35000 Feet

I grumbled as I walked through the cramped aisle to my seat. I threw my carry-on bag into the overhead bin and settled into my seat. At least I had a window seat. Thank the Gods for small favors. A monotonous tone droned over the intercom as the flight attendant reviewed the basic safety procedures.

Half asleep, I sat in the cabin as the flight attendant droned on. I was heading home to D.C. from a family reunion in California, and I had already missed my aunts and cousins and was eager for the flight to be over. My ears popped as the plane took off, and I chewed some cinnamon gum to ease the pressure in my ears. The passenger next to me laid back and snored loudly. The Great Salt Lake stretched out below me. The color of blood from the local shrimp lived in its salted waters, giving way to swaths of the vast empty desert below. I put on my headset and played music to drown out the snoring, and before long, I drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Turbulence jolted me awake. The whole plane shook as oxygen masks fell out of compartments. Confused passengers panicked, asking to call their loved ones one last time. I demanded to know what was going on or if the plane, only to be met by a flight attendant asking that I put my oxygen mask on. A warbled voice came over the intercom, informing us that nukes had hit the Atlantic Ocean, creating a 1600-foot tsunami. I looked out the window in horror and saw the water crashing into the land, slamming into the tiny buildings below, washing everything I knew behind. My family, job, and friends washed into the sea, dying in Poseidon’s icy grip.

The aftershock of the blast caused another bout of turbulence. The pilot’s warbled voice came over the intercom. She was going to turn the plane around and search for an airport on dry land. I prayed they had enough fuel to make it as the pressure dropped in the cabin. Another aftershock slammed against the aircraft as everything tilted toward the expanding sea below. I said my last prayer, wishing we could have solved the egos between the two countries without drowning us in the depths below.

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