As mentioned previously, I wrote up a quick chapter that will lead into the fantasy component of my story. I would like to share this part with the world:
That night Keith was absolutely crushed. He had hoped that the little charms he bought and his prayers would be answered. Instead, deafness seemed to strike his supplication. Or perhaps it wasn’t deafness but just the fact that nothing out there existed. He sat in the hotel pondering his life. It was almost as if he were already dead. The emotions second by second dripped from him as his realization transitioned to simple acceptance.
But that acceptance was the muteness of an empty body.
Physically, he existed but his mind and soul drained away like a clogged toilet. In some ways, he already knew what the answer would be, but no matter how much he mentally prepared the answer was something he never wanted to hear.
He didn’t care nor need sleep. Well, maybe he needed sleep since the following day would be an intense bureaucratic orchestra of airport theater. But his life was meaningless so all that was just an inconvenience.
Eventually, he forced himself to sleep through the catharsis of tears and the gradual blanking of him mind. In the morning, he hobbled out of his tiny weekly apartment and took a taxi to the ANA Hotel in Akasaka. From there he waited patiently for a few hours for the Airport Shuttle to arrive. After boarding, he peered out the window at possibly his last glance at Tokyo and Japan. The images of the road and all the familiar sites of Tokyo like the Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Fuji Television studio, the Midtown Project, Roppongi Hills, etc. flew by and faded away. He never gave a second glance to any site, letting the memories disappear permanently.
When he arrived at the airport, he listlessly went through customs, immigration and security. Each point felt like a lifetime being lifted away from him as he neared his plane. Eventually, he came to his gateway and sat at a seat, staring at nothing in particular. At this point, life was just a countdown to the next meaningless destination.
Towards the evening as the sky darkened around Japan, the plane was ready for boarding. He received a window seat near the emergency exit. He took to his seat gently but silently. Still suffering from a cold, he removed a Japanese mask to respect his neighbors’ health but beyond that he was just a shell waiting to return to his quiet, lonely room in Los Angeles.
Outside, the winds were quite heavy, blowing up respectable gusts. Inside, various passengers complained or worried about the plane’s safety. About ten minutes into the boarding, heavy drops of rain started to pelt the windows and gradually picked up. The captain told the passengers that they weren’t going to be deterred and soon thereafter began moving the plane after the final passengers were confirmed to be seated.
The plane had some competition that night in terms of the use of the runway as a few other flights had been delayed as a result of the storm. Since theirs was an international one, they could ignore some weather conditions. Eventually, it was their turn and the plane took without a hitch. Some passengers mumbled relief but Keith’s face remained impassive throughout.
Weary from the general lack of sleep and his cold, Keith started to nod off against the window. He peered outside at the dimming lights of the end of his days in Japan before even those diminished completely. Sometimes though he thought he saw other lights in the distance twinkling, at first believing that the wing’s blinkers or another plane or ship could be the source. However, the dense rain clouds opposed that idea for him. Then again his eyes had become poor over time and his mind often played tricks on him. For instance, there were times while walking he would swear that he was being attacked by a small dog or bug when the object in question was merely a large twig that fell next to him. After dismissing that idea, he tried to fall asleep again.
As the plane leveled out above the clouds, the turbulence eased slightly. Keith was able to see the night sky almost clearly minus the occasional flashing derived from the plane’s wings. He peered at a particular bright star, possibly Venus, Jupiter or Sirius. He admired the twinkling, the poignant spokes that emitted more brightly now that he was far above the city and atmosphere. His mind relaxed a bit but somehow he felt connected to the star as if it was able to speak with him. Then again his mind was always overactive, even after his latest emotional trauma. So he humored himself in conversing back with the star.
“All that I ask is to somehow one day be happy and find true love in my life.”
The star for a minute seemed to wink at him. But it could’ve just been something obscuring the object transiently. He looked around the cabin for the first time and wondered if there was anyone else paying attention. Everyone inside were either fast asleep, watching the tiny LCD screen or doing some other self-indulging activity. He looked back outside to see the star gazing brightly back at him, this time barely flickering.
A few minutes later, the plane started to experience some heavy turbulence. He watched as the wings viciously shook while the seat belt sign flashed back on. The captain speaking in Japanese gave warning of the turbulence and started to dip the plane slightly to stabilize it. However, they were back in the clouds and Keith’s only companion of the night faded away.
With only dark clouds to stare at, Keith sank back in his seat, deciding to join the rest of the cabin in some time wasting activity. He tried the various movies but none interested him. Each one was a generic Hollywood plot that only updated the dialogue to match the current cultural fads. His stomach felt similar in terms of the idea of regurgitation so he scanned for something different. The Japanese programming reminded him too harshly of the realities he just left, so he avoided those vehemently. Instead, he turned his attention to the flight progress meter. The 8 additional hours gave him some bile in his stomach as he anticipated more bureaucracy upon landing.
So he simply changed it a last time to watch the boring point of view from the landing gear side. It had a bizarre calming affect upon him where his mind could relax as the emptiness of the dark skies complimented the black hole-like visage embedded inside of him. The camera was partly obscured by the rain particles but the high velocity in turn would cleanse it shortly thereafter. In the distance, he thought he could see the periodic flickering of lights from the occasional deep fishing boats. However, they were a fair distance away from land by now and the altitude and clouds would not permit such detail. It could’ve been another plane too, but strangely the lights had a celerity that defied the typical smooth glide of any normal plane.
Soon those lights all but vanished into the night and for Keith it could’ve been another trick by his overactive imagination or wishful thinking. A minute later, the plane started to ascend again above the clouds so that he could perceive the horizon. Once more his tiny distant companion rose up loyally and Keith felt a small bit of serenity entering his body. Despite the easing of turbulence, the seat belt light remained on. Perhaps the captain or an attendant forgot to turn it off, he pondered.
Just then a thunderous blast shook the plane causing the plane to dramatically heave. Many passengers gripped their seats and moaned at the sharp descent. The captain managed to stabilize the craft even though it still felt slightly rocky. Curiously, Keith peered out his window, attempting to spot any particular cause. For the most part, everything outside seemed normal. His companion continued to wink at him feverishly. It seemed to get brighter by the second; at first perhaps millimeters, then centimeters and eventually it became the only light in view. Or perhaps something was blocking the rest of the horizon.
From there, things occurred in blurred milliseconds. It was like a photo gallery with only the snapshots in between the most critical events being emphasized. Keith simply remembered an entity outside like a smooth perfectly sculpted metallic orb. The light that might’ve been the companion probably was the reflection of some other lights back at the craft. However, the orb seemed to possess a mechanism of illumination of its own, not generated by an external device that Keith could perceive. From the limited area of the window, Keith was for a single second bathed in the illumination. Then things grew completely fuzzy as the world reacted faster than he could imagine. Passengers with agape mouths being thrown about in chaos. The top of the plane ripped off with several unbuckled passengers being launched into the air. Keith’s ears nearly splitting as the plane descended into the sea. His sole reaction was lurching under the chair and quickly grabbing hold of his backpack, containing his most important possession: his giraffe. As the plane dropped, the last few seconds he could remember at that point was once again seeing the illumination bathe his body and a general calmness bestowed over him before he was knocked senseless.