T. Dagarim's picture
T. Dagarim from Atlanta, GA December 30, 2015 - 9:13am

We could all use more practice with writing from prompts. With that in mind, I'd like to start a bit of an experiment on here. By writing a couple of paragraphs in each post, I'd be interested to see what kind of crazy story we can collaboratively come up with (the preceding posts are your promts). There's no direction given; this could end up being a comedy, action, horror, mystery or just plain weird.

The rules are simple:

1. Copy and Paste the last line of the post you're continuing from (This is required in case multiple people are writing from the same precedign post at once.).

2. Write a couple of paragraphs, based on all the preceding posts and continue in the canon of the story.

3. If two posts are based on the same preceding post, the next poster has the option of which of the two to use as the prompt.

4. Nothing is off limits. Shock us. Make us laugh, cry, scratch our eyeballs out from the horror. Destiny is yours.

5. Don't worry about it being perfect. This is for fun, and no one will be submitting this for critique. It's your chance to write without inhibitions.

 

I'll start:

It feels exactly like it should. Like you’re completely helpless. Like something you shouldn’t be experiencing and can only happen once. Roughly 840,000 pounds of metal, fabric, fuel, and miniature pretzels angling down in a way that can’t be right. Snack cart snapping the fat lady’s arm that was in the aisle. It’s the culmination of life and the frailty of existence. Life is not flashing before your eyes. You’re not praying. Confessing. Going clear. Meditating. The only deities that exist now are the alarms and oxygen masks which are being supplied even if they appear deflated.

This is the end, the finale, and there would be no way out if this wasn’t expected.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 30, 2015 - 11:34am

"This is the end, the finale, and there would be no way out if this wasn't expected."

Her dreams started like that. She thought she was helpless. Thought she knew what was coming. She wasn't. She didn't. She was too much of a wimp to do it herself. To fight. You can't ask the people you're fighting against to take it easy. You either got the chops or you don't. And she didn't. Maybe she thought it was some middle school romance. She thought because he picked on her that he liked her. She'd keep coming back for more. She'd throw all her worries at his feet and he'd kick them to the side and berate her for being such a whiny bitch. He never called her a bitch, but he thought it. There was no point of adding insult to injury.

But he was positive, this was expected, this would be the end. It was her or him. The bitch and the dick.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money December 30, 2015 - 12:27pm

But he was positive, this was expected, this would be the end. It was her or him. The bitch and the dick.

He reached across the aisle to wake her, and even half asleep she recoils from his touch.

"This is the captain speaking. We're making good time today to Fort Lauderdale and expect to land at 2:30 local time..."

Her eyes wander a moment, bleary. She stares towards the front of the plane, rubbing her arm. 

"Sorry, I had a bad dream. What were you saying?"

"We're going to land early. You should call your parents and let them know. If I have to sit in another airport for another hour... I'll just rent a fucking car."

"You'll rent a car? You can't even pony up for two seats next to each other, but you'll rent a car..."

"Your parents booked this fuckfest flight, Darlene."

"I know, sorry... I had a bad dream."

"So you said."

"I... Thank you, for going along with this. They can be... difficult."

"Call your parents."

"Would you like soda or coffee? Or snacks for purchase?" The drink cart halts between them, locking in place. Darlene shrieks.

"Sorry, I had a bad dream. I'll have a coffee, please."

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 30, 2015 - 12:36pm

"Sorry, I had a bad dream. I'll have a coffee, please."

"Bloody Mary," Nick added.

Darlene gave him a look from the corner of her eye.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"They don't even give you a full shot, I'm not getting drunk."

Her head shook subtly. Angrily.

"Your parents aren't here yet, you don't have to act like you're so perfect yet, sweet heart."

"Will you stop calling me that?"

"Well 'darling' is too confusing, babe."

Darlene rolled her eyes. "I'm going to the bathroom."

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 30, 2015 - 4:51pm

Darlene rolled her eyes. "I'm going to the bathroom."

She waited outside the bathroom. The word Lavatory on a black sticker with white letters was beginning to peel from the door. The red Occupied where the slide-handle was angered her. The more she looked at it, the more she thought of Nick's red shirt. His red Coca-Cola shirt. That fucking shirt and his fucking attitude. When the door handle slid the other way exposing the green, she was chewing at her fingernails.

The man exiting was a plump man. Not so much obese, but full. He wore a red and blue striped shirt with a little polo man of the chest. She could make out the type of nipples he had, most likely slightly pink, slightly brown, puffy, little black hairs surrounding them. They would look weird next to his pale, hairless chest.

By the time she returned to her seat, after the door, the man with the puffy nipples, the smell he left, nick's red shirt, she wasn't sure what she would do if he said any kind of snide comment. Like he always did. He wasn't even her boyfriend. He was a friend. A friend through a friend. Why had she brought him?

"Hey," he said. "I got your coffee. And three creams and four sugars. Just the way you like it." He didn't look at her as he delivered the payload. "Almost beat that steward down when she tried to tell me I could only have two creams. Like I was going to settle for that."

And there it was. Opposite Nick. Horrid, nice, sweet, sour, prick, prince. She deflated when he turned and looked at her.

"What?" he asked with a smug smirk.

That damn smile. Always with that damn gorgeous smile. He knew he had a great smile. And she hated that he knew. "Nothing," she said. She went back to prepping her coffee.

T. Dagarim's picture
T. Dagarim from Atlanta, GA December 30, 2015 - 1:38pm

Darlene rolled her eyes. "I'm going to the bathroom."

"Whatever. I'm going with you." Disguised as a statement.

"God, you just have no clue, do you?"

"That's not what you said last n...Jesus, you can at least put half a shot in. It's not enough that you guys charge extra for checked bags and we're packed in here like fucking sardines with screaming brats. Now I get to pay ten bucks for a mini cup of Bloody Mary mix."

"Sir, I understand that you're frustrated. I need you to calm down and refrain from using that language."

"Would you prefer Mandarin?" He winked. She didn't move. "Sorry, I had a bad dream."

As she took a step forward, Darlene unceremoniously climbs over and fast walks to the bathroom.

"Have a nice shit." She doesn't turn.

"Ladies and gentlemen, as we begin our decent, please return your seats and tray tables to the upright position."

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money January 4, 2016 - 2:02pm

"Ladies and gentlemen, as we begin our decent, please return your seats and tray tables to the upright position."

***

Nick and Darlene disembark with a cold civility. Adrift in a sea of other anxious, got-some-place-to-be passengers, they make their way down the concourse. Nick ducks into a restroom, his "hold up a sec" barely registering to Darlene, but she waits. And fantasizes meeting her parents with "Sorry, Nick couldn't make it, he sends his regards..." or "It was a last minute emergency, Nick's grandmother spontaneously combusted..."

The sea dwindles to a stream, then a trickle as she contemplates whether this whole trip would be better if she were alone. She watches a young girl in a bright red jumper speed by with her high-tech, motorized wheel chair. The girl never breaks eye contact, despite being hooked up to an oxygen tank, maneuvering around empty benches and duty-free kiosks. If there was anyone around, she'd surely have hit someone, she should watch where she's going...

"Oh, it was awful... Nick was hit by one of those new uber-taxis, helping a little old lady try to cross... he may never walk again."

But the way is thankfully clear of people, so she has no issue steering with her hand that's not in a cast...

"No, Nick was in a bar fight and broke his arm when some punk was getting too familiar with me..." Wait, that little girl shouldn't be alone.

And as the girl cuts around a corner, Darlene realizes that she is also alone. Standing next to the restrooms of concourse C in terminal 1. In a major international airport. Alone. No busy passengers on holiday, or flight attendants with their matching uniforms and luggage hurrying to their next connection. No announcements of final boarding calls, or what terminal the flight to Ann Arbor is now leaving from.

Ridiculously, Darlene says, "Hello?" Disappointed that there isn't an echo. Something grabs her shoulder and she shrieks.

"Sorry," says Nick, "I know, bad dream, I forgot. Wow, this place clears out between flights... Let's go to baggage claim. You called your parents, right?"

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 4, 2016 - 3:53pm

"...You called your parents, right?"

Darlene sighed as she pulled her luggage behind. She'd been putting it off. She stooped to dig her phone out of her bag and turned it on, waiting for the thing to boot up. 

Nick shook his head. "You know you don't actually have to turn those off right?"

"Then why do the say to?"

"Because people are stupid."

"You know everything don't you?"

Nick shrugged. "More than the typ-"

The stacatto of gunshots rang through the terminal. "EVERYBODY ON THE GROUND! NOW!" More gunfire.

Darlene looked at Nick, looking back at her. Neither found the words to ask what they should do. Nick's eyes darted around. He nodded at the bathrooms they'd just left and grabbed under Darlene's shoulder. "Call 911."

"Wait, Nick, the bags!"

Nick shoved her into the bathroom. "Forget the luggage!"

"They'll know we're in here!"

"Shit." Nick ran back outside.

Darlene heard more yelling. She fumbled with her phone, hands shaking so violently she tried three times to get the numbers right. 

"911 emergency..."

"You!" 

Darlene looked to the door and saw a man in a ski mask with some kind of rifle. She froze.

"Give me the phone."

Darlene's entire body shook. The man stomped to her and snatched the phone away. "Sorry, my daughter likes pranks." He dropped the device in the nearest toilet. 

Nick appreared in the doorway with another masked man holding him from behind, a handgun pressed to the back of his skull. "Thought you said you were alone in here," the second man growled. 

The man nearest Darlene grabbed her arm and shoved her toward the door. "Move! Either of you tries anything else and I'll make an example out of both of you."

Darlene walked, prodded from behind with the man's rifle, to the terminal to sit opposite Nick. About twenty people were there, looing as pale as Darlene felt, all with a wrist zip tied to the chairs. Some cried, others just stared. 

"Do you have your phone?" Darlene whispered.

Nick reached into his pocket, shaking his head. "They took it." He pulled out a mini bottle of vodka, popped the lid off, and drank.

 

T. Dagarim's picture
T. Dagarim from Atlanta, GA January 5, 2016 - 9:22am

He pulled out a mini bottle of vodka, popped the lid off, and drank.

***

"Did those bastards have an accent?" Whispered through his half-closed mouth.

Darlene stared forward, arms crossed, feet tucked below her seat. Silent.

"Did those ba..."

"German." Came from the seat opposite Darlene. The old man was dressed like he'd be more at home under a bridge than an airport. Thick wool pants and a winter coat.

"The accent was German." Said bluntly, as if Nick had asked what day of the week it was.

Nick arched forward for an explanation, a plan, ready for the old man to tell him what happens next. Why the Germans? The old man stared back. Blank. Motionless. Finished. There would be no plan. No explanation. Nick sat back and patted the outside of his pockets, reached his hands in each one, pulled out an empty mini pretzel packet and let it fall. He reached across the seat and began to pat the outside of Darlene's pockets.

Leaning over, he asked her, "Vodka?"

Silence.

"You think your dream is related?" Nick's tone begged for a response.

The old man's forehead wrinkled and his hand pushed the knit cap off his buzzed head.

"Dream? Sweetie, you had some kind of dream about this?"

"On the plane," Nick responded for her. "Well, not about this. About it crashing."

"Martin," A fragile voice gasped beside the old man. Nick hadn't noticed her before. "Martin, what is this? Why.."

"My wife Claire had the same dream." Martin interuppted her, forehead still wrinkled, expecting an answer.

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. January 10, 2016 - 8:56pm

"My wife Claire had the same dream." Martin interrupted her, forehead still wrinkled, expecting an answer.

Darlene shivered as the old woman's, Claire's, eyes drooped towards the floor, her neck folding to her clavicle, shoulders rolled forward to invert her chest while her hips scooted as far back as the seat would allow, ankles crossed and tucked in the empty space beneath. In seconds she had collapsed and manipulated her already frail frame to the absolute minimum volume. Martin glared at Darlene, his teeth denting the flesh of his lower lip as he leaned forward, knuckles white around the arms of his chair. He didn't blink. He didn't falter. 

Forcing herself to break away from the unmitigated, unwarranted hate radiating across the aisle, Darlene pivoted to look at Nick. His eyes were wide and his jaw slack in an all too familiar expression that was simultaneously dumbfounded and frustrated. He wanted so much from her but was too fucking stupid to comprehend how much she already gave.

Fuck this guy.

Darlene was on her feet, her eyes scanning the rows of seats filling the terminal. The only occupied ones were nestled in this cluster, the other fifty or so were deserted. The men with guns gone. Probably being morons elsewhere. Darlene turned on her heel and briskly walked back the way she'd come.

"What the shit, Darlene?!" Nick hissed from behind her. She didn't break her stride. She was done. She had half a mind to go back and drag Claire with her but that biddy had made her choice. 

The sound of grunting followed by a dull thud was enough to make Darlene slow as she reached the corner. She turned her head to appraise the scene behind her shoulder. In a futile attempt to follow Darlene, Nick had fallen to the floor, the arm still zip tied to the chair wrenched and twisted at an unnatural angle, the humerus probably now living free from the glenohumeral joint. The old man, Martin, had not stopped glaring at her. Even from this distance, his eyes bore into her own. Next to him, Claire had shrunk and twisted into a dusty sprout, cracked and withered and not long for this world; white roots trailing across the floor. Surrounding these three, a herd of twenty interchangeable strangers solemnly regarded their knees, too deep in their own worries to be concerned with the events transpiring around them. Darlene turned her head back around to glance at her own wrist where a white loop of plastic dangled.

"Let me help you."

Startled, Darlene took a step back, her heel echoing sharply against the linoleum as her pale face lurched up to meet this soft, strange voice. It was the girl in the red jumper. Dusky hair framed a wan, freckled face with sunken brown eyes the shape of almonds. Thin, trembling fingers played with the loose strings of her fraying jumper as those sweet doe eyes held Darlene's baby blues. From her peripherals she could see the plastic line attaching the girl's nostrils to the oxygen tank and the dingy cast binding her left arm, her feet perched toe to toe on the foot rest of her wheelchair; atrophied and wasted. Inhaling deeply, Darlene gazed back at the broken child and nodded. She'd never felt safer.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 21, 2016 - 6:05pm

“She'd never felt safer.”
Nick looked at Darlene as she walked away, no stumbled. Was she fucking high? She hadn’t seemed to noticed the deep cuts ripping the zip tie out had done, she kept going on about some dream when there were terrorists running around with guns and now she was staring at some poor disabled girl mubling something about feeling safe.
This whole thing was going very wrong, very fast. He just hoped if he got her out of here she wouldn’t go on that whole ‘not even my boyfriend’ shit again. What did you call it when you only dated and only had sex with each other and spent all your time together and your parents flew us down?
He shook his head, that was a distraction, that his girlfriend didn’t want to admit that they were dating. He had to think on the moment, not be a coward.
He pulled out his keys and started to work on breaking out, hoping he could use them to make a weak spot in his zip tie would let him break it. He was half way through when the old man handed him a small clasp knife. “Good luck son.”
“Thank you, and thank god.”
He looked at it for a second, the dull blue the most beautiful thing he even seen, realized he was delaying again, and cut himself free.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 21, 2016 - 6:06pm

And then I put all of it together since I think that might make it easier to read.

 

 

It feels exactly like it should. Like you’re completely helpless. Like something you shouldn’t be experiencing and can only happen once. Roughly 840,000 pounds of metal, fabric, fuel, and miniature pretzels angling down in a way that can’t be right. Snack cart snapping the fat lady’s arm that was in the aisle. It’s the culmination of life and the frailty of existence. Life is not flashing before your eyes. You’re not praying. Confessing. Going clear. Meditating. The only deities that exist now are the alarms and oxygen masks which are being supplied even if they appear deflated.
This is the end, the finale, and there would be no way out if this wasn’t expected.
Her dreams started like that. She thought she was helpless. Thought she knew what was coming. She wasn't. She didn't. She was too much of a wimp to do it herself. To fight. You can't ask the people you're fighting against to take it easy. You either got the chops or you don't. And she didn't. Maybe she thought it was some middle school romance. She thought because he picked on her that he liked her. She'd keep coming back for more. She'd throw all her worries at his feet and he'd kick them to the side and berate her for being such a whiny bitch. He never called her a bitch, but he thought it. There was no point of adding insult to injury.
But he was positive, this was expected, this would be the end. It was her or him. The bitch and the dick.
He reached across the aisle to wake her, and even half asleep she recoils from his touch.

"This is the captain speaking. We're making good time today to Fort Lauderdale and expect to land at 2:30 local time..."
Her eyes wander a moment, bleary. She stares towards the front of the plane, rubbing her arm.
"Sorry, I had a bad dream. What were you saying?"
"We're going to land early. You should call your parents and let them know. If I have to sit in another airport for another hour... I'll just rent a fucking car."
"You'll rent a car? You can't even pony up for two seats next to each other, but you'll rent a car..."
"Your parents booked this fuckfest flight, Darlene."
"I know, sorry... I had a bad dream."
"So you said."
"I... Thank you, for going along with this. They can be... difficult."
"Call your parents."
"Would you like soda or coffee? Or snacks for purchase?" The drink cart halts between them, locking in place. Darlene shrieks.
"Sorry, I had a bad dream. I'll have a coffee, please."
"Bloody Mary," Nick added.
Darlene gave him a look from the corner of her eye.
"What?"
"Nothing."
"They don't even give you a full shot, I'm not getting drunk."
Her head shook subtly. Angrily.
"Your parents aren't here yet, you don't have to act like you're so perfect yet, sweet heart."
"Will you stop calling me that?"
"Well 'darling' is too confusing, babe."
Darlene rolled her eyes. "I'm going to the bathroom."
She waited outside the bathroom. The word Lavatory on a black sticker with white letters was beginning to peel from the door. The red Occupied where the slide-handle was angered her. The more she looked at it, the more she thought of Nick's red shirt. His red Coca-Cola shirt. That fucking shirt and his fucking attitude. When the door handle slid the other way exposing the green, she was chewing at her fingernails.
The man exiting was a plump man. Not so much obese, but full. He wore a red and blue striped shirt with a little polo man of the chest. She could make out the type of nipples he had, most likely slightly pink, slightly brown, puffy, little black hairs surrounding them. They would look weird next to his pale, hairless chest.
By the time she returned to her seat, after the door, the man with the puffy nipples, the smell he left, nick's red shirt, she wasn't sure what she would do if he said any kind of snide comment. Like he always did. He wasn't even her boyfriend. He was a friend. A friend through a friend. Why had she brought him?
"Hey," he said. "I got your coffee. And three creams and four sugars. Just the way you like it." He didn't look at her as he delivered the payload. "Almost beat that steward down when she tried to tell me I could only have two creams. Like I was going to settle for that."
And there it was. Opposite Nick. Horrid, nice, sweet, sour, prick, prince. She deflated when he turned and looked at her.
"What?" he asked with a smug smirk.
That damn smile. Always with that damn gorgeous smile. He knew he had a great smile. And she hated that he knew. "Nothing," she said. She went back to prepping her coffee.
Darlene rolled her eyes. "I'm going to the bathroom."
"Whatever. I'm going with you." Disguised as a statement.
"God, you just have no clue, do you?"
"That's not what you said last n...Jesus, you can at least put half a shot in. It's not enough that you guys charge extra for checked bags and we're packed in here like fucking sardines with screaming brats. Now I get to pay ten bucks for a mini cup of Bloody Mary mix."
"Sir, I understand that you're frustrated. I need you to calm down and refrain from using that language."
"Would you prefer Mandarin?" He winked. She didn't move. "Sorry, I had a bad dream."
As she took a step forward, Darlene unceremoniously climbs over and fast walks to the bathroom.
"Have a nice shit." She doesn't turn.
"Ladies and gentlemen, as we begin our decent, please return your seats and tray tables to the upright position."
Nick and Darlene disembark with a cold civility. Adrift in a sea of other anxious, got-some-place-to-be passengers, they make their way down the concourse. Nick ducks into a restroom, his "hold up a sec" barely registering to Darlene, but she waits. And fantasizes meeting her parents with "Sorry, Nick couldn't make it, he sends his regards..." or "It was a last minute emergency, Nick's grandmother spontaneously combusted..."
The sea dwindles to a stream, then a trickle as she contemplates whether this whole trip would be better if she were alone. She watches a young girl in a bright red jumper speed by with her high-tech, motorized wheel chair. The girl never breaks eye contact, despite being hooked up to an oxygen tank, maneuvering around empty benches and duty-free kiosks. If there was anyone around, she'd surely have hit someone, she should watch where she's going...
"Oh, it was awful... Nick was hit by one of those new uber-taxis, helping a little old lady try to cross... he may never walk again."
But the way is thankfully clear of people, so she has no issue steering with her hand that's not in a cast...
"No, Nick was in a bar fight and broke his arm when some punk was getting too familiar with me..." Wait, that little girl shouldn't be alone.
And as the girl cuts around a corner, Darlene realizes that she is also alone. Standing next to the restrooms of concourse C in terminal 1. In a major international airport. Alone. No busy passengers on holiday, or flight attendants with their matching uniforms and luggage hurrying to their next connection. No announcements of final boarding calls, or what terminal the flight to Ann Arbor is now leaving from.
Ridiculously, Darlene says, "Hello?" Disappointed that there isn't an echo. Something grabs her shoulder and she shrieks.

"Sorry," says Nick, "I know, bad dream, I forgot. Wow, this place clears out between flights... Let's go to baggage claim. You called your parents, right?"
Darlene sighed as she pulled her luggage behind. She'd been putting it off. She stooped to dig her phone out of her bag and turned it on, waiting for the thing to boot up.
Nick shook his head. "You know you don't actually have to turn those off right?"
"Then why do they say to?"
"Because people are stupid."
"You know everything don't you?"
Nick shrugged. "More than the typ-"
The stacatto of gunshots rang through the terminal. "EVERYBODY ON THE GROUND! NOW!" More gunfire.
Darlene looked at Nick, looking back at her. Neither found the words to ask what they should do. Nick's eyes darted around. He nodded at the bathrooms they'd just left and grabbed under Darlene's shoulder. "Call 911."
"Wait, Nick, the bags!"
Nick shoved her into the bathroom. "Forget the luggage!"
"They'll know we're in here!"
"Shit." Nick ran back outside.
Darlene heard more yelling. She fumbled with her phone, hands shaking so violently she tried three times to get the numbers right.
"911 emergency..."
"You!"
Darlene looked to the door and saw a man in a ski mask with some kind of rifle. She froze.
"Give me the phone."
Darlene's entire body shook. The man stomped to her and snatched the phone away. "Sorry, my daughter likes pranks." He dropped the device in the nearest toilet.
Nick appeared in the doorway with another masked man holding him from behind, a handgun pressed to the back of his skull. "Thought you said you were alone in here," the second man growled.
The man nearest Darlene grabbed her arm and shoved her toward the door. "Move! Either of you tries anything else and I'll make an example out of both of you."
Darlene walked, prodded from behind with the man's rifle, to the terminal to sit opposite Nick. About twenty people were there, looing as pale as Darlene felt, all with a wrist zip tied to the chairs. Some cried, others just stared.
"Do you have your phone?" Darlene whispered.
Nick reached into his pocket, shaking his head. "They took it." He pulled out a mini bottle of vodka, popped the lid off, and drank.
"Did those bastards have an accent?" Whispered through his half-closed mouth.
Darlene stared forward, arms crossed, feet tucked below her seat. Silent.
"Did those ba..."
"German." Came from the seat opposite Darlene. The old man was dressed like he'd be more at home under a bridge than an airport. Thick wool pants and a winter coat.
"The accent was German." Said bluntly, as if Nick had asked what day of the week it was.
Nick arched forward for an explanation, a plan, ready for the old man to tell him what happens next. Why the Germans? The old man stared back. Blank. Motionless. Finished. There would be no plan. No explanation. Nick sat back and patted the outside of his pockets, reached his hands in each one, pulled out an empty mini pretzel packet and let it fall. He reached across the seat and began to pat the outside of Darlene's pockets.
Leaning over, he asked her, "Vodka?"
Silence.
"You think your dream is related?" Nick's tone begged for a response.
The old man's forehead wrinkled and his hand pushed the knit cap off his buzzed head.
"Dream? Sweetie, you had some kind of dream about this?"
"On the plane," Nick responded for her. "Well, not about this. About it crashing."
"Martin," A fragile voice gasped beside the old man. Nick hadn't noticed her before. "Martin, what is this? Why.."
"My wife Claire had the same dream." Martin interrupted her, forehead still wrinkled, expecting an answer.
Darlene shivered as the old woman's, Claire's, eyes drooped towards the floor, her neck folding to her clavicle, shoulders rolled forward to invert her chest while her hips scooted as far back as the seat would allow, ankles crossed and tucked in the empty space beneath. In seconds she had collapsed and manipulated her already frail frame to the absolute minimum volume. Martin glared at Darlene, his teeth denting the flesh of his lower lip as he leaned forward, knuckles white around the arms of his chair. He didn't blink. He didn't falter.
Forcing herself to break away from the unmitigated, unwarranted hate radiating across the aisle, Darlene pivoted to look at Nick. His eyes were wide and his jaw slack in an all too familiar expression that was simultaneously dumbfounded and frustrated. He wanted so much from her but was too fucking stupid to comprehend how much she already gave.
Fuck this guy.
Darlene was on her feet, her eyes scanning the rows of seats filling the terminal. The only occupied ones were nestled in this cluster, the other fifty or so were deserted. The men with guns gone. Probably being morons elsewhere. Darlene turned on her heel and briskly walked back the way she'd come.
"What the shit, Darlene?!" Nick hissed from behind her. She didn't break her stride. She was done. She had half a mind to go back and drag Claire with her but that biddy had made her choice.
The sound of grunting followed by a dull thud was enough to make Darlene slow as she reached the corner. She turned her head to appraise the scene behind her shoulder. In a futile attempt to follow Darlene, Nick had fallen to the floor, the arm still zip tied to the chair wrenched and twisted at an unnatural angle, the humerus probably now living free from the glenohumeral joint. The old man, Martin, had not stopped glaring at her. Even from this distance, his eyes bore into her own. Next to him, Claire had shrunk and twisted into a dusty sprout, cracked and withered and not long for this world; white roots trailing across the floor. Surrounding these three, a herd of twenty interchangeable strangers solemnly regarded their knees, too deep in their own worries to be concerned with the events transpiring around them. Darlene turned her head back around to glance at her own wrist where a white loop of plastic dangled.
"Let me help you."
Startled, Darlene took a step back, her heel echoing sharply against the linoleum as her pale face lurched up to meet this soft, strange voice. It was the girl in the red jumper. Dusky hair framed a wan, freckled face with sunken brown eyes the shape of almonds. Thin, trembling fingers played with the loose strings of her fraying jumper as those sweet doe eyes held Darlene's baby blues. From her peripherals she could see the plastic line attaching the girl's nostrils to the oxygen tank and the dingy cast binding her left arm, her feet perched toe to toe on the foot rest of her wheelchair; atrophied and wasted. Inhaling deeply, Darlene gazed back at the broken child and nodded. She'd never felt safer.
Nick looked at Darlene as she walked away, no stumbled. Was she fucking high? She hadn’t seemed to noticed the deep cuts ripping the zip tie out had done, she kept going on about some dream when there were terrorists running around with guns and now she was staring at some poor disabled girl mumbling something about feeling safe.
This whole thing was going very wrong, very fast. He just hoped if he got her out of here she wouldn’t go on that whole ‘not even my boyfriend’ shit again. What did you call it when you only dated and only had sex with each other and spent all your time together and your parents flew us down?
He shook his head, that was a distraction, that his girlfriend didn’t want to admit that they were dating. He had to think on the moment, not be a coward.
He pulled out his keys and started to work on breaking out, hoping he could use them to make a weak spot in his zip tie would let him break it. He was half way through when the old man handed him a small clasp knife. “Good luck son.”
“Thank you, and thank god.”
He looked at it for a second, the dull blue the most beautiful thing he even seen, realized he was delaying again, and cut himself free.

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Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 23, 2016 - 12:06am

The alarm sounded again. Either he slept right through the snooze period or it was going off every five seconds. He waited for it to stop. Finally. It went off again. But it wasn't the alarm, it was his phone. His work phone.

"Emerson," he mumbled. 

"Paul, we have a situation."

"What is it?" Paul's wife asked, eyes still closed.

Paul held up a hand to wait. "Yeah? Oh Christ, where? Alright, give me twenty." 

His wife rolled over. "What's going on?" 

"Hostage situation at the airport."

"Since when are you a negotiator?"

Paul's head fell in his hands. "Can you get some coffee going while I get dressed?"

She groaned as she forced herself up. "Why are they calling you?"

Paul sighed. "It's the skinheads."

"I thought they done! You said they were done, they all pled out," she protested. "This was supposed to be over!"

Paul stuffed a foot in the first shoe he found. "Apparently not."