Red Eye

Long-haul air travel is a regular part of our modern lives, a necessity for many, a luxury for some and an endurance test for all who choose to take a seat.  Modern air travel is safe and efficient but what happens when the unexpected comes knocking at 30,000 feet? Here for your consideration is the story of Jackson Yemma, a man caught up in events outside of his control.

Gabriella 2.35am
You in the air yet?

Jackson
Just got through check-in. Takes forever these days.

Gabriella
Security bad?

Jackson
Almost an hour and a half. Weird though.

Gabriella
Why's that?

Jackson
Double checking everyone's ID and taking their temperatures.

Gabriella
That is weird. Someone ill?

Jackson
Don't think so. Everyone got on OK.

Gabriella
What's your ETA?

Jackson
Sydney to Rome. Looking at 22 hours not including stopover in Singapore.

Gabriella
Hell. That is a long haul.

Jackson
Yeah. Can't pass quick enough. You got everything ready?

Gabriella
Oh yeah. Tickets and transport to Venice. Should be a great trip.

Gabriella
Did you get your Euros?

Jackson
Sure did. Looking forward to seeing you.

Jackson 2.46am
Boarding call. I'll text you once I'm in the air.

Jackson 3.18am
Finally up. Delayed by another cargo check.

Gabriella
What happened?

Jackson
No idea. Got the call for boarding then had to wait in the plane. Blue uniforms swarming all over the cargo hold.

Gabriella
All done now?

Jackson
Yeah, finally. In the air and on my way. See you in 22.

Gabriella
Can't wait.

Lewis 4.21am
Hey Jacks. You still awake?

Jackson
Trying not to be. What's up?

Lewis
You got any bars there?

Jackson
I'm answering you aren't I? Better reception here than back in Sydney.

Lewis
Bril. Seen what's going on?

Jackson
I'm sitting in a plane at 30 thousand feet in the dead hours of the morning. You'll have to enlighten me.

Lewis
Biggest news since the moon landing.

Jackson
This is not another of your UFO fakes is it?

Lewis
Oh, ye of little faith. This is legit and its gunna freak you out.

Lewis
UFO's crashed in the mountains near Lithgow. Army and Cops all over it.

Jackson
Another balloon?

Lewis
Not this time. News channel's got the footage. Wreckage all over the place.

Jackson
How do they know its a UFO.

Lewis
Because they found aliens.

Jackson
Now I know you're bullshitting me.

Lewis
You kidding. Internet has gone berserk. Have a look yourself and get back to me.

Jackson 4.42am
OK. I'm convinced. Sure looks real.

Lewis
You better believe it. People are saying there was more than one.

Jackson
What happened to it?

Lewis
Ran into a fighter over Richmond Airforce Base then spiraled west into the mountains.

Jackson
Anybody see it get hit?

Lewis
Only a couple of thousand people.

Jackson
Holy shit.

Lewis
You ain't whistling. Wait a sec. Something on the news.

Jackson 4.56am
You there Lewis?

Lewis
Sorry Jacks. Got caught up in the story.

Jackson
What's happened?

Lewis
News conference. Airforce says two more have gone down. Tried to attack an Airbus earlier in the AM.

Jackson
What happened to them?

Lewis
Shot down. Fighters got em.

Lewis
Suits are saying there's no further danger. Don't see how they could know that.

Jackson
Where did they find the aliens?

Lewis
Inside the UFO that went down in the mountains. Other two crashed into the sea.

Lewis
No pictures yet just confirmation that they had bodies.

Jackson
That's screwed up.

Lewis
No kidding. I'll let you know if anything else comes up.

Jackson
Thanks.

Jackson 5.14am
Lewis. You still up?

Lewis
Yeah. Watching the news.

Jackson
Things are getting weird here.

Lewis
What's up?

Jackson
Cabin crew are acting sketchy.  All service one minute then crowding around the forward steward station the next.

Lewis
What are they doing?

Jackson
Not sure yet. One of them was on the internal phone then called all the others to her.

Jackson
Looks like they're serious worried about something.

Jackson
Hold on. Some guy has just walked up to the cabin crew. Flashed a badge and a gun.

Lewis
A gun?

Jackson
Hell yeah. Looks pretty nondescript. Most of them seem relieved though. Must be an Air Marshall.

Lewis
You sure of that?

Jackson
Yeah. Took control pretty quick. Badge did the job. Something's definitely going on.

Lewis
What's happening now?

Jackson
Not sure. Marshall's gone back to his seat. Crew is getting ready to serve up breakfast.

Jackson 5.44am
Lewis.

Lewis
Something happened?

Jackson
Stewardess just came down the aisle and spoke with the Air Marshall.

Lewis
What'd she say?

Jackson
Couldn't hear. Just whispered in his ear. Got him moving though.

Lewis
How?

Jackson
Went straight up the front of the plane. Pulled across a curtain.

Lewis
See anything?

Jackson
Sure did. Curtain wasn't fully closed. Saw him open a hatch.

Lewis
To the outside?

Jackson
No, you idiot. Into the floor. Must be to the luggage hold.

Lewis
What did he do?

Jackson
Pulled his gun and climbed in.

Lewis
That's intense.

Jackson
No joke. Hasn't come out yet.

Lewis
How long has he been in there?

Jackson
About ten minutes. One of the stewards passed him a torch just a few minutes ago.

Lewis
That is weird. Strange shit happening here too.

Jackson
What now?

Lewis
All the media outlets are going silent.  Can't get anything off the net.

Jackson
What about your UFO buddies. Any joy there?

Lewis
A few are still reporting but even they're getting thin on the ground.

Jackson
What do you think's happening?

Jackson
Hold on. The Air Marshall's coming out of the hold.

Jackson
Yeah. He's looking worried. He's found something.

Lewis
What?

Jackson
Dunno. Pointing his gun down the hole and telling the crew to be quiet.

Jackson
He's listening for something.

Lewis
Can you hear anything?

Jackson
Nothing. Wait up. He's on a wall phone. I think he's talking with the Captain.

Lewis
That doesn't sound good.

Jackson
No it doesn't.

Jackson
Crew is backing away from the entrance. There's something there all right.

Lewis
Maybe you should get to the back of the plane.

Jackson
No point. If something goes wrong it won't matter where I am.

Jackson 5.51am
Now it's getting freaky.

Lewis
What now?

Jackson
Got fighter jets on both sides of the plane. Passengers are getting spooked.

Lewis
Jets got two rudder surfaces or just one?

Jackson
What?

Lewis
Have a look at the ass-ends of the fighters. Two fins or one?

Jackson
Hold on. Two I think.

Lewis
They'd be Super Hornets. You still over land?

Jackson
I think so. Pretty dark out.

Lewis
What is the crew doing?

Jackson
Telling everybody to calm down.

Lewis
Working?

Jackson
Not for a moment. The jets are keeping damn close. I can see their outlines now against the clouds.

Lewis
You're in deep doodoo there Jacks.

Jackson
You think? Any news at your end?

Lewis
Nothing at all.  It's like everything about the crashes has suddenly disappeared.

Lewis
Hold on. TV says there'll be a special bulletin at 6.30.

Lewis
Heard from Gabrielle?

Jackson
Not at all. I'll see if I can get a hold of her.

Jackson 5.56am
Gabrielle?

Gabrielle
Hey Jacks. You OK?

Jackson
Yeah. Got any news?

Gabrielle
About what?

Jackson
About the UFO crashes around Sydney.

Gabrielle
What?

Jackson
The alien bodies they've found?

Gabrielle
LOL. You're having a laugh aren't you. Did Lewis put you up to this?

Jackson
You haven't heard?

Gabrielle
I don't know what you're talking about. Are you OK?

Jackson
Must be the altitude. Sorry. I'll get back to you when we've landed.

Gabrielle
No worries. Hear from you then.

Jackson 6.03am
Lewis.

Lewis
Anything from Gabrielle?

Jackson
She knew nothing about anything. I felt like a right fool.

Lewis
See that's where this is all screwed up. Only an hour ago it was all world news. CNN, ABC, FOX. Couldn't shut them up.

Jackson
What's happened?

Lewis
No bleeding clue. Might as well not have happened for all the coverage its getting.

Lewis
Anything there?

Jackson
Air Marshall's still guarding the stairs. Wait. Something is happening now.

Lewis
Well tell me.

Jackson
Marshall's gesturing into the cargo hold. Something's coming up.

Lewis
What is it?

Jackson
WTF

Lewis
What?

Jackson
Holy shit. It's a goddamn alien.

Lewis
What?

Jackson
I kid you not. Tall, grey and big black eyes. Exactly what you'd expect. A bloody alien!

Lewis
Crap!

Lewis
What's it doing?

Jackson
Standing in front of the Air Marshall. Its raising its arm towards him.

Lewis
Jesus. WTH.

Jackson
Just a min...

Lewis 6.09am
WTF Jacks. You still there?

Jackson 6.10am
Sorry. Phone went screwy.

Lewis
What's happening?

Jackson
All chaos here. Alien tried to take control of the Air Marshall. Had him too for a sec.

Jackson
Stiff as a board he was. Then one of the stewardesses clobbered the thing with a steel tray. Toppled it like a tree.

Lewis
Where is it now?

Jackson
Three rows up. Trussed up like a Christmas turkey. Stewardess put a bag over its head.

Lewis
Is it awake?

Jackson
Can't tell. Air Marshall's got his gun on it though.

Jackson
Plane's turning. PA says we're returning to Sydney.

Lewis
So much for the concert.

Jackson
Yeah. Sucks but I'll get another flight. Maybe see Gabrielle next week.

Lewis
OMG dude, you are going to be famous.

Jackson
Why?

Lewis
You kidding? You're on the same flight as a freaking alien. The press'll go crazy.

Jackson
Well that's all I need.

Lewis
Don't be a smuck. This is a big deal. You'll be able to name your own price for your story.

Jackson
Maybe. Looks like all the excitement's over though. Phone's a bit dicey. Can you ring Gabrielle and let her know?

Lewis
Sure. That special broadcast starts at 6.30. I'll give her a bell once its over.

Jackson
Thanks. Should be back in Sydney in 3 hours.

Lewis
I'll be at the airport. Can't wait to see how you handle the press.

Jackson
Don't expect much.

Jackson 9.27am
Lewis.

Lewis
Hey Jacks. Too bad about your flight.

Jackson
Yeah. They've got us in a transit lounge. Waiting for some suit to let us know what's going on.

Lewis
Heard from the airline. They've already apologised for the engine failure.

Jackson
What engine failure?

Lewis
Funny guy. Said they couldn't account for the fire but would refund all passengers.

Jackson
But there was no engine fire.

Lewis
Were you asleep? Its been all over the news.

Jackson
What about the alien?

Lewis
What alien?

Jackson
The one that had stowed aboard the plane. Got hit with the tray?

Lewis
OK. Now you're not making any sense at all. Just make sure you get that refund. Gabrielle's waiting in Rome.

Jackson
What's going on. What about the UFOs?

Lewis
I think someone must have hit you with a tray. I have no idea what you're talking about.

Jackson
Where are you at the moment?

Lewis
Just walking into the terminal. I'll be waiting at the gates.

Jackson
Great. Got one hell of a story to tell you.

Jackson
Should only be a few minutes. Some guy in a black suit has come in. He's holding up something in his hand. Telling everybody to look into the light.

THE END

Comments