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Stranded

“To all passengers, now we are airborne, I am truly sorry to be the bearer of this news. In the last thirty minutes, an asteroid impacted our planet on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. The shockwave caused by the impact is currently travelling around the planet at a velocity much faster than we can outrun. At current speed, the shockwave will reach us in two minutes. I would ask that everyone please stay in your seats with your seatbelts fastened and put yourself in the brace position.”

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“Thanks Roberto”. Michael said to the owner of the bar as he got up to leave. “And Roberto, don’t forget my payment on the table. Maybe see you if I come back again sometime.”
“No worries Michael!” Roberto said in a thick New York accent. “It was a pleasure to meet you. Have a safe trip and give my love to your family.”
“Will do sir. Enjoy your weekend!” Michael left the bar on 9th Avenue in Manhattan and jumped straight in a cab to JFK. He arrived to see the usual crowds of people, but the staff seemed to be very distracted. To the average person everything seemed normal other than several flights that had been brought forward on the departures board. As he made his way through security, he couldn’t help but notice the screening wasn’t as ‘thorough’ as normal. It was almost as if people were literally being ushered through for some unknown reason. The airport staff just seemed weird, fast and on edge.
Michael didn’t mind. If it meant he got home to his family that much sooner, then it can’t be a bad thing. Reaching the gate early, he finally had a chance to sit down and text his wife. He let her know. She sent pictures of their family from earlier in the day. They all looked like they were enjoying themselves without him. He couldn’t wait to get home.
Boarding came early, and Michael was one of the first on, making sure to get overhead locker space before it filled up. He dropped his laptop underneath the seat and kept his headphones on. There was a bit of a kerfuffle as people boarded. The flight crew seemed to be somewhat herding people on board but some wanted to take their time. Still everyone boarded, and the flight started for the runway to take off.
As they moved Michael looked out the window and could clearly see that, where normally only one plane at a time moved through the queuing system, this time, there were lots of planes and the queue was moving much faster than normal. Very odd.
The captain, probably realising the passengers who could see outside into the night might be getting a bit tetchy, came over the intercom to assure everyone there were no issues and that the airport was trying out a new flight system, and we would be in the sky in just a few moments.
We took off and it was quickly clear this was not a normal take-off. Planes flew in circles over the airport before heading into formation at low altitude and flying south east, away from our destination.
The passengers around Michael were either staring out the window at the other planes or beginning to panic. One of the flight crew opened the cockpit door to have a quick chat. Michael couldn’t hear the conversation, but it was clearly heated, worried with a heavy amount of concern.
Quickly after, the pilot came over the intercom again. “To all passengers, now we are airborne, I am truly sorry to be the bearer of this news. In the last thirty minutes, an asteroid impacted our planet on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. The shockwave caused by the impact is currently travelling around the planet at a velocity much faster than we can outrun. At current speed, the shockwave will reach us in two minutes. I would ask that everyone please stay in your seats with your seatbelts fastened and put yourself in the brace position.”
The cabin quickly filled with screams of panic. Some cried out for the possible loss of loved ones. Others cried out for themselves. Many assumed the brace position and started praying, regardless of which religion they practised. At the end of the day, this could be the end of the world. No-one really knew what to think. Only that we might be about to die.
Michael listened to the sounds of different people in different languages and looked out the window. Then he wished he hadn’t. He looked back out of some uncontrollable urge to see if what he saw was real. It was. Outside was a clear tranquil night. Looming in the distance though, he could see the dark grey mass of the shockwave, catching them quickly. He could see the other planes behind the one he was on as they were caught by it. Each one being thrown like a pincushion before immediately disappearing into the cloud. Soon the last plane entered, and he knew they were next.
Assuming the brace position, he waited for a few seconds before the plane shuddered, then veered sharply left and upwards. It was impossible to see but it felt like the plane was in a spiral spin. There was also a feeling of falling at an alarming rate. The overhead lockers opened almost in unison and bags flew everywhere. Michael was hit but not seriously and ignored the warm feel of blood on the back of his head as he waited to maybe die.
The spinning continued for what felt like an age before the plane finally levelled out. For a moment it felt like we’d made it, but the pilot came back on the intercom. “Well that was a bit hairy!” he started. “but we’re not out of the woods yet. We have damage to both engines and we’re coming into land wherever we can. However, we are over what’s left of New York and there’s no airport anymore. We are looking but we may have to land in the city itself. Godspeed everyone for a safe landing. Let’s hope we all make it.”
Everyone clambered to get a view from any window. It was pitch black outside. The shockwave cloud was not done with us and there were no lights on the ground. Just then a gigantic shadow passed by. Before anyone could work out what it was, another, closer this time and moving toward the plane was a falling skyscraper. We passed it but now the ground was coming up fast and there was no mistake. Even if we landed safely, we still might not survive.
The belly of the plane clipped something on the ground and the plane lurched it’s back into the air. The pilot countered as best he could to stop us flipping and the plane flipped back before crashing somewhere into a New York street. Luckily a wide street but even so, the wings each hit something separate and came away from the aircraft, leaving us in a missile shaped cabin firing along a broken, destroyed New York street, heading for somewhere only the pilot could see (if his lights were still working). The plane shot underneath what must have been a downed skyscraper, taking part of the roof off, before coming to an eventual stop.
The roof had peeled away like a can, so no-one had been seriously hurt however, there were a lot of screams and it was difficult to tell which were through pain and which were through sheer terror.
Michael’s side of the plane was still intact. He looked around first and then out his window with an open mouth. He tried to get words out but couldn’t before a giant aftershock of solid white frozen cloud smashed through New York, instantly freezing everything unprotected in its path.
Protected by what was left of the cabin, Michael suddenly became incredibly cold, grabbing his jacket and huddling as tight as he could to keep a semblance of warmth as the ice shockwave passed. He kept down until he felt the air temperature begin to rise again, eventually peeking out from his thick winter jacket to see if anyone else had survived.
Calling out to check, 16 others called back to say they were still here. Two were flight crew who managed to jump into a corner at the last possible moment the rest were all sitting in window seats. Everyone else was frozen where they sat like those woolly mammoths Scientists have found in Siberia in the past.
Michael had no-one in the seats next to him so stepped out of his seat to help the other survivors. The scene was truly awful. He helped those without injuries first, as he helped them out of their seats, the frozen people were literally falling apart in his hands. At one stage, he caught a head and it simply fell off hit the aisle and rolled away. The person he was helping nearly vomited from the sight.
Miraculously, of the seventeen total survivors, most people like Michael only had minor injuries. There was one broken arm, a twisted ankle and a badly broken leg.
Eventually everyone was free and out of the aircraft. It was difficult to see in the darkness. The city felt very eerie without the lights and people. The only thing that could be heard were alarms and sirens. Rubble and ice blocks fell from leaning skyscrapers, and the air was filled with dust making it extremely difficult to breath.
“We need to find shelter quickly or we’ll suffocate Out here!” Michael said.
Everyone looked around trying to spot even the slightest signs of life. One of the group suggested the subway after spotting a clear entrance close by, but as they started towards it, they heard a massive crash that sounded like a tunnel collapse and part of the road they were standing on cracked and sunk.
“What about over there?” another member of the group said. They all looked and, nestled underneath and protected by three collapsed buildings, what looked like a bar could be seen. Inside it appeared to have flickering lights.
The group made there way to the bar and went inside. As they did, Michael couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was Roberto’s bar. The place he was last at before he headed for the airport.
He walked in and, when Roberto saw him, he ran over to give Michael a massive bear hug. “Come in, come in, he said”. They all came in and sat down. Michael and some others checked signal to try and contact family but there was none. “Most likely the dust in the air. Stopping particles getting through.”
“Now, who would like a nice calming cup of hot chocolate?” Amazingly, the gas still worked. Everyone said yes and Roberto got to work. Feeling a little less uneasy, the whole bar chatted, exchanging stories of the night so far.
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About McCarthyMR (41 Articles)
Creative Thinker, Nitpicker, Analytical, Friendly, Sociable, Writer, Author, Fictional World Creator.

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