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Guardians of Flight

The Other Born

By K.H. ObergfollPublished about a year ago 5 min read
2
Guardians of Flight
Photo by Naitian(Tony) Wang on Unsplash

Isabelle Martin stood quietly in the closet sized bathroom of a Champion-Blue Royal Airline—it was supposed to be the best passenger craft in flight but she begged to differ given the circumstances.

This was not how she’d envisioned spending her twenty-third birthday crammed between a toilet and a metal-surgical grade sink as she tried balancing her nausea and the carry-on the stewardess had refused to let her stow. Her hands holding securely to a sealed glass vial wondering if she should put it in her jacket pocket instead—but she couldn’t risk it leaking or breaking that closely to skin. She hadn't done enough studies on the effects; it was bad enough she'd been breathing the fumes in all week.

“Your bag has to be stowed under your feet, we are out of room in the compartments…but I can take it for you if you like…”

The airplane stewardess’s words banged around Isabelle’s head. She’d politely declined but something about the woman’s persistent need to secure her bag bothered Isabelle. After-all—it wasn’t her fault the evacuations weren’t running according to schedule, and besides, she’d already been forced to leave her other valuables behind and she wasn’t sure how her work would bode without her equipment—hell, she wasn’t even sure where they were sending them. The flight was only supposed to be two-hours long and by her own calculations they were nearing the three-hour mark.

A light, persistent dinging sounded overhead signaling turbulence ahead.

“Seatbelts please,” the stewardess’s perky voice interrupted.

A slight jarring bumped Isabelle from her thoughts as a hefty rapping was heard outside the bathroom door.

“Sir, Ma’am, we are requesting that you finish and make way to your seat immediately.”

“Perfect,” Isabelle mused, fixing her hair as she felt her stomach lurch again.

She secured her onboarding credentials and government Identification in her top jacket pocket. She would need her security clearance verified upon entry into another country for work—all she needed was to lose that on top of everything else that had happened thus far.

Isabelle fumbled around her bag for her anxiety pills but couldn’t find them. She wasn't feeling too confident.

“This is precisely why I wanted to stow this in a locked compartment…damn zipper is broken…god knows what else I lost…”

Isabelle looked at her tired reflection in the mirror one last time as she pondered the fate of each guest boarded—there were exactly two-hundred and thirty-three on board—fifty or so over capacity.

She tugged her cheek—it felt terse.

“Great…I hope I’m not infected…” she hissed as more knocking sounded on the door. This time a man’s voice repeated the earlier missive— “please open the door or we will come in.”

Isabelle wrung out her scarf under the sinks faucet before wrapping it around her neck and opening the door.

A sticky breeze met her on the way out, it would seem all the air had been sucked from the interior cabin as she stepped out into deafening silence.

“Ma’am, please, back to your seat and buckle down…” a flustered flight-attendant ordered, thrusting a temperature gun in Isabelle’s face.

“98.1, she’s clear…”

Confusion peppered Isabelle’s anxiety. She’d already been without her second dose of medication and wondered where the bottle had rolled to as she made her way back to her seat.

Goosebumps began to form on the edges of her arms as she passed by rows of mostly quiet passengers wondering why they all seemed to be asleep. She turned back expecting to see the pushy stewardess and burly flight-attendant behind her but the aisle was empty; no one was there to escort her or make sure she sat down.

That’s strange—Isabelle muttered as she climbed over her slumped seat-mate.

The television screens on the backs of the seats were blank, even the air-vents were silent. Isabelle began to wonder what on Earth was going on.

What had started as a tepid Tuesday morning had turned into something of nightmares—Isabelle had known she’d be boarding a flight, the news had prepared her for days with the newest series of evacuations—scheduled, routine, planned events that were disrupted by another outbreak.

She clutched her bag, ratcheting the links, making it tighter around her torso—you know, just in case. Something about all the rushing around for no reason worried Isabelle—and she knew something wasn’t right.

She looked around, the whole plane seemed to be asleep. She lifted her seat-mates head, it fell limply back in place as she watched to make sure he was still breathing.

To her relief his stomach moved ever-so-slightly.

Thank god—Isabelle sighed.

She looked up and down all the rows in her line of sight, everyone was knocked out, everyone but her.

Isabelle pressed the button overhead for service but no one responded. The red seat-belt sign flashed, she grasped the turn-knob for the air-vent but it didn’t budge.

She flicked the service button again; a different woman came from behind the front curtains as she quietly jogged down the aisle in a tight pencil skirt and snake-skin heels looking very out of place.

“You’re awake,” the woman smiled, her eyes narrowing curiously as she strobed a flashlight in Isabelle’s face and checking the other passengers seated next to her.

“How are you feeling dear? Can I get you something—a drink, some food, a pillow?” the woman asked, a hint of seething anger showing behind her forced smile. A notion that wasn’t missed by Isabelle who’d sensed something was terribly wrong as the woman looked back to the darkened curtains before looking up at Isabelle’s seat and row number.

“We have one on H-14, just so you know, might need to make another round just in case. We need all passengers suspended…”

Isabelle’s eyes furrowed as she felt a twinge of fear welling in her stomach and sweat began to gather in her hands. Isabelle knew the woman wasn’t going to bring her anything, she was just being nice—but why?

Soon enough she had her answers—rows of men in Tyvek suits and space masks with suspended hoses and air-guns quickly trickled down the aisle from behind every door—all four corners of the cabin filled with them as they shot bursts of gaseous serum over each of the passengers in quick succession.

The smartly dressed woman dawned a similar styled-space mask as two men rounded Isabelle’s aisle and pointed the long, narrow nozzle of an air-gun in her direction. She had nowhere to go.

“It’s just a pinch, a burst of air. We need everyone sedated before we can land, you will be awake soon enough,” a muffled voice sounded from inside the space-mask. “You won’t even remember this happening when you wake up…hope you understand.”

Isabelle’s stomach lurched as she felt her stomach tighten and her chest seize—so this must be how it felt to die—

Isabelle flinched once more as two bursts of ice-cold air launched her direction, enveloping her in a sleepy mist.

She was unable to fight as she plunged her hand into her bag for the vial—but it was too late.

“Just relax ma’am, I promise this is for your own safety, please, relax, take three deep breaths and it will all be over…”

The cabin began to slowly fade from sight as she melted into twilight watching helplessly as the two men belted her into her seat and unstrapped the bag from her side as they pulled the vial out with gloved hands—“it’s here, in H-14’s bag, we will notify command upon landing.”

“Quarantine H-14 for study,” the smartly dressed woman ordered as she flashed a blinding sweep of the light over Isabelle.

“Her pupils are un-dilated, perfect. Make another round in thirty minutes just in case… can’t have her wake-up again…”

By Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash

MysteryShort StorySci FiHorrorFantasy
2

About the Creator

K.H. Obergfoll

Writing my escape, my future…if you like what you read—leave a comment, an encouraging tip, or a heart—I’m always looking to improve, let me know if there is anything I can do better.

& above all—thank you for your time

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  • Testabout a year ago

    Can't wait to see where this goes! Compelling story - Anneliese

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