Eliza

Author: Alexandra Lucier

Disclaimer: Some of the characters in this story belong to Martha Williamson

Prologue

"Mommy, I'm scared." Eight-year-old Eliza Tucker whimpered to Abby as the plane rattled and shuddered with the effect of turbulence around them. But Abby only leaned across her seat and draped a comforting arm across her daughter's little shoulders. "Oh, honey it's only a bit of turbulence. We'll be home before you know it." She consoled gently with a loving smile as she brushed a stray strand of her daughter's waist-length strawberry-blond hair out of her pretty face. Eliza stared back up at her mother with her sweet, honey-brown eyes with an expression that seemed to say she was glad her mother was here to comfort her, but she couldn't help being worried.

They were on their way home from Paris, a place Eliza had always wanted to go to and now they were on their way back from it. Today was Eliza's eighth birthday and so far she had spent it sitting in a plane seat. But as she glanced out the window beside her, her heart leapt into her throat when she realized she could see nothing but the wide, blue ocean. She wasn't sure why but water always made her nervous and it didn't help when she was suspended thirty thousand feet above it in a jet that was trembling with severe turbulence as an effect of the thunderstorm occurring outside. In fact, Eliza could barely see the ocean through it, but the fact was that she could see it even a little bit and that was enough to make her nervous.

But just then, as another clap of thunder boomed outside, the gentle beep and red flash of the seatbelt sign appeared at the front of the plane and Eliza felt as if her heart was going to jump right out of her chest with fright as she fumbled around her seat for her seatbelt. Eventually finding it, she clipped it together over her waist and her parents did the same next to her. It was then that the stewardess came over the sound system and made her own announcement. "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the seatbelt sign. Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts. We should be making our way out of this storm in just a few short minutes." She informed the passengers politely, although it was clearly difficult for her to hide the hint of nervousness in her voice.

Then, as if on cue, another flash of lightning lit up the dark sky outside and as the rumble of thunder followed, it was abnormally loud this time and at the very second it hit, the plane felt as though it dropped several feet before roughly leveling out again. Several screams could be heard throughout the plane including one that belonged to Eliza as she grasped the arms of the plane chair with both hands.

But the plane was only smoothly leveled after that for a brief moment before it clattered more violently than ever and the lights on all sides of it flickered and went out as the nose of the plane then took a sudden dive and more screams arose from everyone. Eliza felt her stomach begin to do flip-flops inside of her as tears of fear sprang into her hazel eyes. Screams, crashes and the roar of the engine all blended together to form deafening, terrifying noises arising from the entire jet. Bags and luggage crashed out of the over-head bins and hit the floor at alarming speed as the stored oxygen masks automatically popped out of their compartments.

Eliza heard her father cry out from where he had been standing at the front of the plane, where he had gone to get drinks earlier. "Abby! Get Eliza!" He shouted as loudly as his lungs would allow as he attempted to balance himself on some nearby seats. Someone up there had opened the emergency exit and Mike waved to his wife and daughter to get up there as well.

Abby then pushed down any panic rising in her heart and turned to her daughter, who had tears streaming down her face in obvious fear of the ordeal. A little bit of turbulence had suddenly transformed into a high-class emergency and the entire plane had erupted into panic.

Pulling an oxygen mask over Eliza's nose and mouth before herself, Abby then reached up for her own but it was too late for that and another horrible crash ripped the air from their lungs, throwing them both into the aisle way. Quite suddenly, the terrible, lung-clenching aroma of smoke filled their airways and Abby began to cough violently, but Eliza seemed okay for the time being because of the oxygen mask strapped tightly over her nose and mouth. It was clear enough that the plane was on fire and plunging at break-neck speed toward the ocean.

Seconds later, the majority of the people aboard were killed instantly by the mere impact of the water against the nose of the jet. Eliza screamed again as she desperately glanced around her, suddenly realizing that her mother was no longer at her side. But it was mere moments before she then felt the freezing, splashy sensation of ocean water around her ankles and she realized she didn't have a hope now that the plane was on the verge of exploding and beginning to sink with her trapped inside.