Chapter 9:

You're in a coma and waking up is never easy

Castaway Isle

It was the turbulence that woke her up, all the shaking. She knew it was just turbulence, knew where she was and where she was going. The sounds in her earphones were still playing familiar songs and the scent of her brother next to her was against her nose.

She still jumped.

The seat belts kept her in place. Mattie shrugged and continue to watch his videos, chalking it up to Sophie suddenly being jolted awake.

They were actually pretty interesting in the way he, Sophie and their dad would use to binge-watch documentaries together. To them, it was sometimes better than the movies.

Mattie misses his father, misses his mother. Of course, he does. He missed them so much and he knows what his eldest sister had to sacrifice to come back to essentially take guardianship June and him. He knows how Sophie has always been raising them even as kids. When their parents were too busy working at the shop.

She may drive him insane sometimes, that's just what siblings do, but he sincerely loved and was grateful to her. So when she begged him to believe her, just a little, just enough to play along, even though he was a critical realistic thinker- he agreed. If it would make her happy, a little less fearful, then he would play along for today.

He even went and bought 2 pairs of spare prescription glasses just like she asked. He needed new prescription eye guards for when he played Volleyball or any other sport anyways.

Then there was his plane outfit, which he even let Sophie choose from head to toe. She made him wear the bulkiest of the new waterproof outdoor boots with his athletic gear. At least it was comfortable.

"You good Sophie?"

"Yeah, yeah.....Hey Mattie, remember what I said?"

"It's just some turbulence Sophie, it happens."

"Yeah but play along with me still ok. I still got time left, don't I? Start putting all your small stuff away, nothing will fly out. Start packing and putting all the stuff under the seat."

Sophie forced herself to stay calm, panicking would do her no good. What happens will happen, she's been through it all once before after all.

"Mattie, whatever happens, just listen to me okay It's going to be alright."

"Uh yeah, that's what I've been telling you, Sophie."

"No I mean, even if it looks scary and shit, we're going to be ok. The plane will land, not well but we're gonna make a safe landing. Do not panic."

"Your dream right? This is what happens in your scary dream?"

While she understands this is not the most appropriate topic to discuss on a plane mid-flight, she had to at least warn him.

"Put all your stuff away and under the seat, watch out for things flying, nothing should hit us. Reread the safety manual and when it's time, brace yourself. We'll be fine but you need to brace yourself."

"Oooookay Sophie, how about we have some water. That's right, let's calm the shit down and have some, oh look ginger ale. I grabbed you your favorite magic sky juice!"

"Yeah...drink up, you need to keep hydrated. In fact, we should use the bathroom before it really gets bad. Get up and go."

"But- oh alright. Gotta go anyways."

Sophie ignores anyone and everyone who she might pass in the aisle. They're a blur, she tells herself. Does not allow her eyes to linger on a single person. She doesn't have to recognize them right now, doesn't want to.

After they're seated again Sophie settles down after getting her brother to read the safety manual one last time. Then there's nothing to do but wait.

She pops another painkiller.

While their plane goes down it doesn't exactly crash, if anything it stays mostly alright. Their pilots were skilled enough to lower them and safely, though rockily, lands against the shore of the islands. Half water half land landing.

Only 3 people in their aircraft would die on the landing. It was senior citizens and an unfortunate 50 something-year-old man with a heart condition.

It's messy and shit goes flying but they'll make it down uninjured. There's no risk of the plane exploding or catching fire either. That was good, even if they had to leave their luggage behind when they evacuated, nothing would happen to it and it would be returned to their possession later.

But it would be better if they could at least bring their backpacks down with them initially. Sophie reasoned and planned, and told them to her brother.

"Uh huh, sure Sophie." he nods along.

That's when the turbulence really got bad. The announcements go on as the seat belt light flashes. Some attendants hurry along the edge of the hall.

Sophie plugs her earphones back in. All that's left to do it wait.

Her common sense knows she'll be fine, but her body is tense and still in dull cramping pain from her recent procedure not but half a day ago. Fearful for all the things that will happen, all the things that still could happen Sophie turns up the volume to her music to drown out all the sounds and slips back on her eye mask.

No use in being anxious.

She can hear the muffled announcements, feel the shakes of the plane, she swears she could smell the fear thickening in the air as time goes on.

Her bother nudges her out of her forced nap, she wasn't sleeping anyway.

"Sophie.... they're saying we need to put our life vests on. "

"An emergency landing then."

It's not a question, she doesn't need to ask to know the answer.

Mattie stares at her with a forced blank face, his fear just under the surface. He looks ot be searching for something, some answers but she never hid anything from him in the first place. If it's her brother, she can trust this person.

" emergency landing." Matthew doesn't know what to say, what can anyone say in this situation.

"Put on the life vest Mattie, it will be fine. We won't need it. It's going to be a half water landing, they'll get us to the shore."

"Shit Sophie."

"We'll be fine but get ready to brace yourself."

Matthew doesn't know what to think. He still can't believe his sister's story but the plane is going through the procedures for an emergency landing, just like she said. Is it possible she had a psychic dream? He's heard of those stories before.

"Mattie, breathe. It's your turn to calm the fuck down now."

"Shit shit shit, you, tell me everything that happened in your damn dream. Everything okay? Don't you dare leave a single thing out."

Sophie couldn't help but smile at that, ironically his panic calmed her's down. It was just like old times, back when they were all small, and she had to calm down both her crying siblings. This was familiar, she could do this.

"Of course, I'll tell you everything. But later, this isn't the time." She hisses at a particularly harsh jostle.

"Yeah no duh."

"You got everything put away? Good, then get ready to duck and brace the seat in front for impact."

"Fucking shit."

Soon the rows were filled with yellow as people followed the instructions and unfolded their life vests from under the seat. They rocked along for a long while, the air was tense with panic, worry, and fear. When the plane occasionally drops, they try not to scream even as their hearts leap to their throats.

When the drop turns into something of a dive they stop trying.

It's like a bad roller coaster ride but it doesn't stop. Sophie knows the pilots are doing their best to slow their descent, to glide into something of a safe landing. But that doesn't stop the overhead luggage from banging and dropping, doesn't stop the cabin from screaming in hysterics.

They're going to crash and there's nothing they can do about it.

No one but Sophie, and maybe the pilots, know what's going on. Even then they can't explain the freak storm. Even as an act of nature there's something wrong about, something too strange. It cut off their signals and stops any contact with the outside world.

Sophie can cuss out the storm all she wants but they're drill falling, diving far too fast. AT this moment she can perceive nothing but her own heartbeat and the too tight hand in hers. Everyone hangs on to their seats for dear life and Sophie hangs on to Mattie.

Him and June, for Mattie and June she'll go through everything again. She'll fucking get them out, freak storm be damned. Something deafening crashes and most of the lights in the cabin go off.

Her screams are lost in the roar of the crowd further drowned in the horrible sound of something ripping, crashing.

Water! They've hit the water!

If there was a camera filming from the outside, they would see an aircraft skip and slide just barely cross the surface of the empty ocean waves. Perhaps there would be a zoom in the strained desperate faces of the pilots, steering to the edge of the sighted land, an island.

There's a horrible crashing sound as the water breaks, the speed of the plane making every contact much worse, harder than it should be. Water tension slowing down the plan just enough as the wheels skip and roll.

Through the roof, the bay that separates wild ocean and still water. It rolls and skids up the sandbank and along the sandy shore.

When the plane finally, thank god finally, slows down to a rolling stop, the screaming is still going on in the cabin.

Sophie takes a shuddering breath from her leaned over position and releases her limbs from their crouching over. She does not let go of Mattie's hand,

"...Is it over?" Mattie whispers still crouched up in the safety position himself. He could as his sister relaxed nest to him, her body sinking into the chair.

"Yes....this part is over. " she sighs.

They're the first to look up, the first the breathe the collective breath everyone was holding. There were still some screamers even though the aircraft had for the most part stopped. While everyone else whipped around in shock and confusion the siblings quietly whispered among themselves, close enough to hear one another through the chattering mess.

"From now on, just listen and trust me alright?"

"...Yeah, yeah I got it."

"You don't believe me really, do you? Not yet."

"...No, no I don't. But it sure doesn't fucking hurt to listen."

His voice sounded broken, the implication of everything catching up to him now that they're on solid ground, still whole and alive.

"It's okay, it's okay to be scared Mattie. I'm fucking terrified still and I did it once all before."

"In your dream?"

"....Yeah, yeah I did it all in my dream. It was one hell of a long dream."

He nodded and Sophie felt this was as good a compromise as any. A psychic dream, a revelation, that much he can accept. It's better than time travel after all. Whatever it was, it was for certain though that Sophie believed she had lived these next 13 years.

In no way could she regard such long heartwrenching horrors as 'just' a dream. Even if it was there's no way she would allow what had happened once, wherever it was, to happen again.

Feeling his sister tensing again, her eyes staring too intensely into nothing, he leaned over to rest his chin over her head. Her now short hair tickling him, it still smelled like her usual citrus and fruits shampoo.

"Now what Soph?"

"Now? Now we wait."

The siblings huddled, getting comfortable. Sophie undid her too tight seat belt and stretched, explaining the short term plan to her overgrown younger brother.

"They'll let us off the plane soon enough, emergency exits and inflatable slides and all. Go for the left door, takes you down to the inland side rather than the beach and water. "

"But what about- "

"I know what you're thinking, there's no fire or explosion risk. Something malfunctioned up there but it's contained, the pilots did great in minimizing the damage and getting us down. That also means we don't have to rush to get down."

"Okay, that's good to know. No getting run over in that stampede."

"Yeah, not worth it. Besides, they tell us to leave our carry ons behind."

"Shit then why did you pack so much in the first place Soph?"

"We'll get it back, don't worry about that. But leave it for now or else it looks too suspicious. We can get away with our backpacks if we wait a bit, if we're not the first wave rushing out. "

The rules were to leave behind items to let people escape faster and not block the aisle. In the first couple minutes, the airline attendants would most certainly force that rule as they rush to evacuate people off the aircraft. In fact, they were already ready and in position to do so, their training kicking in, they just needed the orders. If they waited till it got clearer, it would take longer for the attendants to scold them then it would to simply let them go. Besides, many people brought their purses and such handbags, they could cheat and do the same with their backpacks and airport shopping bags

"Fucking shit, we should have brought more luggage then. A hell lot more." grumbled Mattie, massaging his nose and pulling out his glasses again from the case he safely put away from when turbulence first hit.

Sophie tiredly sighed as she got out their hats and applied some roll-on sunblock to get ready. She even held her brother still to rub his nose and face with the sunblock stick. It wouldn't last forever but it would help greatly the first few days.

It's going to be one wild tropical island out there.

"You could say that again."

Day 1 of Hell was officially starting.

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