The plan was simple. We figured that once outside the airport itself, we’d be able to make contact with Homeland Security, who was sure to be in the vicinity. Since everything looked deserted around the airport, we assumed the area must have been sealed off.
Bernie, Linda, Jack, and I, walked to the cockpit to brief the captain and co-pilot.
After giving them an outline, I said, “Okay, you know what we’re doing. If we’re not back when it’s starting to get dark, then chances are we may not be coming at all. You might have to try something yourself, but either way, it’s probably best you wait until morning.”
Although concerned with our plan, they seemed resigned to going along with it. The captain had a couple of questions.
“I’m going to seal up all the doors so we will need a sign that it’s you, okay?”
“I’ll turn the flashlight on three times.”
“We’ll keep a lookout. Do you have everything you need? I think-”
“Do we have any weapons?” Bernie interrupted. Turning to Jack, he asked, “Can you use a gun, right?”
Jack nodded, “Yes, I can. So can Harry. When we jump down the slide, I’ll grab the pistol off the security guard. Hopefully, there will still be a few rounds in the magazine. Have we got any others?”
Jack and I had joined the army after leaving school and served six years each, but we’d had technical trades and were not combat troops. I knew how to use firearms, but I didn’t want to raise any kind of expectation, although some training was better than no training.
“There’s a flare gun, if that will be of any use,” the captain replied.
“What? So we can advertise our location to the terrorists,” Bernie scoffed.
Linda disapprovingly pinched his arm.
This was not the time for sarcasm, and we didn’t know what was happening or how useful a flare gun could actually be.
“Bernie, did that man look like an average terrorist? He was dressed like part of the airport staff,” I snapped.
“He might have been undercover,” he replied, looking slightly embarrassed.
Why would a terrorist use a uniform to fool us and then kill himself?
“I’ll take the gun, Captain. You never know, do you? We can always let a flare off in the direction of the plane if we get into a safe area, but can’t return to you. Stay where you are if you see it,” I said.
I was impressed with how confident I sounded. The co-pilot handed me the flare gun with six cartridges attached. It had a simple mechanism, so I didn’t require instructions.
We couldn’t delay any longer if we wanted to make use of the natural light. The captain shook our hands and walked to the open exit in the mid-section of the plane.
Most of the passengers avoided eye contact, although we did receive some nods of encouragement and a few people wished us luck.
One by one, we jumped down the slide. Jack went first and picked up the pistol that was lying by the side of the security guard. I followed next and couldn’t take my eyes off the two corpses that were only a few feet away from where I came to a stop. The sight of them turned my stomach, and I lurched away to avoid touching them. Bernie and Linda followed; they looked immediately away from the corpses, once at the bottom of the slide.
Having my feet on solid ground gave me the sense of regaining at least some control. I thought we could now face whatever was happening, instead of simply awaiting rescue or death on a stationary plane.
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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction
Rating – R
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