Her Plane Arrives At Seven

Doctor Lloyd was walking down the hallways checking on the hospital before the end of his shift. Somewhere in the distance he heard screams and banging noises, not unusual in the Mental Health Facility #1473. However, Dr. Lloyd could never get used to them as he thought they revealed his incompetence. Disturbed by the noises, the doctor went where they seemed to be coming from.

Right around the corner, in the dark corridor, all the doors were locked, but one. Dr. Lloyd rushed towards the opening. There, he saw one of the scenes he tried to eliminate in the facility. In a small room with no windows, a group of nurses was attempting to hold a young woman still. The girl was about 25 years old, her hair and clothes looked as if they hadn't been taken care of for a long time. Her eyes were gazing through the surrounding people rather than at them. The girl was screaming trying to break free. Suddenly, she stopped her surprisingly sane sight on Lloyd's face as if he could help her.

"Let me go! I have to get to the airport. I'll be late! Her plane arrives at 7..."

"It's OK, you'll be fine now," said the nurse as he gave the girl a sedating injection. The last thing he needed now was trouble from his boss. Lloyd already looked unpleased.

"What's going on here?"

"Um... A little incident - nothing serious. It's just Doeby."

"What did she want?" the look on Dr. Lloyd's face was not very promising.

The nurse was hiding his eyes. "She... tried to escape".

"Again?!" Lloyd was raging.

"Well, you know she does it every year. The girl has done it every October 23 for the last five years. We almost anticipate it and..."

"It's your job to make sure she doesn't do it again!" Lloyd obviously didn't feel like listening to the same old excuses. He gave the room, the nurses and the girl a final snobby disgusted glance and left the building. Lloyd's shift was up and he could finally go home.

Trying to relax in his new Mustang , Lloyd could not forget the incident with the Doeby girl. "What was she saying about the plane? And why does she do it on the same day? What's October 23 anyway? Isn't it the day they took 'Horizon'?"

...Horizon was a big department store sadly known for its siege six years ago. The store was taken by terrorists and the customers were held hostage. Desperate to hurry the negotiations, the terrorists killed some of the people. Overshadowed by the following attacks, the story had long been gone from the news headlines.


Lisa Doeby was an average 17-year-old, with the regular teenage ambitions and insecurities. She lived at home with her parents. Lisa's Dad was a local businessman. Her mother Tamara was a sales representative for a big leather company. Ever since Lisa was 4, her Mom spent most of her time at work. Both the girl and her father were really proud of Tamara's career success, but it hardly helped them get over her frequent absences. As a sales rep, Tamara had to travel all over the country, constantly promoting the company's production.

In October 2000, like many times before, Lisa's mother was going away for a convention in Chicago. The girl was already used to her Mom's constant going away, but this time she was upset more than usually. Because of the trip, Tamara wouldn't be able to join her family for their vacation at the lake. The Doeby's owned a small log house in the woods and stayed there for a couple weeks every summer.

Deep within her soul, Lisa was hoping Mom would cancel the flight and go with them, like every other year. But the departure date was coming and it didn't look like Tamara was going to give the convention up.

"But why do you have to go now, Mom?" Lisa's face had the most miserable expression. She refused to believe mother's career took over the family tradition.

"Honey, you know they're not going to reschedule the convention because of my vacation. We've already talked about it," Mrs. Doeby said softly.

Lisa looked up at her mother and said nothing. All these years of pursuing business goals, Tamara's family has been her first priority. Until today. Tomorrow Mom is going away even though she knows how hard it is on the family.

As if she had guessed what Lisa was thinking about, Tamara hurried to add, "You know, I'd do everything I can to postpone the trip. It's impossible". Tamara saw her words were not convincing enough for her daughter. "I'll be back in a couple days. I might be able to join you and dad at the log house."

Afraid to be deceived again, Lisa narrowed her eyes, "Promise? I'll be waiting for you".


The next morning Lisa's Dad took Tamara to the airport. The girl volunteered to go with him. After the plane for Chicago had taken off, the two were a little bit upset. But neither the girl nor her father had time to think about it. They still needed to take Mr. Beeps to the Fieldson's.

Mr. Beeps was the Doeby's beloved pet, a 4 year old Siamese cat. During the family's vacations in the woods, Mr. Beeps stayed at Cara's friend's house. Once the cat had safely been delivered to his temporary home, Lisa and her Dad packed and left for the lake.

Three days passed and Tamara still wouldn't return from Chicago. A vacation without mother was no fun, and it was decided Lisa and Dad would go home and wait for her to come back.


October 23 at the Fieldson's started out like any other Saturday. Cara got up at 9.30 and decided to feed Mr. Beeps. She was glad Lisa left the cat at their house. Cara's dad wouldn't let her have any pets of her own, so the girl was happy Mr. Beeps would be hers even for a week.

Done with the feeding, Cara turned the TV on. Nothing interesting was on in the morning hours. It was the time of the news. Cara was ready to change the channel, when suddenly something drew her attention.

The announcer's emotionless voice cited, "And now the latest from the "Horizon". As we just found out from a federal source, one more customer was killed by the terrorists. Tamara Lynn Doeby, 43 was pronounced dead this morning. Attempts to reach the victim's family are being made at this time..."

Cara could not believe what she just heard. Lisa had told her how upset she was by her mother's going to Chicago. There could be no mistake. Their neighbor was dead.

The thought suddenly stroke Cara's head, she felt enormous pressure within her head and collapsed, weeping with terrible hauling noises.

The bell ring made her jump up. Wiping the tears away, Cara saw Lisa in the doorway. The girl had come to take Mr. Beeps back, since she would be in the city now.

"What's wrong?" Lisa's voice was kind and cheerful, "Why are you crying?"

Cara looked at her friend for a second, opened her mouth, as if she wanted to say something, but the what she was trying to say was too heavy to come out of her mouth. "I... I had a fight with my mother," she finally mumbled.

"Sorry about that. I'm so happy Mom and I never fight", Lisa's words made Cara suffocate with tears.


When Lisa came home, Dad made her sit down. He was trying to avoid her eyes, started to talk and almost burst into tears. While Lisa was gone, he had a call from the police. They said Mrs. Tamara Lynn Doeby was officially a victim of the October 23 tragedy.

At the funeral, Lisa was extremely quiet and concentrated. She was silent the entire time, and was completely submerged in herself. "Leave her alone," people would say "The girl is devastated by the loss".


Days went by, and Cara hadn't heard from Lisa since the tragedy. Know for being an active person, Lisa wouldn't come to school or show on the street. Cara decided she should see how her friend was doing.

Lisa was surprisingly cool with her friend. The girl was nice to Cara, but she seemed to keep her distance. There was not a trace of the tragedy on Lisa's face. She was talking about fashion trends and colleges she'd be applying to, while Cara was examining her friend's behavior, trying to figure out whether she was really feeling all right. At 6.30 Lisa got up.

"I don't mean to be rude, but I have to go. I need to be at the airport by 7," she said quietly.

"But why would you go to the airport?" Cara was completely confused.

"I have to meet my Mom. She comes back from Chicago. Her plane arrives at 7," Lisa said seriously.

Cara tried to understand whether what she thought she heard was what Lisa actually said.

"How... What do you mean?" she was looking around helplessly, "Are you feeling all right?"

"I'm fine, but I do have to go. I don't want to be late for her plane. I'll call you tomorrow," Lisa said casually as she got to and started her motion toward the door.

Cara was struck: the nightmare was the reality. She jumped up from her seat and grabbed her friend's arm. "Tell me you're just kidding!" the look on her face said.

"Lisa, your mother is gone," she said quietly, gazing in her friend's eyes as if it could make her words sound more convincing, "She is dead. I know, it's hard on you, but I'm always there to...".

"Do you think you're even being funny?" yelled Lisa, "Don't you ever dare joke like that! Let me go! Mom is waiting for me."

* * *

At the airport, Lisa stood at the baggage claim area for good 40 minutes. She stared at the people's figures, eager to see Tamara among them.

"Mom probably had to stop at the customs. Maybe she's in the restroom. She'll be out any second." People were passing Lisa by, oblivious of her anxiety. "Why isn't she coming? Doesn't Mom know I'm here, waiting for her? Is she mad at me? She said she'd bring me souvenirs..."

Carried away by these thoughts, Lisa spent minutes and minutes standing at the same spot, staring expressionlessly at the coming crowd. Finally, she drew the attention of two security officers.

"Ma'am, can we help you?" said one of them with a look of suspicion and readiness in his eyes. Lisa was too deep in herself to hear him. "Miss?"

"I... Sorry... I am waiting for my mother. She was on the seven o'clock plane from Chicago. She should be here by now, but I've been waiting for a while, and she never..." the girl started hastily.

"What's your mother's name, Miss?" said the older security man shaking his head in disbelief.

"Tamara Doeby"

The officer gave his colleague a very meaningful look. Tamara Doeby was one of the most famous victims of the tragedy. The story of her death shocked the society with its brutality and terror. The second officer nodded at his co-worker.

"Ma'am, would you please follow us..." said the guard as he was leading Lisa away.

"No! Who's gonna meet my Mom? She'll be upset if I'm not there! Please, let me go..." cried the girl, but the officers were determined to fulfill what they were supposed to.


This would be the third edition of the story. I re-wrote the part where Tamara goes away up to the point when Lisa finds out about her mother's death. I think, it is more striking now than it was before.

I'm probably gonna disappoint those of you who wished to see a continuation of this story. There's not going to be a Chapter 2 or anything. Finita la comedia. However, I read this story over again and made some minor corrections. I might come up with some better major ones.

I started this story in the end of July and planned to post it right then. My PC had a different opinion, and I went away for 10 days, so I had to postpone it. The story is still "under construction", I'd like to have it here to get some feedback on it.

If you care, it was inspired by a TV show where a woman tells everyone her daughter is in college in London, while the girl is really dead; and by my friend's friend whose mother died in the Moscow theater siege. Besides, Dark Angele's poetry and Laura4's "A Grave Encounter" have had some influence on the style of it. Well... Enjoy!