The Fae Worlds

The Crash

“Turbulence is normal.” I reached out for Lucy’s hand. Hers was shaking, eyes locked on the seat in front of her, but she was keeping her breaths slow. “You have nothing to be afraid of.”
She nodded, staying silent. Behind me I could hear other people softly reassuring their travelling companions of the same thing. There were three other families I knew for certain were on the plane, plus us. It was Lucy’s first time flying, so I’d been hoping for a smooth journey, especially as the reason for it wasn’t the greatest. I’d always wanted her to have a chance to travel, but having to fly for a funeral was not what I’d wanted for her first trip.
I gripped her hand a little tighter as the plane bounced through the air. Seconds felt like minutes. Even though I knew it would be over, because it had always ended before, there was a part of me that said it wasn’t like other turbulence. Then again I knew I’d been lucky. Erin had told me of plenty of journeys she’d taken in the past where there had been turbulence for half the flight, or longer. She was the one who’d flown so much more than me, travelling all over the world for her job, and she’d shared her stories with both of us more than once. It was still hard to believe it was possible, but my baby sister was dead.
Alice stayed home, her pregnancy too far on for her to feel comfortable taking the journey. Had she been there I knew it would be easier for her to calm Lucy as the turbulence seemed to get worse. I didn’t know how much of that was my imagination, and how much of it was real, at least until the plane dropped in a way I’d never felt before. Lucy’s hand shook harder under mine.
“Daddy…”
Had it not been for the seatbelt light I would have pulled her into my lap, but I knew better than that. “Everything is going to be fine.” I tightened my grip again, putting my other hand on her shoulder. “Just keep breathing slowly.”
Lucy looked at me. Her eyes were wide. “This is like the stories Auntie Erin told us about.”
“Yes, it is. That’s how we both know it’s going to end.”
Before she could say anything more the plane dropped again. Glancing out the window I was able to see land closer than it had been before, but that had to be my imagination. Planes rarely crashed. It happened far more in fiction than it did real life. Alice was the one who’d reminded me of that, all the times Erin had been a little late to text me to say she’d landed safely. I squeezed Lucy’s shoulder, slipping my hand into my pocket where my phone was, half wanting to contact my wife in case something more did happen. Instead I breathed in slowly, the same way Lucy was. Everything was going to be fine. There was no reason for me to think otherwise.
Only then the plane dropped again. We were definitely going down, in a way we shouldn’t have been. I could see that out the window, even though I knew I shouldn’t look again, and I tightened my grip on Lucy’s hand once more. Did I tell her? Was it better for her to know we were going to crash before we did? The lights failed then, masks dropping down in front of us. Grabbing mine, not knowing it we were even going to need it, I put it on. Then I did the same for Lucy. She kept breathing slowly, but tears were welling up in her eyes.
With the mask on I wasn’t able to say anything more to her. All I could do was keep hold of her hand as the plane plummeted. I knew there was land below us, which probably wasn’t a good thing. Pushing that thought aside, knowing I couldn’t let my own fear get ahead of me, I put my other hand on Lucy’s shoulder again. I probably should have called Alice, rather than holding off, but that wasn’t something I could change, so I just held on to my daughter as I heard the sound of the plane brushing over the tops of trees. Focusing on her made it easier for me to deal with my emotions. She needed me to be calm, because I was the adult.
Then we hit the ground. Other people were screaming, and I was thrown at the roof of the plane. All I could do was hope my body was in the right place to be able to buffer Lucy’s body. I was almost certain I felt her hit me, rather than the roof, but I could see others in the same position. One of the women I’d met in while we were waiting was doing the same thing for her son. Keeping our children safe was always going to be the priority. Dropping back into my seat I felt the back of my head hit something.
Moments later, I thought, I opened my eyes again. Only it couldn’t have been. Someone, probably Lucy, was gently shaking me, but when I looked at them I saw it was the woman from before. “Finally.” She shook her head. “I was beginning to think you were never going to wake up.”
Slowly, I looked around. “Where’s Lucy?”
“He took her.”
Pushing myself to move was probably the worst thing I could do right then. My head throbbed, but that didn’t matter. “He?”
“A man. He came from outside the plane, I think. Jack was hurt, so I was doing what I could for him with what I could find, and I wasn’t paying attention to outside the plane. Then there was someone here, talking to Lucy. You were still unconscious. I wanted to move, to go over to Lucy, but I felt like my body was being held where it was. Then he came down to where I was, with Jack. Lucy was with him, seeming normal enough, and he picked up Jack, even though I was doing everything I could to move.”
Raising an eyebrow I stared at her. “Are you trying to tell me he wasn’t human?”
“Maybe.” She raked a hand through her hair. “There were symbols all over his face, and it looked like they went down into his clothes. I couldn’t tell exactly, but he was wearing a suit, so he seemed almost like he was meant to be here. At least until it was too late.”
“We need to find them.”
“Yes, we do. I just didn’t want to go out there alone. I went to, but then I heard noises, and I couldn’t bring myself to leave the plane.”
Going straight after Lucy was all I wanted to do, only I knew I had to be logical about things. Someone had taken my daughter off a crashed plane. There were people who could deal with that. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to find I had no signal, even though I had plenty of battery, which wasn’t entirely unexpected.
“Is anyone else alive?”
She shrugged. “I haven’t seen anyone else move yet. Had I not been able to see you breathing I would have thought you were dead, but I’m glad you’re not.”
Blinking, I looked down at where I been laying, and there was more blood there than I expected. With a shaking hand I touched the back of my head. It was wet there. Of course it was. I looked around again. “First thing we need to do is check to see if anyone else is alive. Then we need to get off this plane.” At least I couldn’t smell anything to make me think the plane was in any danger of blowing up. “Whatever we can take with us we do. I know we have luggage somewhere, but I don’t think we can count on being able to find it.”
“Okay.” There was a tremor in her voice. “All I want is to find Jack.”
“Lucy is my priority too. I’m going to contact the police, if I can, but if we can’t…” I shook my head. Emotions weren’t something I could let myself feel right then. “Well, we need to be prepared for anything right now.” I smiled at her, or at least that was what I was trying to do, but I wasn’t sure how natural it was. “Best thing we can do is focus on surviving long enough to be able to help them. I’m Connor.”
Nodding, looking like she was trying to blink away tears, she gave me a smile too. I could see she was trying to make it seem as natural as possible. “I’m Rose.”
“Pleasure to meet you, although these aren’t the circumstances I would have wanted to meet anyone in.” Somehow I managed to stand, even though my head was throbbing with pain, looking around the plane to see anyone else seemed like they might also be alive. “You said you heard noises outside.”
“Weirdly it seemed like someone was singing, or maybe chanting, outside the plane. I don’t know whether that was my imagination, or if there really was someone out there.” Her eyes met with mine for a moment. “My husband would say I was just imagining things, but he…” She shook her head. “Not everyone was going to survive the crash.”
“They weren’t, but I am sorry your husband was one of the losses.”
“As am I.”
Slowly, not able to hear anything outside myself, I made my way up the plane. The crash happened so quickly I barely remembered any details, but then that could also have been the head injury. Maybe it was fortunate I couldn’t. There were bodies all the way up the plane, some of them looking like they’d been thrown the same way I had, while others seemed like they’d just about managed to hold themselves in their seats. Most of them, I was certain, were dead, even though I hoped some would have survived.
Mid way through the plane I found it had split in half, and that… I didn’t even think it was possible until I saw it for myself. Could it have had something to do with the way the plane hit the ground? I shook my head. Obviously the pilot hadn’t had time to deploy the landing gear, for us to have had such a violent landing. They must have been fighting the turbulence the whole time, only to lose, and have the plane plummet toward the ground. Nothing about that seemed normal. Erin’s stories had never once made me think it was possible a plane would crash due to turbulence, but then she might have been holding some of the details back, to keep me from worrying too much about her.
Even though I couldn’t be certain if it was the right thing to do I stopped at the edge of the plane half, looking for the other one. It was relatively close by, fortunately, and I knew one of the things I definitely needed to do was see if the pilot, or their co-pilot, had survived. First thing to do was see if I had signal. Pulling my phone out of my pocket I couldn’t help breathing a sigh of relief when I saw it was whole. Switching it on I waited to see if there was any chance of me being able to call anyone.
Giving it to the need to get out of the plane I dropped down to the ground. Looking around it seemed we were in a small clearing in the middle of a forest. Well, at least there as wood around we could use to build some kind of shelter, hopefully. Not that I knew anything about how to live in the middle of nowhere. All I could do was hope someone else did, as I checked my phone one last time to see if I might be able to get help from someone. Still no signal. Not really a surprise, considering the fact it looked very much like we’d ended up in the middle of nowhere. Only there had been someone else on the plane, if I accepted what Rose said, and I had no reason to think she was lying to me.