The airplane nosedived, Kit, Beren, and Tahlia trapped inside. As if there was momentarily no gravity at all, Kit floated in the air for a brief second before slamming into the cold floor.
“We have to jump! It’s the only way we’ll survive the fall,” Tahlia screamed into their ears.
“Are you insane? We’re over water right now, you’d be parachuting into water. What do you expect will happen then?” Kit retorted, knowing by the way there was only one parachute.
“I’m sorry Kit, I can’t risk it otherwise,” Tahlia said solemnly.
“No, no you’re not listening. Whatever way this goes, we do it together, Tahlia. Not like this,” Kit responded.
Stone-cold, Tahlia glared at him. “Together? What about Stella? What happened to her, Kit?”
Kit closed his eyes, tears welling up at his choice. “Stella… chose to do that. To take the fall. And I’m trusting that we’ll find her again.” He looked up, and Tahlia hit the door to the cargo ramp, lowering it and tying the parachute pack around herself.
“I’m sorry, Kit. I do love you. I just don’t know if can trust you to make the right choice in this very instant.” Kit shook his head in shock as they locked eyes endearingly for one moment–the moment before Tahlia jumped.
As the door closed and the altitude continued to steadily drop, Kit closed his eyes in grief. Beren, however, was looking out the front window of the aircraft. “Kit, there’s land! Maybe an island?”
Kit jumped up, “I don’t know whether that’s great or terrible. But either way, buckle up!”
The altitude was dropping rapidly, the impact zone growing closer by the second. Beren and Kit strapped in on opposite sides of the plane, facing each other, knowing that however it might end, they would do it united, as best friends. “Kit, I want to thank you for being my friend, the best cousin I could ever ask for. And I trust you. So… however this ends, mate, thanks.”
Kit nodded, “You mean the same to me, Beren. You’ve been a steady hand through all of this, and I hope one day I can still help you find your home–”
Impact had arrived. Smoke, debris, and droplets of blood erupted from the plane as it plummeted into a sparsely forested area. It wasn’t until twelve minutes later that Kit woke in the midst of the wreckage, half-dead and foggy-brained. “Beren,” he croaked out with a hoarse voice. “Hey, mate, you okay?”
There was no response. Kit stomped his foot on the floor, tired of losing literally everyone. He unclipped his seatbelt, threw his things together inside the backpack, and stumbled out the back of the plane. Glass was shattered on the interior, one of the two wings ripped off by trees, the very cargo door squished out of its frame. His brain was too confused and emotional to think clearly, hence the reason he left everything else inside the plane. After a quick glance around the surrounding area, Kit pulled Beren out by his feet, laying him on a crisp bed of autumn-hued leaves. “I’m sorry I couldn’t do more.”
A high pitched sound carried through the air from the plane to Kit’s location–and that was when the airbus exploded. In shock, overwhelmed with grief, Kit collapsed beside a tree as debris flew everywhere. Not noticing a stray piece of metal in time, Kit was violently blasted across the face into unconsciousness.
A gentle breeze stirred Kit as he eventually woke. The sun shone brightly on his face, a fresh air filling his lungs. It would’ve possibly been magical if the grief of the previous day hadn’t been ever-present in the back of his head. He lay on a cotton sleeping mat, light gray as a pebble from the shore. An apple rested in his right hand, a bamboo stick in the other. A shadow moved from the trunk of a nearby birch.
“Hey Gunpowder. Some morning, isn’t it?”