“Mummy, mummy… see, the buildings are getting bigger.”
If the passengers hadn’t panicked before now, after hearing the innocent naïve-of-what’s-really-happening voice of that little girl, everyone freaked out.
Yinka dared to look out the window to realize that the little girl was spot on. OH MY GOD!
Beside him, Cassandra still, held his hand, eyes tightly shut, a streak of tears coming down her face.
Is this how I’m going to die? Just like this? GOD have mercy.
His life virtually flashed before his eyes.
He should have called when he had the chance. Now his cheating fiancée would never know that he knew that she was a worthless cow. He could imagine the tears at the funeral and all that.
Am I really going to die?
I’ve not been perfect, but I’ve been faithful in my own little way. Forgive me my shortcomings LORD, if I do have to meet you today, then I will do it with a bang.
He freed his hand from Cassandra’s grip and struggled to reach beneath his seat. He pulled out his laptop bag, yanked his laptop out and powered up.
Cassandra looked at him like he’d lost his mind, but he didn’t care.
This would be the last article by Yinka Bado.
CASSANDRA was at a loss at why Yinka suddenly felt that writing an article was so important in probably his last moments on earth.
He looks at peace, my goodness!
She turned from him and tried to ignore the smashing of her heart within her chest. #fail
She tried to see the possibility of them surviving… I mean there’ve been plane survivors in the past. She tried to see … #fail
GOD, is this how I’m going to die?
She thought of everything that had led to this and the tears resumed their voyage down her eyes.
At least I’m glad I could bring some element of comfort to another human being in my final hours. That gives me some joy. But still…
I don’t want to die.
“Can I have your attention please?”
The voice of the captain over the sound system brought the mayhem to a temporary and quick halt. Everyone was expecting some good news…ANY good news.
“We have a serious problem with our engines and we are trying to manage the situation the best way possible.” Pause. “This isn’t professional but I have to be real with you. If you can pray, pray. GOD help us all.”
It seemed like someone pressed the resume button, because the mayhem continued in full swing.
Bolanle stared at Alhaji, who seemed at a shock.
“Sah, before we die, pls no vex for wetin I do today. You vex me but still ehn…”
Alhaji was speechless. A side of his head was slightly swollen from when he had banged it earlier.
He looked like he had aged ten years in the past few minutes.
“You don’t have to apologize my dear. It’s…” He blanked out, both in thoughts and words.
Bolanle turned to look out the window.
My first time to enter this thing and see wetin happen. Shey later now dem go dey talk say I be bush. Choi, later no go come dey cos e be like say na kpai get us for here today.
E no fair. BABA, e no fair at all.
Then, the plane gradually steadied and began to gain altitude. Everyone seemed to hold their breath, not entirely sure that it was for real.
But sure enough, the buildings began to grow smaller and smaller again. The plane rose up and maintained a stable altitude.
The sigh of relief was deafening. People were crying, singing, some had their hands lifted up.
Cassandra hugged Yinka in relief, Alhaji buried his head in his hands while Bolanle held him, crying and laughing at the same time… it was all fanfare in the plane.
Yinka smiled and kept on typing. He would send it so whenever the plane was within network range, his story would go out.
All of a sudden, the sound of the engine died.
A few people noticed and instinctively looked around. Other were still busy rejoicing.
What everyone did notice however, was that the plane had started dropping again.
In a nosedive.
The screams resumed.
“Oh GOD” Cassandra screamed.
Yinka pressed ‘send’, threw the laptop aside, leaned over and held her.
4 Months & 23 Days Later
People walked into the hall, chattering in low tones, all dressed in dark colours.
Clear in sight was a sculpture of a plane in its prime. Quite beautiful to look at actually.
People spoke in hushed tones while the event went on. There were a couple of teary eyes. A lot of people held hands.
Finally YINKA rolled up to the podium in his wheelchair and was given a mic. The hall quieted.
He gave his version of the event. As a writer, reporter and speaker, he knew how to move his audience.
And he did. He spoke of that day for a few minutes.
“… I shall be out of this wheelchair in a few months, and I count myself blessed to be graced with life. I dedicate this book to the few we lost. To the brave pilot whose brilliance and braveness saved most of us. And to GOD, to who we owe all our thanks. Thank you.”
A few people clapped, most were sober. He rolled himself off the stage, thinking a thought that had plagued him since that day.
Alhaji and Bolanle, amongst others walked up to him and asked him to sign a copy of the book.
He looked at the title a on the cover page. ENROUTE. What a journey it had been.
When he returned the books, they walked away without a word. He watched them share a few words before walking their separate ways. Soon he was surrounded by other people who wanted their copies signed.
Somewhere quite far away, she watched the event from her hospital bed and smiled.
Well done dude. You have really spoken for us all.
I’ll see you soon.