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Where The Hell is San Antonio?

After a freak storm system, pilots Michael Anderson, and Christian Torres find themselves completely lost. Not just lost, but without communications to the ground. Where will they find themselves if there's no one to answer their call?

By Jordan FlynnPublished 11 months ago Updated 10 months ago 16 min read
5
Where The Hell is San Antonio?
Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

“This is your captain speaking, we are approaching some unexpected turbulence so please go ahead and fasten your seat belts and stay seated until the fasten seat belt light has been turned off, thank you.”

Shortly after the announcement the plane was swallowed by clouds black as a spade. All light seemed to be eaten along with it. Christian Torres and the pilot in command Michael Anderson both winced at the sudden forked fingers of lightning reaching out to their cockpit. In response the two grasped the flight controls a little tighter as they prepared for a bumpy ride.

Christian bounced roughly in his seat as the plane trembled and whined against the winds of the storm. “Jesus where did this come from? Nothing like this was on the forecast. Radar you are fired.”

Michael glanced at the weather radar, the plane was submerged in a sea of red and green, demonstrating the severe weather they found themselves in. Michael scratched the top of his temple beneath a line of thinning hair, before quickly returning his hands to the pilot station. “I think the best bet is to get above the storm. Should be okay from there.”

Christian nodded, “okay setting altitude now.”

Michael held up a wrinkly hand, “make another announcement that it may be a little while.”

“Alright pilot voice coming right at ya.”

Christian cleared his throat before putting the red phone to his ear. “This is your captain speaking, please again remain seated until instructed otherwise. Uhh this severe weather will be in our hair for a little-.” Christian grunted as g-forces pulled him, and his stomach downward for a moment before Michael corrected course. “A little while, so please stay in your seat unless there is an emergency. Thank You.”

“Not your best work Torres.” Michael said with a tight grin.

"Everyone's a critic."

The plane angled upward piercing through the menacing darkness. Even flying upward to escape the grip of the storm seemed to take a long time. Christian glanced at Michael, his expression was focused, though bored. This made him somewhat embarrassed for the sweat starting to precipitate along his neck.

Christian plugged his nose forcing air to his ears to offset the popping pain from the sudden raise in altitude.

Though the turbulence from the storm lessened, every now and then the plane would jerk suddenly as if being pulled along by a string.

As they rose, so did the distance between themselves and the swirling black clouds. Instead of stars, their way was lit meekly by the light of the plane and the constant strobe from the storm beneath.

He could hardly hear over the dense feeling of pressure on his head, but Christian heard Michael mutter, “how far does this damn storm go?”

A light rhythmic popping sound came from behind the two. It took a moment for Christian to realize it was the coded knock of one of the flight attendants.

Christian peaked into the eye hole to see Samantha, staring back at him. He unlocked the door to let her in.

She gingerly stepped into the cockpit and closed the heavy door behind her.

“So how long are we going to be in this shit for?” She asked in her usual blunt fashion. Christian took note of her tight grip on his seat as the plane bounced. She adjusted her glasses with her free hand.

Michael all but shouted back, “as far as the radar can see as of right now.”

"Ugh, something told me to pop a xanax today.” Samantha retorted, rolling her eyes.

Christian partially smiled and grimaced at another bump of the plane. “Yeah, right there with you. So we got a little while of this, so the passengers better get comfortable out there.”

Michael nodded, “yeah, you may want to do the same Sam.”

“Yeah if only. She stared out at the black skies thoughtfully. “Do you guys need anything?”

“Coffee!” The two answered simultaneously.

“Got it, two coffees coming right up.”

Michael gently grabbed her hand, “you know how I like it, black as these clouds.”

Samantha dramatically pulled her hand away as if fending off a mugging. “Yeah, yeah I know, black as these storm clouds and lacking any flavor.”

Michael groaned with a smile on his face as he keyed in the radio to ground control, “ooh come on low blow. Control, this is Columbus Tower, Boeing 747 tango whiskey en route to MEX. We are experiencing heavy turbulence and a severe storm at our position, over.”

“Columbus.. T-wer… This is Ground… Re-eat. Over.”

“This is Columbus Tower, tango whiskey, we are experiencing heavy, I repeat HEAVY turbulence and a severe storm over. Looking for guidance. Over”

An even more garbled message responded, Christian could barely make out the answer. “Control to… Tower.. We.. don.. Sh.. turbulence.”

“What the hell? How?” Christian exclaimed. Michael tried to raise ground control again but there was nothing but scrambled static to answer now.

The two continued to take turns attempting to raise contact with the ground, though they continued to receive nothing in return. Even after they finally escaped the grasp of the storm system.

Christian could feel the relief in the cabin with the newly found calm. So much so that both Michael and Christian took turns letting out heavy sighs. Then again it may have been the lower altitude as well, Christian thought.

Michael turned off the seat belt sign, and made the announcement that people could walk about the cabin again, though to proceed with caution.

“Alright, on to the next crisis.”

Christians eyebrows raised, “what do you mean ?”

Michael gestured a freckled hand toward the GPS “I mean we have no GPS right now, look.”

By Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Christian checked the instruments and tried to swallow, but found he could not.

Normally the display would show the plane along its highlighted route, the nearest airport, and any air traffic in the immediate area. In its place was an outline of the plane flying over a green generic map. Christians eyes traced their way from that to the compass.

“Jesus H Christ. How the? The compass looks like we are spinning in a fucking hurricane.”

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Michael squinted at the twirling compass, it spun clockwise then counterclockwise and back. He spoke with certainty. “Looks like we are going to have to do some dead reckoning.” He set the plane to auto pilot as he pulled out a charted map. “What time did we enter the storm? Let's see.”

Before Christian could answer Michael answered his own question, as he typically would. Normally this would drive Christian crazy after long flights, but this time he craved any answers he could get.

“2:40 AM, and what time is it now? Lets…” Michael stared hard at his watch as if he were unsure it was a watch.

“What's the matter?”

“Check your watch.”

“Uh okay, it's 2:44.” Christians voice trailed off, the second marker on the watch was frozen, its hands perpetually stuck at 2:44 AM.

Michael understood, “Yours too huh?”

“Yeah. Mine too.” Christian answered quietly, still staring at the dead watch.

“Well you know what they say? Broken clocks are right at least twice a day.” Michael just shook his head, and hunched over the chart. “Now that we are out of that storm we may have to fly a bit lower than normal to see if we can spot any landmarks.”

“Right.”Christian leaned over to have a look as well. “Judging from our last point of reference we should be coming up on San Antonio here in a minute.” He gave a relieved smile.

“Uh hmm, right.” Michael's apprehension gave Christian a slight shiver, he had logged hundreds of flight hours, so he wasn't sure why he was second guessing everything but at the same time he answered his own thoughts much like Michael would.

When have you heard of someone's coms, compass, and GPS going out? Maybe one of the three, but all of them? So he felt his fear was justified. The only thing keeping him from having a mental breakdown was Michael being, well Michael. His usual cool, calm, and collected self.

Michael broke the silent tension with a cheesy joke. “So I didn't know we charted a course over the Bermuda Triangle.” He said with a crooked smile.

Christian gave a fake laugh. Check that, cool, calm, collected, cheesy self.

Another knock at the door, Michael peaked this time, and let Samantha in. Her jet black hair was wild from the turbulence, she looked as though she had been in a wind tunnel.

“Wow that was some storm, anything else like that ahead?”

Michael tilted his head to the side, “well not that we can see, though that storm wasn't exactly on the radar either.”

Samantha handed them both their now lukewarm coffees.

“Oh, and we don't have GPS, compass, or contact with the ground.” Christian added.

“Jesus, wha-you”re kidding?”

Michael crossed his arms, raising his eyebrows, “yeah so maybe keep that little bit on the hush, hush. We maybe doing some dead reckoning here but we will be above San Antonio shortly to get some guidance, and to maybe land.”

Samantha's mouth hung open for a moment. “Oh well great, I've always wanted to walk the world renowned urban ecosystem that is the San Antonio river walk.”

Christian looked back at her, “really?”

“No.”

This brought out a real laugh from Christian this time.

“Well, as long as we don't hit any turbulence like that, we had a few out there toss their cookies.”

“Yeah I will be right there with em if we do again.” Christian said, shaking his head.

Samantha placed a gentle touch on both Michael, and Christians shoulders before stepping out. Her little way of saying she was glad they were okay.

The two flew in silence for a while as they both took turns studying the chart and scanning the horizon for landmarks, or at this point lights. Time was difficult to plot out without time, but eventually the two resorted to the timer apps on their phones.

A horizon expanded before them with nothing but moonlight to light the way. Beneath then there was nothing. Where there should have been lights, cars, and of course an airport; there was nothing.

Christian felt his throat tighten, “So…”

He stopped himself before looking at the chart again. “Uh where the hell is San Antonio?”

Michael looked back and forth between the chart and the view in front of them. “Maybe they lost power down there. Was a pretty bad system .” He picked up the radio again attempting to connect with anyone on the ground. “Ground control, this is Columbus Tower Bowing 747, we are off course without instruments functioning, and need somewhere to land, can you advise? Over.”

A deafening silence answered them.

“Not even static.” Christian murmured.

Michael's face seemed to go pale, his eyes searching for some deep hidden answer. Christian saw something he had never before. For the first time Christian saw a noticeable real fear on his senior pilot's face. Out of all the extraordinary things they had experienced to this point this was what horrified Chrisitan the most.

He jumped when Michael finally spoke, what really startled him deeply to his core was the graveness in his voice.

“San Antonio isn't there.”

Christian scratched his head, letting the words sink in. Are we going crazy? “What do you mean it's not there? We should be right over it, like you said, maybe there's no power.”

Michael responded almost instantly, his voice now raising some. “Look, do you see any houses? Lights? Buildings? Anything? Really look”

Christian shifted in his seat, maintaining a long eye contact with Michael before honoring the request.

“And I mean frickin' stars for that matter.”

Christian didn't think much of it, but it was like most of their flight they were in a black tunnel of sorts, just with the moon as their companion.

Thankfully, the night sky was just starting to be lifted by rays of the morning sun, the land below was cut in half between daytime and night. Though Michael was right, there was nothing but what looked like plains beneath them.

“Uhh, this can't be right. Maybe, maybe we veered off course more than we think, I mean look at that fucking compass.” Christian gestured to the ever spinning compass.

Michael sighed, “It's correct Christian, we veered off course but not towards the plains of North Dakota, think about it we flew away from the moon which would bring us where from our last known location?”

Christian sat for a moment, he didn't want to say it, but felt that he would implode if he didn't.

“San Antonio,” his voice answered weakly.

“Yeah, or somewhere damn near it.”

The two sat, the whistling of the jet the only thing speaking now.

Christian closed his eyes, “so what do we do now?”

Michael sighed deeply. “Well, I guess we keep flying until we find somewhere to land. Next place should be Laredo.”

The phone buzzed loudly, Christian hesitated, his hand paused above it, regretting he would have to be the one to give bad news. On the other end Samantha's anxious voice awaited. “Hey, what's the deal? It's been hours and the passengers are getting antsy.”

Christian, glanced at Michael who gave him a solemn nod.

“So we are lost, though it's… Stranger than that.”

“Jesus. Okay? What now?”

“We. there's nowhere to land, I mean there's nothing below us.”

A long pause on her end.

“Umm you're going to have to elaborate on that one. What do you mean there's nothing below us?” Her voice raised ever so slightly.

“I mean, we flew over San Antonio and there was nothing, no lights, buildings, nothing.

All Christian heard was her breathing now.

“So what are we doing now?”

“We are flying toward Laredo, to see what's, what, and hopefully we can land there. Then if all’s green we may just continue to the destination.”

She exhaled heavily, “shit.”

“Yeah I know it's not quite the river walk but, next thing we got.”

“What the hell is going on out there?”

“Wish I knew, maybe we just really got turned around in the storm or something, and we got buzzed by lightning, may explain the instruments not working.”

“Well, let's hope it's not plane purgatory and we really died in the storm.”

Christian smiled, “yeah lets hope.”

“Thanks, keep me posted.”

Christian, sat with the phone in his hand. Plane purgatory.

Onward the plane flew past Laredo, or where Laredo was supposed to be, all the while Christian watched the fuel gauge steadily drop. Right on cue Samantha called up to them

“So is Laredo in the void too?”

“Looking that way. I guess we might as well head to the destination and the best bet is if we still don't have anything we may have to… We may have to do an emergency landing.”

“Oh my god. Oh my god. Okay, we will try and keep people calm.”

“Thanks Sam.”

Christian put the phone down with a heavy click, and sat staring at it for a moment.

“How'd she take it?” Michael grunted out as he stretched.

“Shit, better than I thought she would.”

“Well hopefully we are just having bad luck flying over empty airspace, and we can just land at Mexico City.”

Christian lifted up a white coffee cup and sniffed it before taking a heavy gulp. “Do you really believe that at this point?”

Michael ironed out his forehead in thought, “shit I have to, whether we got the fuel to get there is another question.”

Christian paused his heavy gulp of coffee to look at the fuel gauge.

Time moved by like tar, as the two watched the fuel gauge continue to drop. Out of habit Christian checked his watch, forgetting it was frozen in time, 2:44

“Alright, moment of truth we should be able to see Mexico City soon,” Michael announced before attempting the radio again.

Michael then made an announcement for the cabin that they were approaching Mexico City airport to land.

The two sat in quiet anticipation watching the horizon in wait. The knot in Christians stomach was unbearable, he tried to fight it by taking deeper breaths.

“Come on.” Michael whispered.

Both took turns between watching the horizon and the near empty fuel gauge, each dosing them a constant punch of anxiety, a pool of sweat started to grow on Christians neck.

Michael checked the chart, before slowly raising his head back to the window. He stared at the vast emptiness of the skyline, and ground beneath them.

“We…. Should be over it by now.”

Christian gritted his teeth. “Fuck!”

“What is going on?” Michael asked incredulously.

They both shook themselves from the shock, they had minutes of fuel.

Michael pulled up the PA system, sighing before he spoke. “This is your captain speaking. I'm going to be transparent with you and demand you try and remain calm for your lives depend on it. Something very odd is happening, ever since the storm we have been flying mostly blind up here. We flew over San Antonio or where it was supposed to be and there was nothing there. The same with every other major city between there and Mexico City. Now we are going to have to make an emergency ground landing for we have nowhere to land, and we are about to run out of fuel. Please strap in as tight as you can, and if you believe in a higher power, it may not hurt to ask for some help.”

A moment after the announcement the plane's engines hummed off slowly and the two pilots slowly glided their plane toward what they thought was a large empty field. “Well we got plenty of open space to crash into I suppose.” Despite how calm he was when he spoke, Christian noticed the white of Michael's knuckles wrapped over the controls.

The wind screamed against the window as the ground below became more and more clearer.

Both pilots pulled up as hard as they could on the controls in an effort to make it as much of a controlled crash as possible, but it was like trying to steer a falling train

Christian could now discern shapes coming into view beneath. It wasn't an open field.

Buildings?

“What the fuck? Mex city?” He managed to grunt out as he strained to pull up on the controls.

Beneath them they could see hundreds of tan buildings along a river coming into view. No wonder they mistook the shapes on the ground.

Christian could barely make out tiny ant like shapes in between the houses, and floating on the river. It led to a city that they were about to fly over.

The two pilots' mouths dropped at what awaited them, something impossible, something that should not be where they are.

Their plane coasted above, however close enough that Michael and Christian could see details come into view, steps cut into the terraces leading to its peak. It was a giant pyramid, one of several smaller ones.

The cockpits warning systems chirped loudly, so much that Christian couldn't hear what Michael said, it just sounded like his head had its own heartbeat. His eyes followed where Michael's hands gestured, towards the small human shapes on the ground; who were doing their own pointing up to the two pilots.

What has happened to us?

The people beneath watched in disbelief and awe as the shining object whistled through the clouds above their heads. There were several screams of terror, and gasps as the giant bird flew by their great city.

In the distance outside the city's walls the sky was lit in a plume of fire. Some rejoiced to the rumbling crashing sound in the distance, for in their eyes the gods had finally returned.

By Jeremy Lishner on Unsplash

Sci Fi
5

About the Creator

Jordan Flynn

Out of Grand Rapids MI. I write because I have to. (I am a noob however.)

Follow me @ Jayyeffe on instagram

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock11 months ago

    So, time travel. How far back do ya reckon they went? Did anyone survive? What will the indigenous folk do? Inquiring minds want to know! Interesting story.

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