Raissa stared out the window of the plane with her father's portfolio on her lap. The trip had not gone well. It was almost certain now that they were going to lose everything. This had been their last chance. She felt a hard knot in the pit of her stomach. It wasn't herself she was worried about; she could take care of herself. She thought instead of her two younger sisters (who didn't even know the meaning of go without) and most of all her poor dear father whose very life was taking care of his daughters. What would he do now that he couldn't send Patricia to Harvard like he promised? Or buy a new car for Lora when she got her license? Or even simply put a decent roof over their heads? What are we going to do….?
The flight attendant interrupted her thoughts, "What would you like to drink, Miss?"
"I'll take bourbon, neat, please thank you" she replied.
"Alright, I just need to scan your credit card" The attendant replied.
Raissa reached under the seat and lugged out her purse. She rummaged for her wallet. She took her card out and reached it toward the flight attendant.
At that moment there was a loud thud on the plane's right hand side. She was shaken violently. Her card dropped on the floor. Then there was a loud roar as everything went insane. Debris and fiberglass were blown about the cabin. A wind of incredible strength rushed through the aircraft. Raissa's brain couldn't even process what was going on and she gazed dumbfounded as four passengers being sucked out into the open sky. Everything seemed to slow down. The Flight attendant was rushing toward first class. The hysterical screams of passengers were all but drowned out by the sounds of the howling wind and the shaking fuselage.
In that moment she didn't think of the debt, her sisters or even her father. All she thought was I'm going to die. The oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling like strange jellyfish. She struggled to put hers on. Her breath came in ragged gasps. She tried to remember anything from the safety demonstration that she had pretty much ignored. Something about the cushion being a flotation device was all she remembered. The plane spiraled down.
She should have spent more time with Patricia. She should have got a job earlier and spent less money. She should have apologized to Lora. She should have traveled more. She should have kissed Keith. She should have cleaned out the trashcans. I LOVE YOU FATHER. Such were her thoughts as her mind circled as much as the plane. It felt as if her stomach had leaped up and lodged in her throat. She tried to swallow but couldn't. Then everything went black. As she lost consciousness, Raissa heard the crash filled with sound: metal being torn apart, trees snapping, people screaming. Then she heard nothing more.
There was fire, smoke and pain everywhere. Hours passed. There was also silence. She was the last one. She was trapped under twisted aluminum, her life's blood slowly pouring into the ground. Everything was death. She remembered as she breathed in the sharp sent of ash, metal and burnt flesh that they had been flying over the wide, barren wilderness of Canada. Any rescue would come too late. She was all alone. She closed her eyes and lost conciseness again…
She awoke to bird chatter. Then she saw a man slowly walking among the bodies and wreckage. Where did he come from? She called out to him. He jumped, startled and looked at her. He must be surprised to find someone alive she thought.
"Help!," she cried out "Help, over here I'm still alive!" The man turned his back and started to walk away. "Hey wait! Wait! I need help! Can you get this off me?" she said. The man continued walking away.
She was beginning to panic. She could almost accept death but not alone! Not alone! "Please Help me! I'm trapped. I'm in pain. Help!" Her was loud and desperate sounding. He slowed.
"Have you no mercy? Please you can't just leave me here to die." Her voice cracked. Tears ran down her face. The man stopped.
"Please don't leave me" She chocked on her tears. The man turned and walked toward her. He knelt next to her. His eyes shone as with tears but none fell. His face was odd. It seemed disfigured but she could really tell how.
His voice was hard when he spoke, "I can save your life but in exchange you must swear to live with me and never to leave."
"What?" she asked weakly, wondering if she had heard him correctly.
"It's simple. You agree to stay in my house until the end of your life. You will be well taken care of. Don't misunderstand me this is not a romantic proposal. In fact if it is your wish you will never have to see me again. In exchange I will save your life and heal your wounds. If this is an unacceptable propose than I will leave you here to die"
"That's horrible" she said
"It's your choice" he said
She thought a moment. "I promise" she lied.
He lifted the metal from off her with surprising strength. He gently scooped her into his arms. It felt weird to lean her head against this strange man's chest. They set off into the woods.