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The Faint Voices of the Passengers...
The faint voices of the passengers slowly echo away as silence fills the shaking plane. Something is not right; I know it, and the passengers know it; I can see it in their faces. The ones that do not know what is going on pass it off as simple turbulence, but those who know what turbulence should feel like know that that was not turbulence. Everyone is suddenly aware now of what is going on since their facial expressions convey emotions of hopelessness that plunge along with the plane. It seems that the faster the plane goes down, the slower time gets. Passengers all have mixed emotions; fear, calmness, pain, grief, peace; reflecting on their lives and reaching for phones to call loved ones explaining unmentioned feelings and last goodbyes. The world stopped. The scene froze, and I took a deep, hard look of what was happening feet above the solid ground and seconds until the crash landing. No sound.
There it was, the front of the plane was now gone and flashed into flames in what seemed to be in the speed of sound. Then, the mute button was released and reality kicked in. My eyes focused on an old couple located a row behind mine. The elderly lovers clutched hand and hand remained at peace while fire aroused from their ankles as if they knew it was their time to go. Others on the plane had their faces buried in their hands, some praying for any kind of miracle to free them from this abrupt life prevention but soon the fire filled every inch of the interior of the plane. The flames engulfed the remaining survivors and surrounded my eyesight so vivid that the fire seemed to be stirring within my eye socket. Now the door to the house of the dead is wide open and pulled me in. I am in Hades just like Odysseus once traveled to complete his journey back home to Ithaca. Death is mysterious to all because no one living knows what to expect; now, it was my turn.
Feeling like I just awoke from a long nap, the flames died down, and I gained consciousness. Everything was black; there was the sound of wind and a feeling of death all around me. I’m not wearing any clothes nor can I see any of my body parts. Reflecting back on my life I thought of all of the people I have missed for so long or have wanted to meet that exist in this so called “underworld”, I began to pick myself up from my stationary position and grew curious to see what Hades is like. The farther I traveled in the pitch black, the lighter my surroundings became. I heard a deep, soulful singing in the distance that almost had a hypnotizing effect. I wanted to see who or what was creating it. I became closer and closer and the sound became louder and louder. “MmMmmmm… ohh OOHh Ohhh mmm.” Then I came across an alluring black male singing his songs from the soul. He had wounds on his ankles, wrists, and deep scars on his muscular back. With feelings of isolation, still being aghast from the plane crash and confused to what my future beholds I grew the courage to approach the beautiful man. “Hello, I’m Dee,” I explained. “Do you know what is going on? What is it like here?”
He gave me an odd look and laughed. “Hahaha well hello there Dee. I’m Falla from the African tribe Zulu”, he explained in his deep voice while clutching his spiritual gris-gris, “How do you end up here? You be so young?” Falla had a real African accent which sounded like music as he spoke. He seemed very friendly and soon my nerves began to settle.
“I was traveling home on a plane to return back to my family in Florida. My plane malfunctioned and hit turbulence which lead it crashing to the ground.”
“I am dearly sorry, may you rest in peace. But to answer your questions Dee, this is the afterlife. It will take you were you should be taken and lead you to strange areas you don’t understand. Now you were lead to me. Everything has reason.” I grew curious why I was lead to this man. He seemed to have been a slave and I felt heartache and curiosity stirring inside of me.
“Falla, what happened to you? What are these wounds from? Explain to me how you came to be.”
He let out a big smile and began to laugh, “Well, my death wasn’t any as sudden or exciting as yours, I was dead even before I was brought to this underworld. I was captured by the white man like an animal and thrown onto a ship in chains. Then they sold me to plantation owners needing labor, these horrible men sold me and other members of my tribe like we were objects rather than people.” I didn’t know how to respond to this. I’ve learned about slavery recently in school but it did not exist in present day and this sickened my stomach to hear these words. “On the second ship to America I rebelled, along with three other men to take over the ship but we failed. I was whipped to death then thrown overboard for animals of the sea.”
I began to cry and felt the most disturbed I have ever in my life. How could we, Americas go day by day living our lives being lazy while good people like Falla give his best efforts to his family and still was taken away to the plantations? “Falla, I am from present day and you would be happy to know that your people are never or rarely ever taken anymore to serve whites. You have inspired me, and I hope you have found peace.”
He showed his pearly whites once again, “Hahaha, you speak such powerful words for a young girl. No need to be sorry or saddened. I am happy here with my family and this is where I should be. I did what I could to escape from that ship and that is all that matters in my eyes. Do not be afraid of death young one. Reflect upon the good times and one day your family will come to be at peace with you. Only in time.”, explained Falla. Furthermore, with only his gris-gris around his neck and the pride of courage from his gallant characteristics he was off.
I started off to see what my future lies within this place wondering what I would be taught next. I saw a woman in the distance who looked strangely familiar. As a toddler, I had dreams with her face in them. I could not put my finger on it but I knew I’ve seen her before. She was older and wrapped in a shawl rocking back and forth. I approached her and said, “Hello. I’m Dee I am confused to what is happening, but I know that you are meant to teach me something in this afterlife. I recognize you, ma’am. I don’t know who you are, but I have pictured your face in my dreams. What is your story?”
She looked at me with a warm expression and put her right thumb on my large scar on my forehead. My parents told me that I received this scar at childbirth. She spoke with a caring, soft voice, “Do you know how you got that scar?”
I explained, “Yes at childbirth, a complication while my mother was giving birth lead to this scar.”
She smiled and put her cold, gaunt hand now on mine. “Honey, you did not get that scar at childbirth. One day when you were about ten months old your mother left you unattended at the park during winter while she went to the car to get a blanket. You then crawled your way to a nearby river and fell through the thin ice. I was at the park with my two Labradors and jumped in after you. The water was freezing and I was old. I managed to save you and keep you warm through my body heat while your mother returned from her car. By the time she got there my heart failed from hypothermia, but I am extremely glad you managed to live a few more years only with a scar. I do not blame your mother for not telling you this, so please do not act defendant. I died for this moment and thank you for everything.
” I was in pure shock; this woman gave her life for me and is now thanking me? So I said with much expression of my emotions, “Are you serious? Thank you! You are such a good person, and I’m so sorry there is no need to thank you. People like you make the world a better place. I didn’t even get your name? Who are you?”
She gave the same, warming grin as earlier and simply said, “Names are not necessary, just live your time at peace. Good day.” Then she was gone into the darkness. I was numb from her story but inspired by her courage and idolized her actions.
As I floated in the darkness alone, another figure emerged ahead. Being inquisitive to what I’ll be taught next by these people who were brought to me I went to this figure. It, or she or he whatever this appeared to be, was wearing an astronaut space suit. I noticed the Columbia mission insignia on the suit and realized that it must have one of the seven crew lost in space. The helmet was taken off and it was Laurel Clark, who deceased February 1, 2003 the day of the Space Shuttle Columbia’s disaster. “Laurel Clark! I can’t believe you are here right in front of me this moment. I’m Dee Humphrey, and I was in an airplane crash recently which has leaded me here to you, today right now.”
“Oh honey, that’s horrible. I can’t imagine the pain your parents are in. I had a son who was the age of 8 when I disappeared which kills me to not be around him.” Laurel Clark had been taken from the world as I was expect she served for our country as an American and died trying to help scientific research. I wanted to tell her everything that has been going on in the world since she has perished; all of the awards given, extravagant funerals, tributes… She was a true woman history. Just seeing her made me realize the impact she left on our country. All of a sudden she vanished into the pitch black leaving no trace of her even being there. Almost like I was dreaming.
Everything started to become dim and my eyesight became worse and worse. I saw a bright, blinding light that caused this tingling sensation. What was happening to me? “BBBBBBBBBREEEEEEM, BRRRREEEEEEEEM”. Ringing filled my brain and wouldn’t stop. “BRREEEEEEEEEEEM BREEEMMMMM.” My eyesight restored, I saw vivid pear green all around me. The ringing stopped and my surroundings became more familiar. This pear green became the everyday sight of my bedroom walls. Everything was a dream but seemed so real. Falla, the old women, and Laurel Clark all taught and moved me. They were heroic and died for the sake of others in time of need. Similar to Odysseus, I traveled through Hades and out again but just through dream.