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Up in the air
“Now boarding flight 93 to San Francisco.”
I look around. Where am I? Judging by the amount of people bustling
around the open room I put together that I’m in an airport. However, something seems odd. Everything looks... older not drastically older, but definitely not 2016.
Am I dreaming? No I heard somewhere that you can’t read anything when you’re dreaming. Was I drugged somewhere? I don’t think so. I must have gone back in time. As ridiculous as it sounds, that is the only conclusion that I can come to. There is something thin in my hand. A ticket. That makes sense considering I’m in an airport. Flight 93 from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California 8:00 September 11.
My heart drops. All I feel is panic. If i went back in time this couldn’t have been some random year but on 9/11. This is a really bad day to be getting on a plane. I try to get up and leave the airport, but my body has other plans. I go and stand in the boarding line.
This is the first time I realize it, but this not my body. I’m not even the one in control. I look at the people in front of me and know, that they have no idea what tragedy is going to happen today. I want to warn them. I want to say something, but I can’t. I don’t have control of my body.
I remember something about this guy who I must be inside of, I guess. Tom Burnett from San Ramon, California. He was on his way back home from a business trip. He had a wife and two girls, Halley and Anna Claire, and son to be father of a third girl, Madison.
Tom has reached the end of the line by the time I have stopped rooting around in his memories. He hands his ticket to the flight attendant who smiles at him as he walks through the tunnel to the plane.
This is fine. I think. Maybe this isn’t one of the planes that is taken over.
Tom takes his seat near the front in 4C an aisle seat. Which he was annoyed with, considering he had been a window person, but it was still first class and his company was paying for it. I scan the people who get on the plane after me. None of them looked too suspect but there was one Arab looking guy who was only three rows behind me. I remember that the hijackers of the planes were part of Al Qaeda in the middle east. Nobody else looked very suspect, but I feel a sense of uneasiness and I can tell that so did Tom.Tom had been going to church weekly and had told his wife that he felt that something bad would happen.
Tom Checks his watch. 7:39. He is about to change to the empty window seat next to him when a huge man about 6’4” runs onto the plane panting and stands right in front of Tom. I realize that this must be this big guy’s seat and it would be a big inconvenience for him if I didn’t get up.
“Cutting it a bit close, eh?” Tom says as he gets up.
“Yeah,” the big guy says sheepishly. “I overslept, but at least I made it.”
“You did indeed,” Tom replies.
The guy gets into his seat and we prepare for our long trip across the country.
“What’re you doing in San Francisco?” Tom asks making small talk.
“I’m going to a wedding,” he replies, “I’m going to be an usher for one of my frat brothers in college. And you?”
“Just heading home,” says Tom, “Are you married?”
“No,” he sighs, “I can’t. Not really. It’s not legal in the US.”
I’m confused for a second before it hits me. This man is gay. Gay marriage was illegal until Massachusetts allowed it in 2004.
“Oh,” Tom says, “I see.” And he leaves it at that for the duration of the flight.
After a long delay and about twenty minutes after taking off, my nightmare comes true.
“Everybody to the back of the plane!” a man behind me starts yelling.
We look back and see three men wearing red bandanas, including the I saw earlier get up and start yelling angrily in a different language, “Nahn bihajat lilhusul ealaa 'annaha tasir hadhih biaittikhadhiha lifatrat tawilatin!”
I don’t know what this means but I know what’s happening now. This plane is being hijacked.
“Everybody to the back of the plane,” one of them yells. After this doesn’t seem to motivate everyone he adds, “We have a bomb aboard the plane! Everybody back!”
This grabs our attention, everyone follows the orders of the men and move to the back of the plane hastily. I can see the hijackers get into a position around the door to the c***pit. One of them opens the door and the two of the bigger terrorists storm the c***pit. They throw the captain and copilot to the deck of the plane and the terrorists plant their knives into the back of the pilots. They let out guttural screams and everyone in the back of the plane yells in pure terror. They’ve never felt this scared and I can see the pure terror in one woman’s eyes.
The plane is turning. These terrorists are heading back east.
Tom gets out his phone and calls his wife, Deena. When you know you could die in the next hour, the rules about phones don’t apply.
“Hello?” Says Deena who even through the phone I could tell that she just woke up.
“Honey,” Tom says quickly tears welling in his eyes knowing this might be the very last time he ever speaks to this woman he loves with all of his heart, “I’m in trouble and I might not get to talk to you again.”
“What do you mean?” She says clearly concerned. “Aren’t you supposed to be on a plane?”
“Well, there are four men who have hijacked the plane and killed the pilots. I think they are going to crash the plane. I love you so much. Please tell the girls that I love them so much. Tell them they need to have hope.”
I hang up. I don’t know how but I have just taken control of Tom’s body. And I know that I have to do something to stop these evil people. Because everybody on this plane is doomed and we need to stop these people from murdering so many more innocent lives. The Twin Towers must’ve gotten hit, as well as the Pentagon. I don’t remember what happens to this plane, due to never really paying attention in history class, but it doesn’t really matter. One man has lead a prayer with the rest of the passengers who I can see just about all of them are crying. One man is curled up in between two rows of seats looking at his wallet touching pictures of his kids.
“Everybody,” I say trying not to get the terrorists attention. “We need to get into that c***pit, I don’t believe that they have a bomb and that they are not concerned with how do I say it? Landing the plane in one piece.”
“Well what do you say we do about it?” One passenger says. He looks about thirty.
“These men are terrorists, suicide bombers. They want to crash this plane into the White House and kill us with it. We need to do something,” I say.
The guy who was next to me, Mark spoke up. “Is there anything we can do to stop them?”
“Yes,” I say, “There is about thirty of us and only four of them. If we can get in there and... well I think the only option is to... crash the plane.”
A wave of shock hit these people like a bus. They never would have thought in a million years that they’d board a plane and never land. But I know that this sacrifice will be a sacrifice that will give many people throughout the country, hope in such a time of fear. That even in a shadow of fear and panic we can give our lives to save who knows how many.
“I’m in,” Mark says first and is followed by everybody else.
I look at the passengers on this flight, and Tom knows how the men and women of flight 93 are all willing to make a sacrifice so that their families can live in a country that is known for their bravery and hope. They have nothing to lose and they want to give hope to their kids and their kids’ kids.
We run towards the c***pit. Me and the thirty year old looking guy lead the charge and swarm the terrorists outside of the c***pit. I manage to fight my way through the door and the smaller looking man glances back and jams the yoke to the side turning the plane 90 degrees I fall against the bulkhead of the plane and I get my wind knocked out of me. I see the limp bodies of the pilots with huge blood stains on the back of their white uniforms slam into the walls.I can still see the fear in their eyes. They both died very painful deaths. I hope mine is painless. I don’t want to feel death. Does that make me or Tom a coward? It shouldn’t, Tom deserves a painless death for what he’s doing.
“Get back!” he yells. Panic in his eyes. He’s gone totally crazy. “I’ll crash! ”
I crawl towards him and dive towards the yoke. It jerks the plane into downward spiral and I watch the ground spiraling towards us. I can hear someone screaming. It’s the other one in the c***pit.
“Allahu Akbar!” he yells as I close my eyes.
I still feel like I’m falling when I wake up lying in my bed drenched in sweat. I’m alive. I sit up and realize that this is my body. And then I remember Tom and the other passengers of that terrible flight and how they are very much not alive right now.
However, every single one of them will still be remembered for their sacrifice and that because of them the United States is a safer place.