FLIGHT 72✈✈

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10

"NOO!" I screamed in agony, witnessing the explosion before my very eyes. "Let's go" Mrs Amy focussed on getting away from the plane as she pulled me by the collar of my shirt.

"It doesn't matter anymore! She's gone!" I screamed my lungs out with grief hanging in the air. "No! This can't possibly happen!" I looked at Mrs Amy pitifully while crying out aloud.

"Calm down Aaron" Mrs Amy tried to comfort me by patting my back gently a few times. Still, it was not enough to relieve me of all my worries. How can someone be comforted when their loved one is being taken away from earth? That sheer pain and agony looking at the burning plane was ginormous.

It was the worst sensation that I had ever felt in my 20 odd years of life. It sucked so badly just gazing at the wrecked plane while sitting at the entrance of the small tarmac building. I could not control the tears which were flowing down my cheeks at a rapid pace.

Mrs Amy, knowing how devastated I was, remained silent and put her arm around my shoulder. It did not ease out any of the pain.

"Why does this happen to me?"

"Well, what's in our control? After all we are all small toys controlled by the greater being up there" Mrs Amy said.

"What did I do wrong! Why must this happen to me?!"

"Don't cry, Aaron"

"How can I not cry? She was such an amazing woman!"

It was really saddening to see it end this way. We had been through the toughest of times with hijackers around. And now it just so happened that people had to die because of the bomb after surviving over 2 days of being held hostage.

As I fixated my eyes on the plane, fire fighters wasted no time in spraying water on the gargantuan wreckage. A swarm of paramedics had gathered around the aircraft, trying to save as many lives as possible. Though the firemen were trying the best, the fire was equally raging, destroying everything in its path.

The whole surroumding was inundated with black smoke which was emanating from the centre of the aircract where the wreckage had split. Just at that point, I witnessed the bodies of passengers being removed from the plane.

Charred bodies of people were being placed on stretchers. Some of them were even half alive, whincing in excruciating pain as blood oozed from their bodies. Among those injured, I could even see small toddlers being burnt past recognition.. my eyes fixated on this one toddlerwhose hair and hands were half burnt in the flame. The child was apparently shaking her pregnant mother nearby who seemed to lay motionlessly on the floor.

"Mom, wake up mom! Won't I get to play with my younger brother?"

She gently rocked her dead mother while sobbing uncontrollably. She looked around in all directions, hoping to get solace from the busy crowd of medics and firemen. All she received back was pure ignorance as others frantically ran past her, leaving her totally helpless.

It was truly a horrific scene to witness. I felt at that poimt that being mudered by the hijackers was soo much better than escaping the plane unscathed and watching it erupt in flames with passengers being burnt to death. And possibly even Clara.

"Clara shouldn't have come on this plane.. she should have just declined when they needed a replacement flight attendant"

"Think positively! Nothing would have happened to her!"

"She's dead! If only I cam see her now, I would feel soo much better"

"Aaron!" Mrs Amy suddenly raised her voice, sounding as if she had uncovered the key to a mystery.

"What?"

"There!"

"What's there?"

"She's there!" Mrs Amy exclaimed as she pointed somewhere infront of us. A sudden surge of adrenaline rushed through me as I instantly scanned the area desperately. A glimmer of hope invoked in me and I began scanning faster thaan ever before. It was then I saw her.

I saw Clara before my very eyes! Her hair seemed to be in a tangle mess as minor wounds were seen on her forehead and arms. She seemed to be walking unsteadily towards us in the tarmac.

Seeing her alive boosted my morale to a certain extent. How fortunate was she to escape the plane with minor injuries! I felt over the moon as both of us immediately stood up, welcoming her as she made our way towards us.

"How are you dear?" Mrs Amy wrapped her arm around Clara, comforting her instantaneously. Clara seemed pale and out of energy.

"I'm okay.. but more importantly how are you guys?" Clara asked us.

"We're okay! Thank goodness you managed to survive!" I uttered.

Just then, we witnessed two paramedics rushing to provide Clara with first aid. We watched as bandage was applied to the forehead of Clara. She looked really cute even with the bandage on her forehead.

"Yea.. but there are still a lot others being inside the plane.. and also.." Clara paused, her face turning into one filled with shock

"And also?" I asked.

"Kenneth! I don't know what happened to him"

I did not know how to react. Am I supposed to feel happy now that he won't be close to my girl anymore? That seemed too evil! How could I think like that? As much as I hated him, I really hoped he would have survived from the raging fire. I guess when in times of catastrophy like now, putting aside any bitterness and helping to save others would be the utmost priority. Even if I dislike Kenneth, I really hoped he would survive just for the sake of Clara. Just so that it could make Clara happy.

Minutes whizzed by as we just sat down on the seats inside the small terminal building, totally unaware of what to do. We have never been through something like this so I had no clue what to do.

Mrs Amy glanced about, trying to figure out where we were. Now that people were around and we were relatively safer, Mrs Amy called a nearby airport staff.

"Umm.. sorry, but where are we?"

"You are in Catah Island"

Mrs Amy's eyes widened as Clara and I looked at her eagerly.

"This small island is directly NORTH of our origin!"

It was no doubt an eureka moment. Throughout the course of the entire journey, we had been travelling north. This is suspicious given the fact Landerville is somewhere in the west side of Vale! This could only mean one thing - that this is indeed, without a doubt a pre planned hijacking right from the very start!

"We're we that oblivious to this detail?" Mrs Amy asked

"You know how my geography sucks"

"Not even one detail?"

I paused, trying to wreck my brain for the slightest of hint which could have given away the fact that we were travelling in the wrong direction. All the smallest events of the plane rushed through my mind. I gulped down a ball of water as Clara and Mrs Amy looked at me for an answer.

Just then, something popped in my mind.

"I remember closing the window shutter to prevent sun rays from coming through my window [Chapter 2]. The sun was setting"

Even though my geography sucks, I guess it does not take a genius to know that the sun sets in the west

"That should have been a clue we missed on! With the plane travelling north, you would be facing west from your left window. No wonder sun rays were directly hitting through your window"

It was indeed a moment of reveletion. All this while I had been thinking that we had been under the hijacking of three hijackers. This new idea seemed to suggest that there may be more than the three hijackers involved in this case.

"You mean the pilots coordinated this?"

"Possibly" Mrs Amy said.

On hindsight, I was starting to get just a bit more clearer. Maybe that was the reason why I had not seen the captain come out from his cockpit during the course of the entire journey? Maybe that was the reason why the other two hijackers spent a great deal of time in the cockpit - so that they could discuss all the proceedings with the pilots.

Another pivotal question arose together with all these rumours. What was the co-pilot doing all these while when the course of the plane had changed? How did he allow the plane to go in the wrong direction from the very start and why did he not do anything even after knowing that the plane was going of course?

Perhaps the biggest question was why did the hijacking happen in the first place? Throughout the time I was inside the plane, neither of the hijackers had revealed their demands. It was as if just a bunch of inexperienced trio taking control of a plane for no apparent reason.

"I guess we need wait longer for more information to come.. we shall just wait for now" Clara said. This was followed by a couple of minutes of silence before Clara came and sat right beside me.

"So.." Clara continued as I looked at her.

"What ma'am?"

"Don't you have a girlfriend?"

"Umm.. why all of a sudden?"

"Just for time pass and I am really curious too"

When someone you like asks you this question, its nearly impossible to tell the truth. You just have to divert it or conjure up a fake story.

"Umm.. judging by me always hanging out with an 80 year old woman, what do you think is the answer?"

Mrs Amy gave me a death stare to which both Clara and I giggled away.

"No way, you look so smart and handsome, at least one girl would have fallen for you"

Well I really wished that that woman would be you. I really wanted to tell her that.

"Um thanks? No one has ever called me smart so thanks.. I am currently jobless so yea"

"Why don't you find a job as a flight attendant?"

"Well I don't want people to be holding knives near my throat ever again so nope" I replied as we both laughed along.

"Also another question, how did your parents agree to this trip? Don't they want to come with you?"

"Well my relationship with them is not good.. ever since I became jobless, they became frustrated with me for not finding a stable job.. what can I do? It was her idea to go on this trip" I said pointing at Mrs Amy.

"I guess going on a holiday is better than sitting at home and listening to their nagging.. so I secretly went abroad with Mrs Amy"

"You didn't inform them?" Clara asked.

"Just like you, I ran away from home"

"Thinking about it now.. I guess I shouldn't have run away.. maybe thats why our trip ended up being a hijack story" I said.

"Don't worry young man, one day all your problems will be solved" Clara cheered on while patting my back. Well everything woild be okay if you are with me.. With you, half of my worries will be gone..

Just then Clara stood up and went to the toilet nearby.

"I guess sir is having a whale of a time?" Mrs Amy asked, sitting on the seat where Clara was sitting just now.

"Of course, who wouldn't like spending time with their lover?"

"Yea I can see it.. and also she seems to be in a romantic mood?"

"Yea the question on girlfriend.. I didn't see that coming"

"And I didn't see your answer coming"

"Did you expect me to tell the truth?"

"Why don't you tell now?"

"Umm.."

"Aaron, you have ample time left with her till they give us instruction on what to do. This is your best opportunity to say it!" Mrs Amy patted me.

"What? No! I'm scared!"

"What are you scared of? You shot and overcame the most terrifying of hijackers bravely and now you are scared of telling your love? You're a pussy"

I pondered for a while. What Mrs Amy said was true. I guess this was the opportune time to tell her after all that we had gone through together.

"You sure?" I asked.

"I thought you adamently said just now thar you would tell her your love by the time this day ends?"

"Yeaa.. but after seeing Clara. Umm"

"No confusion! Just tell her after she comes! Plus Kenneth is not around.. you wouldn't get a better opportunity" She said. After much compulsion, I agreed.

Within minutes Clara came back and I knew it was now or never.

I stood up and came near Clara.

"Heyy.. I want to tell you something.." I looked at the floor awkwardly, turning the heels of my shoes clockwise and anticlockwise.

"Are you sweeping the floor with your shoes?" Clara chuckled away. It was the first time I heard her chuckle in a while. Just then, her palm reached out to my cheeks and slowly manouevered it so that I was directly facing her.

"Tell me what it is?"

My heartbeat was 150bpm.

Taking a deep breath in, I gently clasped her small palms with both my hands and looked at her deep blue eyes. Gosh she was as attractive as always!

"I don't know if this is the right time to say but.."

















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