A constant shuffle of footsteps moving across the narrow aisle of the plane as people of all shapes, sizes, skin colors, religions, gender, sexual preference, etc. attempt to find their seat in the vast sea of rows upon rows of seats that don’t seem to recline far enough, the occasional flustered “sorry” people quickly spit out when they accidentally bump their bag against a seated passenger, the goosebumps that seem to grow from the subterranean matter under her skin, and that smell.
The smell that seems to be present in every airplane; it’s sweetly artificial. This scene, like a work of art where each portion of the painting is a person, is so familiar to her. The artificial air filled her lungs for the first time when she was barely a year old. It courses through her body with ease, unlike first-time flyers; it seems to strangle them.
Or maybe that’s just their fear clinging to any limb it can manage to wrap its thin fingers around.
They let atrocious thoughts creep into their minds, thoughts of crashes and commandeering terrorists armed with guns and words that may as well be bombs. But she doesn’t. She thinks it’s foolish to let fear dictate your life.
She finally finds her seat: 15 A. “Thank God, I have the window seat.” She thinks to herself. Rain drops dribble down the tiny window as she settles into her space for the next hour and a half. Her headphones find their way to her ears and begin to pump out the rhythm of her dreams. As she slips into dreamland, the darkness hidden within the inner-workings of her mind begin to infiltrate her sleepy thoughts.
“I groggily open my eyes; I’ve only been asleep for about half the flight. As my senses begin to sharpen once again, I notice a uneasy aura thickening in the air. Looks of terror and sadness flash across the faces of the other passengers as I look around. ‘What the hell is going on?’ I think to myself. Then, I see what everyone is so afraid of; a towering man with thick, dark hair sprouting from his head and icy blue eyes is shouting about taking the plane. A feeling of panic sets in as the silhouette of his hand gun comes into view; my breathing quickens, beads of sweat form on my forehead, and my vision starts to waiver. I begin feel like I’m watching everything happen from outside the plane, like an out of body type of experience.
I’m looking down the barrel of his gun now.
He says only this in a heavy russian accent: ‘Pay, or you pay with your life.’ ”
She jumps out of her nightmare, breathing heavily. As the realization that she’s no longer in that world enters her mind, she begins to calm down. With each breath, the fearful thoughts that raced through her mind just seconds ago begin to dissipate. She doesn’t hear it, but a flight attendant announces that the plane will be landing momentarily. She feels the rush of the landing push her against her seat, and she feels the final scraps of her dreamworld fear rush off the surface of her skin.