Chapter 3|Falling Skies
JORDAN OPENED HER EYES, the ground beneath her still solid to her relief. She was on the driver's side of her car, hunched over with her hands protecting her head and her knees pulled to her chest. The ringing in her ear reminded her of a completely silent room, a feat out of touch in the presence of nature. She couldn't bring herself to stand up or even glance up from the ground even though the crash took place behind her
Her breath caught in her throat. She began coughing, covering her mouth with her violently shaking hands. Yes, the ground was rumbling from the aftershock, but Jordan knew that she was shaking on her own accord. She covered her nose and mouth with her hands, creating an air chamber as she forced herself to focus only on her breathing. Once she was sure that she was actually breathing again, Jordan looked up and down the winding roads. There were no cars, no other people to witness what just happened.
What had happened? Why did the plane go down in the middle of nowhere? It was definitely a commercial airline and there wasn't a terminal in this area big enough to land it. Where were the police or TSA or someone to help? Surely the pilots called for help. It couldn't be that hard to notice your own plane falling from thirty thousand feet in the air so they must have had some self-awareness of the situation at hand.
Jordan's almond eyes went big. Slowly she stood up, leaning on her car to keep her steady. With a slow and far from exaggerated exhale, she began slowly turning around. She knew she wasn't prepared to see the effect of the crash, but she had to see for herself. She had to know.
She was facing the crash now, but she was still reluctant to raise her eyes from the ground. She could see her own chest rising and falling at a quick rate. She willed herself to calm down, to just look ahead for three seconds.
Three seconds and then back at the ground, she convinced herself.
So she did. Her eyes rose to meet the carnage ahead of her.
The left wing rose above the wide river, sticking into the air at no less than a fifty-degree angle. It was no more than one hundred feet away from where Jordan stood on the bridge. Jordan could only assume that the other wing was broken off, displaced from its original unit.
The cockpit was caved in and buried into the fallen tree line. One of the turbine engines landed right above the cockpit, still spinning rapidly. It poorly filtered the rising smoke and fire settling around it. Oh, the fire. It blazed brightly and violently overtaking everything in its path as if there wasn't enough destruction in its presence. It left no stone unturned, the trees crying out as they crackled and split, the pressure and power too much to bear.
The middle of the plane had compacted enough that the metal bursts open like a can of soda right after violently shook. You could barely see the passenger seats through the blanket of smoke, but they were there, strewn out and dislocated. Some bodies were perfectly normal, their heads leaning on the headrest of their seats. Some were... not. One thing was for sure. Jordan had been looking for more than three seconds.
Jordan violently shuddered as she closed her eyes and turned her head towards the ground. The sight and smell were overwhelming even from this far. She wouldn't dare get closer. It would be better to call for help.
The ringing in her ear dimmed down just enough to hear her own name ringing in her ear.
"Ms. Reeves? Jordan are you okay," the hysterical voice on the other line questions. Jordan pauses. Was she okay? She knew she'd never be able to forget what she just saw, not for the rest of her life. It was a little too early for her to be proud of not throwing up. There's still plenty of time before help arrives. At least she hoped help would arrive. Being the only one in this situation scared Jordan more than the desolation growing behind her. It would haunt her if she didn't do anything.
"A plane just crashed into the river," she whispered. She thought she had whispered, but maybe not since Cara had heard her so clearly.
"Ohmigod. Ohmigod. What? Did you get hit? Are you close to it? I thought you got into a car crash or something. I thought I was distracting you. I promise to never call again when you're on a long road trip again. Not unless it's life or death. Are you sure you're okay? You don't sound too good. I already informed the cops where you were and they should be their soon. You just need to stay safe okay? I can't believe this is happening right now? What are you gonna do?"
At that moment, Jordan noticed streaks of blonde flowing through a small section of the river towards her. The figure was ragged, flowing as dangerously as the disrupted waters around it. It was small and familiar to Jordan, though she couldn't collect her thoughts just yet. At least, not until the figure got close enough. Jordan noticed coughs and strange gurgling sounds from the figure long enough to realize that this was a human. A child at that. Jordan watched in horror as she was dragged under the bridge, the child heading downstream quickly. She ran to the other side, her heart racing once again. What she could now discern as a little girl, struggling to stay alive, a survivor of the crash, was running out of time. She was drowning. With so many lives already lost, Jordan wasn't going to let another life end today.
"Cara," Jordan called out. She didn't wait for a response.
"I'm going to save her".
Then she dived, head first.