[Captain Mitch]: "Roger, Cleared for takeoff Greenair 72"
Within minutes, the plane had lined up on the runway. Mrs Amy gave this smirk as if to ask if I hadn't been terrified yet. Sensing all this, I shook my head in disagreement, remaining somewhat calm. Just as I did so, I was pushed back to my seat as the plane started accelerating down the runway. After about the 30 seconds, the ginormous aircraft lifted itself off the surface of the earth.
It was the first time I had watched a takeoff without the window shutter closed. For the first time, I enjoyed watching the magnificient scenery of the clouds and the miniature buildings. Watching us soar above the lush greenery with the setting sun was truly a breathtaking sight to behold - so much so that I wasn't paying attention to Mr's Amy's quizzical look.
"What sorcery is this? Am I dreaming? Was that Aaron looking out of the window bravely? What happened to you?" Mrs Amy shot me a myriad of questions, sitting with absolute bewilderment written on her face. I shrugged, not knowing the answer to that question myself. I didn't know where this much of courage come from. But the one thing I knew was that Clara's presence made me love the flight trip even more.
A few minutes later as the flight was cruising, my eyes glanced at Clara who was walking down the aisle, pushing the meals tray with the help of her fellow flight attendant, Kenneth. I guess dinner service about to commence. Well, I regarded the time as a rather indispensable thing as it would provide me with an opportunity to talk with her. I closed the window shutter, preventing the rays of the setting sun to glare straight at me. Mrs Amy was seen rather busy, already scanning through the dinner menu to decide her choice.
"What would you like ma'am?" Clara asked.
"Umm.. the spicy chicken noodles please"
"Sure.. and how about you sir?"
I was still undecided. After looking at her once again, my mind blanked out and I couldn't remember the dishes from the menu card.
"I'm sorry?" Clara questioned, her eyebrows raised.
"I mean, what would you recommend?"
"Umm.. " Clara started to talk about her favourite dish which I cared not one bit about. I was busy drooling away as to how cute she looked. "Well, I'll have that then"
Immediately, she handed me a serving of mashed potato with minced chicken. As she bend her head to pass the tray, her diamond chain suspended from her neck somehow tangled with my watch. I was in such an awkward position with my nose caressing her smooth cheeks and my fingers desperately dancing on my watch to somehow untangle the chain. The scent of her rose perfume slithered into my nose, as I found myself being engulfed more and more by her beauty. We were literally inches away, so close that I might have just pulled her closer and kissed her lips. I was so close to doing that. I would have done it. Except time didn't allow me to.
Clara immediately stood up, adjusting her uniform promptly in a bid to look professional. A wry smile appeared on her face as she apologised and moved on to the next passenger.
"How many times have you banged girls today? First the woman at the airport and now this woman" Mrs Amy sighed chewing on her noodles.
"That woman is this woman"
Mrs Amy immediately choked on the noodles, coughing badly. "Wow.. How come you didn't tell me! Poor woman"
We laughed along, wolfing down our dinner while exchanging small conversations. By the time we had finished eating, it was around 7pm.
Mrs Amy looked at her watch. "Hmm 2 hours left. 2 more hours for you to proclaim your feelings for Clara"
My heart started to palpitate vigorously as I shook my head in utter reluctance. There was no way I was going to do that. I wouldn't dare to look at her reaction when I would say it.
"Don't be a pussy Aaron.. Just man up"
"No! I don't love her.." I uttered and Mrs Amy could already sense the amount of lie that lay behind those words. "Ugh fine. I'll admit I like her.. but.."
"Just try your luck, whats the worse that could happen"
Yea what is the worst thing that could happen? Mrs Amy's word somewhat rejuvenated me and boosted my confidence. Her words aided me in mustering little courage but adequate enough for me to unbuckle my seatbelt and make my way to the galley at the back of the plane where I know Clara would be at.
As I arrived at the galley, I could already sense Clara staring at me in my peripheral vision and that was when all my courage started leaving me like a deflating balloon. Her looks were enough to melt my heart. I felt timid once again and so and I decided to change my plans at the last minute and make a left turn towards the toilet.
"Don't worry, aircraft toilets are unisex. You won't get into the female toilet" Clara joked, chuckling away right at me. I burst into laugher as I made my way into the toilet.
Spending sometime looking at the mirror somewhat helped me to gain my bravery. "Ok Aaron, time to shine". I rehearsed the line I was about to say, hoping to get my act together. Once again, riding high on confidence, I emerged out of the toilet and took a few strides towards Clara.
"How may I help you, Aaron?"
"How do you know my name?"
Clara immediately handed me my ATM card as my eyes widened and my feet rooted firmly to the ground. Supposedly, it had fallen out of my pocket during our first encounter..
"I didn't know what to do with your card. I was about to return to the Customer Service when I received news that I was covering for a flight attendant for Flight 72 who was sick. I saw that you were one of my passengers, so I kept it" Clara smiled, while giving the card to me.
I couldn't believe what I was just hearing! Clara wasn't even scheduled to be on this flight but somehow fate had brought her to me. It somehow strengthened my belief that we were destined to be together. The very fact that she decided to embark on the trip despite not being in her schedule deeply amplifies the sincerity and dedication for her job - something which attracted me. All the more, it provided me with extra reasons to express my love to her..
"Thank you so much!" I thanked the woman profusely who had saved my life. Imagine going to Landerville with an empty pocket!
"Now tell me, what is bothering you?"
"I need to tell you something"
"Go on" Clara's eyes widened, as she patted my shoulders gently as a source of comfort. I was in a dilemma whether to say it or not. Taking a deep breath in, I decided to say it, leaving the rest to my lucky stars above.
My words were cut loose by a terrifying scream which soumded throughout the entire cabin. I could already sense the terror in the scream and it invoked a sense of fear in me - so much so that I retreated from the idea and peeped out to see what exactly was going on. What I saw that time was still etched vivdly in my memory.
A sinister looking tall and burly man grabbed onto the neck of flight attendant Kenneth with a deadly revolver pointed towards his head. Kenneth looked absolutely petrified as the burly man started to shout.
"Everyone sit down! If not I'll shoot him!" His booming voice echoed through the aircraft, inducing terror in everyone's faces. His words were enough to create chaos on the plane as most of the passengers started screaming for their lives. Some frantically fastened their seatbelts with shivering hands while I immediately bolted towards my seat.
Mrs Amy had shifted herself to the window seat, her frail arms grabbing firmly onto the arm rest. Mrs Amy had always been a tough bloke, full of courage. It was the first time that I had ever seen her so frightened. Seeing her facial expressions elevated my fears even higher and I clutched the palm of her hands, hoping to find solace.
Just as I was doing so, 2 more brawny men dressed in black t shirts whizzed past me, armed with AK47 rifles. The two men banged the cockpit door with brute force, as if they were slaughtering meat. Without a blink of an eye, I watched the entire drama unfold before my very eyes. Terror had seized me to the point that I couldn't think of anthying else but focus on tbe entire ordeal.
The first hijacker pushed Kenneth right down to the floor forcefully and he then gave a death stare towards everyone, non-verbally shooting daggers. He gave away his name as Anton.
"This plane is hijacked! Everyone drop your phones in this box!" Anton started coming down the isle holding a box as the other 2 thugs started kicking Kenneth furiously, forcing him to open the cockpit door.
Out of fear for their lives, the passengers started to drop their phones desperately into the box as Anton slowly made his way to us, a menacing frown carving upon his forehead. With trembling hands, we both took out our phones. With the fear I was going through, I couldn't even speak a single word to Mrs Amy. It was more of conceding to Anton's demands as fast as possible.
Anton was one row in front of ours when things started to turn ugly. This old man in the row refused to hand his phone, looking absolutely cool as a cucumber. Anton's threat did not seem to be that much of a deal to the old man. Well this bothered Anton greatly and the old man's actions added fuel to the raging anger of Anton.
"Oh.. Interesting.. I'll show you who I am!" Anton raised his voice as another hijacker handed Anton a long katana and I gulped down a ball of saliva down my throat, not knowing what was about to happen.
Within a split second, Anton raised the katana and slammed it right down on the old man's right arm, chopping and severing it instantly. Mrs Amy and I immediately shut our eyes as blood splattered to the nearby seats. For a few seconds, all I could hear was the old man whimpering in extreme pain as Anton laughed maniacally at him, probably enjoying the suffering of the old man.
After I opened my eyes, I spotted anton placing the bloody dismembered arm onto the baggage compartment at the top as if nothing had happened. I pitied at the plight of the old man who's hand had just been hacked off. That was the moment that I came to know of the true brutality of the hijackers.
After all that had happened, who wouldn't bend their knee? With trembling hands, I dropped my phone into the box, avoiding eye contact with the hijacker. The very presence of him around my seat had an obnoxious feeling. Thank goodness he went past my seat rather quickly.
Up in front, Kenneth winced in pain and couldn't tolerate the two men's beating that he eventually opened the cockpit door. Captain Mitch was caught off guard as the men started to shoot at the buttons behind the pilot. Apparently one of those buttons was the transponder, the system which shows our flight on radar screens.
"We've lost our transponder!" I could hear Captain Mitch panic stricken voice from my seat. My heart sank further as hope started diminishing further. We were now flying on a blind plane through the pitch black night, unable to be heard or seen by air traffic controllers. We were absolutely clueless as to where we were, our destination and fate became a massive question mark.
All I could do was watch and see where destiny was bringing me to on this deadly flight..