“It’s just a plane, it’s the safest way to travel.”
“I know that,” I said, clutching the cell phone close to my ear.
“It’s only for a few hours anyway.”
“Is it worse than a train?”
“…No,” I sighed out.
“Or how about a car?”
“Not even close,” I said, straightening up a little.
“And it’s way shorter too.”
I could almost see the smile on her lips as she spoke.
“Thanks Lucy, you know just what to say”
“Are you excited to see me?”
“Yeah,” I said, my voice raising a little, “oh, they’re boarding me now, see you soon!”
I quickly shuffled towards the kiosk after jumping from my seat. My small bag of personal belongings tucked into the crook of my elbow; held against my chest as I stepped into line with my boarding pass ready.
The passengers formed a single file as best we could as we paced towards the flight attendant. Bit by bit the line tightened until finally we condensed into a one line gathered before the flight attendant. It was then that I began to notice the stranger that seemed to overshadow my back. He was a tall figure with a large hook like nose and broad shoulders that seemed to curl forward towards me.
I tried not to peek more than once at the man, that was enough for me. Instead I focused on scooting as close as I could to the man right in front of me. Each inch I leaned seem to give the brute more as he loomed over me. I tried to find as much room as I could, but after brushing against the man in front of me, had to settle for my tiny bit of space.
Why is this line taking so long?
Finally the attendant ushered the next man forward bringing me to the front. The attendant found ample time to make small talk while inspecting the ticket.
“So, you been to New York before?” the attendant asked, seeming not to notice the matter pressing at my back.
“Yea,” I said, glancing behind the attendants back to see down the flight bridge.
By now everyone had turned the first bend, leaving it with an abandoned look.
Works for me, I thought, no one to slow me down, I cast my eyes towards the attendant.
“Here you are sir.” The attendant handed me back my ticket and gave a flourish of their hand towards the bridge. “Have an enjoyable flight.”
I stepped passed the attendant and scuttled down the bridge. I felt a warm fuzziness inside me as I escaped from under that human tower and began to make my way to my seat.
The main flight attendant greeted me as I came to the door.
“Good afternoon sir, may I see your ticket?”
I held out the same stub as before handing it to her for one final inspection.
“All the way to the back, and on your right,” she said returning my stub.
I began to nod in a silent thank you when I felt the unmistakable feeling of a large presence behind me. I quickly stepped onto the plane with a shiver up my back, turning the corner into the cramped single isle.
Despite the long line I had stood in, first class sat empty. Down the aisle a velvet red curtain hung cutting off the view to the rest of the aircraft. I practically scampered down the aisle hearing the flight attendant finish with the grizzly.
I gave the curtain a violent tug aside not caring if I startled the other passengers in my attempt at escape. To my surprise the next cabin remained empty as well. Again isolated from the other cabins by only a single curtain further down the path.
I hurried down the aisle growing more squeezed as the plane began to taper. I hardly bothered to move the curtain aside before whipping through it with a constrained elbow; my head ducked low to avoid the velvet catching against me. As I came up I could see one final velvety curtain.
Just make it to the back. Just to the back.
I clutched my bag tightly against my chest. Trudging my way down the aisle, hips twisting left then right as I made my way down a tightening path. Finally I had reached the final curtain. I pulled it aside with a sign of relief.
This looks…so familiar.
Again the rows sat empty. Further away in the distance hung another red velvet curtain. The sides seemed to taper more and more down the length of the aisle. Yet, the aisle didn’t end.
This must be some trick, I thought as I began to turn ready to march back to the front.
I twisted my body barely able to in the tight aisle. There behind me however stood the monster.
Somehow his features seemed more ugly than before. His nose seemed to hook devilishly now almost crooked to his right. His hulking frame consumed all of the space I had assumed behind me. His shoulders, seeming to curl towards me before, were nothing compared to his head which now seemed to hang above me peering down with hard pressing eyes. Even his eyelids held shadows cast by his imposing brow as it overcast the light. Shadows that did little to hide the moles that seemed to have appeared from nowhere; or the grin that now felt so menacing.
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