FLIGHT 72✈✈

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7

It was one of those rare moments when I got to see Anton in a jolly mood as he emerged from the cockpit. He was beaming from side to side and that could only mean one thing - that something against our wish had happened. He cleared his throat before making an announcement.

"A piece of good news everyone"

Everyone's eyes turned towards Anton, praying to all the entities that somehow we would escape from this place. Waiting with bated breath, I stood still, anticipating for something good to happen. At least something good since I boarded the flight, with the exception of meeting Clara.

"We still do not have clearance for refuelling and takeoff" Anton started his usual maniac laugher which was met by dead silence by all the passengers. It was like a massive stone shattering a piece of glass - all our hopes diminished within a span of a second. Everyone sat in shell shock, probably contemplating about the terror that was about to happen. We were all expecting to hear good news based on his jovial mood but all we got was the complete opposite. Cold shivers ran down my spine as I knew he was going to pick his third target to die..

"I'm sorry, but I have to choose yet another sacrifice to be made.. just to warn the slack air traffic controllers" his voice boomed through the cabin as he slowly made his way down the cabin, staring at each passenger individually with his deadly eyes.

"Hmmm"

I looked down as my palms turned clammy. All of a sudden, I heard a familiar voice saying "Shoot me"

As I looked up, I noticed all eyes were on our row as confusion settled on everyone's faces.

Clara said it. I turned my head towards Clara who was staring straight into Anton.

"You are kidding me" I uttered, glancing at her.

"What are you doing? Are you crazy?!" Mrs Amy whispered, holding firmly onto her hands. I was taken aback by this shocking decision.

"No Mrs Amy, I cannot afford to lose anymore of my passengers"

My heart started to melt like an ice cube. It was unbelievable how Clara was willing to sacrifice herself for everyone.

"You don't understand what you are doing! Just stop talking and sit down" a concerned Mrs Amy warned Clara sternly, probably not wanting her to make such a bad decision. I could watch all the drama unfolding but if it involved Clara, I knew I needed to step in.

"Don't make such a hasty decision, Clara! Think about all the people who loves you.. are you going to break their heart?" I asked her while indirectly referring to me. The fear of losing her invaded my heart and the more I tried to convince her not to do it.

"Not like as if people had loved me ever in my life"

"There are many others who love you. Its just that they won't show it to you! Please think before doing this" Mrs Amy further interjected but Clara seemed to stand firmly and adamantly to her decision.

"No.. I cant let you go.."

"Look Mrs Amy and Aaron.. I am not talking to you as a friend now. I am talking as a flight attendant being held accountable for all her passengers. It is my duty to protect you all"

I just hoped that Clara would be selfish for once and protect herself because for me, she wasn't just a friend. She was more than a friend to me. While she could not afford to see her passengers die, I could not afford to let her being taken away from me. She was that precious to me. Worth more than the precious stones that ever existed on earth. How I badly hoped Clara would understand this. But sadly, fate had other plans. Amidst this commotion, Anton had already made his way to us and he stood right before Clara.

"What was that again missy" Anton asked.

"I said if you are going to kill anyone, kill me"

Tears started to well in my eyes. If I had known it would end up in this fashion, I wouldn't have even wished to meet this wonderful woman in the first place If only I hadn't stumbled upon her. If only I hadn't dropped my card. If only I hadn't boarded Flight 72, none of this would have happened. It was all fate's game.

"Ooohh interesting move" Anton remarked. "Then I shall make this more interesting.." my eyes widened.

"I am not going to shoot you". A tinge of hope among a huge ocean of panic appeared

"But"

"I am going to have another person shoot you"

Before I could internalise what was going on and going to happen, Anton grabbed by shirt forcefully before pulling me towards him. My whole body started to tremble in fear.

"You"

"You are the one who is going to shoot her"

Terror seized me as the thought lf doing such a thing turned my blood cold. How could I do such a thing? How could I mercilessly shoot the person whom I most dearly liked? I stood there as absolute dilemma pounded my skull.

"Don't you dare do it! CLARA DON'T DO THIS!" Mrs Amy shouted as she started to break down into tears, holding on tightly to Clara.

"If you're not gonna do it.. then too bad.. your life will be gone" Anton said, staring right at me. Her words rubbed salt to the wounds - aggravating the massive dilemma I was left with.

"You are a ruthless monster! HOW DARE YOU" Mrs Amy started to release the pent up frustration within her as she lightly "punched" Anton's shirt with her frail arms. Anton on the other hand didn't retaliate, probably thinking that he was no match for a powerless old woman.

"Shut up oldie" Anton instructed. Clara meanwhile, tried to free her arm from the firm grip of Mrs Amy.

"You still have a lot left in you. Please don't do this" Mrs Amy begged Clara who just was firm in her decision. Just as this was happenning, another hijacker arrived at the scene, probably wanting to ensure Clara doesn't run away. Somehow, Clara managed to loosen the grip Mrs Amy had on her and stood up.

Melancholy engulfed me with each second passing. I just wished time would slow down even more so that I could at least maximise the last few minutes I was going to spend with her. All I could do was hope and hope only because it was not as if miraculously some entity would fall from the sky and save us from this absolutely petrifyong scenario.

As Clara was about to move, she stopped right infront of me. I looked at her alluring beady eyes which was just irresistable. Well now it wasn't the perfect time to ogle anyways.

"Thanks Aaron"

"For what"

"For everything. For being an amazing friend. For making me smile. For listening to all of my story. For all the wonderful memories we shared" I could sense her voice breaking down as she listed those things. She forcefully tried to put on a small smile, perhaps to acknowledge all of that I had done for her. My shoulders drooped as I sighed, looking like a withered plant which has not been watered for days.

I should have thanked her for all those reasons. In an otherwise boring life, never had I had such a strong affinity towards some one in my life - not even my parents. She was the first, the only and probably the last person whom I had such deep feelings for.

That was when I realised how time was absolutely precious. Every minute we spend with the person we love will never ever come back even if we wanted it to. Its a pity that time is only one way forward and doesn't have rewind options like that of a video.

That is the beauty of life isn't it? Time has indeed taught me to seize and treasure every single second I spend because tomorrow is a mystery and we don't know what is in store for us.

Likewise that was the moment that led me to cherish all the time I had with Clara. The very thought that I wouldn't get to experience those events ever again in my life ached my mind to a very large extent. All these deep thoughts ran through my mind as I saw Clara being dragged by her collar by another hijacker to about 20 metres in front of me.

Rage ensued part of me while panic struck the other half of me. It almost felt like being oppressed under an evil master - all I could do was just look at what was happening.

Clara tried to put on a brave front but her sadness was quite evident with her tear filled eye. My frustrations grew at the very fact that I couldn't protect her - even now. It was just saddening to see how weak and powerless I felt - being by her side but still not being able to go an inch against those thugs. It felt soo miserable.

That very second, I realised the true pain Clara was facing. It was as if I was doing the reenactment of Clara's life which she had narrated a few moments ago.

She was being tortured, bullied by her own ruthless father while here, we were being held hostage by ruthless hijackers.

Clara's only drive of happiness, her mother, was being taken away. And now, we were just seconds away from Clara being taken away from me - my source of happiness.

And of course, the idea of being oppressed, suppressed and being weak was also one of the biggest parallel I could draw between her story and the current situation we were in. Times had changed but the feeling of fear had been something constant for both our stories.

"STOP AARON" Mrs Amy's voice echoed through the cabin but I couldn't even turn my head and look at her. At the same time, Anton swiftly came behind me and whipped out a knife from his pocket. He then swiftly placed the knife close to my throat.

That knife was truly a symbol of death staring right at me. It injected in me an additional amount of adrenaline as sweat droplets slithered down my face and my neck. My eyes decided to fixate itself on Clara who started to cry as the hijacker held firmly by her golden hair. My heart ached so badly for that woman on how much agony and pain she had to go through not just aboard this plane but also, her own life.

"Aaron! Noo!" Mrs Amy screamed and Anton had somewhat grown annoyed. I guess he needed to do something and that was what exactly he did.

"Can't you shut up for a moment!" Anton shouted, shoving Mrs Amy away, becoming more agitated. Seeing this from my peripheral vision made me extremely mad. Apart from the usual fear which had been invading me all these days, I suddenly felt a surge of anger rushing through me. How dare he pushed away my best friend!

Mrs Amy rubbed her palms against her head, probably hurt when he hit her head against the seat. Noticing that made a crease on my forehead.

"Getting angry?" Anton asked to which I didn't answer.

"Do you think you have the freedom to be angry when you are in such a dire situation?" Anton asked further adding fuel to the already burning fire which had sparked in me.

I was soo close to talking back to him but looking at the plight of Clara returned me back to my senses. I stumbled with the gun in my hand, not familiar with holding one before. At this moment, an impatient had started ti shout

"SHOOT HER NOW" And what followed were the events in Chapter 1. Things started to move in slow motion as I shot someone using that gun...







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