Honeymoon disaster of 1976

In the year 1976 Anne and Thomas Cartwright got on the the plane from their home in California to London for their honeymoon.

As the plane malfunctions and crashes towards the ground, Thomas starts reliving his personal hell-on-earth as his mind returns him to his tour in Vietnam
- With catastrophic effects.


Warnings: Some hurt, ptsd, brief mentions of torture, guns etc.
Written for one of the competitions, for a picture of a plane in mid-air.

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1. First and only chapter!

 

 

It all happened so fast - or maybe it didn’t, Thomas wasn’t entirely sure what HAD happened. One minute they’d been flying low over the jungle (weren’t they? They must’ve been, but it was all such a blur), the next moment the chopper was going down, and it was all way more messy than any bird crashing ought to be – There were way too many people screaming, disorderly – It couldn’t be just the crew – Who were these civilians, and what were they doing here!? For a moment he thought he saw Anne, and this was when he started to suspect that he might be losing his mind.

He was hearing civilian English voices and seeing his girlfriend thousands of kilometers from where any of those two ought to be.

He wasn’t armed – which was a shame, because if he had been, he might’ve been able to do some damage to the bastards on the ground – at least.

Instead he was tied down by the waist somehow – Which couldn’t be a good thing – It was never good to be stuck in a chopper bound for the ground, and by the feel of it, this one was going down quickly. He forced himself to open his eyes and look around him, and for a moment he went completely still with shock. It was no bird – it was a plane – But how - ?

Then it struck him.

He’d seen it before. Seen soldiers who suddenly started acting completely irrationally, who suddenly thought they were anywhere but ‘Nam, soldiers who died because they somehow thought the enemies were friendlies or the dead co-pilot their lover, or..

Thomas had no intention of succumbing to this madness. He looked towards the Anne who wasn’t really Anne, but rather a figment of his imagination. God, she was beautiful – Even then, screaming in terror as the “plane” followed it’s turbulent fall towards the ground-

He had to snap out of it – For the sake of the real Anne. It would not be said of him, that he failed to evacuate because he chose his imagined lover over the real thing! Anne was waiting for him back in the states. He had to leave this dream-world and WAKE UP.

He took one last look at “Anne”, and then reached for the belt that kept him seated (Why was he strapped down anyway? Was he hurt?)

He was fairly sure they were closing in on the ground by now, they couldn’t have been that high up if they’d been shot down. And if they’d been shot down, the viet-cong would be ready to extract any survivors from the chopper and haul them off to one of the camps –

And he wasn’t going back there, he wouldn’t, he couldn’t– He had no choice but to get out and look for cover, and hope the fall wouldn’t kill him –

“Captain, I gotta tell you, I’m not too sure what’s going on –“ he yelled in the general direction of where the pilot should be.

Imaginary Anne was shouting something at him, but he had no time to be swayed by illusions.

“It’s no use staying around for the VC party this’ll be when we hit th’ ground – I’mma get outta here, and I suggest ya do the same – sir.”

Anne was pleading with him now, tears falling from her eyes. He closed his eyes, undid the weird belt, and ignored whatever the imaginary Anne was doing -

What came after was a bit of a blur – it really didn’t make too much sense. A crash in a chopper was never much fun, it was a bumpy ride, so to say – But this one – it seemed to pierce the air in high speed, violating the laws of gravity –

And as searing pain shot through his chest with the all-too-familiar crack of a broken rib – Right as the world stopped making sense – Everything finally slid into place. The camp. Matty – they were still there – oh God, they were still there. He must’ve passed out from one of the sessions, and this was all just a crazy fevered dream –

And then more pain, as something pierced his leg – that was a new one? – And he was so sure that this had to be the camp, that the sudden wind around him didn’t make much sense at all -

Until he looked down and saw the jungle – He just about prepared for the fall, but the ground still hit him – hard – the bush was so thin here –had they been at it with the poison? He rolled over the ground, not caring that he let out a scream of pain as whatever had pierced his leg lodged itself further into the tissue – Not a bullet then.

The air was pushed out of him, and when he finally lay still, he coughed raggedly, trying desperately to fill his lungs despite the intense pain from his chest.

He tried to assess the damage – Shoulder hurt from the fall, was it dislocated or just messed up? – his leg numb with pain, his chest that burned every time he fought to take a breath. Everything. Hurt.

He’d managed to protect his head during the fall, which was definitely a good thing – He needed to stay alert if he was going to get through this. He stared towards the chopper, and his vision seemed blurry somehow – And there was something off about the whole scene- but he didn’t have time to dwell on it. The enemy was already at it, looking for survivors, people to haul off – Jake wanted to help, but he had no gun, and in his condition he would just be taken as well.

There were too many people – Too much wreckage-  But he didn’t bother to make sense of it, just stumbled through the Vietnamese jungle, desperately hiding every time the VC started getting closer. He had to survive this – For Anne’s sake.

When the rescue workers finally found Thomas it was far too late. The plane had had broken in half close to the ground, but his newly wedded wife along with most other’s in the front miraculously survived.

Later –much later- she would become a burning representative for veteran’s rights and benefits. But right at this moment all she could think was “Why?”

“Why us?”

 

 

 

 

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