I was stuck in a window seat again. I hated that, but they said all the aisle seats were taken. It was only a four hour flight, and I hoped it would be over soon.
Toward the end of the boarding, a medium built man, wearing a business suit, stopped at the aisle seat and put his overcoat in the overhead bin. He sat down and gave me an intent look. Amused, I looked back at him.
The man was a talker, and I welcomed the distraction. After swapping pleasantries, he commandeered the conversation. After we were in the air, he wasn’t slowing down. When he started talking politics, my interest waned until I heard him blustering about getting rid of welfare handouts. I told him I agreed.
As it turned out, he was referring to welfare given to poor parents, not to large corporations. I pointed out that being poor wasn’t a picnic. He went on to assume that I worked for an organization serving the poor, referring to them as “those people you work with.” Peeved that he was interpreting my position as self-serving, I silently mourned the decline of civility.
The “Fasten Your Seatbelts” sign lit up. The Captain announced, “We may be heading into some turbulence. Flight Crew, please take your seats.”
“Ah well,” I sighed, as I closed my eyes and retreated into my imagination. The whirring of the plane’s propellers filled my ears. Then something inside sounded amiss. I opened my eyes.
Did the overhead compartment across the aisle start to bulge? Was that someone thumping on their armrest? After even louder thumps, the overhead compartment dropped open.
Funny, the Flight Attendant checked all the bins before take-off. Oh, perhaps a passenger reopened it and I didn’t notice.
I looked out the window again. White clouds hovered far below us. I heard another thud and then the overhead compartment above our seats opened too. After confirming that oxygen bags had not been released, I returned my attention to the puffy, white clouds.
The next thing I knew, a large reptilian head was peering down from the overhead bin. I pressed closer to the window as I glimpsed its eye teeth. I turned my head and muttered, “Oh my God.” When I turned back, the reptile’s now open jaws settled over the aisle seat passenger’s head. The jaws clamped down on his neck. His white shirt soaked up his red blood.
In fast motion, the reptile tossed the bloodied man up and into the overhead bin across the aisle and jumped in with him. Using its tail, the reptile pulled on an inner knob to shut the door to the overhead compartment.
Stunned, I stayed pressed against the plane’s wall.
Minutes went by and no one spoke. Had anyone else seen it? The aisle seat was empty. I could see no blood on the seat, but perhaps all the blood soaked into his shirt.
Wide-eyed, I remained pressed against the wall. I didn’t dare let my attention stray to the clouds. Seat belts don’t help much in times of crocodile turbulence.
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Characters of Huffinfield (2022)by Tina Marie L. Lamb is available as an ebook or a paperback at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon. The ebook is also available at Kobo and at Smashwords. Buy it. Read it. And let me know what you think.