COLLABORATED BY MALACHI GIBSON, LUKE CROUCH, AND CARTER PIERCE
Ivan Molchalin listened to the chaos with grim pleasure. He loved the sound of people screaming. The audible terror.
At first it hadn’t been so loud. After the stewardess had relayed his message to no great effect, the pilot himself had opened the door and told them that everything was going to be just fine.
For a while that had calmed the passengers.
Ivan had gotten bored.
The man beside him with a brown tweed suit and dark circles under his eyes had been woken up by the commotion, so Ivan turned to him, putting on a groggy air as if he himself had just woken up as well. “Are we being attacked by terrorists or something?”
The man in the brown tweed suit shrugged, and muttered something under his breath that sounded like “wouldn’t surprise me.”
“I wouldn’t know; I just woke up.”
Then Ivan got an unexpected stroke of luck, for the man in tweed turned in his seat to face a heavy-set, worried-looking woman behind them, and asked, “Ma’am, do you know if we are under attack by terrorists?”
The woman shook her head and said she didn’t. A moment later she was asking the man beside her.
The question spread like wildfire, the tongue of some over-wrought, imaginative youngster translating it into a statement. “We’re under attack by terrorists, and we’re all going to die!”
Someone else repeated it, and soon everyone was shouting it. Everyone who had been asking thought that someone else knew, and the people who started shouting it thought that the kid had been told by someone else.
The whole plane was a commotion; an uproar; a glorious cacophony of shrieking and wailing and shouting.
Lies spread best when you don’t know enough, Ivan thought. It was wonderful. Satisfying.
Because, theoretically, they were under attack by a terrorist.
But this terrorist wasn’t with Isis or Al-Qaeda or the Taliban–he was a loner. His hired thugs, people like Tom who had helped him hijack the onboard communication system, were already dead. Killed by other hired thugs who knew nothing about Ivan or his project.
Now it was just him, the plane, the pilot, and the passengers. And one particular passenger.
He didn’t know who the passenger was. That he was on the plane was without question. Inside information from the airport personnel told him that Jack Raummi was on board. But Ivan had not gotten the portrait, or the phone number, or the plane ticket, or the seat number. He’d just gotten the name Jack Raummi, and the number and time of the flight.
Today, before the plane landed, Jack Raummi would die.
Ivan didn’t care about all the other innocent people on board. So long as he killed Jack, he’d be avenged of his brother’s death, and he’d be satisfied.
And he’d probably be dead as well, because he didn’t have landing gear.
But he didn’t care. Revenge was all that mattered.
Copyright by Carter Pierce 2022 All Rights Reserved