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Jessica Cambrook, 29 Aug '12

Lots of people dream about plane crashes, very few are ever involved in them. Even fewer survive them as near death experiences.

Sparks of adrenaline shoot through your veins. Your heart feels like it's going to explode with tension. Your brain whizzes at a million miles a minute trying to understand how your short life can end so soon. Your fingertips feel on fire. All your senses are hyperactive, trying to make the most of your last few minutes alive. In your mind you say goodbye to all those you love.

My class and I were on an 'educational trip' to America. Everyone had stocked up on sweets and snacks from the airport, and they were all high on sugar. The teachers had given up a while ago, the angry blotches still faintly visible on their chests. Nearby passengers kept glaring at my classmates for laughing so loudly while they sat silently beside their spouses.

I'd never liked flying. I clutched the armrests like they would ever be able to save my life if anything happened to the plane. My throat was constricted and I hadn't eaten in a few hours in case I was sick. My stomach churned nervously through the pilot's speech and through the air hostess' funny little robot dance that told us what to do in an emergency. I sat alone, as usual. I didn't have any friends to speak of, and the only girl I'd ever loved, Olivia, was out of my league and sitting on the other side of the plane.

The take off was clunky. As the planes opened, a piercing screech quietened everyone. I think that was when we knew something bad was going to happen. I was already terrified but I knew that take off was supposed to be exciting. Instead, only babies crying broke the silence.

For an hour, we had an uneventful flight. People began chatting hesitantly to each other. Then the plane dipped suddenly. Someone screamed. The air got thinner. My blood ran cold. I glanced to my right as we dove towards the ground, and saw women crying. My fear turned to courage. If I was going to die, like I'd expected with every flight I'd ever taken, I was going to do it under my terms.

I unclipped my belt, ignoring the oxygen mask that collapsed from the ceiling onto my head. What would that do now? I knew that putting your head between your knees was useless and only to protect your teeth so you could be identified in a plane wreckage by your dental records. I threw myself to the next set of chairs and dragged myself along. A vague, apologetic announcement came through the speakers.

"Olivia!" I shouted, but it came out as a heavy whisper.

"Daniel?" Her tear streaked face turned to me. "Wha-"

"I love you, and I have for five years. If we're going to die, I just wanted you to know that." My words came out with each deep breath. She whimpered and looked me in the eye.

"I love you too!" She coughed a laugh and a cry, and although we were skydiving to our doom, I'd never felt so happy, in a warped kind of way.

The plane jerked upwards, and Olivia grabbed for me so I didn't fall to the back of it. We and the pilot came through the speakers to say we would all be okay. Olivia and I stared dumbly at each other while the plane erupted into tearful cheers. She nodded and I knew she had meant what she had said.

Some things change your life, your perceptions on what you always though to be infallible. With some thought in the weeks after our trip I decided that maybe on that fateful day, what I had really gone through was a near life experience.

Comments · 4

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  • Jessica Cambrook said...

    I haven't been on here in a while but I'm back! I hope you enjoyed this and please let me know what you think :)

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Ross Tarran said...

    Welcome back! I did enjoy this, though I thought the first half was better than the second. There is some good description and set-up to the story, but once on the plane things seemed to get a bit rushed and slightly contrived in order to set up the ending/neat final sentence?

    A couple of missing words I think - 'As the planes opened, a piercing screech quietened everyone.' As the plane's something opened? Other one - 'We and the pilot came through the speakers to say we would all be okay.' We hugged and the pilot came through...?

    Anyway, even if not as good as some of your best stuff, great to see the bursts still coming!

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Jessica Cambrook said...

    @Ross Tarran you're embarrassingly right about how badly written this is! I got back from Leeds festival on Monday afternoon and I'm still recovering, I'll write better stuff very soon! Thanks for the feedback :D

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Jessica Cambrook said...

    I agree too, this was my first burst after not writing for a while so it's pretty terrible. That's definitely a compliment coming from you @Liam Volk, writer of comedies, dramas, romances.... Thanks!

    • Posted 10 years ago