The City Survivor
The Plane CrashIt was early morning in northern British Columbia. The gray light of dawn slipped
away as a golden sun found its place on the horizon, painting the sky crimson and
bronze. A curious sunbeam found its way through Ethan’s window and danced on
his sleeping face. His hand stirred on top of his sheet as someone knocked on the
door to his room.
“Ethan, Ethan.” It was the muffled voice of Ethan’s uncle. “It’s time to get up.”
Ethan opened his eyes and sat up. He looked around, dazed. His watch face
stared back at him, the glowing numbers reading 5:00 a.m. He got up, dressed
and went downstairs. He appeared in his uncle’s kitchen, sleep still in his brown
“Good morning, sleepy head,” his uncle beamed cheerfully, ruffling Ethan’s curly
“`Mornin’ Uncle Steve,” Ethan replied, yawning. What’s for breakfast?”
Ethan had been at his uncle’s house for the past two weeks, helping him with his
farm. Today he was being flown back to Quebec City by his uncle’s friend, who
owned a private plane.
Now, Ethan ate breakfast with his uncle. Then he went up to his room to grab
his bags. His uncle drove to the airport and brought Ethan to his friend Walter’s
“Good-bye Ethan,” Uncle Steve said. “Have a safe trip back and say hi to your
parents for me.” Then to Walter: “Take care of Ethan. And don’t let him use the
Walter laughed. “The last thing I’m about to do is let a thirteen-year old fly my
plane. And don’t worry, he’s in good hands.”
Ethan, Walter, and Uncle Steve said their good-byes and separated. Walter
helped Ethan load his luggage onto the plane and clambered into the pilot’s seat.
“Here, Ethan,” Walter said. “You can sit in the co-pilot’s seat and watch me fly
Ethan took his seat while Walter radioed the tower, obtained permission to take
off, and taxied down the runway. Walter evicted a smooth take-off and they
were soon above the clouds, flying across northern British Columbia, toward the
Rocky Mountains. During the first thirty minutes, Walter gave Ethan a full-length
pilot’s lesson in flying. Then, against his promise, Walter showed Ethan how
to handle the controls and fly the plane. He was just about to let Ethan fly the
aircraft for a few seconds when suddenly a little red light started flashing on the
“Hmm, what’s this?” Walter wondered. “It seems that our connection with the
radio tower has malfunctioned. We aren’t able to speak to them.”
Walter fiddled around with the radio controls for a minute, but he could not
“Oh well,” he said. “I guess we’ll have to wait until something happens.”
They didn’t have to wait long. Ten minutes later, another red light flashed. It
seemed that the automated pilot had stopped working. Then twenty minutes
later, some dials started spinning out of the ordinary. Walter and Ethan could
no longer know what speed they were going and how much fuel they had left.
Walter was getting nervous by now. And to make matters worse, after five
minutes a little beep sounded in the cabin.
“What now?” Walter was anxious. The news that followed was a real matter to
be worried over. The compass had started spinning wildly. They would not be
able to tell which direction they were going in from now on. If they were blown
off course, they would stay in that direction until they crashed. Ethan was starting
“What if we’re blown west? We’ll land in the arctic circle. It’s still cold up there.
We’ll freeze to death!”
“We have to try to stay calm,” Walter said, completely not calm. A sudden
spluttering sound from the outside of the aircraft caused Ethan to turn his head.
The sight that met his eyes made him choke.
“Walter,” he said with intensely overwhelming horror. “The engines. The blades
are slowing down.”
Barely a second after the words had come from his mouth a shrieking siren filled
the cabin, jolting Walter. His hands jerked the controls down. Walter’s head
was thrown violently against the dashboard. Ethan, who had tried to scream to
Walter over the sound of the sirens to pull up, now shouted his name frantically.
But Walter’s head dangled loosely on his shoulders like a bobble-head, blood
trickling from his temple. The next few minutes were a blur for Ethan. He
remembered pulling up on the co-pilot’s controls to right the plane, pulling too far
up then pushing back down, the ground looming closer and closer, a mountain in
front of him, him trying to pull back up, the controls being jammed, a crystal clear
lake directly below the plane, his head being thrown forward as the the plane hit
the water, then silence. Beneath the surface of the water, Ethan felt numb, as if
in a dream. Upon impact with the lake, the plane had been ripped into sections
with the force and Ethan could see rays of sunlight through the water. Everything
was working in slow motion. Ethan recalled slowly fighting his way out of the
broken window and pushing dimly toward the surface, the sun, toward life. By
this time his frozen crystal ball had shattered and he was swimming frantically,
out of air. Just as the edges of his vision began to blur, he broke the surface of
the lake, gasping frantically, desperately. He somehow managed to swim to the
shore and pull himself up onto the sand. Then everything went black.