Chapter 2

My head is bleeding, pouring out from the gash on my forehead. I still have the oxygen mask around my head and life preserver on. These lap seat belts don't do anything. They shouted to put our heads down, but these seat belts create a whiplash movement for the upper body. My head hit my knee. I feel no pain. My vision is blurry; I can't make out the shapes in front of me. I blink, a little better. Water starts flooding into the plane. I struggle to get my seat belt off. I look over at the man next to me, he's unconscious. I crawl over him. I can't help him. The water is already waist high. Shit its cold.

A dozen or so people start moving, the rest dead or unconscious. All I hear is quiet cries and the water rushing into the plane. My ears are buzzing; everything is silent and moving in slow motion.

The emergency exit is ten rows up. Everyone is fighting their way up to it. I stop, staring at the scene before me. Water rushing in, it's now chest high. I freeze in the middle of the aisle. Somebody is yelling behind me to move. I feel a dull sensation on the back of my head and a man walks over me as I fall into the water.

There is a loud cracking noise, I rise out of the water and look behind me. The tail end of the plane starts to break off. The front of the plane dives down as it does. The water is now over my head I stand on the seat to get above it. I take a deep breath. Everyone at the emergency exit is now stuck at the bottom, unable to open the door against the pressure of the water. It's now full of water; the opening at the back of the plane is right above me now. I start to run out of breath. I can feel myself start to pass out. I pull the tab on my preserver and feel it start to take me to the top, my vision growing darker.

I reach the surface of the water. It's pouring down rain; flashes of lightning and the crack of thunder surround me. The fuselage of the plane is still on the surface, I'm in the middle of it ten feet away from each side.

It starts to sink. As it does, I can feel it start to pull me down, I struggle against it. It completely submerges and I go down with it. I flail my arms in vain against the suction. My breath leaves me and my vision starts to darken. I take a gulp of water. This isn't happening, I can't die.

I stop in the water and slowly start to float towards the surface once again. I take another gulp before I reach the surface. As my head breaks the surface I take a breath in, damn that's good.

Rain continues to come down. I hear a yell, but I can't lift my head to look up. Someone is continuing to yell at me. I can hear them splashing towards me.

If only I could look up. I don't have any energy; I can feel myself start to fade away.

I feel someone grab my neck and pull me half way out of the water my legs still in. Then everything goes dark.

When I wake I can feel the sun beating down on my face. An older man, in his forties, is sitting on a large black suitcase in front of me. I look down and see that I'm lying on a similar suitcase.

The man is looking down at me with a worried look on his face.

"I was wondering when you were going to come to."

He is a plump man with brown hair that has specs of gray. He has an attractive face but has the beginning of a belly bulging under his shirt. He's wearing a white button down collared shirt with beige dress pants.

"How long have I been out?"

As I speak I can see the worried look start to be replaced by one of relief.

"All the way through the night. I'd say it's around ten in the morning. My phone is dead, not sure of the time."

I look around there's nothing in sight. The sun isn't quite over head yet. Not a cloud in the sky.

"Have you seen any planes or anything?"

"Nope, Nothing. I saw one bird that's it. You were the only other one to get to the surface too. Just us."

My cast is water logged and has started to unravel. My preserver, partially deflated, is around my neck.

"Almost didn't make it, this little thing saved my life. I can't swim."

"In that case you better hold on tight." He starts to smile

Nice guy, but maybe not the best time to make a joke. On the other hand it might be the perfect time, I'm not sure.

Last time I was in water other than a bath tub was when I was seven. My dad wasn't much of a teacher. When it came to swimming he held the belief that if you face someone with the choice of swimming or drowning they will just start to swim without any instruction whatsoever. I don't recommend this method.

He rowed us out to the middle of the only lake in our town.

He said, "Today you are going to swim or die."

I didn't think I heard him right. I thought we were here to fish. I then realized we didn't have any fishing poles or bait. Now I'm not much of a fisherman, I've never really been, but this still struck me as odd. I open my mouth to ask what he said but before I could he lifted me up and tried to throw me into the water. I'm six foot five; at seven I was tall and skinny. When he picked me up and threw me my head hit the side of the boat and knocked me out. My dad didn't see this; it took him several minutes to realize it. He then revived me using questionable CPR techniques. I refused any swimming lessons from him or anyone else every again.

"So what's your name?"

"Tom, Tom Whidmore. You?"

My head is pounding, dehydration.

"Dane Phillips, I'm an attorney from Michigan. I was flying to meet an old friend and client. I guess he'll have to find new counsel now. What do you do?"

"I'm a writer for a small literary magazine. I mainly give review on whatever new literature is released. I don't have a lot of friends in the literary community. My satire doesn't do much to help their careers."

"How long have you been there? You can't be over thirty."

The sea is basically flat with the occasional slow rolling wave. Regardless, my stomach is starting to get queasy.

"Twenty-eight, I've only been there two years. Graduated from Boston College six years ago and worked for some local papers before getting a job there."

I went on a ferry three years ago, one of the worst times of my life. The sea was flat as glass, very smooth with the wind blowing gently in my face. Apparently this was too much for me because ten minutes in I'm leaning over the side rail vomiting the Cornflakes I had had three hours previous. The two young kids laughing and having fun with their eighty year old grandmother right beside me didn't understand why I was sick and not having fun. Goddamn kids.

"I did my undergraduate at BC, Law at Duke."

I just nod. My stomach isn't doing too well, ingested too much salt water.

"You have any family? I've got two kids, teenagers now. Tyler, Molly and my wife Sandy, they'll be taking this hard."

Family, I don't have a family. My dad was an engineer but he left when I was eight, leaving me alone with my mother. Probably the most mentally messed up person you could imagine. She worked as a waitress from the time she was sixteen to the day she died at forty two. She married my dad at eighteen when she became pregnant with me. My dad was a college student living in the area.

When he left she started to slip away slowly. She had convinced herself that he was coming back. She continued to make up excuses for his absence, changing them about every year. Finally, she convinced herself that he never left us at all but was killed trying to save her from a mugger, she died believing this. We lived in Pleasantville USA; there hasn't been a crime there since 1972 let alone a murder. I gave up trying to set her straight. She spent her whole life making up her own stories that would contradict the depressing reality that she had created for herself. I'm a reality man myself. I left at eighteen for college and never went back.

I ignored his question, "So how long do you think until they'll have people looking for us? Shouldn't they already be here?"

His smiling face disappeared, "The storm may have pushed us far from the crash site and who knows if the plane changed direction to try to avoid it. It may take a while before they find us."

Damn. My lips are dry, I need water.

"Well we won't last too long without water."

"We'll have to wait for it to rain. We can make some kind of water catch with our life preservers."

The suitcases are tied together at the handles with his tie, blue with red bubbles all over it.

Our preservers now completely deflated are useless to keep us afloat. We cut them at the seams and open them up. We use the pull chord to tie each end to a suit case, so it will lie between the two suit cases and collect rain water. A clever idea, I'm lucky Dane's here. I've never been much of an outdoors man; actually I've never even been hunting, fishing or camping. That's one hell of a dad I had huh?

Now we just have to wait for rain to come. There are some clouds to the north of us now, I begin to plead and pray for them to come toward us. All of a sudden I'm a religious man, funny how that works.

The clouds are slowly moving their way towards us. As the sun starts to get over head it starts to shower. Thank you, my newly found God. The life preservers are working spectacularly. We open our mouths and look up to the gray sky. I'm in heaven.

"HAAAH-WOOO"

Dane looks like a ten year old little leaguer who just hit his first homerun. Whooping and smiling from ear to ear. I can't help but smile too.

The rain continues to come down, our catch is now over flowing. Dark clouds start to cover the sky as the waves start to pick up. Alright my holy friend back off a little bit, I don't need any more rain right now.

It only gets worse.

Ten foot waves are coming consistently, the strain on the tie holding us together becomes too much for it. It starts to tear. Dane and I grab a hold of each others suit case. I can't lose this guy.

The sky is now completely dark, the sun covered by dark storm clouds. The frequent lightning is our only source of light. With each flash I see the terror and fear on Danes face that I know must be on mine. I can hear him yelling but the thunder drowns out anything coherent. I start to curse any god who may be listening. There is no religion.

A large wave about fifteen feet high comes rolling our way. I glance at Dane, he sees it too. We share a look of fear as he screams at the top of his lungs, "HOLD ON!"

With my head pounding, stomach moaning and eyes stinging from the salt water constantly being washed into them I hold on as tight as I can to the handle of his suit case.

The wave connects with us and flips us over and under the water I keep my grip on his suit case. My arm starts to twist and my own suit case is blown away from me before I can get my other, broken, hand on it. I still keep my grip on Danes'. As long as we are together it will be alright.

I run out of breath and pull myself to the surface. Dane isn't on the suitcase. I scan the water and see nothing but dark, rolling, choppy waves.

"DANE!" I can barely hear my own voice above the monsoon and constant thunder.

I duck my head under the water. I see nothing, the salt attacks my eyes and I lift my head back up.

"DANE!"...nothing.

I cling onto the suit case, riding the high waves. Rain pours down on me as yet another bolt of lightning hits near by, the thunder right behind it.

I'm in hell. I'm alone in hell.

Holy shit, I am actually going to die.