1N 5 M1NUTE5

“If I had but five minutes to change the world I would start by altering every heartbeat”

5 minutes past 5 on the 5th of May.
That's when each of the plane crashes were. 1943. 1975. 2014. 2067. 2150.
Each crash has one survivor.
Each survivor must change the world.

This is my entry to the 'The Seventh Miss Hatfield' competition. I'm doing option 1.
Eternally grateful to MahoganyPumpkin™ for the cover (:


4. Phoenix Eastley 05.05.2067

Phoenix Eastley 05.05.2067


I’d ordered my iView to repeat that message approximately 1500 times since I’d received it two months previously. The message had slid into my inbox whilst I’d been watching a film on iTube and I’d ignored it at first, assuming it to be a rejection.

It was only when, after being Unseen for 24 hours, the message itself had blared in front of my eyes – customary procedure for the new make of iView I’d indulged in – and I’d allowed the truth to sink in. Now, with approximately 7 hours until the flight took me to the tropical paradise I’d dreamt of I was surprisingly restless. I’d wanted nothing more than to get into the program, not least because it was set on one of the most up-to-date and recently constructed iLands. That alone had almost sold the audition to me – 8 miles of beaches and an environment and climate regulator – and then there was the extra attraction of fame and global acknowledgement.

I don’t know anyone who’d disagree with me when I say that famous is the only thing worth being. I mean, there’s not even much point in being rich if no one knows who you are, is there? It’s especially rubbish being young because then the world thinks you’re not worth knowing. Nobody cares what teens think unless they’re the sort of teens that you see on the iViews. 

However, with the prospect of the anticipated challenge so near, my heart was jumping at a rate of approximately 153 per minute and I was struggling to keep my brain focused on anything in particular. Any activity I put my mind to was momentarily worthwhile and then automatically unappealing. My bag was packed and I was to be taken to the airport by Dad at around 3am. It wasn’t really as if I had much that needed packing to be honest. The point of the contest was to see if a group of teens could survive for a month without parents or the luxuries of modern life. Most nerve-wracking of all; we had to remove our iViews and live without them for the duration. I glanced out of the window and saw the row of flats lit piercingly by StreetLEDs. Although it was night time I had absolutely no intention of sleeping; most people didn’t really. I’d spent a while messaging on the iWeb via my iView but had got bored.

“Full view,” I muttered to the voice receptor for the iView and the second screen unfurled over my second eye.  Dad still found it hard to get used to the iViews; one of the iGlasses was permenant, the other could be added at will so you could either have full emersion in whatever you’re watching or you could have one eye still seeing “the real world” as Dad called it. He always said. “We weren’t made for multitasking; that’s your Mum’s job.” And then he’d laugh like he’d made a joke. Personally, I’d always found it easy. My brain was good at filtering two things at once and comfortable with it to the extent that I always felt like I was missing something – like my mind had been unwillingly emptied – when I had to remove my iView for repair.

“Chanel 77,” I said, picking one of the newer channels at random. When I’d been younger, there had only been 45 channels, then 60 and now – on this newest model – I had access to 80 meaning that there were many that I was unfamiliar with.

I watched the quiz program it was showing for a little while but got bored. It must have been a new quiz because I hadn’t heard of it but it involved guessing the right end to stories about things stupid people had done. It might have been quite funny if I’d been more in the mood for it but my anxiety rendered me suddenly unimpressed by the superficial smiles and brightness of the room pictured on my screens.

“Change” I commanded and then “change” again after a few minutes. I couldn’t settle into anything which was unusual for me. I was normally good at distracting myself and pouring time into some sort of iView activity.

“-ied in 1943 05/05. You can see his grave here,” the presenter told me; the footage skimming over to a completely dilapidated looking place that I eventually realised was one of those places where people used to be buried. You had to be really important to be allowed to choose a burial these days. Most people got furnaced and their iViews went to the Recycle shops.
“As you can see from the dates here, he was only fourteen and died in his Spitfire plane.”

This is morbid, I thought, prepared to change channels again.

 “However, he was heralded as a young hero – died fighting for his country.”

 If he’s such a celebrated hero, how come I’ve never heard of him, I thought but all the same decided that I was actually marginally interested.

“He was evidently a very wise hero as well: ‘If I had but five minutes to change the world I would start by altering every heartbeat’. That’s just magnificent, isn’t it?" The presenter turned his beaming face towards me. “He also seemed to have a great imprint on the lives of his fellow pilots. Jack Marshal said of him ‘no one deserves our time and memory more’ the man died seven weeks later. Here you can see his grave is next to his friend’s.”

“What even is this program,” I wondered aloud and the title Forgottenheroes.w.w.t.w.o flashed in front of me in response.

Eugh. History.

“Change,” I said.



 The Alist Airlines flight had twenty passenger spaces meaning that it perfectly contained our group of teens and cameramen. It was also designed precisely for the purpose of the program meaning that these twenty spaces were not in aisles but in compartments. Each participator was assigned their own compartment upon arrival at the airport and was escorted there so that there could be no chance of meeting another before arrival at the island. Once in the air we were allowed to explore our areas but only the camera crew were permitted to roam between them. They had visited me first as I was in compartment 1 and had slipped me question after question about my thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears until I realised I started saying things purely because they sounded like the right things to say.

“Thanks Phoenix,” the only woman in the group had said as they left. “You really are a natural on camera!” She'd turned away, smiling a smile that was anything but natural.

They’d also taken my iView with them – having assured me that It would be returned after the whole experience had been completed – and that left me with very little to do other than listen to the music selection they had chosen for me. It played constantly at an irritating volume that was too quiet to disappear into but too loud to ignore. There was some sort of device to turn it off but I didn’t like the idea of being in silence. Our world was noise; iView noise, vehicle noise, human noise and I couldn’t imagine an absence of it. It would be like dying, I thought, to lose touch with the sound of life.

To be honest I was actually pretty lonely without my iView; I’d never felt so disconnected and unhinged.

“Get used to it, Phoenix, this is your life for the next month.” I spoke aloud to myself so I could feel like there were more people alongside me. Which was pretty pathetic of me.

Before I left home Mum had said: “I’m so proud of you, Philip.” Which was pretty good for her. She always forgot my name; she generally got the first two letters right and so the fact that she’d actually remembered that there was reason to be proud of me felt nice. The thing with Mum was that she kind of struggled with the mass of simultaneous information that you got when you wore an iView; her brain wasn’t very good at sorting it and had sunk into a state of permanent confusion a few years previously.

Dad said: “It’s going to be tough and it’s going to be different. Just remember it’s only for the cameras and keep yourself in perspective. At the end of the day; it’s all just a game. You’re a smart kid and I hope you’re smart enough not to invest too much in this – the future is never as certain as it appears to be and there’s no easy route to success.”

Which essentially meant: ‘you’re never going to be famous so don’t get carried away. Oh, and don’t do anything stupid while you’re there.’ Personally, I’d have liked his farewell to be more positive than that, especially as we’d had weeks for talks about ‘keeping perspective’ and I was about to stimulate the best singular thing our family could ever have.

My compartment did have the benefit of a fully reclining arm chair and, having not slept for 21 hours, I decided to take advantage of it.

I didn’t think sleep would be so easy on a plane that was skimming the clouds at a rate of 2,376 km/h but somehow I relaxed with disturbing ease. Perhaps my body was just knackered by nerves and excitement… or perhaps the chair was just too comfortable… or perhaps there was…



I woke, I suppose, on the impact. I was completely disorientated and felt unpleasantly naked without my iView. It took me a while to register why I was not at home and even longer to register why I was lying on what had been the wall of the compartment I’d been allocated. The roof and one of the walls had flapped open like an enormous scab and the room had topped sideways so that my head was crushed around one of the speakers. For some hideously unsympathetic reason they were still singing to me; professing love in tedious, cyclic melodies. The absence of walls gave me a good view over the wreckage. My body was oddly immobile but my flicked-back neck permitted me to acknowledge that what was meant to be a highly modern plane was in ruins. A fireball was chewing the sky and across the wreckage I could see a few other corpses.

Other corpses that I was supposed to meet. Corpses I was supposed to live with, befriend, survive alongside… Corpses that I was not meant to see in this circumstance. I was meant to see them stepping out of a deceptively sophisticated plane onto a deceptively sophisticated island…

“The future is never as certain as it appears to be,” I could hear Dad telling me; “the future is never as certain as it appears to be.”

Oh Dad.

Oh Mum; do you think you could remember my name for the funeral invitations? Please?

If I was just a channel on the iView she’d be sobbing. Sobbing. Sobbing.

I had dreams. They’re all burning; I thought dismally.

Sobbing. Sobbing. Sobbing.

My thoughts weren’t really working anymore.

Then they somehow belonged to other people: I’m alive. I’m bloody breathing for Christ’s-bloody-sake. I was meant to die; I was dying wasn’t I? Why aren’t I dead? What happened? Oh My God. Oh My God. Oh My God. I’m alive. They’re all dead. How? Last Day. World’s End. We’re not supposed to live. We all die on the fifth of May.

Sobbing. Sobbing. Sobbing.

I stared – backwardly – at the mushroom of flame as it billowed above us and for a naively happy moment, I realised that it looked kind of glorious – a conquering and victorious flag that smothered our desolation. I realised that I’d get to be famous and our story would be all over the iViews and maybe they’d be talking about us in future centuries like that history man on the iView.

I’d never get my iView back.

I was drowning in corpses and sobbing, sobbing.

“My heart is on fire/ See it burn for you-” the speakers insisted on singing me to sleep.



If the ‘News For i’ had paid attention as they filmed the disaster. They’d have realised that the date was 05/05 and the time was 05.05. They’d also have perhaps seen the irony of it in the naked eyes of the boy with the broken neck.

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