by S. E. Mabson
A Plane Explosion leaves David (an Army Vet) with Survivors Guilt. Will he get through it?
|Word Count: 932
Original Contest: No Dialogue
David flopped into the pile of leaves laughing with his 14 year daughter Camille. He laid there for a moment exhausted from a long day of yard work. He breathed in a deep sigh; as he watched the falling leaves morph into passengers and plane debris floating from above. The feeling of falling from the sky and watching the plane he had just jumped out of explode began to consume him. The moment played in his mind on repeat.
He laid there in that pile of leaves for a long while. Just watching the sky, or so it seemed. He was completely subdued in memory. He was being sucked into a black hole formed by the grief of the tragedy. David may have been laying in the pile of leaves with his daughter, but his mind was back on that plane. He could hear the fear and trembling through the calmness in the pilots voice over the intercom. Something went wrong. The plane was going down, slowly at first. He looked around watching the other passengers breathing heavily, gripping the arms of the chairs pushing themselves into the back of the seat bracing for impact. Parents holding their children close to their bodies. David could hear the piercing cries of terrified children and adults alike, as the plane jolted aggressively as it began to fall from the sky. His sights landed on his own daughters face, her eyes searching his for security, comfort, anything. The flight attendants scrambling to assist the guests pulled his attention away from the terror in her eyes. They were not masking their fear, they plastered it all over their faces, but they kept moving, kept helping. He admired that.
Everyone was rushing towards the back of the plane where the parachutes were kept. David vividly remembered the cries of the children, and their parents quiet sobs and comfort hugs when they were informed they would have to jump out of the plane to survive. David wanted to do something to help but he didn't know what he could do. The attendants appeared to have it all under control. They were following the proper procedures. Everyone would be able to escape the plane before it crashed, so it seemed. Camille was camped by the door shaking. Her eyes were as wide as she could get them. She was overwhelmed, caught between two frightening choices; stay on a crashing plane or jump out of a crashing plane.
David finished preparing his parachute and walked over to her. Meanwhile, the attendant was preparing Camille to jump first, but she refused to jump without her father. He embraced her in his arms allowing her to feel the depths of his love, possibly, for the last time. As he held her in his arms he slowly tipped over the side of the plane beginning their descent. Despite her pleas not to let go, he did. He held her by the hand and calmed her enough to remember the parachute instructions. Both parachutes released in unison.
They looked back at the plane as they swiftly glided down to the ground, only to see it burst into explosive flames. The plane and all that was within it was shattered into pieces and they fell like leaves. The sound of the explosion brought David back to reality, just as Camille dropped a big handful of leaves over his face. He sat up quickly, brushing the leaves away, too distraught to laugh.
He couldn't help feel guilty for surviving. Camille continued raking the leaves when she sensed the dark place her father had sunken into. David tried to remember all he had to live for. His daughter's graduation, college, wedding, grand-kids, and the youth center where he mentors young children. The thoughts of life lost on that plane protruded through them. They had reasons to live too. David's guilt began to boil into deep sorrow. Camille wiped the single tear from his cheek. She wrapped an arm around him, gently kissed his cheek, and started cleaning up the yard tools. David couldn't fathom how a decorated Army Veteran could allow so many lives to be lost.
He instructed Camille to go over to her friends house and call her mother. Perplexed, she laid down her rake and made her way across the street. She knew something was wrong, but she knew better then to disobey him. When David knew she was safely inside, he went into the house. He stopped in front of the large cabinet in his room where all of his guns were displayed. He grabbed the silver pistol, loaded it, and sat on the bed. He grabbed the notepad his wife kept on her night stand and wrote:
"I'm sorry to leave you this way, but my heart is broken in too many pieces to fix. The war, the divorce, the plane I cant get passed it. I am too weak and you both deserve better. With Love, David Henderson."
A single shot was released. Camille, knew it was her father. He just hadn't been the same since his last deployment. Then, her mom, Carol, David's wife, left him. She couldn't take the depressive stupor he was in. The plane crash pushed him over the edge. She raced across the street, straight to her father's room. She stopped in her tracks when she reached his doorway. Her tear filled eyes grew wide when she noticed the bullet-sized hole in the wall. She dropped to her knees to scream when she noticed...
...David was at the window watching the leaves fall from the trees.