"Are they treating this like a game? We'll show them who they're messing with!" Anton immediately raised his revolver and pointed directly at a man sitting on one of the front rows. Clara apparently whispered that he was a doctor.
Within a blink of an eye, Anton shot him mercilessly. Pandemonium broke out in the plane as everyone started screaming in terror. Mrs Amy too was flabberghasted as she immediately looked down, melancholy filling her face. Clara too spotted a gloomy look as tears started to cascade down her cheeks. Her face started to turn red and seeing her like that shattered my heart into a million pieces.
Just then, another hijacker emerged from the cockpit and made his way right towards Clara.
"Open the front door!" He demanded with a stern look etched on his face. There was nothing much Clara could do except to concede to their demands. With tears rolling down, she left the seat and took baby steps to the front of the plane. My eyes were fixated on Clara, just hoping that she would be safe.
Clara unlocked the door and stood near it, weeping uncontrollably for the loss of yet another passenger. Cold air started to gush while Anton grabbed the doctor and the armless old man by their legs. His heart must have been made of stone to throw both of their bodies out of the aircraft like disposing a waste garbage. Watching the whole drama unfolding, Tears welled up in my eyes too, feeling desperate to escape than ever before.
With the order from Anton, Clara closed back the door and made her way back to the seat, still sobbing heavily. The other hijacker stormed back into the cockpit probably to threaten the air traffic controllers and the pilots to refuel the plane. Anton meanwhile ordered everyone to close their window shutters, preventing us from seeing the outer world once again.
"I guess they would have received our message by now.. If there is no refueling within the next hour, I guess it could be anyone's turn to go. Soo.. good luck" Anton's ferocious words peirced my heart like a sword.
It was indeed like a ticking timebomb with everyone hoping that their life will be spared within the next hour. All we could do was just chant endless prayers upwards, hoping that the adamant air traffic controllers would finally give way in and allow the plane to be refuelled. Clara's spirits on the other hand, were very down as her face had turn sulky.
"I am sorry I have been such a worthless flight attendant.. I couldn't even save the lives of my passengers. Not even one.." Clara lamented, putting all the blame on herself. It was saddenning to see her in such a plight. A person bubbling with energy was probably at her lowest point.
"I have failed as a stewardess" Clara continued on even as more tears pelted down from her eyes. Her eyes had turned crimson red. Seeing her invoked in me a sense of sympathy. I desperately wanted to console and comfort her so badly and tell her how precious she was to me. But words just wouldn't pop into my head.
"Stop blaming yourself for whatever that has done.. Its because of you the rest of us are surviving" I conjured up some pathetic sentences in the hopes of sounding matured and make her feel a tad better.
Still my words were not 'oomph' enough to lift up her morale as she continued on sobbing..
"My father used to say 'you're useless' to me probably throughout my entire lifetime.. Now I see that is soo true"
I had absolutely no idea what to respond. I guess when someone is really down, it is better to offer them a listening ear than to provide instantaneous solutions or advices.
I watched closely as she took an old black and white photograph from her right pocket of her skirt. Her fingers gently stroked the figure who appeared on the photograph. As she did so, tears slithered down and a few droplets made the photograph wet. The picture depicted a woman in her 30s, holding a toddler by the arm. I was assuming the woman to be Clara's mother and infant to be Clara. With all these thoughts running through my mind, I wondered if it would be insensitive of me to ask her who that person was given the circumstances.
"Mom.." Clara started breaking down even more as I got the answer to the question I was asking myself.
By this time Mrs Amy had grown concerned and had asked me to switch places. I nodded in agreement, going back to my window seat.
"Its okay dear.. everything will be fine.. why are you crying" Mrs Amy started comforting her. At least it was better having a more trusted adult with her than me. That was when I knew the root cause of the entire problem.
"No one loves me.. since young there had been no one who stood by me through tough times. Not even one person.."
Clara started to tell her point of view of her life. I listened carefully to everything she had started saying.
"Life was indeed harsh for me, growing up with an abusive and alcoholic father.. I can vividly remember all the sleepless nights I had seeing my parents quarell for almost everything.. He was just like ruthless monster and my mom marrying him was probably the biggest sin she had done in her life.. she often thought about divorcing him to put an end to all the misery.."
"Did she do it?" Mrs Amy asked.
"Sadly no.. my mom had promised my grandmother during her last days that she would never leave her son. Out of respect for that promise, my mom had no choice but to just push through no matter what.."
A moment of pause ensued before Clara took a deep breath and started to roll up her sleave, revealing her wrist. Her wrist was filled with multiple streaks of lines probably as a result of some cuts. Mrs Amy and I were both flabbergasted.
"Oh dear, what happened.. are you okay?" Mrs Amy asked with a concerned look on her face as her weak palms gently stroked her wrists.
"On that fateful day.." Clara continued..
A then 13 year old Clara entered the usually noisy house after returning from a nearby shop. This time though things appeared to have taken a turn for the worse. The house was dead silent which must have meant something was abnormal. Just as Clara took the first step into the house, the lights instantly went out due to a power outage.
"Ma?" Clara asked. Only the sound of the howling wind replied to Clara's question.
Clara stumbled her way through the desolate living room, with no one in sight. Utter blackness engulfed the place.
Clara took baby steps forward, totally unaware of what was before her. Just then a low whisper permeated the hallway.
It sounded like a zen version of her father's voice - a rather impossible feat.
Clara's hands and legs started trembling as she inched closer towards the direction the voice was coming from. Just then the power resumed, illuminating the entire place. Clara's eyes widened upon seeing the entire scene unfolding.
There laid her mother, lying motionlessly in a pool of crimson blood. As blood was gushing from her skull, her father stood still like a statue, his hand firmly clutching onto a half broken champagne bottle covered in blood which was dripping onto the ground.
"Mom! What have you done?" Panic engulfed Clara as she her knees fell straight down to the ground, tears starting to roll down her cheeks.
"Wake up, mom" Clara cried out loud, shaking her mom's face quickly while hoping that somehow she would return back to life.
Melancholy filled Clara's heart as the memories of her mother flashed through her mind instantly. Her mother had somewhat been the solace to her otherwise miserable life. She was the sole breadwinner for the family. And now, the only pillar of support had left her forever, never ever to be seen again. That terrifying thought itself shattered Clara's heart. At the same time, a fit of rage shot upon her as she looked upon her father with a death stare.
"Are you happy now? Look what you have done!"
"She was talking too much.. so I decided to finish her" He then revealed how he brutally shattered the beer glass right on top of Clara's mother's head.
"I had enough of your nonsense! That's it I'm reporting to the police!" Clara screamed her lungs out but before she could do anything, the monster shoved Clara forcefully down to the floor as she landed with a loud thud.
"I guess you need a warning about who you are talking with" his menacing voice made her blood boil as he slowly inched closer to her, pointing the broken beer bottle near her arm.
"You pathetic girl, you are like a puny ant in front of your dad.. so behave yourself.. I am afraid conformity is your only choice" his words wounded Clara's heart greatly as he started scrapping the pointy edges of the broken bottle against her pale skin.
Whimpering in pain, Clara realised she had come to her wits end and something, anything which protects her safety should be done. Within a second, Clara stood upright as she began jolting down the hallway before exiting to the freezing rainy street.
"So I ran. And ran. And ran. Ran as fast as my legs could carry me away from him"
That was when I returned to my senses. Tears welled up in both our eyes, realising how Clara's entire life had been such of a struggle. It entirely changed my perspective about her, having initially thought that Clara was probably from a well-to-do happy family.
"No child should have gone through this" Mrs Amy consoled Clara as she started breaking down too"
"I'm sorry I had left you in tears" Clara said.
"Then, how did you become a flight attendant?" Mrs Amy questioned.
"Fortunately for me, a warden of a women's hostel came to know of my miserable story and decided to provide a shelter in their hostel and fund my education. She was the best thing that happened to me in my life.. without her, I wouldn't be here" Clara cleared her throat before continuing on.
"I wanted to do a profession which would help me to escape from the same hometown as my dad. I didn't want to stay with him let alone his native place.
I wanted to fly away from that doomed place.
I wanted to fly away.
I wanted to fly.
That's where my passion for flying came about."
It all made sense now. All the while, I had been thinking that Clara had become a flight attendant as she enjoyed it and not because it served as a mean to escape her harsh life.
"Sometimes I wonder where my life is heading towards.. It's like being on a ruderless ship, being pushed around by the water waves.. But then seeing the happiness of my passengers motivates me each day. The love towards my passengers boosts me to look forward to each day.."
"I'm so proud of you child, you are one strong woman" Mrs Amy uttered, her voice almost about to cry. It was indeed an emotional moment for Clara and us. All the more I heard her life story, the more I longed to be with her. The more I wanted to assure her that I would always be her side no matter what.
The more I wanted to love her.
However, being a timid person myself, I kept all those thoughts to myself in typical fashion. Its like locking a locker or a treasure firmly with a key do that no one would know what I was thinking and feeling about. Before I can think about all that, the thoughts of the terrifying countdown came back to haunt me as I quickly looked at my watch.
Well, we are only minutes away from the one hour countdown and still there was no news from air traffic controllers..