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Two Small Bags of Petzels and She Was Gone

A cautionary tale

By Joe LucaPublished 29 days ago 4 min read
Top Story - April 2024
Image by Pixabay - epicantus

The Flight Attendant handed me two small bags of pretzels from her aisle cart and smiled sweetly...

... then was sucked cleanly out through the gaping hole in the bulkhead.

I saw the soles of her shoes, worn but not old as she exited.

Christ, the look on her face was priceless like she had worried that this might happen, but given the odds and all – not something that kept her up at night.

The small oxygen tubes dropped from above and hung like Christmas lights on a winter’s eve.

Buffeted by the violent yawing of the plane. Swinging just out of reach for most of us. I grabbed mine. Strapped it to my head, then put one on the lady next to me.

There were screams of course throughout, but after a moment they all blurred together into one continuous wail. Like the winds howling off a lighthouse as a Nor’easter moved in.

The mind is an amazing mechanism really. Editing insane levels of input, trying to make sense of it all.

Adjusting the highs and the lows so it all seemed like a drill gone wrong, but with a chance that things would sort themselves out before too long.


I was hoping they would. I had decided late to take an earlier flight, so I’d get home the night before the wedding rehearsal. A little surprise for my brother and mom. Now that idea wasn’t sitting too well with me.

Had to downgrade from business class to standard - Saved money, and lost his life. A fitting epithet for my tombstone, I thought, if there was going to be one. I hadn’t prepared a will as yet, didn’t think a thirty-something needed to do that. Figured I had a bit of time.

However, I do recall telling my Mom I wanted to be cremated with my ashes thrown on Mr. Bellingham’s front lawn.

The prick chased me off it every day growing up. Always mowing it. All sprinkling some disgusting dust over the grass and flowers, killing the bees I swear. Littering the pavement out in front with their pitiful bodies. He didn’t care.

On his front lawn Mom, or his living room, if the window is open.

She laughed awkwardly. The thought brought chills up and down her spine. I regretted saying it as soon as the words were out. But there it was.

About 15 seconds after the flight attendant exited the plane, I could hear the captain saying something on the PA.

Ladies and Gent … there appears to be a dec … in pressure. We are making adjust … in the cockpit and hope to have …

That’s when the PA gave out or the captain did, not sure which.

All things considered; I was doing alright. The lady next to me, about 70 I'd guess, was holding my right hand and tapping each knuckle like a rosary bead, back and forth as the prayers left her lips.

I smiled. I had never been too religious. Had my own version of things and was comfortable with them. Didn’t interfere with others and their beliefs.

I remember once when I went to church with my great aunt and there was this couple who …

Well, maybe it'd be best if I left that one alone. I guess they had their reasons for shouting and praying out loud. Though I never understood what they were.

The plane was losing altitude. We were above the clouds a minute ago, though I could see still the large green crop circles below.

Now the angle of the plane’s descent made that impossible.


There was no smoke or no fires, no smell of cordite or whatever C4 smelled like. Just us, the plane and the Earth moving closer all the time.

I tried for a bit and finally reached my phone from the bag down between my feet. Typed out a quick text to Mom and James.

Love you – was all I could think of. Pushed send and hoped it would arrive.

I looked out the window one last time and noticed something a little different. The plane was starting to level off. Not a lot, but we were no longer a bullet heading straight toward Kansas.

The PA twitched for a second. The captain shouted something into the mic.

We’re trying to … tuck your heads between your …

That was it.

The lady next to me was still going at it. Considering that we weren’t descending quite as fast as before, I thought hell keep it up.

I thought about my brother and his soon-to-be wife, Jillian, and wished them well. He was a good brother and deserved her.

When I first met her, I ended up asking if she had a sister. I was impressed with who she was and thought, why not?

As it turns out she did and I was going to meet her tomorrow.

The plane gave an almighty thump. The wings snapped from side to side and I thought the ride was finally over. Everyone screamed. Everyone cried.

Then one more great jolt and suddenly things felt calm.

The emergency lights blinked off. The plane stopped shuddering and that’s all I remember.

Except for the captains last words – hold on.


About the Creator

Joe Luca

Writing is meant to be shared, so if you have a moment come visit, open a page and begin. Let me know what you like, what makes you laugh, what made you cry - just a little. And when you're done, tell a friend. Thanks and have a great day.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (21)

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  • Anna 23 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • Congrats on your top story!

  • Rebecca Morton27 days ago

    This was amazing and so detailed but not overly so, that I wondered , "Is this really fiction?" Congrats on Top Story!

  • Flamance @ lit.27 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉 top story

  • Ameer Bibi27 days ago

    This story is really exciting and keeps me engaged till the end. The way it describes what's happening on the plane makes me feel like I was right there. It's full of surprises, making you wonder what will happen next. It's a great story that you will remember easily. Congratulations

  • Maulana Ji27 days ago


  • Kodah27 days ago

    Incredible story!! Well-deserved top story!! 💌

  • Belle28 days ago

    Amazing!! Congrats on top story!! Worth the win.

  • D. D. Lee28 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story

  • Caroline Craven28 days ago

    I loved this. Such fantastic edge of the seat writing.

  • Heather Zieffle 28 days ago

    Great story and congrats on top story!

  • JBaz28 days ago

    Well done, an excellent entry for the challenge and well worth the read. Nice build of tension. The opening line is a great grab.

  • Congratulations on your top story! The story is excellent!

  • J. Jay28 days ago

    Your story had me on the edge of my seat the entire time; thanks for writing it! Congrats on top story!

  • L.C. Schäfer28 days ago

    That is a blinder of a first line!

  • Andrea Corwin 28 days ago

    What a ride! Great job.❤️

  • Babs Iverson28 days ago

    Horrific tale!!! Superbly written!!!💕❤️❤️ Congratulations on Top Story too!!!

  • Babs Iverson28 days ago

    Wonderful!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Carol Townend28 days ago

    That was fantastic! I enjoyed the drama and the fear mixed in with hope. I love the way the story has been written, and it is a very engaging story, Well Done!

  • Christy Munson29 days ago

    Tragic story. Glad I read it. Scary minute for sure!

  • Kendall Defoe 29 days ago

    I really like this one, sir!

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