The group of women standing in the lobby of the software firm of their favorite game. The winners of a contest to go to the two headquarters and be interviewed by the developers for upcoming features and stories were waiting for to be shuttled to the next part of their trip. The flight to Japan. The young women all went into smaller groups except for the two standing off to the side. They were cousins distantly but family none the less. The other women were looking over the two as they began to talk quietly.
“I’m sorry.” one said to the other.
“For?” the smaller of the two asked back.
“If I had known they were also entering I wouldn’t have pushed you too,” they said to her as she looked at her older cousin by a few years. Though the two did not favor each other all that much one could tell they were related.
“You think they matter?” she asked.
“Look I know you all had a falling out. I know it hurt you. I know they attacked you. I really wish I hadn’t pushed you do to this.” the younger of the two said softly.
“Lish, I figured some of them would be here. It is okay. They don’t mean anything to me, not now at least. We get this trip though. How cool is that?” the older one said.
“It is pretty awesome,” Alisha stated. “I didn’t think about it Kat.”
“I am not listening,” Kat replied as she looked at her younger cousin. “We get to go to Japan and with some of our other friends as well. Even better none of us had to pay for it. Now go and be as social as you can be. Don’t worry about me.”
“I have, too,” Alisha said.
“It isn’t your fault, I am here,” Kat said sighing as she knew this could turn quickly. “If I stay away from them it will be fine. I mean it is only a plane ride, and then we won’t have to stay with them all right?”
“I guess so,” Alisha said with a quick smile. “I see your point.”
“You see Vicky. Go.” Kat said with a laugh and watched her cousin walk off to join the group they had formed. So many servers had blown up on the chat room app about the game. It was bound to have a few that were more inclusive and more judgmental than others. She knew her first interaction with some of the women here was because of that fact. They were the judgmental ones. The ones who thought it should only be the way they thought as they were nearly perfect themselves. Kat had to laugh at all of them now. Though at the time she had wanted blood. Theirs. They now sat in a group of about fifteen while they were staring daggers at the other groups that had formed and even the one of her own friends. It had been a shock that the ten of them had won though they were all good and strong fans of the game. It had been done by ranking, and Kat knew, in the end, she was in the top ten. She had spent more time playing during the time then she had planned too. Though with the result as they were getting ready to be shuttled to the airport for the private flight to Japan she could see anything wrong with it. It would be a fun week to see the places that inspired the game to learn even more about the history of it. Everything worked out for a reason she thought. Even if it means she would be glared at for a few days.
“You don’t really belong here.” one of the cattier young women said as they moved close to her. Kat looked over the woman whom she had some nasty interactions with. She thought to herself that she was not impressed at all. She faced more of a threat by opening a door the wrong way then she did from this woman.
“If I don’t neither do you. Look I am not here to start some crap or anything. You enjoy your trip, and I will try to enjoy mine.” Kat said as she tried to move away from the woman. She finished the statement in her head, “As far away from you as possible.”
“Scared?” the young woman said.
“Of you?” Kat said as she looked over the woman as she blinked her blue eyes open and wider. Nothing about this woman was frightening. “Hardly.”
“Maybe you should change that way of thinking?” the woman said as she walked away.
“The only thing I need to do watch you grow the hell up,” she said under her breath. Knowing that speaking it any louder would ruin the chance of trying to be civil. However, looking over to the group that had formed around her Kat knew that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon with any of them. These people were heavily into the idea of group thinking and trying to get in good with each other by holding back any real part of themselves while patting each other on the back for the simplest of things. Much like breathing or some stupid nonsense.
The shuttle arrived, and within twenty minutes they were being put on the private plane on the runway. Kat settled into her seat and waited until they were in the air. She closed her eyes, not really feeling tired, but she didn’t want to talk to anyone at the moment either. Every person had been given a row of seats to lounge on, and she enjoyed the quietness of her area as everyone was still discussing their plans on what to do on their free time. The week aboard was going to be full but still allow them to have some time to themselves.
These were the best and most dedicated players of the game, which had hit the English market only about a year before. It had been a hit in Japan before that, and that was why the group had been formed. These were the winners of the ranking contest, and they would help shape both games as the company had done the same for the other version of the game as well. It had been a stroke of genius. Kat was one her way of getting bored with the game. Since the epic meltdown with the other group of players, she knew she was near burnt out. That was when Alisha had told her about the contest. A trip to Japan sounded nice at the time, so she had focused everything and every spare moment she had into winning. She was pleased when her name had been announced on the website, the hate email she received weekly doubled on the first day and then grew more and more as the next few weeks had passed as the winners made their ways to California for the first stage of the prize. She knew who it was from. It wasn’t hard to see the simple patterns in writing styles. She wasn’t surprised with the other names, and she could even place most of them by there handles to match to their faces. Some she was already friends with. It was good to see a new place with friends she thought even if that meant the others had to come along as well. A simple trade-off that would be fine in the end. How could it not be?
She opened her eyes to peer out of the airplanes window as a flash of light came from near the plane. She wondered if they were near a storm. She looked again and waited. The time passed, and they were near the airport in Japan as another flash of light hit right near the plane. She looked out, and she couldn’t see any clouds, and she knew they were still to high up. What was that light she asked herself?
Just then, another flash of light hit and she knew they were over land as she could see the lights below. She looked at the map and saw they were directly over Kyoto. The light came again and hit the plane. For a split second, she wondered if the plane was going down. The area got so very dark. The blackest of nights she thought to herself. She wondered if she had died and this was the beginning to the new world. She didn’t know, but it seemed as if time had stopped and she was just left floating there in the darkness for what seemed to be an entirety. It was like she was weightless and had no worry’s or pain anywhere. She couldn’t feel anything including the headache that had grown since they board the plane. This was the afterlife. She was sure of it. Would she be like this forever? If it was ,was it heaven or hell because this was not what she had pictured for either. She held on to what little of herself she could feel and just thought of her life. This wasn’t how she wanted to die. This wasn’t how any of this was supposed to end.
Somewhere on the mainland in a control tower....
“What do you mean you lost the plane?” the air traffic control yelled into the mic.
“We saw it enter our airspace and then it was gone in fifteen minutes.” and operator said on the other end.
“Planes do not just disappear!” the first controller said.
“This one did. Nothing was around it. It was directly over Kyoto and then nothing. We did see reports of lightning, but there are no clouds in the sky and no plane on the ground.” the second controller said.
“What the hell just happened then?” the first asked.
“I don’t know.” the second said as he was staring at the screen. “I honestly have no idea, but we need to let everyone know.”
“Yes, of course, we do.” the first said as he started to make a series of phone calls. The sarcasm was thick through the statement. He hoped he could get through the shift without it continuing but how did one lose a plane?
“No, sir. I do not know what happened. The plane is no longer in the air, but it has not crashed either. If it lost signal that would be one thing, but there is no plane out there. It was over Kyoto at the time. It has been fifteen minutes sir. We have a lost plane that didn’t crash.” the first controller said.
“A lost plane of that size is not a good thing.” the commander said as he walked in the room. “How long has it been down?”
“Down as in no communication sir? Now about an hour.” the controller said as they scoured over the signals from all the blips of planes on the screen worldwide.
“Get the satellites up. They may have caught something.” the commander said, and as the live feed from the satellites went up, and they played backward they saw an image no one could understand.
“What the hell?” the commander asked and the controller repeated as they watched.
“That wasn’t lightning.” the commander said.
“What was it then?” the controller asked as the room filled with people who would help in the search of the plane. This was simply too much for anyone to understand by themselves.
“I have no idea son, but god help those people on that plane. They are going to need it.” the commander said as he sat down with a thunk in the closest chair. “They are going to need it.”
She was still trapped in the darkness. She wondered if she was ever going to move as she let her heavy lids fall. If this was heaven or hell, she still needed to sleep she thought. Everything around seemed to completely stop as she knew she was still floating. She felt a movement and then she opened her eyes. She had no idea how long or how little she had slept. If she had even slept. She looked around her and could see a light coming closer to her, and as she looked out the circle, she could see trees and grass. She could feel things again. She smiled as the circle grew and she knew she was getting closer to it. If she could just break from of the vast nothingness, she could feel alive again. It was all coming back to her as the circle finally was in front of her and then she felt herself fall. She looked at the ground as it approached her and she hit the ground hard. She looked around, and she couldn’t see anything that was remotely familiar. There were trees and grass surrounding her as she placed her head down and let the pain take over her body as she passed out.
“Another one?” she faintly heard a male voice asked.
“Looks that way.” someone else said.
“Well, we can’t leave her out here. Let’s take her to the castle. My lord will know what to do with her.”