by Aaron M.
The plane was less than fifteen minutes out of the Chicago airport when it turned away from Lake Michigan and entered the clouds.
It was still daylight, but inside the thick bank of water vapor, it was quite dark. Whenever the lights on the tips of the plane’s wings flashed, the light briefly lit up the water vapor around them. Other than that, I couldn’t see the tips of the wings.
I thought the dark mistiness was neat. As a voracious reader, I couldn’t help but think about how this was the perfect way to get to a magical world. For all I knew, we could land in a fantastical land no one had ever heard of.
As we flew through the mist, the sun set ahead of us and it became even more impossible to see. It was calm in the plane and many people were asleep.
Then, all of a sudden, the plane dropped. For a few seconds, there was no gravity in the plane. A guy walking down the aisle of the plane had to grab onto the seats to keep himself from hitting the ceiling. As a proper ten-year old, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone had been in the bathroom when the plane fell.
After a few seconds, the plane stopped dropping and continued on its way. People were a little disgruntled but soon forgot about the incident.
Hours passed without any more noticeable changes. After a flight time of nearly four hours, there was an announcement that we were descending into Portland. The local time was 7:25 PM.
I began to see lights below the mist. I saw a gap in the clouds, and then we dropped below the clouds altogether. The first thing I saw was a river, and I thought it must be the Columbia.
Five seconds later, I knew something was horribly wrong. First, the lights that I had seen were not electric lights. They were fires. Also, there were no roads or cars that I could see.
The plane began to fly along the ground at a low altitude. The plane began to circle a certain spot on the ground. We circled for a while, and then there was another announcement.
“Portland’s not here anymore. Something bad has happened. We’re going to land in the river.”
There was panic in the plane when this announcement was made. Everyone was yelling, and several people yelled things like “I live in Portland! What do you mean?”
I was too scared to talk. As we began to descend to the river, I noticed something weird. Instead of a city destroyed by bombs, as I was now expecting, I saw thick forests with tall, mature trees where the city should have been.
The plane landed in the river with a big jolt and an enormous splash. The plane came to an abrupt stop. People yelled in disbelief. No one had noticed the trees.
The crewmembers directed the panicked passengers to the emergency exit doors. We slid down slides attached there into big inflatable rafts. After a while, we were all in the rafts.
As the plane floated downstream, we could see the far side of the river. There were smoky fires there, and we could see the silhouettes of people. We could see the shapes of houses as well. It looked like a village.
The crew members called across the river for help. After a few minutes, we saw some long rowboats leave the shore. They rowed toward us and then stopped a distance away.
We regarded each other. Both groups of people on boats were silent.