A New Landing

              

The air of the cockpit stood still before the partition door slowly opened. A man walked in holding two mugs full of warm dark liquid, holding one out to his copilot as he settled into his seat. “I thought you had your coffee with creamer,” the copilot pointed out.

               “Times change,” the pilot said with a smile. In his later age his career as an airline pilot had devolved from a childhood dream come true to a daily grind that only caffeine could fuel, a harsh reality but it put food on the table. Besides, flying still had its exciting moments, something of great shortage in the older man’s life.

 

               The airliner had been flying with almost zero visibility inside a large group of clouds for an hour, and in order to calm his copilot’s nerves the pilot decided to radio the regional controller.

               “New York this is Delta 3637, requesting altitude check.”

               Silence.

               “New York this is-”

               His sentence was cut short by a sudden and violent tremor that slammed into the plane like a shockwave. Massive turbulence followed right after, rattling the plane’s frame and waking up a plethora of warning lights and alarms that filled the cockpit with their screaming. After half a minute of shouting, beeping, and the horrifying screech of flexing metal, the airliner slowly returned to a gentle yet strained flight. The cabin stopped shaking and warning lights turned off one by one as the pilots punched buttons with shaken determination.

“What was that?” the copilot exasperatedly shouted. The pilot ignored him.

“Get in contact with the regional controller; the wings have structural damage, we won't last another half hour up here,” the pilot said quickly. The copilot hurriedly punched numbers into a console when he suddenly stopped.

“New York’s beacon isn’t pinging,” the copilot entered some more numbers, “Neither is Boston’s….  Nothing from DC,” he stammered, “It might be our short range transmitter, it could’ve gotten knocked out in the shake.”

“Check Los Angeles,” the pilot barked. A few seconds passed before the copilot sighed a sigh of relief and looked up.

“She’s there sir.”

 

And with that, Los Angeles’ blip disappeared from the screen. Both men glanced at each other with a look of confusion painted on their faces. The co-pilot’s eyes returned to the screen as he felt a sense of dread in his stomach, “Sir, the clouds are breaking.” The pilot looked up at the windshield, his eyes widening with horror. In center stage was a massive dark cloud 50 kilometers high, with a distinctive bowl shaped cap quickly rising into the upper atmosphere.

The pilot keyed the intercom to the cabin, which at this point was erupting with passengers shouting.  “Ladies and gentlemen this is your pilot speaking, we’re about to begin our landing. The world you all took off from is no longer the world you’re landing in. Times change…and we must as well if we ever hope of going on. God bless us all.”

 

They began descending.

 

© Armand Silva

 

Bio:  When Mr. Silva is not sipping imported tea while reading novels by the fireplace, he’s researching the most recent analogue machine or war artifact that has piqued his interest. Often called an old soul, much of his writing reflects his infatuation with the past.