01 Feb Madness Above the Clouds
The plane shook and dipped slightly, my fingers gripping the arm rest so hard I could feel my nails digging into the fake leather. A soft ding sound filled the cabin as the seat belt lights came on overhead. I hadn’t taken mine off since we boarded, light or no light.
“Nervous flyer eh?” Said the man next to me, a portly gentlemen with thinning grey hair and a disheveled business suit.
“How can you tell?” I asked him sarcastically and with a timid smile.
“Well, you’re sweating bullets, white as a ghost, and gripping that arm rest like someone is gonna try to rip you off of it.”
“Yeah, I’m not great at the whole flying thing.”
He clapped me on the shoulder, I wasn’t really okay with strangers invading my personal space, but let it go. I had to spend another 4 hours next to his man after all.
“You’re not alone my friend.” He laughed and held up his hand exposing his fingernails, they had been chewed to nubs. “My nervous habit is chewing my nails, every flight I wear em down to nothing.”
I smiled and nodded doing my best to look friendly. I honestly couldn’t give a shit about this guy’s nervous habits, especially not while the plane was still bouncing up and down. I heard something shift in the compartment above me and returned my gaze to the portly nail biter. He was still smiling all friendly like, as if he were waiting for a response.
“Tom.” I said finally letting go of the arm rest and watching my knuckles turn from white to a softer pink as I reached my hand out to the man. He reciprocated the gesture and wrapped his pudgy clammy hand around mine giving it a hardy shake.
“Jerry!” He said jovially. “What are the odds eh?”
I raised an eyebrow, confused for a moment. Then I realized what he meant and let out a genuine chuckle.
“Yeah, that’s pretty funny.” I meant it, but it still sounded disingenuous. I returned my gaze to the window on my right. I pondered for a second why I always chose the window seat on planes when I was terrified to my core of flying. I always regretted it. Still, the shade stayed up the whole flight. I looked out into the darkness, nothing surrounding us but clouds in shades of grey. The shaking finally stopped and I did my best to let my body relax.
“So why are you heading to London?” Jerry chimed in again, thinking he’d made an inflight friend. I turned my head back in his direction and looked down the aisle, the flight attendant was still rows and rows away from me. I needed a drink bad.
“Job Interview.” I said. “I’ve always wanted to move overseas and…”
The plane shook again, hard this time. I watched the flight attendant lose her footing a bit and nearly knock her drink cart into one of the passengers. The lights were dimmed in the planes cabin, and I could swear I saw a flash of green light as the plane shook. I turned my head to look out the window again and saw nothing.
“Just a bit of chop.” I heard Jerry say next to me. I wasn’t sure if he was reassuring me or himself.
Suddenly the intercom crackled to life:
“Hi folks, this is your Captain speaking. We’ve hit some heavy turbulence hear so we’d like to ask everyone to stay in their seats with their seat belts fastened and we’ll try to break through this as quick as we can for you.”
My hands returned to the arm rests and I watched Jerry sink his teeth into his thumbnail.
The intercom came on again:
“All flight attendants to their seats please.”
I watched as the flight attendants did their best to calmly walk to their seats in the forward and back sections of the cabin and buckle up. None of them looked nervous though, so I did my best to try not to panic. The plane continued to shake, the dim overhead lights briefly flickered as the plane took a dip that made my heart fly up into my throat.
“Just a little chop.” I heard Jerry repeat, now convinced that he was certainly talking to himself.
I thought to myself how much I would have preferred not to have a fellow flying phobic person sitting next to me in that moment. I moved my attention from him back to the window, neither was a good option, but I really couldn’t watch Jerry freak out right now. As I stared out into the dim moonlit sky I saw something. Only a brief glimpse but whatever it was, was massive and drenched in shadow. I caught only the tail end of it before it dipped below the clouds and out of my sight. I pressed my face up against the window hoping I could catch it again, but it was gone.
Suddenly the plane rocked again. It was even harder this time, the cabin lights went off for a full 5 seconds as the plane shook more violently than it had yet. I heard a woman scream, a baby cry, a flight attendant called out asking everyone to remain calm. I was not calm at all, my heart thumped at a mile a minute. A green light filled the darkened cabin, just like the flash from before, this time it lasted longer though maybe 10 seconds, before it was replaced once again by the normal white glow of the cabin lights.
The rocking stopped and the motion of the plane began to calm. The intercom came to life again:
“All right folks, it looks like we are through the worst of it. At this time I would like to ask everyone to stay in their seats and keep their seat belts fastened though. Flight attendants will come by and check on everyone, and take your drink orders in just a few moments.”
I heard Jerry let out a huge wheeze next to me. Perhaps it was supposed to be a sigh of relief but I couldn’t really tell.
“Ah crap.” Jerry said, getting my attention finally. He was sucking on his thumb like he was trying to save the last few precious drops of BBQ sauce from a particularly good rack of ribs.
“What?” I asked with a curious tone over a concerned one.
“I bit my finger, I guess I chewed too far down, drew blood.”
I thanked whatever god existed for keeping him from taking the thumb from his mouth and showing me. That was not a sight I wanted to see. I turned head back towards the window, the air outside had taken on a green tint. Something barely noticeable, but if you looked hard enough it was there.
“Yeah…you…gotta…be careful about that.” I said to Jerry via the window, the massive black shape had returned. I could see it just below the surface of the clouds, not visible enough to tell what it was. My mind tried to reconcile it with something I understood.
A blimp? Not this fucking high, at least I didn’t think so. Whatever it was, it was bigger than the 747 by a long shot and flying just below us.
“What are you staring at?” I heard Jerry ask from behind me.
“I’m not sure.” My voice was quiet and trailed off at the end of my sentence. I turned away from the window and back at Jerry who was looking at me with wild panicked eyes.
“You’re not….sure?” His voice when a couple octaves higher on the word sure. “What do you mean you’re not sure?”
“There’s something….” I trailed off as I stared back out the window looking for a sign of the shadow. It appeared to have dipped back below the clouds again. “Ya know, never mind, it’s probably just my eyes playing tricks on me.”
“Nerves.” He said again, putting his bleeding thumbnail back in his mouth. “Just a bad case of the…”
A scream broke the quiet of the cabin and cut off Jerry at the end of his though. Without removing my seat belt I strained upward to try and catch sight of what was happening. Jerry did the same and I could see just about every passenger in my row trying to catch a glimpse of what was going on.
I heard thrashing around 5 or 6 isles ahead of me, and then saw a man spill out into the isle gripping a blonde girl by the hair. He was screaming at her, but I couldn’t make out the words. Several other men got up and tried to restrain him, he fought hard against them too. I saw one take an elbow to the face, another a kick to the knee. I nearly removed my seat belt, but before I had the chance the plane rocked again hard, all the people standing in the isle lost their footing and fell slamming into the seats. I could hear the flight attendants calling the captain, and telling everyone to return to their seats and put their seat belts back on.
The plane continued shaking and heard someone behind me let out another scream. I attempted to crane my neck backwards but on my way caught sight of Jerry, he had resumed the campaign to rid himself of the skin on his thumb. He seemingly didn’t care any longer and blood streaked his lips and stained his teeth.
“Just a bad case of the nerves.” He said.
I dropped back into my seat, listening to commotion break out in front of me and behind me. I heard screaming, mumbling, a baby started crying somewhere. The plane continued to dip and shake and despite my curiosity as to what may be happening around me, fear rooted me to my seat. The lights flickered off again leaving the plane dark for what felt like forever. The intercom fired up again and the familiar voice of the captain filled the air, clearly audible despite the panicked loud voices all around me.
“Attention folks, it looks like things are getting worse up here. I would ask that everyone remain in their seats and keep their seat belts on to avoid any accidents. I would also ask that someone please, please, for the love of god shut that fucking baby up.”
The last part….he said it like he would make any other announcement. Calm and collected. I felt my chest tighten when I heard it, something was very, very wrong. Jerry’s mouth was caked in his blood now, most of the tip of his thumb mangled by his own teeth. He kept repeating the same phrase over and over again.
“Just a bad case of the nerves.”
The baby continued screaming somewhere off to my left. I sympathized, I wanted to scream myself. The blonde girl rushed past me down the aisle and towards the bathroom, she was crying her eyes out. One of the flight attendants attempted to stop her, but she flew past and locked the door behind her. It seemed as if the other brawlers had returned to their seats, the instigator violently thrashing against his seat belt. I was unsure if someone else had strapped him in or not, I hadn’t been looking.
The cabin lights were flickering on now, rather than off. It seemed the cabin was filled with darkness. People would occasionally shout across the isles to other people, or at the flight attendants. Nasty slurs that seemed to come out of nowhere.
“You stupid bitch I’ll fucking kill you.”
“Shut that god damned baby up already!”
“I should toss you out of the emergency exit you sodding cunt!”
Other people just mumbled to themselves. Repeating mantras like poor Jerry his formally friendly disposition replaced by a blank stare fixated on the seat in front of him. The plane continued its dance in the sky, shaking like a whore in church.
I stared out the window again, the shadows were back. More brazen about their trips above the clouds. There was three I could see, but still not make out clearly in the darkness. I strained my eyes staring at them. They seemed to be writhing shapes of darkness, unable to be touched by the moonlight…and I could have sworn, that I saw wings.
The dipped below the clouds again and out of my sight, I kept my face pressed against the glass. I was unsure if the actions of my fellow passengers were more or less unsettling than the idea that we were not alone in the sky.
When I did finally return my attention to what was going on around me, convinced that the shadows were gone, I noticed the flight attendants had given up their meager attempts to control the passengers or keep them calm. I could only see one from where I was sitting and she was sitting in one of the empty seats across the aisle from me. She was mumbling to herself in some nonsense language. Hearing it made my blood run cold, people were losing their minds, and the whole plane was going insane.
The intercom again the sound of it crackling to life made me feel sick and filled me with terror:
“Attention passengers, we are not going to be okay…we are not going to make it…so fragile we are…nothing in the face of the gods…”
The captain’s words were unsettling enough, but the way he sounded….his voice was too low. Like he was winding down, a dying watch.
“You may as well just give up….just tear each other apart for all I care…just tear…just eat each other….”
. His voice, robotic, droning, and hopeless. As the intercom clicked off the panic and insanity that erupted around me was nothing short of chaos. It was as if this was all lying just beneath the surface of most of the passengers and they were just awaiting the go ahead to start brutalizing each other. The screams still ring in my ears, it was the sound of death reaping dozens of people at once. I shrank in my seat, hiding behind Jerry as best as I could. He still sat blankly staring at the seat back in front of him repeating those same words with blood dripping down his chin, the bone at the tip of his thumb exposed.
“Just a bad case of the nerves.”
In the distance the screaming baby was finally silenced. An eruption of laughter came forth like a wave, followed by more screams. I heard more muttering in gibberish, like some alien language I could barely recognize as speech, followed my more screams of terror. I saw a few people like me, some trying to run for the restrooms to lock themselves in, others shrinking in their seats in an attempt to avoid the madness. I watched as the flight attendant across from me was tackled in the isle right next me. She reached out her hand, her eyes begging me for help as she was pinned down by an aging Japanese business man. He sunk nicotine stained teeth into her throat cutting off her screams and tore loose as much flesh as he could fit in his mouth.
They were literally eating each other.
Another flash of green filled the cabin, the plane struck turbulence again. Some people screamed in absolute terror, others cheered. I wasn’t sure in that moment if the insane were praying that this plane go down into the ocean, or the sane were.
I looked away, back out the window that window. I wish I hadn’t, I wish I had just shut my eyes. Hell I wish I had run out into those isles and let the lunatics tear me apart. Instead, I decided to one more time look out that damned window.
I saw the things again, this time not dipping below the clouds, or disappearing from my sight. They were right next to the plane, keeping pace. The sounds around me seemed to vanish as I looked at the horrid things fly alongside us. Writhing masses of tentacles with wings, something that no logical mind could accept as real. Their shadow appendages reached out towards the damned airplane. The tentacles seemed to part on the one closest to me, opening like into a great eye. It had three irises, three pupils, two on top, and one on bottom. It glowed a maddening sickly green color. Looking at it made my head hurt and filled me with a dread that was not even matched by the things going on around me.
Another flash of green filled the cabin, then a horrid sound. Like the roaring of some ancient demon sent forth to drag us all to hell. The plane continued to take a beating from the turbulence, the oxygen masks dropped the lights continued to flicker, and baggage flew out from the compartments. I watched a red haired man, his face covered in gore, flesh hanging from his teeth take a large carry on to his face. I heard his neck snap even in the chaos, or at least I thought I heard it. The plane dipped sending bodies living and dead sprawling down the aisles, the drink carts slamming into whatever corpse blocked their way, sending small bottles flying everywhere.
In the midst of the chaos, Jerry unbuckled his seat belt and looked at me one last time.
“Just a bad case of the nerves.”
He stood and walked into the madness. I saw someone leap over the seat in the dark as he stepped into the isle and drag him away into the maelstrom of violence.
The plane seemed to be falling out of the sky. As it jostled me around my face ended up once again pressed against the window. I heard the screams, laughter, and insane ramblings continue behind me as I stared out into the void like eye of the creature that kept pace with the plane.
The darkened cabin filled with a dim glow again, quick green flashes lit up the night sky briefly illuminating the writhing shadow creature that flew next to us. Filling my eyes with horrors that I either can’t or won’t recall.
A sound like screeching metal reverberated in my ears, and then a screech of something terribly inhuman. I watched the things suddenly break away from us and dip back down below the clouds, their tentacles flailing about as they vanished into the dark mist below us. The sound grew louder and louder, culminating in something that I thought at first was one of the engines exploding. I readied myself for the plane to just start plummeting out of the sky, or giant hole to open up and the side and start engulfing seats in a wave of fire.
Instead, the insanity that had filled the cabin for what felt like hours ended even more abruptly than it had arrived. The gibbering mad speaking, the screams of pure lunacy, the laughter of people going mad, all gone. Replacing them were calls for help, screams of terror, and people sobbing uncontrollably.
Even the plane itself seemed to be loosed from the grip of whatever had taken hold of us. Starting to right itself, the cabin still shook, but no more than you would expect from normal turbulence.
I heard the intercom come to life once more, this time I could barely make out what was being said of the sounds of the other passengers screaming for help, or out in pain. It wasn’t the voice of the captain anymore though, and I shuddered to think of what happened to him. I guessed the co-pilot had taken over the flight. He talked about getting us on the ground as soon as possible, he talked about tending to the wounded, he asked the flight attendants to sound off so he could know how much of his crew was alive or uninjured.
I was frozen, catatonic. Once we finally landed in London, even as the plane filled with medics in hazmat suits, doctors, and cops; I sat there, incapable of moving from my seat, my seat belt still firmly fastened as if it were the only thing keeping me from plummeting into madness. When I was finally pulled from my seat I screamed, it was all I could do, just scream and scream and scream, until I blacked out.
I was questioned over and over again, always telling the same story and always being told the same thing in response. Doctors, FBI, Interpol, all of them regurgitating the same bullshit. They said it had been a terrorist attack, that hallucinogenic drugs had been pumped into the plane cabin, that in order to keep the world from going into a panic about chemical attacks, they needed to keep this quiet.
My duty as a patriot, my duty as a citizen of the world. I was enticed with money, and threatened with violence or imprisonment.
I knew it was bullshit….I’ve done my share of drugs. I know what it’s like to hallucinate, even unknowingly, people don’t fucking eat each other, they don’t’ murder each other, at least not in droves.
From what I heard the Captain tore his fucking eyes out.
Then there was the way it ended, so abrupt. If the bullshit line they were feeding me was true. It wouldn’t have ended like that, that plane would have crashed. It would have ended up in the ocean, all passengers lost.
They kept it quiet until now though. Honestly, I just don’t’ care anymore.
I don’t care about the pay offs, or my “duty” as a “patriot.” I just want the nightmares to end. I don’t want to hear the screams anymore, I want to sleep. Dear god I want to sleep so badly.
First I need to tell you though, I need people to know. There is something out there. Something above the clouds. I don’t know what it is, my brain can hardly handle the memory of it even, and my words do no justice to the horror I witnessed.
Before I leave this world though, leave it at the end of a rope, I need to warn others. Watch the skies, and if you are flying….I wish you the best of luck.