Descent (short story)

Descent

September 13, 2014, somewhere above the Atlantic.

Kevin stretched and opened his eyes.

He stifled a yawn, sat up. Everything was the same: the bottle of water to his right, half empty; the frozen image of Robert de Niro on his screen, from where he had paused the movie before going to sleep; the snoring passenger to his right.

He sighed. You paid more for a seat in business class, but the people were the same. Then a message on the screen drew his attention.

Time to arrival: 23 min.

Twenty-three minutes left on this flight, then he’d pick up his rental BMW and drive it into London. He had booked a room in a five-star hotel this time, only four minutes walking distance from the office. He hoped it was worth the money.

He had the weekend for himself, to adjust to the jetlag. Then the three-day sales conference, two more days of meetings with clients, and then the flight back home.

He pressed the button that brought his chair to an upright position and smiled as he felt it shift under him. They were fun, these seats. And he had slept well.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are starting our descent into San Francisco,” came the voice through the PA. “Please return to your seats and—“

Wait. What?

It can’t be San Francisco. I only left San Francisco hours ago!

He pressed the Flight Tracker button on his screen. It showed the plane descending into SFO.

No. It couldn’t be. What kind of a sick joke was that?

He opened his Macbook. The upper-right corner of the screen showed Saturday as the day of the week, and the time was wrong. He clicked on it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014.

Just like that. A week of his life, gone.

But… how could this be?

He reached for his bottle of water. He needed to relax; he needed to think. Then he felt a sharp pain in his side.

He lifted his shirt, exposing a large bandage.

What the hell was this?

Then his eyes fell on the watch on his wrist.

It wasn’t his usual watch. It showed only one number.

8.

7.

His heart pounded in his chest.

6.

5.

He ripped the bandage, exposing a nasty cut. He started hyperventilating.

4.

3.

2.

There was nothing he could do. There was no time.

1.

Goodbye, Carrie. I love you.

0.

 

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Author’s note: I do not condone acts of terror. This is a work of fiction. Also, perhaps in the end the main character just wakes up from another dream. It’s up to you, the reader.