"The Curious Flight"
Planes smelled like an old sterile laundry mat. That's the first thought, Belle had while she settled into her seat. It was unfortunate that she didn't get a window seat, but it was what it was. She clutched her journal to her chest, as more passengers settled in. A sterile laundry mat. The scent irked her. An older man, put his cherry colored duffel in the overhead compartment as he made direct eye contact with her.
He smiled, his teeth showing a little. A little carnivorous. It made her nervous. She said a soft prayer hoping he wouldn't be the other passenger next to her. The middle seat came with stranger gambles for a solo flyer. As the man tucked in his shirt and moved to sit in the row in front of her she breathed a sigh of relief. As more people filed in, she began to worry about the passenger who would sit beside her. Were they late? Did they get stopped checking in their luggage? What if they missed the flight? Belle glanced at her watch, the intricate wooden carved handles ticking along slowly. There was no way that this mysterious passenger would make it time. The line of people entering the plane began to dwindle down, and stewardesses started bustling about the cabin. The passenger at the window seat already clocked out, with their bunny sleep mask, and neck pillow askew on their neck. Belle frowned looking at the empty seat beside her. Why would anyone be this late?
At the end of the line, breathing heavily was a woman. Her red jumpsuit stood out like garnish on a bland meal. She was average, plain as can be, but her presentation was dynamic. The large square frames dominated her freckled face. Her hair sprang out like coils of organic honey, bouncy at her every heaving breath. She smiled in relief upon seeing the seat next to Belle.
"AH, I'm so glad I made it!" She breathed out, her soft voice even more startling than her vibrant appearance. The woman clutched her strawberry shaped backpack as she sat down and reached for the safety manual at the back of the seat.
"Oh golly, they serve drinks this flight" she mumbled to herself. Belle raised an eyebrow at the confusing tone in this woman's voice. Was she happy about the drinks or disappointed? The woman looked at Belle smiled.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not an avid drinker but something about flying makes me want a splash of cranberry and vodka to soothe my spirits."
Belle nodded and smiled, and turned back to her journal. This was not about to be a flight friendship. However, when the woman extended out a piece of gum, those hopeful wishes felt weak. "The name is Marissa, I'm a paranormal journalist." Belle took a piece of mint gum, unfolding it slowly.
"Belle, I'm...something". She answered. Unsure of why she withheld the fact she too was a writer. Perhaps it was because paranormal seemed rather extreme. Who knows what type of cookoo this lady was. Marissa laughed, her laugh another startling thing about her. It was rambunctious and melodic. "Belle a something, that's great. Where are you off too?"
"Back home to Maryland" she answered surprised as she did. Marissa persisted on chatting about the joys of old bay, and the Baltimore area. As she chatted away, Belle looked out the window hoping to see the plane leaving soon. The plane jolted gently, and she saw it begin to move backward. Finally, it was take off time. Overhead the safety announcement for the plane played, and thankfully Marissa was silent for that. As the announcement finished up, Marissa began her chatting again.
“I can’t believe I get to experience this phenomenon in person!” She enthusiastically whispered. She directed Belles gaze towards the window. “WE GET TO SEE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” she gleefully whispered yet shouted. A couple passengers looked at her strangely but resumed their own conversations in no time. Belle sunk into her seat embarrassed by this increasingly insane passenger next to her. Marissa kept going on and on, to the point that Belle hardly noticed that the plane had jolted into the sky, and the clouds held onto the wings of the plane now cruising back to Maryland.
“Can I tell you about my research into Spirit Lines?” Marissa asked. Belle didn’t get the chance to utter no, as Marissa began whispering her tale.
I started up my quest into Spirit Lines after browsing through Cheddits paranormal thread. Rumors are building up that the planes are connected to some force inhuman. As I read more and more I realized it's impossible that commercial flights could run so smoothly in every aspect, and that passengers left refreshed not jet-lagged. It behooved me to continue my research, I met countless shady people who reminded me of my failed dating app experiences to gather information. Yet one man actually came around with valid facts, and not the regular shuffle of a cis man beyond his prime. He told me about the family history of Karnal Dew, the current CEO of Spirit Lines. I thought it highly suspect no research into this man could be made, past a couple years ago. I trusted my cherry gut, and many latte cups later I staked out his residence.
I realized after a week of coffee runs, and bad eating what was wrong. This man never slept, and his house was always eerily lit. Like the lights have their own afterimage. For a while I thought I hallucinated strange shadows, but bless caramel lattes with strawberry sweetener I was more than lucid. I took notes on his beautiful well lit house with all its glass windows and spiral imagery. Wooden everything, it was so rustic yet feminine. The energy of that house seemed so intimate. I felt compelled to go in, after my first week while he was out. However, as I stepped to the house something strange happened.
Belle sat up, a little more curious than she wanted to admit, “What happened?”
“That's the thing! I can’t remember, I woke up and I was inside asleep in the guest room feeling like I just finished puberty and looked like a model.” Marissa confessed as she shook her head in shock. She took a voice recorder out of her bag.
“Belle it gets more reckless, my tape recorder got the whole thing.” Marissa pushed the button and soft baritone chanting played, suddenly the plane started to dip. She quickly stopped playing the recording.
Overhead the pilot reassured everyone that it was just turbulence, unusual for this plane but common to the area. Nervous chuckles and laughs resounded throughout the cabin.
“My god...what was that,” Belle asked.
Marissa shook her head, nervously chewing on her lip. “A damned paranormal conspiracy, in all the time this airline has existed no turbulence issues have ever been recorded or reported”, she pushed up her red glasses and adjusted her now slightly disturbed shoulder straps.
“That's...highly suspect...but isn’t it good no flight issues? Safety is everything for airlines” Belle suggested, as she looked around the cabin suspiciously looking for anything odd about the plane.
“Ha! Wait to you hear about their stock...not one drop only raises. Companies have offered to buy out the company but that odd man Karnal won’t sell jack of his shares or holds to anyone. He possesses the wealth of this airline devilishly yet all the workers under him are paid well.”
“That doesn’t sound bad either, why research a good company with great stats so heavily then?” Belle asked. At this point, she was curious into the motivations to out a man with nothing but good to his name.
Marissa scoffed and put her recorder back in her bag gently. She looked towards the window and a slow smirk spread across her face. She pointed and whispered,
“Cause I don’t think the plane should have a green haze over top of it this high in the sky.”
Belle turned towards the window. Her eyes widening as she noticed the green haze that engulfed the body of the plane, and the extended wing she could see. Panic rose in her heart, was the plane malfunctioning? She was trapped in the sky with who knows what, next to a glee ridden paranormal journalist who finally yet fatefully had proven her research accurate.
“We are in for quite a paranormal flight Belle! Isn’t it riveting, makes my heart race at what lives in the plane!”
It was at this moment that Belle realized, she should never have wished for her right side passenger companion to make this flight so hard. She groaned as her gaze strayed back to the window and watched the green haze that engulfed the plane. She was stuck.
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