Violet hated flying. She could not believe she’d allowed her sister to convince her to do it. She made a mental note to get even with Tracie as soon as landed in Hawaii.
The nervous brunette sat on the aisle seat, waiting for the other passengers to board the plane. More than once she thought about taking off her seatbelt and making a run for it. ‘Hurry up before it’s too late,’ her mind teased her mercilessly.
Instead Violet tried to reason with those things associated with her fear. First, she hated heights. She considered anything more than 2′ off the ground too much distance. Now she was about to soar thousands of feet above sea level. The thought made her grip the arms of her seat even tighter.
Violet was also claustrophic. Given that the plane was packed, that little fact was also getting to her. She felt the cabin closing in to encompass her. She began to breathe raggedly.
Lastly, the young mother of two was deathly afraid of germs. When the woman next to her sneezed without bothering to cover her mouth, Violet unlinked her seatbelt with the intent of escape. Sadly, it was too late. The plane was getting ready to take off.
Closing her eyes, Violet tried to think of her happy place; the shores of the beach outside her California home. She concentrated on vast open beaches, gentle water lapping the pink sand and the soft breeze of air rising off the cool water. The scene worked for a few minutes until she felt the plane lurch forward and begin to pick up speed.
‘What was I thinking?’ The question ran through Violet’s mind. She wanted to scream. She needed to run. She longed to escape. Sadly, none of those things were possible. That’s when her mind did the only thing it could do. It blanked out.
Quiet blackness surrounded Violet. She found the silence and stillness comforting. She took a deep sigh and sat on the ground beneath her. It was dark but she wasn’t afraid of that. It was preferable to what awaited her on the plane when consciousness finally returned.
Sadly, the stillness didn’t last for long. Slowly, a white light made its way into the darkness. It was small at first but then it began to grow. At last, Violet forced her huge hazel eyes to reopen.
Oddly, it remained quiet as she did so. She took in several deep breaths before looking around. When she did, a gasp escaped her lips. The plane was empty.
The passengers were gone, the seats empty. Struggling to look at the galley, Violet caught no glimpse of the flight attendants either. It was as if everyone and everything on the flight had just disappeared.
Unbuckling her seatbelt once again, Violet rose on wobbly legs and walked toward the galley. The smell of coffee teased her nose. She saw soft drinks and ice carefully placed on the cart. They were ready to be served to passengers. However, there were no servers to do the job nor passengers to greet them.
Banging on the door to the plane’s cabin, Violet demanded the pilots let her in. When no sound returned, she turned the handle, expecting it to be locked. Instead, it gave way. The door opened slowly.
Another gasp escaped Violet’s lips as she noted empty seats where the pilot and co-pilot should be sitting. No one was flying the plane. Stretched out before her was a blue and white expanse of open sky. Violet let loose of a scream that surely would have awakened the dead. It echoed throughout the plane cabin and reverberated back and forth until it finally had nowhere else go.
Grabbing what she thought was the radio, Violet tried to touch base with someone on the ground. “May day,” she screamed. “Can anybody hear me? There’s no one flying this plane. Help! I need help. Please respond.” No sound escaped the mechanism; not even the hum of static.
Turning around, Violet ran down the aisle to the other end of the plane. She checked every crevice along the way, hoping to find evidence of someone else on board. She threw open the doors to the toilets only to find those rooms empty as well. She was all alone. It was time to accept that.
Letting her knees buckle underneath her, Violet squatted down and began crying. She wailed for minutes in hopes of releasing some of the frustration and fear that surrounded her. Instead of getting better, it only got worse.
Panic rose slowly throughout her body until it gave birth to an idea. There had to be a parachute someone on the plane. As much as she hated heights, Violet preferred jumping to staying on the machine that was hurdling through the sky. Sooner or later, it would run out of fuel. When it did, she didn’t want to be on board.
“You can’t escape.” A soft voice whispered. “You can’t get away you silly, silly girl.”
“Who’s there?” Violet’s eyes darted around to find her tormentor. Instead of being angry, she was happy for the company. “Where are you? Show yourself to me.”
“You can’t see me,” the voice laughed. “You can’t touch me.”
“Why? Why can’t I see or touch you?” Violet’s temper began to flair.
“It’s because I am inside of you. I am your fear.”
“Fear is a feeling; not a thing,” Violet argued as she continued looking for a parachute.
“Are you sure about that?” The voice laughed again. Then the plane seemed to drop a few feet before leveling out. “You are going to die on this plane,” the voice continued. “You should not have come.”
“I am not going to die,” Violet answered with determination. “I will not give in to my fear.”
“Since when,” the voice cackled. “You are nothing but a water, bone and fear.”
“No I’m not,” Violet screamed back. “I’m a strong woman. Fear can’t conquer me. I won’t let it!”
“It’s about time,” the voice returned quietly. “Now wake up.”
With that, Violet’s eyes flew open. She turned to smile at the woman to her left. She even gazed out the plane widow admiring the texture of the clouds against the azure blue sky. “It’s a beautiful day for flying,” she sighed.
“Yes it is,” the woman returned. Violet recognized the voice immediately as that of her former tormentor. “It is always a good day to live.”