BEEP BEEP BEEP. The sound of the alarm rung in Chloe’s ear as she attempted to get out of the comfort and safety of her bed. It was 4:30 and she needed to make her flight to San Francisco for her little brother’s graduation. Chloe hadn’t seen her family in 3 years. She had moved across the country to New York city to pursue her writing career, which she had done, writing for New York Times. Chloe had the perfect life, at age 25 she was living in the city and following her dream.
She let her alarm snooze for another 10 minutes before she finally got out of bed. The morning air was brisk and her body was covered in goosebumps. She slipped into a pair of old jeans and her oversized BU sweatshirt, grabbed her black and white polka dot suitcase that she had packed the night before and headed out the door of her small apartment overlooking the city. At five in the morning the city was already bustling, with construction trucks, people, and the intense sound of New York traffic. Chloe took the subway to the airport, the same way she went anywhere else. There was no point of a car in New York City unless you intended on crashing it. It took only an hour to get to the airport with a few stops for a coffee and blueberry scone. The sliding doors of the airport welcomed her and about 100 other people to a huge building filled with families, business men, sports teams, and a few lone wolfs like herself. She made her way to security where she waited in the precheck line which was filled with only 10 other people. She looked over to the regular line where near 50 people waited in a slow moving zig zag line. In front of her was a family of 3, a couple and their three year old daughter. The little girl was beautiful, blonde with blue eyes and a big smile. Her curly, blonde hair overwhelmed her face and covered half of her left eye. She smiled up at Chloe who then smiled back. Behind her was an older couple, about 75 Chloe thought. The wife was done up with blue eye shadow, dark sharp eyebrows, and a pink floral dress suit. Her husband was in a wheelchair in front of her reading his book. There were a few other people but she failed to really notice any of them except for the man in the very back of the line. He was in a dark black coat and a torn up Yankees ball cap. There was a black, bulky suitcase trailing behind him. He looked strong but Chloe couldn’t pick out anything about him by the look on his face. His mouth was straight and stiff, his eyes glossed over, staring into the crowd in front of him.
“What a creep…” she thought, perfect for a new idea she was thinking about for her next novel. Chloe spent all the time she wasn’t writing for the Times writing short stories and an occasional book. She made her way through the front of the line where she continued to place her carry on and computer in the trays to go through the security machine. A tall man ushered her to the gate where she walked through without a problem. Not even her belt or bobby pins were sensed by the machine. Well, maybe they were but the security guards were just too damn lazy to make sure she wasn’t carrying a gun or a knife. She retrieved her belongings at the end of the line and continued on her way. She glanced back out of curiosity to see if everyone else had made it through as easy as her, including the man behind her. Chloe made it to her gate with a minute to spare before final boarding. She stood in the boarding line, ticket in hand and continued to observe the other passengers who were also on their way to San Francisco for the weekend. In front of her sitting down on the bench was another family, a big one. The father sat quietly with his glasses on, reading the days paper, maybe even Chloe’s article about global warming, while the mother was frantically trying to get her four children under control. Her long brown hair tied up in a bun on the top of her head she attempted to pry her little girl off of her son. Chloe couldn’t help but giggle when the other two little girls jumped onto their fathers lap, grabbing his hair and observing his glasses. Something about them reminded Chloe of her own family, her mother constantly breaking up the fights between her and her brother and her father sitting quietly with her little sister Sarah in his arms.
Chloe gasped as she boarded the huge three row wide plane. She sat in the far right side window seat towards the front of the aircraft next to the old couple she saw in line.
“Do you have the passports hunny?” the old woman panicked, a piece of her grey hair falling in front of her glasses as she rummaged through her bag. Her husband put his hand on her arm as he held the two matching passports up by his face, grinning. She leaned over and kissed him grabbing her passport from him and putting it back in her perfectly organized bag.
“Where are you headed sweetie?” the woman asked Chloe smiling.
“San Francisco to see my brothers high school graduation,” she responded smiling. “And you?”
“We’re off to Hawaii baby!” the man yelled out. Chloe laughed and so did the rest of the plane.
“Quiet hunny, it’s late, people are tired and we don’t want to scare off our sweet seat partner now do we,” she said smiling at chloe, her blue eyes glowing with joy.
A voice came on the intercom reminding the passengers to buckle up and what to do in case of an emergency.
“All seats are equipped with air masks. Even if the bag doesn't inflate, don't panic, oxygen is still flowing.”
Chloe forgot that she had left her phone in the bag that she had put in the overhead compartment, she turned from the window to stand and the man with the NYC ballcap and black coat caught her eye. She studied him curiously. Something didn't seem right, he was acting shady. He kept to himself while reading a newspaper, the title read boldly New York Times.
She worked her way weaving herself through the old couples legs out into the isle where the man was in the isle diagonally in front of her. She looked at his paper, the article title read boldly, Chloe Smith. She walked up to confront him, “Do you like it?”
The man didn't know she was talking to him at first, he looked back up at her confused.
Pointing to her paragraphs, “That's my writing,” she said boldly, “I’m Chloe Smith.”
He rudely turned away back to his paper and pulled his hood over the top of his torn, dusty hat as if she hadn’t said anything at all.
Confuzed and a little angered at his rudeness Chloe walked back to her seat and reached up to pull her bag down and retrieve her phone.
She kept her eye locked on the man as she squeezed her way back to her seat.
Chloe studied the man more and more looking at his behavior. Her gaze suddenly interrupted by a flight attendant.
“Can you please place your carry-on under the seat back in front of you ma’am.” The lady with long brown flowy hair wearing a black skirt and dress coat. Chloe tucked it under the seat, as she leaned back up she caught the suspicious man looking at her.
The plane jolted backward and they began to move. They wheeled their way over to the runway while the pilot talked over the air, “It looks like it's gonna be a pretty smooth flight here to San Francisco-.”
As they began to take flight the lady next to her was grabbing the armrest firmly. Chloe caught her eyes and the lady said, “I don't fly much darling,” the lady giggled after.
Chloe smiled and turned to the window while she watched the houses and cars get smaller and smaller.
She situated herself with a pillow and closed the window so she could try to get some sleep.
“Get your hands up all of you!” Chloe startally awoke. She looked around and the man in the NYC hat and black coat was standing in the middle of the isle with a gun pointing at the flight attendant.
“Don’t move, any of you, or I will shoot her, I swear to god I will shoot her!” He walked her, with the gun pointed at her back, up to the c***pit. He yelled at them all to get out and locked the door with the flight attendant captive. People started scream but almost everybody went into a state of shock. Chloe looked around desperately waiting for someone to do something but no one made a move.
The plane took a hard left turn. Chloe’s heart started to beat faster and faster until she couldn’t think straight. All she wanted was to see her family one last time or at least talk to them, but the only person she had was the woman sitting next to her. Her blue eye shadow started dripping down her face as tears ran rapidly down her left cheek. She looked up and made eye contact with chloe, staring deep into her eyes as if she was trying to tell her something.
“Don’t say anything,” Chloe said in a calm voice. She grabbed the woman’s hand and held it tight in hers as the plane began to feel like it was going straight down. She could feel the woman’s pulse through her hand, her heart beating fast but beginning to slow down. Chloe closed her own eyes and began to picture home.
“Pass the cheese, would you darling?” Chloe heard her mom’s voice echoing in her ears. She opened her eyes and she was back in her kitchen with her family. Her dad was sitting in his big blue chair at the head of the table, with her little sister in his lap. Her brother was across the table, shoveling mashed potatoes into his mouth. She looked up at her mom who was smiling at her with her hand out waiting for the cheese.
“You don’t have to be afraid sweetheart, it’s okay, we will be okay,” her mother said in a soft, calming voice. Chloe felt weight lifted off her shoulders as she fell into her mother’s arms, the warm embrace helped her forget reality as her and the other passengers fell to their death. She held on to her mom for as long as she could until she couldn’t feel anything anymore.
“It’s okay,” Chloe said to herself, “It’s okay.” And with one last spoonful of potatoes, Chloe was gone.