Marie Adeline We made it down the short aisle. Standing in front of the cockpit door, she gave three quick knocks. A second later, a sandy-haired young man with thick glasses and a space between his front teeth poked his head out. I hated to admit that my shallow Southern heart sank, though I politely pulled my grin a little wider, reminding myself what the C in S. Miss Mason is keen to see what goes on in here.
It might help her with her fear of flying. Dispel the mystery and the fear disperses. He can show you around while I stretch my legs. Out the window in front was a dark sky; below, nothing but black water.
The high whine of the engines masked the screams in my own head as my legs now turned to cement. Eileen nudged me through the narrow doorway. The pilot sat silhouetted in the window.
The only thing I could see above the seat was the back of his head. Thankfully, the white noise drowned out my pounding heart. A robot takes over for most of the flight from now on. A very smart one. The man from Security! The man with the sexy British accent! The air left my chest and the pressure squeezed my lungs. Feeling tantalized and terrified at that same time had a bad effect on my stomach. I slapped both hands on the curved walls of the cockpit to steady myself as the plane rose and straightened.
The pilot faced a wall of lights and levers that seemed to blink and shift on their own. Then he finally turned his chair around, aviators off, brown eyes on me. Do you accept the Step, Miss Mason? Trust me when I say I can help you with your fear of flying. Safer than almost any other activity you can do at hundreds of miles an hour, high in the air. My arms flew up to grasp the ceiling.
He took it as a cue to gesture me over to him. I slowly, carefully, closed the gap between us, and over his shoulder got a better view of the world before me. It was dusk, but light poked through the clouds, illuminating little towns and villages nestled in the foot of a mountain range.
They looked like a strand of jewels dropped from a great height. It was beautiful, but still I felt gut-punched and queasy. Levers and buttons continued to move in a ghostly way all around us. The plane will ride through it. Terribly shallow, I know.