It isn’t a premonition

It isn’t really a premonition of his death, he just doesn’t like flying.

Never had. Not even as child. One time he was lost in an airport for hours, but that didn’t really account for his fear. Was is it fear?

His partner had always teased him about what a terrible flyer he is. All the flights around the world, all the whirlwind of travel. The crashing headaches mid-flight, the looming panic attacks.

It isn’t a premonition of his death, it isn’t like that at all.

The sun has drifted away. Night has come. It seems a normal flight, on time, almost full. His seat allocation is 10C, which seems like a good omen. It’s an aisle seat, with an empty seat in the middle, and an old man in the seat by the window. Passengers pile their carry-on baggage into the overhead bins. Cool air is blowing on his face. He reaches up and twists the air nozzle shut.

The plane leaves the gate on time. Behind him he can hear a flight attendant talking to the passengers seated in the exit seats near the wing, explaining the responsibility that comes with the extra leg room. Murmurs of understanding and agreement.

The old man dials his wife to say he’s safely on the plane and looking forward to seeing her for dinner.

A young boy rushes towards the forward bathroom only to be stopped by another member of the flight crew, and told to return to his seat.

The old man takes photographs as the flight attendant motions through the safety procedures, pointing out the whistle and the flashing light on the life vest. Oxygen masks will drop from overhead in the event of an emergency.

He spots a quarter on the carpet by the old man’s feet. Normally he’d pick it up, a good luck charm.

The lights dim and the old man takes another shot of the cabin. Arms outstretched with a small digital camera. More snaps out the window as the plane rolls down the tarmac and gathers speed as it lifts into the night.

He first hears the soft beeping near the window. A man across the aisle is listening to music and playing solitaire on his phone. The pressure builds as the plane flies higher.

The beeping spreads under the window, along the wall towards the wing. The overhead seat-belt light snaps off. Passengers unbuckle. A woman stands and opens the overhead bin, searching for her bag.

He takes out his boarding pass, and checks the seat allocation. He turns it over. There are no safety instructions printed on the back.

The beeping grows longer, more insistent. A loud, harsh, piercing cry as the plane shakes and shudders horribly, one wing twisting back to breaking point.

Sound of metal screaming as the wing tears off. His boarding pass is sucked out of his hand. The plane lurches to the right. Passengers are thrown from their seats. Wind howls through the cabin. Everyone is shrieking, wailing.

The on board alarms cry out. The light flicker off.

The plane rears up, motionless for half a breath. Then pitches and rolls and tumbles away, buckling and breaking in three. Baggage and luggage and people spew out.

It isn’t a premonition.

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