Pauline did not like flying. She always felt so uncomfortable knowing that there was so much distance between her feet and the earth’s surface below. There was just a carpet, some metal, the luggage area and again metal and then so much empty space until the ground came up and hit the plane when they landed. She was on the return flight from London to Zürich, going home again, so at least when the plane eventually touched down it was a matter of 2 hours until she again sat in her own four walls telling her husband and children about the wonderful days she had spent in London.
She would have preferred an excursion by train to Paris. Today the distance was just a matter of hours with the special fast trains. Bern-Paris was reduced to five hours the countryside shooting past forming a blurred picture, but the village first aid society had decided the annual journey this year was to be London as the club had now been in existence for twenty-five years and something special could be organised.
Her best friend, Mary had all sorts of ideas for the visit. A visit to the Medical history section of the science museum in London was planned, as well as the natural history museum where they saw the giant bone constructions of the prehistoric monsters that once roamed the earth. Of course the Black Museum at Scotland Yard where the Metropolitan police of London had their headquarters was also included showing some memorabilia of the various murder crimes committed in the past. Their hotel was in the West End of London so a theatre visit was made as well as many shopping expeditions and tours to the various sites of London. The journey was enjoyable and now she was sitting next to Mary on the plane on the return journey. She managed to survive the journey to London by occupying herself reading the various tourist books that had been organised. Now, on the return journey she decided to distract herself by going through the photos she had made on her digital camera and studying her fellow passengers.
Precautions were now quite heavy at the airport. You were no longer allowed to take any fluids with you on a journey, they could be explosives. The terrorists were up to every trick in the book. Your handbag was x-rayed and she also found that the luggage was also closely examined. She was one of the passengers whose case was selected for a random search, although she had nothing to hide. The only purchases she had made in England were presents for her family. Her son was looking forward to his original football shirt from his favourite club and her husband had given a list of music she should bring with various English music groups he like listening to.
“Mary, those men over there looks a bit suspicious.” She said pointing to two men dressed in the national clothes of their country, probably Arabs.
“Pauline, stop worrying, seeing a terrorist behind every person who looks different will not help you or me to relax. We live in a small village, but if we lived in one of the large towns such as Zürich you would see people like that every day.”
“Well, if you say so. Did you see the Israelis on the other side of the plane. Now and again they stand up and pray. They have even kept their large black hats on and have such curly hair. I hope a fight does not start.”
Mary had to laugh to herself. Pauline was always a bit on the anxious side, although when it came to acting in emergencies in her capacity as a first aid assistant, she was one of the best. She remained calm and was a great help.
“We are now landing Pauline so you can relax, as soon as the wheels touch the ground we will be safe and you can forget your ideas about other passengers on the plane and what could happen. Just give me your hand and you will be fine.”
Pauline did not like to tell Mary that worse than being in the air was the landing. The planes always seemed to hit the runway with such a bump that all her bones were shaken. She looked out of the window and saw the ground coming nearer at a terrific speed. She decided to close her eyes, cross her fingers and hope for the best.
She and Mary and her other colleagues were soon walking to the luggage claim at the airport. There was one of those long walkways in front of them. Christine, Margot, Jill and Joyce showed her the way. They said it went much quicker than walking at the side. Pauline was glad as she still felt a bit shaky on her feet.
“Just give me your hand again” said Mary “you can steady yourself on me. You do seem a bit pale. We landed at the dock furthest away from the airport building so the walkway is a bit longer than the usual one.
Pauline was surprised. It seemed the walkway was a never ending length.
“Well we will leave you now” said Christine and Margot “we have decided to walk the rest on our own. Look after yourself Pauline, we will see you one day again and they disappeared in the opposite direction. Indeed it seemed they were suddenly surrounded by darkness.”
“Where have they gone?” Pauline asked Mary
“They have taken another path” said Mary.
“But it seems so dark in the direction they are walking? Answered Pauline “although if you concentrate you can see a bright light in the distance.”
Suddenly it was Jill and Joyce that were walking alongside Pauline.
“Where is Mary” asked Pauline “she was holding my hand and suddenly she disappeared.”
“I think she has gone in the same direction as Christine and Margot, but don’t worry, you will see her again sometime later. Just stay on the walkway Pauline and you will soon return to your family. We will stay with you” and the three women stayed on the walkway together, Pauline, Jill and Joyce. Pauline was suddenly blinded by a bright light.
“So again”, a voice said” but his time stronger, “we must bring her back.”
Pauline felt a massive spasm go through her body. It reminded her of the time when her hairdryer broke and the wires fused together. “Just like an electric shock” she thought and the bright light gave way and she saw a figure standing next to her dressed in white. “Now why dressed in white? Airport personnel usually wear blue uniforms” and things seemed strange.
“She’s back” a voice said in the distance coming from the direction of the figure dressed in white. “What’s her name. It must be on her passport and flight ticket. Pauline, Pauline can you hear me just be calm, you are in hospital.”
She heard a voices saying “Goodbye Pauline, we will meet again one day” it was Mary, Christine and Margot, and then everything went black again. The next thing she remembered was holding her husband’s hand. She was laying in a hospital bed and he was sitting next to her.
“What happened? where am I?”
“Mary, just keep calm. We are so glad to have you. Some of your friends did not come through when the plane crashed.”
“John”, she said to her husband “please tell me the truth”
“The plane you were in went over the runway at the airport, the brakes were faulty and it crashed into the forest at the side of the runway. A fire broke out. The rescue staff was quickly at the scene. You and Mary were catapulted out of the aircraft and you were both holding hands.”
John had to pause, wiping the tears from his eyes. The only survivors from your group were yourself, Jill and Joyce. We thought we had lost you, but the doctors brought you back and made your heart start beating again.
Pictures to Words