There aren’t very many things to like about airports; they’re crowded, they’re noisy, there are all sorts of little children touching things…It’s just not very appealing to the senses. I had never liked them, not since my one trip to one when I was ten. We were going to see my grandparents in San Fransisco, which never happened. They called my mother right before we got to the Salt Lake Airport, claiming they had ‘an emergency come up.’ My mother didn’t take the news well, but she put on a happy face and took Liv and I to the little pizza place just inside the monstrosity. I was ten, and yet even I was too scared to touch anything.
I knew I’d never be able to ship my bike across the country with me, so I gave it to a homeless man on the side of the road. I left him with a hundred bucks and a full tank, and he gave me the most sincere thank you of my lifetime. I know that doesn’t sound much like me, but I’d had one hell of a week. Maybe it was time to turn over a new leaf. Big mistake. I walked the rest of the way, my bag slung over my shoulder and my thoughts lost to darkness.
As I walked in, I saw everything in the Chicago Airport I remembered about the one in Salt Lake, only about ten times dirtier. A couple decades of financial decay and layoffs will do that to a place. I looked around, thinking how little I wanted to fly ten-thousand feet above the ground. At least I could run somewhere on the ground. I saw my reflection in one of the huge mirrors along the edges of the huge room. I looked about as green as moss on the bottom of the ocean. I handed the clerk my ticket, and she somehow managed to smile at me.
“First time flyer?” she asked.
“Yep. First time thinker?” I responded. She gasped and gave me a very rude look.
“Gate 13. Last gate on your left, asshole.”
I laughed to myself as I walked to Gate 13. I knew I was being a jerk, but I had just lost everything good in my life for the millionth time. I checked my pockets to make sure I had my money and wallet (empty, mind you) and my one picture of Lena. If it was the last thing I did, I’d see her again. My little niece meant doing anything, working for anyone, becoming anything they wanted me to be, so long as I got one more Lena hug. Someday. Someday…
When the obnoxious public servant announced boarding for Seattle, I had a very bad feeling. To this day, I don’t know what it was, but something was off. I shook it off as nerves and got in line. My legs were shakey, palms were sweaty, and my mind was racing. What could Raiden possibly need me for? He seemed like a man who would have someone for any problem that arose a lot earlier in his candidacy for world domination. I was interested to finally meet the man, but I was very skeptical nonetheless.
I squeezed my way down the aisles, trying to get to my seat in the back. At least Trystix had put me away from the general public in the back of the plane. I guess you could call it a last favor. I had an extremely hard time feeling grateful. I sat down and closed my eyes. In a few hours, I would be in Washington. I would be ready to start my new life…again…
It took a while, but the plane took off. I tried to relax and enjoy a Coke along the way. Unfortunately, being a mile above the rest of the world doesn’t make it easy to enjoy the simple things. I tried counting the people in the plane, but I could never get an accurate count. I kept getting distracted when the flight attendants asked if I needed anything. It took all of my self-control not to punch them in the face and ask for some quiet time. As a matter of fact, I think I was about to when the world turned upside down.
For some reason I’ll never know, the plane lurched forward. Lights started flashing, people started screaming, the whole nine yards. Stuff started flying out of the compartments; carts flew down the aisles, splashing Cokes and alcohol all over the place. It was incredibly annoying. I grabbed hold of my armrests, made sure I was buckled in, and screamed like a little girl. Go ahead. Judge me. Let’s see you hold your tongue when you’re plummeting to a fire death. Needless to say, I was going down in flames.
The next few minutes felt like hours, hours like days, days like years. I don’t remember the crash, just the flashing lights and the body bags. I don’t know how I survived, but I knew I was not in very good shape. I was gently put in a neck brace and ushered in to an ambulance for a fun ride to the hospital. Let me tell you this; if you have a choice, skip the plane crash. You feel like hell afterwards. I was told I was unconscious for almost a week after my little ride to Hell and back. I awoke to an obnoxious beeping sound that apparently meant my heart was beating, and a TV special to benefit the victims of Flight 689. Kind of the American public, or should I say, the United States of Trystix and Raiden, to pay my hospital bill. I found some humor in that, but the laughing hurt like hell.
Doctors and nurses kept coming in and checking on me, asking if there John Doe needed anything. They had me on so many medicines and painkillers I couldn’t really understand what they were asking. Let me reemphasize something; I hate feeling out of control, and neither drugs nor alcohol have never appealed to me. This made it doubly difficult to stay in bed. I caught up on my soap operas though.
It took me almost two months from the crash to finally get the OK to check out of the white hell known as a hospital in Colorado Springs. I had been lucky enough not to sustain much more than a few fractured ribs and some dislocated vertebrae. The blackouts I seemed to keep having are what kept me in the hospital as long as I was. The doctors were worried about brain damage. I found that amusing, seeing as I thought of myself as damaged before the fiery end to Flight 689. I turned on the TV as I was gathering my things and preparing to leave. Somehow, someway, my bomber jacket had survived with all of my money and possessions in tact. I guess I still had some luck left.
I was looking at my picture of Lena, a little charred and bent from the wreck, when I heard Trystix’s voice on the TV. He was talking about the crash like it was something he actually gave a damn about. I knew his fake sympathy voice all too well; he used it on my sister enough.
“What happened to those brave souls should never be forgotten. This act of cowardice from my enemies will not go unpunished. I know who you are, and you will pay. You are the Nemesis of this great nation.” He now had my undivided attention. He continued:
“Although he was only my brother by marriage, the death of Jared Donovan will always burn in my soul as an act of terrorism against my family. He, along with the other hundred-fifty passengers, are national heroes. We will remember you, brother.”
Now this was interesting…Trystix thought I was dead…That meant Raiden wouldn’t be expecting me anymore…Unless they were behind it. Trystix had said I was a liability, and I had basically carved a death threat for him in his own tower. The more I thought of it, the more it made sense. It got me out of his way, and yet appeased Liv with closure. Brilliant in a way, except it had one fatal flaw; I wasn’t dead. I would not die. Punishment was still coming for Trystix. I now had the gift of being a spirit, a ghost, and I could make him pay without mercy. But I still thought I would check out Raiden. Perhaps he had a small investment in my death as well. Only time would tell, and now Jared Donovan could rest forever. Nemesis had risen.