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I had the best night of my life aboard Flight 217.
Whether my ticket was incorrect or switched, my original destination was to the far east (China, to be exact). I stood in the airport alone, watching the clock, awaiting the moment where a business trip to a foreign land would bore me to exhaustion. The Minneapolis terminal was rather empty, even for one AM.
The intercom called for boarding of the flight. The fact I was the lone passenger felt awkward, but my trip was of too much importance to worry. The gate ticker showing “FLIGHT 217 TO EAST” stared me down as I passed, its red streaming letters flashing against my eyes. Its gaze showed no information on passengers, no time, no destination…
I strutted through the boarding tunnel, which remained dim. Breaths began to stumble out of my chest. No flight attendant appeared to be standing at the end to greet passengers, and I had spotted no other human since I entered the terminal hours before. My steps slowed as I came to the door, paranoid to find the plane cabin just as deserted.
The plane was packed. I breathed easy again.
Finding an open seat took a few minutes. None of the passengers reacted to my passing. Some were occupied in conversation, but most were inactive, relaxed in their seats. As my eyes wandered the cabin, I noticed that there was a vast diversity between the static passengers. The majority of them were young, but they appeared to come from many cultures and ethnicities. Clothing ran the spectrum of bright to shaded, and faces lined the rows as though they were albums of portraits.
I took the first seat I found open, which was near the center of the plane. It was a center seat, between two women, who were both reclined in their chairs. Their eyes were closed, and they didn’t appear disturbed as I stepped into the seat between them. The moment I was seated, a flight attendant approached me.
“Ticket, please,” she said. Her voice held life, but lacked enthusiasm.
“Of course,” I replied, reaching to my pocket to retrieve the ticket. I handed it to her, and she made no reaction. Her blank face stirred me.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t accept that form of ticket here. Real entry ticket, please.”
“I’m not sure that I follow.”
“Really?” she said, with increased volume and widened eyes. “Are you new to this flight, sir?” “Yes, actually,” I said. “Am I in the wrong place? I wasn’t sure myself that the ticket was correct.”
“What is a notable sin you’ve committed, sir?”
“A significant sin. It’s what we require of all passengers for entry. We require it in writing beforehand, but you appeared to have misunderstood, so a verbal entry will suffice.”
I took a moment to glance the cabin again. It was now silent. The other passengers remained still in their seats. All heads were reclined, all eyes were closed. The flight attendant continued to stare at me, ignoring my glances at the crowd.
“I’m sorry,” I said, beginning to stand. “There must’ve been a mistake. This isn’t where I belong. I’ll be going, thank you.”
“Very well,” the attendant said. She turned away, and walked to the front of the cabin.
No heads turned as I moved back to the entrance door. My shadow had become lighter, in which I noticed that the lights had dimmed since my entrance. My thoughts became interrupted by the silence.
I stood by the door. I stopped to blink, and all the sensations I had felt walking up had seemed to vanish. Behind me, no passenger had moved an inch. To my right, the pilot’s cabin door was closed. The flight attendant stared forward, down the walking lane.
The boarding tunnel was now black. A small light from the terminal was visible from the end, but the space between appeared to have vanished. I attempted to move my foot forward, but it proved to be strangely difficult. I could move, but my foot shook, my body rejecting the action. A fear claimed by head, of what could lie ahead in the shrouded tunnel. A curiosity for the flight, however, grew stronger.
I turned to the flight attendant. She didn’t look to me until I spoke.
“My wife,” I said. “I had an affair with her, about a year ago. It was when I was on a business trip to Shanghai. I still haven’t told her. I don’t know if she’s found out at all.”
The flight attendant nodded, then looked forward again. A willingness to move returned to me, in which I made my way to the same seat as before. I buckled the seatbelt as the sounds of the engine began to build.
The engines grew more intense, but they also sounded far more close, like the walls of the plane had disappeared. The high-pitched whistling and charge of the machines took over my train of thought. Despite the stress of the noise, I still found myself motionless. My hands were gripped to the armrests, my legs were both to the floor, and my head was placed against the headrest behind. The only difference between me and the rest of the passengers was the fact that my eyes were still open, darting across the cabin in distress.
Three seconds past, then I was the same, unconscious.
I awoke to hear numerous voices, accompanied by laughs, shouts and occasional screams. I was convinced I was trapped in a dream, but I could still feel my body stretched in a seated position on the plane. The air felt warmer and humid, and a powerful odor of smoke and chemicals struck me as my senses returned.
The volume of surrounding noises fluctuated. A constant aura of conversation could be heard, but was interrupted by sounds of outrage, joy, and violence. My eyes crept open to find the cabin bathed in a shroud of dim, red light. Most people were silhouettes, but they were active. Almost everyone was out of their seats, standing or walking about.
When my eyes were adjusted to the low lighting, I turned to my left, which were the seats next to me. The center seat was empty, though a man by the window appeared to be in a straight daze. His head was slouched against the wall, and he kept his eyes towards the ceiling. His mouth hung open, while the rest of him remained relaxed. I could make out his facial expression a bit easier because of how close he was, and it gave off an unsettling vibe of lifelessness.
I turn my head to the right. There was a darkened figure of a woman straddling a man in his seat. The man pulls at her hair, and the woman’s moans can be heard over the surrounding voices and shouts. They clawed at each other in seconds, biting, ripping at garments. I caught a brief glimpse of their crotches intertwining before I snapped my eyes away.
I was awake, to say the least. Passengers walked, ran, and stumbled back and forth down the cabin. A woman tripped and fell across my lap. She grasped at the seats before turning her face to mine. She cast an intrigued smile, with both cheeks bruised to a deep black. I jumped at the sight, pushing her off me out of an instinct of fear. She giggled as she hit the floor of the walkway.
I stood, and surveyed the whole cabin. My eyes were adjusted, in which the circus around me became most vivid. It was immoral, corrupted chaos.
Men and woman scuffled among their seats, grasping bottles in one hand and delivering punches with the other. Others fucked in plain sight, as though the crowd was invisible. The seats, windows and walkway were lined with alcohol, blood, vomit, and fluids that made me question my own sense of smell.
I turned, and ran towards the front of the cabin. I could feel my throat growing sore from screaming, but my volume was overshadowed by curses, screams, and moans. On the way up, I bumped and pushed against oncoming, crazed humans. Most didn’t seem to care as I shoved them aside. My ankles felt continuously grasped at by mangled, broken hands.
As I approached the front of the cabin, a large, well-built man stood in front of me. He was naked, and his mouth bleed. He stepped forward with a growl, revealing a mouth of broken, crooked teeth. In instant of confusion, he delivered a strike to the side of my face. I darted downwards, struck a chair’s armrest, then hit the floor.
Though my vision became blurred, my eyes looked down the cabin, witnessing the freak show. I was stepped on every few seconds, by other passengers who had now become ravaged and disheveled. Skin had stripped from broken glass, hair was ripped straight from the scalps of struggling individuals. A man stumbling down the aisle collapsed in front of me, his mouth gaping open with eyes peered up. He mumbled senseless gibberish before falling silent, with blood still spewing from his lips. His tongue had appeared missing.
The sight sent me to my feet, still dizzy from the man’s blow. The number of active passengers had decreased since I woke up. Most were lifeless on the floor, their clothing ripped away and bodies splintered with cuts and glass. I saw the naked man from before, lying in the aisle. Before turning my head away, I witnessed his crotch to be covered in a glossy, dark red color.
I closed my eyes, waiting to awake from a nightmare. I hoped, then begged, then prayed for the noises to cease. Instead, my body grew warmer. My gasping started to calm, but I began to tremble. My heart rate remained quick, but changed its rhythm. Breaths became slow and shaky.
I opened my eyes again, and the image hadn’t changed. The vicious, animal nature of the remaining passengers still lived on. No one was left docile. Violent monsters stood to their feet in a free-for-all. What was the most chilling, was that no one appeared frightened. Bodies were frantic, but faces gave off a vibe of joy and excitement. Everyone had their own form of corrupted, sinful smiles.
In turn, I began to form mine.
My pulse quickened, more so than when I was terrified. A tingle surged throughout my spine and legs. Deep breaths passed out my mouth. I rushed back towards the mass of bodies, and found myself erect, aroused, excited at the freedom before me.
I stumbled at a body below. It was a man, his eye gouged, still gripping a bottle of clear liquid. I grabbed it, dumped the rest of the drink down, and pressed forward. The taste of vodka stung my throat, though it held a faint flavor of iron.
A woman was in the aisle. She was young, blonde haired, skin color unrecognizable in the red light. Her frail back was exposed, and her legs straddled and thrusted against a motionless man on the floor. I struck her with the bottle as I passed, feeling a vibrating, blunt impact. She squealed before tumbling against the body. My heel struck her temple as it passed.
A fat, middle aged man stood next, clipping a cigar with his lips and grasping a whisky bottle in each hand. He grinned as he turned to me, even as he watched my foot impact his belly, causing him to tower down. His bottles shattered as they hit chairs. I went to my knees and began to beat his face down. The thin bottle I held began to crack as it battered the jolly man’s forehead. My last blow shattered it, leaving a reflective shard in the man’s gaping head.
I stood, holding onto a chair to steady my shaking figure. The cabin was almost silent. The few sounds were of moans, of pain or twisted pleasure. I scanned the seats near the back for anyone left living, and saw a lone woman. She was also naked, scarred, bleeding from her arms, stomach, and legs. She stared forward, unaware of my gaze toward her.
A bolt of excitement ran through my chest. I felt at my still strong erection, and strut down the remaining aisle of carcasses, glass, and stench of fluids. An inferno of senses had set through my consciousness; anticipation, stress, curiosity, relief, but no regret or guilt. I lashed my hand out at the helpless woman, but a strap of firm, leathery material coiled around my neck. It tugged back, tripping me to the ground. I looked up at the woman, who was now looking above me. She smiled at whatever was holding me, and began to reach her hands down to her legs.
I felt at my throat, and sensed the strap portion of a seatbelt. Someone was on top of me, as I could feel from a pressure. The seatbelt tightened, constricting the last of my air. My struggle grew weak, and my vision followed. The glow of red transitioned into a cover of black. A ringing took over the sounds of my croaks and squeals. The flames that rampaged through me had been stomped out.
A nudge to the shoulder woke me. I could hear a voice, but my eyes remained shut out of fear.
“Sir,” said a calm, female voice. “Can you please get up, sir?”
I opened my eyes to a lit plane cabin. The clean, normal sight startled me, in which I darted my head left and right. The cabin was empty of other passengers, and the lights were a standard white. The sounds of air vents could be heard across the ceiling, and all the windows remained shut.
Standing above me to my right was a flight attendant. The flight attendant.
“Sir, we must ask you to leave now,” she said. “You can exit from the front door.”
I stared at her for a brief moment. She held a blank expression. “What is it that I just went through?” I asked in a slurred, tired voice. “Where am I?”
“The same place you were when you stepped in, and I can’t answer any of your other questions. Now, please leave, our I’ll have to request security.”
“A… alright. Okay.”
I stood, surprised by my own energy and consciousness. The attendant turned from me, and went to her default position at the front of the cabin The seats that lined the aisle were now vacant. No belongings were left behind, nor were there any other traces of passengers.
The boarding tunnel was brighter, with the terminal visible from the exit. I paused in my step as the attendant spoke.
“Thank you for flying with us, sir,” she said. “We hope to see you back.”
I passed by the attendant without a glance back. The boarding tunnel’s light was still dimmed, but the terminal appeared normal. As I traveled through the solemn corridor, I trembled as my memories began to collect. Hazy, but dark images chilled my chest to the heart, but I couldn’t help but sense a form of release. The experiences of the flight, whether real or hallucinated, brought about a strange comparison to my own life. My “notable sin” had now become trivial.
As I exited the boarding tunnel, I stopped at the gate. A crowd of passengers, at least forty, lined up at the gate. They were conversing, their faces lit with excited, impatient expressions.
I stepped out of their way, looking back as the crowd began to pile into the tunnel.
I read the gate ticker. The flight was still going east.
Written by Emeryy