Four fifteen. I was going to be late and the line of traffic didn’t seem to be moving. And then it happened. First there was the noise, a soft rumble at first, nothing out of the ordinary I expected to hear it after all I was nearing the airport. With planes going and coming I was sure to hear the thunder of engines as they took off and set down. But it quickly became more than that. The noise getting louder, the car vibrated beneath me as the plane plummeted towards the earth. I flew my hands over my ears trying to block the sound out sure that it would send me deaf. The car shock violently as the plane crossed over the top of it, almost touching the roof and then the crash. The plane collided with the ground, the mental groaning in loud protesting screams as the belly of the plane slide alone the ground. And then the explosion the movies never prepare you for it, the blast of sound, the flash of bright hot light, the shake of the earth and then silence. I slowly take my hands from my ears and run them down over myself. I’m alright, I’m completely in tack. I let out a breath I wasn’t aware I had been holding until it was realised. And then like everyone else in the line-up of cars I get out I need to see what happened. I know it will be horrible, I will more than likely recount this story to friends and family later on telling them how I wish I could forget the entire event. But just as they will be hooked to the story I tell I can’t help but see the horror, the damage that has been done. Now that I’m sure I’m alright I need to see the show that is being put on.
Black smoke fills the air darkening the bright summer’s day and making the blue sky appear dirty. Its thick in my lungs and for a moment I stand by my car coughing and choking on the air but I compose myself I need to see. I left the side of my jacket up and cover it over my mouth yet it doesn’t help the sting in my eyes or the tears that fall because of it. The plane had split into smaller parts in a chaotic mess on what was once a clean field. Some parts of the plane are recognizable whiles others are nothing more than metal twisted from the fires that have seemed to take on a life of their own. Together we stand, strangers to one another yet almost as close as family in our desire to see the destructive power of what had just happened. No one has moved off the side of the road, the grass acting like a safety line. One this side of the line everything is safe and we are nothing more than spectators enjoying a fine show, on the other side of the line lives have changed forever. Inside the heated metal people are dead, families have been torn apart. All it took was a few moments and everything for those people had changed forever. And here we stand shaking our heads and thinking how it could never happen to us. There is a large crack now marring the once perfect clearing, the plane had dug up the earth as it slide to a halt making it appear as if the earth was splitting apart hell itself was crawling out. The man next to me has his phone out and is filming the events like is a home move. He takes a step off of the safety line and a part of the plane explodes. Everyone including the man take a step back protecting themselves from the rumble that comes flying into the air, but it doesn’t land on our side of the safety line we are still safe away from the violence. And then a pitched scream fills the air. People look left and right trying to see if there side of the line had been violated by the chaos but it wasn’t coming from our side. We all stand stock still and watch as a survivor walks out of the flames. Her clothing had burnt away exposing her naked flash to her audience yet it is anything but appealing. Her skin has been burnt up, the flesh black and charred, parts of her skin still glow like the embers of a hot fire. No one moves, no one breathes we just watch. Her left foot is twisted at a strange angle and she is dragging it along behind her it appears to be nothing more than dead wait. Her arms reach out to us, she reaches out to our side of the world where everything is still normal and then she opens her mouth and screams once more. The sound shocks everyone into movement. People start dialling on their phones calling for help, others rush over the safety line to help the burnt woman while other’s rush back to their cars some to lock themselves away and others to grab blankets and bottles of water. But I haven’t moved I can’t. As people began moving about to help those who had survived another fire broke out lighting the tail of the plane were the number was clearly labelled. G5590. I can see it in big looming letters staring at me, mocking me. I know those letters, I had memorised them, muttered them to myself all day so I would remember and even after all that I wrote them on my palm just in case it slipped my mind.
“Brianne!” The sound penetrates the air and for a moment I wonder who is calling out my daughter’s name. The voice is filled with panic and fear yet I can’t understand why someone would be calling out my daughter’s name. Then I realize that petrified voice is my own. In movements I’m not even aware I’m making I step away from the safety of the road, a place only moments ago I stood feeling pity for the families who had lost someone only to become the one pitied. Brianne lived overseas, all she had ever wanted since she was a little girl was to travel and she had done just that. She came home now on holidays and special occasions and her father’s 50th birthday was descending on us so she was heading home, on a flight that day, on flight G5590. I ran though the smoke ignore heavy filling in my lungs as the smoke weighted them down, ignore the heat that came from the wreckage around me. The only thing that mattered was finding her, from finding my little girl. More and more survivors stumbled out of the plane, some had to be dragged from the flames and put out, there screams went unheard by me, everything went silent the only thing that mattered was finding her. I screamed her name over and over having to stop every now and again to cough the smoke from my lungs. I checked the face of every survivor ignoring the dead for now, I didn’t want to acknowledge them, if they weren’t there she couldn’t be one of them. Each face I came across was burnt and blistered, the hair singed and the smell of burnt flesh invaded my nostrils and made me want to gag but I pushed on desperate to find her. In between screaming her name I found myself muttering telling myself it was going to be fine, she was her, she was alive. It seemed like the emotional part of my, the part that had been a mother and a friend, who had seen her daughter grow from a shy little girl to an out spoken brave woman was trying to convince the rational side of me, the part that could see what had happened, could see the death, that it was going to be okay. Then a voice came as nothing more than a whisper on the breeze.
“Mum,” It was her, I knew it was her. I ran pass people, pushing them out of the way, getting further into the heat, running straight for the twisted graveyard that was once the G5590 flight from London to Australia. The voice seemed to lead me nowhere, all I could see was fire and metal but I could still hear her, softer now but her voice was there. I listened closely, waiting for another sound to lead me to her and then it came.
“Mum, help me,” Another whisper but it was all I needed. I ran towards the sound, the flame shot up in front of my but I didn’t care I walked through them, I allowed the flames to lick at my clothing, he hair my face. I came to another part of the plane, twisted in on itself, she was in there I could feel it. Without thinking I took hold of the hold metal, the skin on the palms of my hands struck to it, melted to it but I ignored the pain and pulled but the mental getting it to give. I had to pry my hands off of the chunk of plane; my skin was still attached to it when I discarded it to pull back another piece. This hurt worst then the last, the skin was raw and new but I bit down on my scream and pulled the next bit back, I had to get my daughter out. Finally pulling that part free and throwing it to the side I could see her and she was gone. She lay perfectly still, the fire hadn’t gotten to her inside this small hole, she was still perfectly intact, her hair still in place, her skin soft and white just like I remembered. I reached down with my burnt hands to touch the side of her check but before I could head hand shot out and grabbed hold of my arm. I screamed in surprised I could have sworn she was dead; her eyes flashed open and the bright blue pools I remembered looked back at me, the colour dancing like the flames around me.
“It’s not how it appears,”
I woke up in a start; her eyes flashed open to the morning sun shine through the lace curtain on my bedroom window. My heart raced in my chest, I could feel it against my ribs as if it wanted to break through. My hands seemed to tingle and I could vaguely remember pain, I was in pain, someone was in pain. I couldn’t steady my thoughts. Already the dream that had woken my so quickly was slipped away from me, flashes of light swirled with smoke until it all turned back. But the moment important part, the only part that mattered was that it was a dream. Whatever had caused me to reach so quickly for the waking world could not hurt me here. Yet there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, like something was not quite right with the world I had woken up in. It was like the world had tilted slightly when I had been asleep, nothing that I would notice, for all I knew it actually could have but some part of me knew everything was on a lean. It was insane of course and I quickly laughed it off. After all I had a lot of things to do today. I had to make my husband breakfast before he left for work, I had to go down town and pick up his presents, call the restaurant to confirm our reservation and then take the long drive out to the airport to pick up our daughter. Something stopped me as I climbed from my bed readying for the busy day. The thought of Brianne send a chill racing down my spine, a sense of dread fill me but I couldn’t understand why. I tried my best to shake the feeling and dressed quickly to head downstairs. A smiled to my husband as I walked into the kitchen, he was sitting at the island, phone in one hand, newspaper in the other. I started getting to work on his blueberry pancakes, they were his favourite and it was after all his 50th birthday. The smile that had come to my lips thinking of my husband’s birthday disappeared as another sense of dread came over me. I could feel it in my bones, something horrible was going to happen today, something that had very much to do with their daughter.
“Alright darling so the flight number is G5590, yes I got it,” Those numbers they meant something to me, they meant fire and blood and death. I dropped the egg in my hand allowing it to fall to the floor I turned quickly grabbing franticly for the phone. My husband taking one look at me took a step away.
“I need to tell her, I need to stop her. Don’t get on the plane! Don’t get on the plane!” I screamed moving around the bench to take the phone from my husband but he kept a safe distance between us.
“Nothing darling I’ll see you tonight,” And with that he hung up.
“No!” I scream, I reached quickly for the phone desperate to call her back, to warm her about the danger but my husband throw the phone out of my reach and then grabbed hold of me in a vice like grip shaking me as I spoke.
“What in the hell has gotten into you woman?”
“I…I…” I couldn’t explain it, I just knew, I knew something bad was going to happen. A mother always knows. But how true could that really be. When I was six and I broke my wrist and had to go to hospital my mother was out with her friends for lunch, didn’t know anything was wrong until she got home and got the messages left by the school and the doctors. “I had a bad dream.” I said lamely, I knew the excuse didn’t explain my behaviour but after a moment my husband nodded, hugged me quickly and spoke.
“Dreams can’t hurt you love, there meant to be forgotten,” It was easy to feel safe in his arms; those arms had protected me for most of my life. But today it didn’t seem to be working. While I knew he was right I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. But I ignored it; I cooked my husband breakfast and then went about my day as I planned. To make sure I didn’t have another fit of hysteria I left my cell phone at home so I wasn’t able to contact my daughter.
It was three o’clock that I finally picked up my phone again and turned it back on. I had a missed call from my daughter and a voice mail but I didn’t listen to it, I was on my way to pick her up, she could tell me when we got together. She more than likely wanted to inquire about the yelling she heard this morning and I was ready to talk about it. While I was embarrassed of my outburst earlier it didn’t change the fact that I could still tell that something wasn’t right. But I push these feelings aside, got in my car and began the drive to the airport. With only one road in and one road out the way into the airport was always slow. I thought I had given myself enough time to get there as I continued to look at the clock over and over again it was clear that I wasn’t going to make it on time. I watched the minutes tick over, the green lights telling me it was now ten past four. That feeling of dread of horror came crawling its way back up my spine, this time much stronger than before. I pressed down on my horn as some of the other drives are doing. I know it won’t make the line move any faster but my irritation and fear had gotten the better of me. I glance down at the clock again, another minute has past. I start taking deep breaths as if I couldn’t pull enough oxygen into my lungs. I began tapping my fingers on the steering wheel playing along to the beat of my heart as it races violently in my chest. I look at the clock again and another minute has gone by. I reach for my phone and quickly sliding my fingers along the screen I call my voicemail and hold it up to my ear. A recorded voice tells me I have one new message from, and then in her cheerful voice, Brianne. I pressed the number one to listen to the message about to play.
“Mum its Brianne, look I’m so sorry but I’ve missed my flight and there’s not another one until tomorrow morning. I’m going to call dad after this and let him know. I’m so sorry again, I’ll be there tomorrow I promise.” I pull the phone away from my ear and look at it as if I don’t know what it could possibly be. Its then that the dream comes rushing back to me, the plane crashing, the fire, my daughter lying dead. It made no sense she was so perfect in that moment, none of it was real. Relief floods my system and a smile breaks out across my face for the first time that day. In my happiness I don’t notice the clock roll over to four fifteen. Instead I call my husband letting him know the Brianne won’t be there til tomorrow. He is aware of this since he got the phone call she had been avoiding all day. He can’t however work out why she is so happy about it. He comments on how strange her mood had been that day, tells her he is concerned but she brushes it off, there is nothing to be concerned about. Then it hits. The plane that had avoided her car in her dreams but mere centimetres slams down on the roof of her car, the body of the vehicle crashing over the weight of the plane. It pushes the car off of the road, dragging it along the ground until something explodes and the car is pushes out from underneath the plane as it breaks into two pieces. I’m still alive in the car, I can feel the heat of a nearby fire coming towards me, I can’t however feel my legs. I ran my hand down the front of my body, there is something protruding out of my stomach, it must have hit my spine. For a moment I think about how annoyed the restaurant will be when we don’t show up for our reservation and I laugh at the nonsense of that thought. I can hear something, people calling out, asking if I’m alive. They won’t come any closer however; they are standing at the safety line, separating themselves from the death and destruction. There another voice, faint, calling my name. I think how funny it is that someone knows it’s me in the car when I see my phone light up. The screen is cracked but it still works my husband it on the other end of the phone calling my name, demanding to know what is going on. I have to push myself along a little on my hands to reach the phone. The pole stuck in my stomach doesn’t budge but my skin does, I hiss at the pain but that too is becoming less. I can feel a wetness beneath me but I don’t smell gas, it blood, my blood I’m losing a lot of it. When I finally get the phone to my ear my husband is frantic with worry. This is why I love him, while he can remain calm when I need him he really does worry about him. A soft smile touches my lips.
“It’s okay darling, its okay. She didn’t get on the plane, she didn’t get on the plane,” I laugh at that, she’s safe, she can’t be hurt the dream was wrong. What was it her daughter had said to her before I had woke up? “It’s not how it appears, She was right.” With that the phone slips from my hands and I trail over into darkness.
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