flight attendant bent down, pretended to check the straps and she whispered. "We have lost all contact with the tower, with everybody in fact. We have no idea of where we are, we are flying blind!"

Adelyn frowned. "The solar storm?"

The flight attendant pulled at the wheels, appeared to be rather busy. "Maybe, but even the GPS is out of function, and we cannot hear any radio signals at all. It is all dead."

Adelyn felt a surge of panic, she had once read another Stephen King story called the Langoliers or something where a plane disappears into the past and barely manages to escape it. The woman tried to smile. "Don't worry, our captain is a very experienced pilot and he knows every available airstrip from here to Canada, I bet he will be able to get us all down in one piece."

Adelyn suddenly felt an urge to make some silly joke, like "nobody has ever gotten stuck up here" Or something like that but she kept her tongue tied. She knew that the plane was descending, by this rate it would have perhaps twenty minutes of airtime left before it made a rather vicious rendezvous with mother earth if the pilot didn't manage to find a place to land first. How could all communication just disappear? Adelyn didn't understand but she knew she had been right. Today was definitely not a good day to be travelling.

She remembered what Kim once had told her, of the ancient ritual of the indian braves who would walk into battle claiming that today was a good day to die, maybe this was her final day and she couldn't exactly say that it had been all that good. She felt a tear running down her cheek and wiped it away, almost stunned. She shouldn't be crying, after all she had lived, not all got that privilege but she couldn't help it. It was still so many things she had wanted to do but now it seemed that it all were to be stolen away from her. Crap, she hadn't even thought of what to expect, she had never been religious and she had believed that death was the end and that was that. But what if it wasn't? She didn't believe in heaven or hell, to her those were just superstition but one of her friends claimed to have been hypnotized to remember previous lives and it had sounded very convincing. At least that girl had believed firmly in reincarnation. Adelyn made a grimace. If she was to come back she wanted to come back as something able to move really well, maybe a horse, a cheetah or perhaps a peregrine falcon. Yes, that would have been awesome, death from above diving towards its prey at lightning speed.

But if her luck was to give any hints as to what she would experience she would most likely return as a slug, or perhaps a mole? She had to grin to herself, dark humor, that had always been her strong side. But what the heck, always look at the bright side of death right? The plane had started shaking and it tilted a bit forward, the pilot was afraid of a stall and had to increase the speed but that in return reduced their airtime a lot. Adelyn stretched, she had seen only clouds and blue skies but now she did also see a green land down below. It was very green in fact, with some rivers and lakes and in the distance she could see a range of very tall and wild looking mountains. The rockies? But what the hey, that would be completely wrong since they should have stretched out in an entirely different direction and the landscape seemed so wild? No cities or roads or even farmland?

Adelyn got a weird sensation, maybe they had dropped through a time barrier or something like that? Perhaps this was the distant past? Or even a whole different world? Damn, her imagination was really running wild now. She could see that many of the other passengers too had discovered that the landscape below them was unfamiliar and many were calling out, demanding answers. A man got up and ran towards the cockpit but the door was locked and couldn't be opened from the outside, courtesy of 9/11. He was roaring with anger trying to tear through the door and two other burly guys wrestled him to the floor and held him there. Some women were crying and the children had stopped bawling, they were too scared. The plane was shivering, like it was trying to fight against the force of gravity but without its engines it was doomed. Adelyn took a peek out the window once more, she could imagine the desperation of the pilot, he was probably frantically trying to contact someone, anyone. Trying to spot a place to land the plane, trying to keep them all alive. She knew it was a futile hope, he would fail. There was no place there to land a jet liner, even if they managed to go down on a lake there would be no rescue and the plane could only float for a few minutes. She didn't doubt that the captain was very skilled but he would not be able to replicate the miracle on the Hudson river, she just knew he wouldn't.

Adelyn bit her lower lip, she swallowed hard and hoped that she would see Eileen and Kim again, that they would be waiting for her. And she hoped that it would be quick, that she wouldn't be trapped in a burning wreck or something, left to be scorched by burning jet fuel. No, if there was a God out there she hoped that he would show her the grace of dying fast.

Who knew, maybe the next world would be a better one, one in which she would be able to use her legs once more. She petted the wheels of Legs almost affectionately. "Right old partner, I guess this is the end of the line for us, but you have served me well. Although I don't think I will miss you."

She could see that the ground was getting closer at a terrifying speed, she could separate the trees and she whispered an old Indian prayer Kim had taught her. The captains voice came over the com again, strangely distant. "Ladies and gentlemen, I have been unable to reach any airports or anyone at all, we have to perform an emergency landing. I will try to put her down on a meadow up ahead but I fear we are too heavy to get down in one piece. Please do brace for impact and pray. I am sorry."

Adelyn closed her eyes and leaned forward, she heard whispers and saw that people were reaching out, touching hands, seeking some comfort in these their last seconds. She had nobody to reach out to and she felt so terribly alone. She saw treetops outside of the plane, then she heard a terrible racket as the wings started to tear into bushes and trees and she closed her eyes one final time, whispering a silent I love you to Diane and Steve. Then there was a terrible jolt, a bright white flash of light and she thought for a second that she was back in that lovely dream of hers, dancing across a meadow of flowers. And then there was nothing except darkness and her last conscious thought was that it at least didn't hurt.

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