The situation was getting worse by the minute.
December 15, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
“It will be about forty minutes,” Nigel announced. “It is clear weather all the way.”
“Thanks, Nigel,” Angus answered. It was clear and almost cloudless as Angus observed for himself, out the window.
Skeeter was happy for the moment. She was convinced she had seen a heard of elephants from above, and maybe some giraffes. Angus was skeptical, but he tried to humor her. He had twisted her arm to take a possible flight into hell, after all.
Skeeter unfastened her seatbelt and got up to look out of another window. She was convinced that if she looked in the right direction, she could see Mount Kilimanjaro. “There it is, I think!”
“No, no!” said Buziba, in an irritated manner. He was tall and thin, and like Nigel, he had on khakis of the Bermuda shorts variety. When he talked, his moving long fingers made his hands seem like giant spiders.
“Kilimanjaro is much further to the south,” Nigel interrupted, with a grin. “You will see it when we land—can see it for miles. What you are seeing is Mount Kenya.”
“Oh.” Skeeter went back and buckled herself in.
* * *
“Fifteen minutes!” Nigel announced.
Angus let out a long breath of relief.
Then, Buziba seemed to get very excited. He started jabbering loudly in an unknown tongue. His spidery fingers were dancing about in front of him. Nigel stared at him, then, examined the control panel, paying attention to several of the dials.
Angus came alert. The airplane, which rattled quite a bit anyway, seemed to be rattling a bit more. He studied the two men in the cockpit and did not like what he was seeing. Nigel was a very laid-back individual but he seemed to have been given an equine dose of epinephrine, as he gripped the throttle tightly. Buziba continued with more excited jabbering and pointing often to the control panel. Nigel turned slightly in his seat. “Checking to see that you are both belted in good. We are hitting some pretty significant turbulence.”
Angus tried to read the English newspaper he had gotten in Kinshasa. He was combing it to see if there were any political uprisings or terrorist skirmishes in the areas of Africa they would soon be visiting. There was not much point. He couldn’t concentrate because of the activities of the men up front. The situation was getting worse. The aircraft was actually shuddering and the pilot and navigator were getting more and more agitated.
Skeeter made eye contact with Angus. Her brow was furrowed and she had poached-egg eyes.
Nigel turned in his seat once again and yelled at them, over the noise. “I’m setting her down ahead of schedule! Brace yourselves as you would on a commercial airliner!”
Brace ourselves for what? A landing does not require bracing. Angus was talking to himself, in his own head.
It seemed like time stopped, as Angus and Skeeter waited for the impact. The metal tube shuddered and rattled. It went on forever. The last thing Angus saw from the corner of his eye was what looked like tree tops flying past the porthole windows.
“E-Gad!” He heard Nigel exclaim. Then they all pitched forward violently as the plane stopped.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.