My Monsters Are Real
I think I was asleep when it happened. The sharp drop from normal flight route to nosedive to damnation and death. I was listening to music, and I barely heard anything that shook me from the dreams I was having, something dark and twisted and scary as hell, like usual, until suddenly I was breathing water, and that brought me back to the unfortunate reality.
I don't know how I made it out. It's called pure blind luck for a reason, because it was night and under water, there simply was nothing to see. Did I even kick? Did I fight against the seatbelts, did I scream until there were no air bubbles left in my lungs, until I felt I would sink to the bottom and be devoured whole by the fish and the mysterious dwellers of the deep?
My life, resumed to a pointless eulogy: Took the wrong flight at the wrong time, after two cancellations. Just couldn't wait to die. I don’t even know what I was doing on that plane, why I had to be on it. But somehow, I had to…
Somehow though, I made it out. I gulped fresh air again just when I thought it was an invention that had never been real in the first place.
Water kept lapping around me, my mouth, my nose and exhausted lungs. I could barely move my arms and legs, my body weighed a ton and a half , I wanted to give up with every new wave. That was where my tortured consciousness left me for good, if I somehow kept myself alive, I had no clear intent to do so. It happened because it happened, and I found myself, feeling worse than after the worst hangover of my life, eating sand and salt water.
The sun was burning my face, the tide was rising, I must have been lying there for hours, since the morning, since forever.
I coughed out saltwater and bile, feeling weaker with every passing second. I could barely see past my nose, and what I saw did not spark any interest or adrenaline to keep me going. Only a beach front, water, a few palm trees... what some could have called paradise was literally hell for me, I needed relief workers, I needed ambulances, drugs, something to remove that infernal pounding in my head.
Water, food, medicine, clothes... my own were in near tatters. I fell to my knees and
I rolled up in a ball and whimpered, feeling ready to give up and lay there to die. My body was as unhinged as my mind.
And that was when I heard the snickering, and smelled the offensive scent of tobacco in the air.
How could I have missed him, just sitting there like he did not have a care in the world? Of course his own clothes were half-ripped, he was bleeding from numerous wounds and burns, he looked like a shipwrecked survivor.
Then again so did I.
So there was another survivor after all.
But he did not seem to care much to help a fellow comrade get back on her feet.
" Who are you? " I demanded. Maybe I felt a bit self-conscious of the poor spectacle that I had offered, and the fact that our clothes were just a bit too shredded to call decent and proper., or just that awful cigarette smell. How could he even want to inhale that if his lungs were half in the same sorry state as mine?
" Right, time for a little chat. Who are you, how are you, where did you grow up? What's your favorite dessert? By the way, didn't you ever dream to be stranded on a desert island? Well here you go. " On that he dragged on his cigarette and sent the smoke directly in my direction, which made me gag; I could never handle that obnoxious smell.
If nothing else had, this lung abuse made me move out of the wind, using what little strength I didn't know I had. Dragging myself upwards robbed me of what little breath I had managed to recover, but at least a few inches upwind of him, I was spared the gag reflex.
All throughout, he just glanced at me like I was a particularly boring specimen. His manner was chilling at best, could I blame it on survivor guilt? Fear? He didn't seem to give a damn, period. He was young, but with a hard look, glinty, tired eyes that had seen the underside of humanity and would be forever scarred by it. I gave him 17, max, but he looked at least 25. Something in his manner made me think he was younger than what he appeared to be.
But nonetheless, he was the kind of guy you give a wide berth to if you saw him on the same sidewalk.
From my vantage point I could see the damage. Some airplane parts had washed ashore, we weren't the only ones who had made it out. A few toys were picked up and brought forward by the tide and I felt like gagging again. So many lives lost for nothing, what had happened to us?
" Fate, " the man answered with a bitter tone, as though I had spoken aloud.
But perhaps I had? My whole body was in shambles, I wasn't completely aware of what I was doing, who knew if I was spouting off my thoughts without filter?
" Fate just gave us a good kick in the ass, we're the unlucky ones, their fight and struggles are over, we are unfortunately alive and we have to suffer on... well until we die of thirst or hunger. "
" They'll find us, " I protested, my voice hoarse at the dire predictions. " Planes have little black boxes, they are tracked by satellites and stuff- "
He chuckled scornfully, cutting me in mid-phrase. " ' And stuff ' , " he mimicked mockingly. " You have no clue what you are talking about, as far as you know, this happens out of the blue, there is no real process, you have no idea how it's done, you are living in a dream, and now it turned to a nightmare. There will be no white knight to save you, no rescue temas flying in from helicopters, you are nobody and no one gives a crap about you, me, or anyone else that was on that plane. We were slated to die and we, you and I, just missed our appointment... bad traffic, I am guessing, but we will get there. We won't be forgotten for very long. Don't fret little lady, your turn is coming soon, you just need to suffer a while longer to straighten the scales. "
His monologue caught me offguards, he was so bitter and enraged. Maybe he had been awake longer than I had? Seen no sign of rescue on the horizon?
And was feeling the overwhelming need to take it out on me?
Yet as much as I wanted to attribute this to simple, misguided stress, his words brought a chill to my spine. How did I know they would find us? Nothing, no guarantee at all. Trackers and signals and what not went over my head. I got lost every time I tried to follow Google Maps. Why would rescue workers be any different?
And yes I was no one, why would they care to rescue me? Inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, why would anyone give a damn to look for me?
It took me a moment to remember the obvious: this looked very bad for the airplane company, that was why they needed to save us. News companies got plenty of views with tragedies, if nothing else, that was why they would do everything in their power to save us.
" Yeah turn us into freaking reels on Tiktok, have the rescue filmed live, wonderful, our 15 minutes of fame. ' I survived a plane crash where everyone else died, I'm not special but damn am I special or what? God has touched me with his magic wand bought at Ollivanders with a feather of Phoenix and hairs of unicorns, ' yes, how beautiful to cash in on others dying, "
" Hey look, I've done nothing, I'm dying here too, why are you roasting me here? " I shot back, his tone was so accusatory, and the disgusted way he looked at me.
What had I done wrong anyway? He was the one smoking away like there was no tomorrow! And where had he gotten cigarettes that weren't completely wet ? Who was he anyway?
" I am your worst nightmare, isn't it obvious? Woman like you, thinking she has it all figured it out. Well and now this happened, what will you do? Cry? "
" You know what, screw you, " I answered, tired of his toxic attitude. We were both plane-wrecked, what right did he have to treat me this way, like he knew anything about me?
I was no one important, so what? That didn't mean he had the right to treat me like garbage. He didn't even know me, why did people judge me so quickly without even knowing me?
" Right now it would be kind of hard, " he answered and started cackling madly.
That was when I noticed that the rock he was sitting on was dripping some kind of red liquid. That the whole rock was smudged with it, and the way he was supporting one of his sides as though he was in terrible pain.
How had I not seen it before?
He was dying in front of my very eyes, no wonder he was so bitter about it.
Only one person had survived the plane wreck relatively unscathed, and that was unfortunately me.
" Are you okay? " I asked.
" Spare me the mock sympathy, rejoice, you are the chosen one, " he answered resentfully.
I didn't want to be rude to a dying man, but he had the knack to make the sympathy I felt for him vanish. None of this was my fault, after all.
"Do you want me to look at this? " I asked, trying to curb my impatience.
"You're a doctor now? What do you think you can do, lay your hands and heal? " he mocked.
"God, just let me look at it! " I grunted, taking matters in my own hands. I was acting bolder than my average, I get so queasy around the sight of blood and suffering makes me want to run away. But it wasn't as though being queasy would help him now.
I removed the cloth he had pressed against his side and tried to peer at the shredded flesh with something like clinical detachment. Not feel the bile rising in my throat, not be repulsed by the sight of what had to be his ribs, shattered and sticking out. Blood began pouring out immediately, it was actually a miracle he had survived so long. Let alone climbed on a rock, and started smoking. And throw insults at the only other survivor.
I had no clue how he was even holding up.
Quickly ( and gagging) I pressed the cloth back on the wound, our eyes meeting for a long second.
He smiled, and I could see all the pain he was holding back, the need to scream and scream, at the pain, the unfairness of it all, how blind luck struck some with fortune and others with tortures beyond belief before death.
And what was the trigger, what was the determining factor?
Why was she alive, why was he dying, why was everyone else fish food.
"Prognostic, doctor? " he asked, still smiling. "Please tell me I will be able to dance at my wedding? "
"You were getting married? " I asked, appalled, before he started cackling.
I wasn't even sure how he managed to find the energy, the breath to cackle like that. "I wasn't nearly as wounded and my breath was constricted. I wasn't sure I would ever be able to laugh again.
"You ain't the sharpest tool in the shed, ain't you? " he put to me.
"It won't change anything to insult me like this, " I replied.
"Exactly, " he acknowledged, drawing on the cigarette again. But from closer, I could see that his hand was trembling badly now. He was becoming paler by the second.
"I don't know how long you have left. Do you have family? Do you want me to send them a message? " I asked.
"What makes you think you will survive? Because you're okay now? Because they will come for you? No one will come, I have nothing to say to anyone. " he said resentfully.
" Your family, they will cherish your last words, do you think they don't care about you? They will be shattered by your death, just a few words... so they know you were thinking about them. "
He scoffed hoarsely. "Dear family, you made my life hell all the years I was forced to live with you. Your snide remarks, your punches, your blows, your abuse, make dying like this easier than I would ever had thought possible. Turns out death was the better alternative all these years, if only I had known. Oh well, better late than never. "
"I'm sorry, " I said when I realized he was actually serious. Abusive home, that pain in his eyes, not only from the physical damage.
He was young still, but the pain made him look older, maybe drug abuse as well? What was he doing on the plane? Had he just escaped that hell?
To fall in another?
The irony of life, some people seemed to have been born to suffer, no other end possible.
He smiled and this time the bitterness was gone. He threw the used up cigarette away. "No problem. Better this way. No more disappointments. "
He coughed, blood frothing at his lips. And lost his hold on the rock, tumbling down with no control whatsoever. I caught him before he could hurt himself more. Tried to ease him down and ended up falling next to him, luckily without making his wounds worse. I kept pressure on the damning wound, watching him choke on every breath until the attack eased up a bit.
Tears were falling out of my eyes, I couldn't even stop them. Futile tears, useless tears, but someone who had never had a chance in life, and now no chance in death either?
Play the hand you are dealt, there is no point whining about it, envying the silver spoons who cry over broken nails and bad hair day, everyone suffers in the end, everyone dies...
He was looking at me, his eyes glazing over gradually. " There's one, uh, person, if you could find her, please find her. She was always there for me, before they took her away, please find her. "
"Her name? Tell me her name? "
He didn't have the strength to shrug anymore. "I don't know her name. Before the new treatment, before they took her away, she was always there. She would hold my hand, she would sing me to sleep. And no matter how hurt I was, she would make it better. "
"I don't understand, " I admitted, but looking down I saw I was now holding his bloodied hand, his fingers trembling in mine.
" She sang me to sleep, "he whispered in a faint voice. "My favorite song, every night, she sang me to sleep, no matter how hurt I was, I slept when she sang... she said she would stay forever, she would never leave me, but they took her away. They took everything away, "
He started crying now and those tears were somehow worse than the wound and pain, a lost child looking for his one and only ally in a crazy world of fac-similes and fake smiles, where reality is only pain.
"I'll find her, I'll tell her to sing, "
"They killed her? They killed her? " he worried hoarsely.
"She's fine, don't worry, you will be fine, you will see her again, I swear. "
" The song... " he said weakly, before his eyes fluttered to a near close.
His hand was becoming cold and limp, the tears falling off his cheeks, his chest barely heaving up and down anymore.
I couldn't let it end like this, so desperate, so alone, always alone, in life and in death...
" Leave your weapon on the table, wrapped in burlap... barely able, don't be angry, don't discourage... take a shot of liquid... courage, " I started singing hesitantly, not sure where the words were coming from, not sure what song it was from.
My eyes were closed, but I suddenly felt his grip tightening. I needed the rest of the words, for him.
"Call a doctor, say a prayer, choose a god you think is fair... Cause my monsters are real . " I continued, snapping my eyes open, holding his hand all the more tightly.
"And they're trained how to kill, and they just stop and laugh at how I feel. My monsters are real. And there's no going back, and if I get trapped I'll never heal. Yeah my monsters are real, "
"There you are. I missed you." he whispered and smiled, the most genuinely warm smile I had ever seen.
" I missed you too…I'll never leave you again, " I promised and he closed his eyes in relief.
" Relief workers have arrived at the site of the crash of passenger flight 703. No one aboard this flight, going from Hawaii to Melbourne, appeared to have survived the terrible impact with the water. As of now it is unclear what caused the crash but authorities are hopeful to understand the cause of this terrible tragedy once the black box will have been recovered - "
About the Creator
I am a hobby writer who adores science fiction and intelligent characters and storylines!
Your stories are getting better each time, Véronique! Very moving!