A novel by Timothy Geigner
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Mathew King could feel the sweat on his fingers as he typed. This whole ordeal
would soon be over, one way or another, and he could only hope it worked out his way.
Everything in the airplane cabin was soaked in sunlight from the windows. He leaned in
close so he could see the screen on his laptop, resting on the food tray. Next to him a
woman who couldn‟t have been more than twenty-five was bouncing an infant on one
knee while simultaneously trying to screw the nipple onto a formula bottle. The infant
batted at the bottle, unwilling to open her mouth. “Come on, darling. Just a little more
and you‟ll be ready for your nap. Just a little more. Here comes the choo-choo train...”
King tried to ignore them as best he could. His fingers continued to fly over the
keyboard. Beside him, the infant gurgled and belched, then finally seemed to be
placated. He was certain that would change the moment the engines roared for takeoff,
but for the moment it was obligingly quiet.
He continued to work, trying to find out if and how they were gong to come after
him. Regardless, his life was effectively over. His wife, the kids, they would all have to
leave Virginia immediately. But him first, of course. Like the stewardess had said
during their preflight instructions, you had to save yourself before you could help anyone
If they only knew.
Even now he was surprised by how at ease everyone was. It might not be as bad
as before the terrorist attacks, but still, flight attendants were chatting idly with one
another, and King had even seen the pil