Eduardo was swearing and shouting in Spanish (I’d learned numerous Spanish swear words courtesy of Howie) and doing his very best to steady the plane, but it was no good, we were going down.
The cabin went deadly quiet. What was the use in screaming when no one could hear or do anything to stop the inevitable? I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, sat in the emergency landing position and gripped AJ’s hand. He squeezed my hand equally as hard. We were understandably petrified.
The plane crashed through trees, branches tearing off as they slowed us down, the sound of creaking metal piercing the air. We seemed to travel for miles until we eventually came to a stop, the battered plane groaning as we did do.
“Thank fuck” I muttered, still crouched over in my seat. I didn’t know whether to be happy or burst into tears. It was the stuff of nightmares, no doubt about that. I couldn’t believe we’d just crash landed and were alive to tell the tale. I opened my eyes to complete and utter devastation though, and my happy feeling soon evaporated.
“AJ, are you OK?” I asked as I looked at my friend, still in the crash landing position.
“I think so” he said, slowly sitting up to reveal minor scratches on his hands and face. He seemed to be in shock, just kind of staring into space, but at least he was alive and relatively unharmed.
“Don’t worry, everything will be OK” I said and wiped at my face with my sleeve, I must’ve been bleeding from somewhere because the sleeve was covered in blood, although at this point, I had no idea whose blood it was.
Others weren’t so lucky though. As I looked up, I took in the devastation before me, it was awful, more awful than you can possibly imagine. I’m not ashamed to admit that seeing all that gore made me puke my guts up.
“Who’s OK?” I called out, although I knew there was no way Eduardo could be OK, all that was left of him was mangled bone and tissue. He would’ve been unidentifiable if not for the fact that I could see the others.
There were a few mumbles coming from in front of me, so that sounded promising. I got up out of my seat and tried to open the door to the plane, which was conveniently located towards the back. It was stuck fast. Great! First the damn plane crash lands and then we can’t get off the thing.
“Come on you bastard, open up” I shouted and charged at the door, it eventually gave way and opened. I told AJ to get off the plane, I didn’t know if this thing was going to explode or something like that, because they do in the movies don’t they?
“Bri, Howie, you OK guys?” I asked. Brian had a nasty looking cut to his face and Howie had a shard of metal piercing his leg, it looked as if he was pinned down.
“I…I’m OK” Brian replied shakily.
“I’m trapped” Howie said quietly, in shock, his face devoid of all colour.
“Can you move anything?” I asked, just to check whether he could move the limbs which weren’t trapped. He wriggled his arms and his right leg, but couldn’t move the left leg.
“Don’t leave me” he said and a tear rolled down his cheek.
“As if! I’m gonna get you out of here, you’re gonna be OK” I reassured him, wondering where my confidence was coming from because I sure as hell didn’t feel it. But I also wasn’t about to leave my friends on a plane which may or may not explode at any given moment.
I unfastened Brian and helped him out, telling him to sit next to AJ who was a little way away from the plane. Then I turned back to face the rest of the horror which was to come.
There was absolutely no hope for Danny and Joey, the pair of them had been speared by broken off branches and their insides were now on their outsides. I retched at the sight of them. It was an awful way to go, but I hoped they’d died before they had a chance to know what had happened to them.
Jordan seemed to be unresponsive but he had a pulse, I checked him over and apart from a nasty looking head injury, he seemed OK. I unfastened him and hoisted him onto my shoulder, then carried him off the plane and laid him down on a grassy clearing, asking AJ to look after him and clean his wound up.
“Oh my god” he said, as if the enormity of the situation was finally dawning on him. But he did as I asked and tore off a strip of t-shirt and mopped some of the blood up. I grabbed the bags, which had been scattered around, and rummaged in them for the first aid kit, tossed it to AJ and then ran back to the plane.
“OK Howie, you’re gonna be fine, let me just check on the others and then I’ll get back to you” I said.
There was no sign of life from either of them; Jon’s head was at an unnatural angle, his eyes had rolled and there was blood dripping from his slack lips. He also looked as if he’d suffered multiple body wounds judging by the bones protruding through his skin. Poor guy. He looked as if he’d died instantly and there was nothing I could do now for him.
“Donnie” I called but there was no answer, I reached over and checked his pulse, there wasn’t one, I could see no damage to him, apart from the expected lacerations, but who knows what kind of internal damage he’d suffered? He could have something lodged in his body and I just couldn’t see it. But it was too late for him also.
“Oh god” I said, tears springing to my eyes. This was a fucking nightmare, like something out of a disaster movie. This couldn’t be happening to us, it just couldn’t. Surely this was all a dream and I’d wake up any second.
Except it wasn’t a dream, it was very very real.
There was no time to dwell on the dead bodies in front of me, I could do nothing more for them, my main priority now was Howie. I looked at the way his leg was jammed and wondered how the hell I was going to get him out.