The lady next to me on the plane is sewing herself. You read right, she’s fucking sewing herself. She has this big-ass crafty type needle that she threaded as best she could with green yarn all while our plane is being hit hard by turbulence. My stomach is pressed up against my throat and has been since the last sheer altitude drop. Part of me wonders if I’m having a lucid nightmare, the other is horrified at the cold snap reality of it all.
The turbulence is so bad the flight attendants bolted; they’re probably buckled up in front. Two overhead compartments up in business class shot open a few minutes ago. Just when our plane dropped, the doors flipped open, puked their contents and caused a few people to yelp. A guitar case fell out and hit some guy on the head hard enough to gash him, but no one’s come out to help. Even from back in coach, I can see the flattened side of his head where the blood-soaked hair drips red rivulets of blood across his pale face. The guy’s wife is pressing a thin airline pillow to his head, but even it, is turning red.
The dude is what I was looking at when I noticed the woman next to me still had that damn needle out, and I gave it no mind until she fed it into the skin on her outstretched forearm.
“Whoa, lady, what’re you doing?” Turbulence is so damn loud (no one ever mentions how how fucking loud it is) it’s a high pitched engine screech mixed with other sounds, new sounds I’ve never heard. I had to scream so she could hear me. But this weird woman totally ignored me. The thing is, she’s a big girl, probably 200 lbs or more and there is no way I’m going to forcibly stop her. Weirder still, I can’t look away as she presses the needle into her white skin piercing it and causing blood to seep out. Again, I wonder if I’m dreaming.
“Fuckin’ stop!” It’s an automatic gesture when I put my hand on her arm, but now my hand has her blood on it, so I jump back. This chick is solid; she just froze and waited for me to back off, not once looking into my eyes. When I do, she draws the needle up until the knotted end of the thread stops under her skin, pulling it up into a skin tent. Fuck.
She’s got to be crazy, there isn’t any other explanation for her behavior, but what am I supposed to do? I look out the window and take in the black clouds and try to focus, but it’s hard what with the plane shaking and dropping all while this weird chick next to me, sticks the needle back in for another stitch.
From the corner of my eye and through the bloody mess of her forearm, I see that needle going in, breaking more skin as it does, then again when she draws it up so the sharp point pops out of her skin just half an inch away. Honestly, I’m scared, my heart is pounding, I’m covered in sweat and suddenly, I’m gasping for air.
Fuck, I never thought I’d see the day those damn oxygen masks would drop down. But they do, looking like some sick artist’s idea of party streamers, and people are screaming. I see a mom, placing a mask on her kid’s face first, just like they tell you not to, and I reach out and try to grab mine, but the plane is swinging so hard, it takes me a few tries to grasp the thing.
The plane just dropped hard again and my stomach shot up into my throat. I’m scared. Something is wrong, there’s no denying it. The pilots haven’t come on to explain what’s happening and weirder still, crazy lady hasn’t bothered to put her mask on. How can she breathe?
I try not looking at her, but we’re rocking so hard, I’m shoved into her and look down to see she’s fucking writing shit on her arm.
I make out numbers, and the thing is, I don’t trust what I see… it can’t be… there’s a 6-6-86 — my fucking birthday. It can’t be. How does she know my birthday? Now I’m hoping this is all a bad, uber-realistic nightmare that feels like real life. It’s all too horrible to accept as real, and so my best survival mechanism is to hope it’s a messed up dream.
“That’s my birthday, how do you know?” I’m screaming, but like I said, it’s so loud, it’s fruitless. Besides, she won’t look at me.
Looking away from her is what I should do, but it’s tough, or nearly impossible. Like a survival mantra, I vow to keep my eyes on the window, to ignore the blood on her, to keep my eyes focused on the seat back in front of me, but my vow is useless when mayhem surrounds me. People are screaming non-stop now, I see a kid several rows in front hitting his mom, it makes no sense. He knows this flight is in deep shit and probably doesn’t know what else to do but blame mom. Meantime, I’m frozen, I can’t act, I can’t do a damn thing.
We’re going down faster now, I can feel it; everyone can feel it. Oh damn, the screams stopped, just like that, a collective and agreed upon silent gasp quiets the plane. Silence makes things worse, because all we can hear now is the high-pitched, primal screeching of the dying engines as we race toward earth.
In my last moments I’ve nearly forgotten the fat chick next to me and haven’t noticed that she’s finished her sewing. Although centrifugal force is pushing me up toward the ceiling and against my seat and I look over to her arm and make out the blood soaked writing and what comes over me isn’t fear, but calm because, written right after my birthday, is today’s date, the day I’m going to die: 1-1-11.
The ride down isn’t as bad as I’d imagined it would be. I suddenly feel a hand grip my own and see she’s taken my hand in hers. Her fleshy face isn’t covered with the oxygen mask and against all logic, she isn’t gasping for air like the rest of us, but what’s most distressing is her grin. As an otherworldly force flattens us stiffly up against our seats, the last thing I see are the bloodied teeth behind her grisly smile, where she must’ve brought her arm up to snip the end of the last thread.
You’d think I’d be scared, but no, all fear has been sucked out of me as I stare into the eyes of the angel next to me, her grin is beautiful now, her blood coated teeth a testament to her missive, a message that’s clear to me now. Before I head to any glowing afterlife, she’s taking me on a stop I cannot deny I deserve.
It all comes back to me now, Katie’s tear streamed and red face, the snot shinning under her nostrils, her eyes clamped shut against me. Me, her worst nightmare, holding her down, down to rape her, how I’d locked her trusty terrier in her closet so it wouldn’t get in my way. It had stopped barking by then, all it did was whine. I’m a asshole, my lies and denials have caught up with me now. Funny the court system didn’t work for Katie, but karma sure has. There’s no heaven for the likes of me.