Here’s the muffins…as promised. Everybody be nice little ladies and gentlemen as you make your selection, plenty to go around. Welcome to the High Drama Blogfest/Giveaway! I really want to thank the 40+ bloggers who decided to take part in my brainchild. The list of links to all the other contributors is right here, so after you’ve sampled my offering (and I’m talking about the writing…not the muffins) please make your way over to the other sites. There is some truly amazing drama on display!
Just a little background on this piece I have for you today. It is an original, written especially for this blogfest, but I had so much fun with it that I’m seriously considering turning it into the first chapter of my 3rd book. Enjoy! Oh yeah…it’s still kind of rough. *wink*
Gayle pressed the call button on the overhead panel to reset it, quickly grabbing the headrest of the seat below to steady herself as the plane lurched through another violent wave of turbulence. She looked down at the short, stocky gentleman wearing a badly fitting business suit clutching a worn leather messenger bag tightly against his chest. His face and partially bald head were covered in perspiration despite the coolness of the cabin. Gayle couldn’t recall ever seeing anyone with such enormous pores and the image of her noodle strainer back home, complete with the dripping runoff, popped into her head.
“Sir, surely you realize that the captain has ordered us to discontinue cabin service and take our seats, so unless this is extremely important --”
“It is! It is important,” he said excitedly, his hand shooting out and grabbing her wrist. The clammy feeling of his moist fingers on her skin caused her to pull back involuntarily.
“What is it then?” she asked and just as the words left her mouth the plane pitched sharply to the left and she found herself struggling to avoid sitting in the ladies lap across the aisle. The captain wasn’t exaggerating when he said this was going to be a rough approach. The mid-day skies visible through the portals were now dark and ominous and the passengers were already starting to show signs of nervousness.
“The man who was sitting next to me got up to use the restroom almost 15 minutes ago and he hasn’t returned,” the sweating passenger replied when Gayle had regained her composure. “I was worried that maybe something has happened to him back there.”
Gayle looked towards the rear of the aircraft, but saw nobody in the aisle or waiting near the lavatory.
“Okay, thank you. I’ll check it out,” she said. Instinctively, her eyes glanced beyond the sweating man to the backpack stowed underneath the middle seat of the next row. Then out of habit her gaze drifted to the passenger wearing a green down vest slumped against the exterior wall in the window seat. Some people could truly sleep through anything. What drew her attention was the unfastened seat belt lying at his side.
“Sir, I need you to fasten your seat belt,” Gayle directed to the slumbering passenger.
There was no response.
“I tried waking him up earlier, but he must be a heavy sleeper,” the sweating traveler offered.
Reaching across the seats, she gently pushed twice against the passenger’s upper arm. There was still no movement.
Gayle’s initial irritation was now becoming a creeping concern.
Without saying a word she made herself as thin as she could, wedging past Mr. Sweaty and plunking down into the middle seat. Turning to her right, she used both hands to shake the dormant passenger. Still nothing.
Reaching up and pressing the call buttons on all three seat positions, she then grabbed the man’s shoulders and pulled him away from the bulkhead, sitting him up straight in the seat. The man’s head sat upright for a moment and then its own momentum caused it to continue to roll slowly toward her. Under normal circumstances, Gayle would have considered the man attractive with his strong cheekbones and cleft chin, but the lack of color in his face, the drool seeping from his partially open mouth and the exposed tongue quickly squelched that impression.
Gayle’s medical training kicked in and she placed two fingers against the artery in his neck, searching for a pulse. She could feel nothing there.
The roar from the jet engines grew noticeably louder. They were still twenty minutes out on initial approach, why were they climbing?
Movement in the aisle caused her to look up and see Brenda arriving from the aft compartment. Her co-worker was using the seat backs to steady herself against the increasing bucking of the aircraft.
“You need to check the rear restroom. I think we may have a passenger in trouble back there.”
Brenda’s eyes remained on the passenger Gayle was attending to as she answered. “I just checked it five minutes ago. There’s nobody back there.”
“Is he dead?” the sweaty passenger asked, using a voice that was louder than necessary.
“We need to --”
Then the bottom fell out. The plane was suddenly plummeting, filling the cabin with screams of terror. Gayle was thrown forcefully against the overhead storage bin, but Brenda wasn’t as lucky as she continued upward until she collided with the ceiling. A jolt, one more easily associated with a cement truck landing a jump over a dozen buses, rocked the plane as it ended its free-fall and pitched dramatically to the left. Gayle was dumped back onto the armrest between hers and Mr. Sweaty’s seat, but before she could move the green-vested passenger landed on top of her, his cold face pressing against her own. Feeling the dead man’s tongue rub against her lips in some bizarre attempt for one last French kiss, Gayle used a strength she didn’t know she had to toss the body back into its own seat like a bag of week old laundry.
Brenda. Just as she was twisting around to check on her co-worker, the oxygen masks dropped.