Genre: YA Fantasy
Title: I Am Unbroken
I choked against the thick smoke filling the air.
Desperately glancing left and right, the only thing I noticed was the sheer panic from the other seven passengers in the tiny plane.
I was going to die. I wasn’t even sixteen and I was going to die.
I willed my eyelids shut, aware of a horrible noise filling the air. The smell of gasoline and burnt steel made a pungent combination in my nose. My stomach lurched from the chicken sandwich I had eaten earlier.
Muffled sobs came from a couple nearby who had been holding hands a second ago. One of the businessmen yelled fiercely at a shaking flight attendant, shouting profanities and demands to see the pilot. An old granny sat in front of me, quietly humming to herself as she worked on some knitting, oblivious to the plight at hand.
It was as if someone had taken the fastest roller coaster in the world and placed it on top of Mount Everest. My stomach was sitting on the ceiling by now. The plunging motion was sickening and exhilarating at the same time.
In my last moments before I would completely black out, a million questions formed in my mind…
Why had I agreed to go on this stupid tiny plane my stepdad had arranged?
What would it be like to die? Would I even notice it? Or was there nothing after?
Where was the pilot - if he was even still alive? I should’ve known he would kill us, acting so weird before the flight.
And what in the world was that stupid noise?
And then it hit me, right before I succumbed to the engulfing darkness. That noise was me. Unaware I was screaming at the top of my lungs, my disembodied self finally came to the realization. Fear had taken hold.
I looked down at my Ramones t-shirt and stopped screaming. At least I would go out wearing my favorite shirt.
I felt a wrinkled old hand wrap itself around me, a dry, creaky voice speaking into my ear. It was the old woman who had been sitting in the seat in front of mine, now muttering prayers or chants or something.
“Don’t worry my boy,” the woman said, though I kept my eyes fiercely shut. “It’ll all be over soon, and then the peace will come. Peace…”
She trailed off.
Something about her – the voice, the texture of her wrinkles, the smell of spice cake and flowers - had reminded me of my own nana, for whom I had boarded this death trap of a plane ride to go visit over at Tahoe.
I gripped her hand tight and whispered back. “Thanks.”
“What’s your name young man?” She asked dryly.
This didn’t seem like a moment for small talk but I indulged. “Gavin. Gavin Ashmore.”
“Well Gavin Ashmore, it’s a pleasure to meet you. My name’s –“
Another loud crash as something mechanical failed and stole my nerves away.
The choking had become unbearable. The steep motion was overwhelming now.
A wave of something like relief and fear of the unknown washed over me as the shouting, crying, and screaming suddenly died down.
I would die soon also.
I tried to gasp one last breath out, but it was stifled. Rolling my eyes back into my skull, darkness swallowed me whole.
The last thing I could hear was one more deafening crash.
A faint light danced in front of my face. I would’ve reached out and grabbed it if I even had an arm. It felt like my consciousness had somehow continued living somewhere between life and death. I just was. Time had no meaning – I could’ve been staring at this thing for the past century and I would’ve had no idea.
Though the light was dim at first, it was almost blinding now, even though I had no eyes to actually see the thing.
The light exploded in the darkness where I now existed, only to be replaced suddenly by a figure - a girl in fact.
She must have been an angel, because she was singly the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on. In stark contrast to the chaotic rush before the darkness, she stood calmly looking down at me. Her skin was porcelain white, while her hair sat in tight, jet-black ringlets on her head. Her eyes were the purest blue that could have been created. Flowing white wisps surrounded her as her dress enveloped her body. On her face, she wore an expression of pity.
I tried to reach her, but it felt at the moment like I was just an observer, not an actor in the play. She spoke, almost singing as she did so. Though she looked in my direction, it didn’t seem like she was speaking to me, but to some invisible force.
It sounded like some kind of Latin to me. “Sanetus.”
She repeated it over again, as she reached out her gentle fingers. A glowing ball of light appeared at the tip of her index finger, and she placed it where my forehead should have been.
She spoke again, “You must not die Gavin Ashmore…you are the one…I know it.”
I bolted up in what must have been a body bag.
I jerked my elbow off the desk where I sat. I had been dozing off again in class, another daydream reminding me of the crash. If only they would stop. Needless to say, I hadn’t been sleeping well these days, that is, until we started learning about animal phyla and plant species. A sudden wafting of that burning smell filled my nostrils again, and I almost gagged myself.
If only it were a daydream but this was my reality now.
Today was , technically my sixteenth birthday, though I hadn’t really given it much thought truth be told. One week ago I had survived a plane crash - yet as I looked around, everything had pretty much gone back to its tedium. The same giggling girls sitting in the corner playing into their selfie addiction, the egotistical jocks - which included my stepbrother Conner – that looked around for victims. Oh and to top it all off, getting yelled at incessantly by my overbearing step dad was always a great reminder that life was back to normal.
I had one birthday wish.
I wish today would be different.
I know it was strange, but the accident had left me with an empty craving for a different life.
Even though I was sitting in the middle of Biology at Shady Oaks High, mentally I was someplace else.
My mind kept returning to that moment when everything changed. When she brought me back. Ever since that girl had done whatever she did to me, my senses were more on edge. Like at night for example, when I couldn’t sleep, I swear I could hear voices and people shuffling around outside, but every time I crept up to the window, there was absolutely nothing there. It was almost like there were ghosts or something. It was crazy, I know.