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The Flight

My friends and I are trying to get to the plane as quickly as possible. We're late. The three of us were called about half an hour ago. This is my first time and my heart is pounding. Everything is moving in slow motion. To make things worse, it's a long haul flight, so it will be packed with passengers, waiting. Is this how people with a fear of flying are supposed to feel? Not that I'm scared of flying. I've flown lots of times, but this is one time I don't want to go near a plane. This isn't a holiday. This is work.

We're almost there. I can barely see in front of me, the dying light of late afternoon lost several feet above us, the light from my headlamp fighting its way through the obscurity of depth. The rescue boat's engine is now so faint, it has almost gone. My pulse is racing but I have to control my breathing. I'm holding on to a rope which is tied to my colleague in front of me. He turns, takes my wrist and guides my hand, placing it where I can feel and grip on to a large piece of metal. My eyes fix on wherever my lamp's light lands, following the metal as I effortlessly pull myself along its length. It's not immediately recognisable as the wing until I reach the propeller and then the body of the plane. Our lights bob back and forth with our head movements, coming to rest on a giant tear in the airliner's side. I can where a row of seats ends, and the passengers, still fixed in position. Before I follow my colleagues inside, I glance over to a window, where I see a woman, very relaxed, staring in my direction. Not at me, just in my direction, her long hair floating around her face. The passengers are waiting. It's time to get them out.

Story by:

Andrew Newall

7 December 2012