Brian had a problem; the airplane was falling. He didn’t think the plane was supposed to be falling. Between his sleep-addled brain and the clamor of the terrified passengers, the most complex thought he could form was, Hmm. Bad. He rolled over to resume his nap, but was rudely shoved into the aisle and subsequently steamrolled by a woman shaped like a wardrobe. Face planted on the scratchy carpet, other people’s feet jabbing repeatedly into his sides, Brian quickly regained full consciousness. His overarching thought was still, Hmm … bad! But this time it had an exclamation point. Bad! Very bad!
The travel magazines next to his face advertised Honduras! Tokyo! Sicily! in colorful, glossy prints. In light of the current situation, Brian decided they were warnings. But he hadn’t been going to Honduras, Tokyo, or Sicily, and no one in their right mind would advertise his destination in a travel magazine.
The small town of Heather, Montana, had two important distinctions: In 1990 a man had been murdered there, and it was Brian’s hometown. Also, he had killed that man.
Brian was flying home to face charges, or he had been, until the plane’s flight path angled to intersect with the ground long before Montana.
The clamor of the plane’s other occupants gradually shoved its way into Brian’s musings again, much like the feet that continued to tread on his back. He was fairly annoyed at the rudeness; now was not the time, and a plane was not the place. The safety video had said so – the one with all the smiling flight attendants and the seat belt demonstration.
When the plane ride got bumpy, they said fasten your belt, thought Brian. He decided that was the safest idea, all things considered.
Brian rolled sideways, tipping a rather hefty businessman and corresponding hefty briefcase off his body. He pushed back to his assigned seat and carefully fastened the buckle. He reached down for the travel magazine, creasing it open to a page of shiny city lights and big block letters. Brian sighed contentedly and began to scan the article, though he would never have a chance to visit its featured locations.
Moments later, the plane plowed into the ground at 693 mph. If anyone had been watching, they might have seen a battered magazine page flutter from the explosion of dust and debris. Honduras! Tokyo! Sicily! it proclaimed. But there was no one left to read it.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.