Finally, after wasting several valuable minutes getting through check-in, I boarded the plane and made my way down the aisle trying to locate my sit. Ignoring the dirty looks being thrown at me from passengers irritated by the fact that I was rolling my hand luggage down the aisle instead of carrying it like a proper slave to normalcy, I found my seat almost at the tail end of the plane, shoved my carry-on into the storage space as noisily as I could – just to be even more annoying – and slid into my seat.
Usually, I hate to travel by air, but my boss had left me no choice. That’s the thing about working for someone; No matter how incompetent you believe them to be, you have to do what they say or find some other way to pay all your bills. So, there I was, another prisoner of the corporate world, dressed in clothes that didn’t allow me breathe properly, sitting on a plane I wasn’t comfortable on, heading to a conference I didn’t want to be at. At that point, the only thing I was grateful for was the fact that I’d gotten a window seat. Window seats are great whatever mode of transport you use because if you stare out of them during the trip, whoever’s sitting next to you understands interaction is not necessary. It’s written in the travel code book.
The plane continues to fill up, and I start to get anxious. I pull my handbag out from where I’d stashed it under the chair in front of me and start to rummage through it for nothing in particular. Patience isn’t one of my prevalent virtues. All I wanted was for the flight to take off and land where it needed to so I could be done with the conference and be back home.
I felt someone plop down on the seat next to me and looked up out of my bag to see a lady staring at me, grinning. She looked a hot mess. Her dark skin looked ashy, her hair was full and curly and would have actually looked really beautiful if she’d bothered to run a comb through it, and, even though she was grinning at me, her eyes were darting all over the place. I didn’t know this woman or what her life was about so I returned a polite smile and took on my on-flight assignment of staring out the window.
Finally, the plane started to move and the attendants came and did their whole safety thing for a flight full of people who didn’t care. Not long after the flight had taken off, I felt a tap on the shoulder and reluctantly turned around to find the woman who had sat next to me grinning at me once more, her large brown eyes focused intently on me, and her palm outstretched. Once again, I smile politely and shake her hand, hoping against all hope she was the strong, silent type who, like me, was just trying to be polite.
As he fingers closed around my hand, I felt a gust of wind blow past us and a chill ran down my spine. Convincing myself it was my imagination in overdrive, I tried to withdraw my hand but she held on fast. Her grip was like a vice and I couldn’t pull away. I glanced around the plane for a sign of anyone watching or coming that way, but everyone seemed lost in their own space. Nervous, I turn my gaze back on the woman who had now turned my palm over and was staring at it. Everything inside me tried to pull away, to tell her to stop, to call for help, but I couldn’t. It was like I was frozen in place, unable to react to anything, helpless.
She ran one bony finger down my palm and locked eyes with me. The toothy grin was gone and her eyes were stern, burning into mine. When she spoke, her voice was a husky whisper. “Your life is about to change.” was all she said before letting go of my hand.
As soon as I was free from her grip, I was immediately overwhelmed by chatter from passengers on the plane. It was then I realized I wasn’t the only one who had seemed frozen. The entire plane had been on mute the entire time. The rest of the flight, the woman slept beside me, occasionally snoring or grunting, and I continued to stare out the window. Your life is about to change. I tried to keep her words out of my head, but they kept coming back, forcing themselves to the forefront of my thoughts.
Thankfully the plane landed and I disembarked leaving the woman still asleep on her chair. Spotting the luggage check queue on my way out, I congratulated myself once again for packing light and proceeded to wait for a cab. Just as I was getting into one, I felt the ground below me shake violently. My ears were suddenly blocked and all I could hear was static. Confused, I turned around and saw people still inside the airport running around in frenzy. Some had dropped to the ground and covered their heads with their hands others hurtled over the ones they could, trying to get to the exit.
A thick, dark cloud rose from the hangar behind the airport, and, even before anyone would say it, I felt it in my gut…
…to be continued(?)