...anonymous. Sort of. Since this is on the internet and could potentially be hacked, I will not be using my real name to post (and I will not be using any apostrophes--thus, no contractions--in this post because my apostrophe key has suddenly and inexplicably become something else. Windows.) As for my location, suffice it to say that I live near enough to Ellie to see her every Wednesday and Sunday. Whenever you get around to reading my writing, you will see the source(s) of my paranoia. =P
Anyway... if you have looked at my profile, you have seen that I am now writing a "political thriller." Below is an excerpt from the middle-ish piece of the first chapter of my book (chosen because it sets up the premise the best).
Marie had flown back and forth from the Middle East to Chicago several times in the past week. On the last of these times, she had removed everything from her Chicago house. That last time was the time her helicopter was seen, or rather, not seen, by a reporter. He sped away to the airport and boarded his plane to Austin, where he went to visit his family. He was a few minutes out of Chicago when the pilot came on the intercom.
“We’ll be experiencing some very heavy turbulence in a minute here, so please get to your seats ASAP and fasten your seatbelts. A flight attendant will give further instructions in a moment. Thank you,” the speakers honked. The reporter settled back into his seat. He really didn’t care about turbulence. He had been on too many bumpy flights to care anymore, and his knew his digestion could take it, anyway.
Thus he was completely unprepared for the surge that tossed the Boeing 737 like it was a hang glider. Several people screamed. The reporter clutched at the arms of his seat.
“Please assume crash position,” the intercom crackled. The reporter did so numbly. Out of the muddled thoughts that were swirling in his head, the predominant thought was, "What a story this will make!" He didn’t bother to think that he might not survive a crash from twelve thousand feet with a 737 and several tons of jet fuel.
The 737 plummeted. The g forces thrust the passengers back into their seats. Several passengers passed out, and most who did not became ill. The reporter wrapped his arms around his knees and shut his eyes tightly, willing his stomach to behave. It would never do to get sick at a moment like this.
The lights in the cabin flickered. The emergency oxygen masks dropped down from above, unnoticed by everyone except the most attentive. Those people helped the others with the masks. The reporter had to help both his neighbors with their masks. If he moved smoothly enough, he knew he would not upset the shaky equilibrium in his system.
Then, just as suddenly as the shock had started, it ceased. The pilot pulled up into smoother air. The reporter nudged the neighbor who was sitting by a window.
“Can you tell me what’s out there?” he asked. His neighbor peered out the slightly twisted window. The neighbor looked for only a few seconds before he sat upright and stared straight ahead.
“What is it? What’s going on?” the reporter demanded. His neighbor swallowed noisily.
“Chicago’s burning,” his neighbor whispered. The reporter gawked.
“I said Chicago’s burning, okay? Be quiet and mind your own business,” his neighbor snapped. The reporter subsided, muttering about the irascibility of modern travelers. His neighbor’s slightly too loud statement was soon reverberating around the cabin. Passengers were crowding to the windows to see if what he said was true. Unfortunately, he had told no lies. Almost immediately the cabin was filled with wails and sobs from most of the women and colorful language from the majority of the men. The people who were not residents of Chicago sat stony-faced in their seats. They were glad that they had escaped, but they felt badly for those who lived there or had relatives there. Obviously, no one would go in or out of Chicago for awhile. The pilot came on the intercom again.
“Sorry, folks, but it looks like we won’t be able to land in Austin. We’re going to be redirected to Waco, and I guess most of you will have to spend the night there,” he said. The reporter’s breath caught. He suspected that Austin, by this time, looked much like Chicago. He was from Austin, though he had long since lost his Texas drawl, and most of his family still lived in the heart of it. If his hunch was correct, he’d lost just as much as the Chicagoans who were currently bewailing their bad luck. His bad-news-hardened mind took it in stride, until he remembered that his girlfriend was visiting his mother. He told himself that he was jumping the gun, that he really didn’t know that Austin looked as bad as Chicago, but nevertheless, the spiteful little notion remained to harass him. He drummed his fingers on his seat and urged the plane to go faster.