Chapter 1: Out of the Sky
The sun was rising on the horizon as I pulled into the airport, coloring the rim of the sky pink and leaving the rest a dark purple shade. There were no other cars driving in or out on the roads, as there rarely were. I watched a flock of vibrant colored birds fly overhead, darting off into the wilderness surrounding the parking lot fences.
I passed by a sign that read 'Welcome to New Plymouth', greeting the new comers that were arriving. Ha, welcome to the last clean place in the universe, I thought. From what I've heard of the other civilizations, this was a god-send.
Earth was a landfill compared to this new settlement, which was full of lush green jungles and tropical planes. It was about three times as large too, with so many new places and resources to explore. It was the first successfully terraformed planet in our solar system, and we had it just about all to ourselves. It was an expensive trip to take out to here, which kept most of the earthen citizens away. I was lucky enough to be born here, living in luxury. Or at least I saw it that way…
The greatest thing here was the people, or lack of, I should say. That suited me just fine, with only one major city and only a handful of people my age, so I was secluded to my own thoughts. I was a shy person, so that was a big part of my decision for staying.
In fact, I'd even made some friends as I grew up, which is why I'm heading to the airport. A guy named Brian Omar from my phycology class invited everyone on a weekend camping trip up to a hidden campsite his father had found. Brian was a nice guy, and always got along with me just fine. He was taking his father's private jet, ensuring us it was well worth it, and expense free. It was technically illegal, but the law had so many other problems that a dozen college kids camping in the wilderness was hardly something to take note of. Besides, it was just for the weekend…
I was hesitant to go at first, for it would be the first time any of us had ever hung out together. My curiosity and boredom got the better of me though, and I decided to tag along. Considering everybody was only 'acquaintances' anyway, I thought it would be for the best to make friends than be left out.
Pulling into the lot, I noticed a few familiar faces that smiled and waved me over. I waved back, parking alongside Ashley Rader's black SUV. I cut the engine, let out a sigh, and checked myself in the rearview mirror. I fixed my short brown hair around until I was satisfied, rubbed the tired out of my eyes, and exited my silver car.
"Hey Josh," Ashley greeted me as I exited. She flipped her dark brown wavy hair and smiled a white grin - her green eyes smiling as well. She seemed all out ready to go, with a pair of hiking boots, jeans, and a tan vest covering a black shirt.
"What's up guys?" I asked tucking away my car keys in my short's pocket.
Jessica snorted, "Waiting for John to show up so we can leave…" She was my least favorite person, mainly because she was so stuck up. She was always twirling her blond hair, chewing gum, and rolling her brown eyes. She always wore revealing clothes, even now with a green crop-top and white short-shorts. She was much unlike Ashley, who didn't need to try and be pretty.
She was a flirt alright, but she was definitely after one person - Evan Cooper…the handsome, cocky, showboat whose parents were rich. He was always seen smiling at himself in a mirror, combing his black hair and adjusting his too-tight shirts. His eyes were dark, almost black even, and reminded me of a snake.
I looked around at the small group of people. I noticed Don and Ron Bolden standing by a white car, arguing. They were identical twins, both with dark skin, broad shoulders, and short-cropped black hair. Most of the time they even dressed the same, today both wearing a plain white shirt and black gym shorts. They were inseparable…
Beside them, standing with her arms crossed and leaning against her teal-colored car was Jenny Lakin. She was the quietest one in the group, being that she was deaf. I mean, she could talk, but usually she refrained from it and just kept to herself. Luckily, she was proficient at reading lips. She too had dark brown hair like Ashley, but hers was pulled back into a ponytail. She was wearing a black tank-top and jeans, partially covering a pair of white tennis-shoes. I always tried to work up some courage to talk to her, because I thought she would make for a good friend. I always got intimidated when I realized she was reading my lips with her vibrant blue eyes. I was sure that if she was so deaf, she could surely see things others couldn't. Anyway, this weekend would most likely be my chance to make friends…
Behind her car was a tan colored one, with Suzie Mallen and Brittany Tanas chatting in front of it.
I'd talked to Suzie many times; she worked as an intern for communications that graduated last year. She was popular amongst the small group of us, and friendly to everyone. She had light brown hair that matched her warm hazel eyes, and she never seemed to get upset. Today, she was wearing hiking attire, with her hair also in a ponytail. She had an orange backpack on, under-armor shirt, and cargo shorts.
I didn't really know Brittany too well, for she tended to hang out a lot with Jessica. She was dressed similar too, with only a sports bra and bike shorts. Her hair was of an auburn color, usually put up in some fancy fashion.
Suddenly, a blue corvette skidded into the parking lot, speeding in our direction. Everybody jumped back as it screeched into a parking spot right beside my car.
"John…" Jessica growled.
Sure enough, John Appet popped out of the car, wearing a pair of oversized sunglasses, with a grin of relief, "Oh, I thought you all left without me!" he said with his Australian accent. He wasn't born here like us, but came at a young age with his wealthy parents. They ended up going back to Earth though, with him deciding to stay awhile.
His hair was flashy, neatly trimmed all around with the top coming to a small peak in the middle. He was easy to get along with, always laughing and making jokes. He dressed nice too, wearing a black and blue plaid flannel and faded jeans over high-tops. He removed his aviators, winking at us and slamming his car door.
"Dammit, John!" Brittany snarled, "You could've killed somebody!"
He just laughed, spinning his car keys on his index finger, "Come on, I know how to handle my own car…"
"Alright, let's head up to the plane," Ashley suggested. Everybody grabbed their luggage and began walking towards the runway, I popped open the trunk of my car and retrieved my own blue duffel bag.
Our boots and footsteps seemed to echo as we started crossing the empty lot.
"Wait up!" a voice called behind us. I turned to see Jim Daden hopping over the chain-link fence and running our way with his tan backpack slung over one shoulder.
He was wearing an olive green shirt, blue jeans, leather boots, and a pair of binoculars hanging around his neck. Sweat was gleaming in his brown hair already, dripping past his green eyes.
Breathing heavily, he slowed down beside me, holding out his hand and showing me a colorful looking frog with yellow skin and big black eyes.
"I saw it run out of the parking lot, chased it down," he beamed.
The frog croaked, and Jim cupped another hand over it. He was a normal guy, who meant well.
I was just eager to get this trip started, but once I saw the plane, I was in complete awe.
The jet was without a doubt one of the most impressive things I'd ever seen. It was sleek looking, with brown strips across the white belly and circular windows lining the sides. A staircase led up to the cabin of the plane, where inside it was luxurious and filled with comfort. We all took our boots off in the entrance way, being careful not to dirty up the plush white carpeting. It was well lit inside, with warm brown and cream colored walls and oversized seating. The chairs were doubled, and went four rows back with a small, wooden coffee table in front of each one. They also each had a television set, fan, and small refrigerator compartment. In the front was where the cockpit was, leaving the back open for the bathroom suited with a shower.
For a few minutes, everybody walked around inside, just taking in all the exciting details. We felt like royalty…
A radio crackled on, silencing us. "This is your captain speakin'," came Brian's voice, "We'll be takin' off any minute now, so I'd like you to all get seated."
I shuffled to the back row, tossing my luggage in the overhead compartment and scooting into the comfortable black leather seat. I opened the blinds of the window, letting the natural sunlight pour in. I basked in it for a minute, until I heard the overhead compartment open again. I turned to see Jenny trying to stuff her gear in, and I popped up to help her.
"Here," I said taking her bags and pushing them in for her.
She smiled her thank you, and we stood awkwardly for a moment.
"Do you want the window seat?" I offered.
She looked at the ground, still smiling, "Yeah, thanks," she answered quietly.
Good, I thought, I can make friends with her on the ride there. She slipped in the chair and I sat down beside her as Jim and John came back in the seats beside us. Jim got their window seat, leaving me to listen to John ramble on about how awesome this trip was going to be.
Finally, about five minutes later, the plane was fired up and the air conditioning cooling off the cabin as the door shut and the staircase was wheeled away. Brian opened the door separating the cockpit of the plane from the cabin, walking in wearing a white pilot's outfit and matching hat.
He had a huge grin on his face as everybody clapped and cheered.
He motioned for everyone to quiet down, "Now, let's all have a nice trip out, enjoy the commodities, and don't hesitate to ask for anything! We've got plenty of drinks and food to enjoy on the trip out, because it's going to be a long one!"
Again there was a round of applause and he waved us off, turning to leave. "Bathroom in the back!" he pointed out before disappearing.
I could feel the butterflies in my stomach as the plane began turning to face the runway. This was going to be the greatest trip any of us had ever experienced…
The sun was at high noon, burning the blue sky that was absent of clouds. For most of the trip, everybody had their headphones in, watching movies or listening to music. After about an hour, people started to talk and eat lunch.
Jenny and I spoke a little, mostly me, but she listened and kept the conversations alive. But not nearly as much as John, because he was going on and on as each story blended into another. I just smiled and tried to act like I was following, when most of the time I was trying to think of what I would do when we landed.
I looked around the cabin, noticing the seating arrangements. Don and Ron had taken the front, left seats, next to Brittany and Jessica. Suzie and Ashley were sitting in the third row in the left seats in front of John and Jim. I was guessing that Evan had ended up going in the front to co-pilot with Brian, even though it was unnecessary. That was just Evan's way, trying to show off even when he wasn't the main show.
I began to doze off, despite the excitement inside me. I hadn't got much sleep last night considering I was anticipating this day all night…
When I awoke again, I was surprised to see everybody gripping their seats as the cabin rocked slightly.
The radio crackled again, "Some minor turbulence, we should-"
A loud screeching sound cut him off, and I could feel my heart begin racing as the cabin went dead silent.
"What the-hold on!" Brian screamed without the use of the radio. Then, out of nowhere, the plane jerked violently, accompanied by a loud thud. A bright orange blob flashed by the windows with another screech, ringing in my ears.
The message center above the cabin door flashed with a red warning sign, showing a seatbelt symbol.
"Buckle in! We've got wing damage!" Brain called not a second too late. I leaned over Jenny and pressed my face against the small window, looking out over a sea of leafy green treetops and mountains. The white wing of the plane had two distinct tears across the top, causing it to wobble uncontrollably. I watched as it began to loosen even further, until Jenny pulled me back into my seat. I quickly strapped myself in with trembling hands as the panic arose and everybody began screaming.
Then, the plane went rigid, losing connection to the wing's control and brake power. The g-forces pulled at my insides as the plane twisted hard to the left, turning us almost 180 degrees. The girls in the plane shrieked as an alarm sounded and a red light flashed rapidly. Oxygen masks dropped down from the overhead compartments, but nobody took time to put them on. They were immediately sucked to the ceiling anyway as the plane spiraled and gravity pulled them away.
"Impact! Brace yourselves!" Brian cried helplessly.
My mind was racing, and I was in disbelief that this was all actually occurring. The looks on everybody's faces confirmed the terror though, and there was nothing left to do but hold on for the ride. Adrenaline was pulsing through my veins as the lights went out and the windows were enclosed in the treetops. Then came the most intense ride of my life, as we hit all the trees upon our descent. The plane jerked this way and that, tossing us like ragdolls and tearing the cabin to shreds.
It took what seemed like forever to finally hit the ground, but when we did, it all happened so fast. The screaming had stopped, and all that could be heard was the rushing wind and branches snapping. We hit belly first, smashing the bottom, and I caught a glimpse as a piece of metal ripped through the front seat Don was in, splattering blood against the ceiling. The shockwave then reached the back, and my head whipped forward, bashing off the coffee table…
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 2 coming soon!
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