Chapter 1:

Jack lay his hands over the window, stretching his fingers to hide the landscape from his bloodshot eyes. His head dropped, and his eyelids sunk closed, but quickly popped open as his right knee was slammed by an unknown elbow.

"I'm really sorry," the elbow's owner said, his long legs bending sharply as he settled into his seat. "I didn't mean to wake you up."

"Don't worry, I wasn't sleeping," Jack said, and his first smile in three days made his face feel raw and overexposed.

"Are you ok?" the man asked, and then his eyes widened, and he blushed slightly. "Sorry, I'm always asking questions, you don't have to answer that."

"No, it's fine," Jack said, turning, his hand falling from the window. "My father just died. I'm bringing his body back for the funeral."

"Oh man, I'm so sorry," the man said softly, and he twisted in his seat to face Jack better.

"No, it's ok. I think the last time we got along I was four." Extending his hand, Jack leant in slightly. "I'm Jack."

"Matt," the man said, shaking Jack's hand and smiling. The plane jolted into its taxi, and Matt jumped, grabbing Jack's hand, knuckles white.

"Nervous flyer?" Jack laughed, and Matt smiled sheepishly as he let go.

"No matter how much I fly, I still hate it." The plane lifted into flight and Jack left his hand extended and upturned, and Matt gripped it.

"Totally embarrassing myself here," Matt laughed, and his cheeks tinted red again.

"I'm terrified of spiders," Jack offered, flashing Matt a grin. "If a daddy long legs crawls down the aisle, I'll be jumping up and grabbing your hand."

"Good to know." I'll be prepared." The drink cart came rolling down the aisle and Matt quickly glanced back. Jack followed his gaze, and spotted a man and a woman sitting next to each other, the man wearing a shirt and a smirk, the woman with her eyes downturned and her hands hidden. When he turned back, it was to find Matt had two mini-bottles of whiskey in his hands, two plastic glasses of cola vibrating slightly on his tabletop.

"How'd you charm the stewardess out of those?" Jack laughed, watching as Matt poured the first bottle into the glass nearest the aisle. "Little less in mine, please."

"Bet you wouldn't be saying that if you were riding in a daddy longlegs." Passing Jack the second glass, Matt raised his.

"Fair enough." Clinking his glass against Matt's, Jack took a sip. "So what brought you to Australia, Matt?"

"I needed a vacation." Matt took a long draught from his glass, and leaned back with a sigh. "I just got a divorce."

"I'm sorry. I'm divorced to, though not so recently." Taking a sip from his glass, Jack closed his eyes. "You mix a good drink by the way." One more sip and he laughed. "What is it about planes that makes people start sharing with total strangers?"

"Well we're not total strangers now, are we?" Matt met Jack's eyes over their glasses and Jack held his gaze for a second, before twisting to press his forehead against the windowpane. "Right, sorry, once again I just start talking. I'll leave you alone, let you get some sleep."

"No, hey, I'm sorry." Lips brushing lightly against the window, Jack kept his eyes on the clouds. "I'm just all over the place right now, with what I know I'm going back to."

"No, I'm sorry." Unbuckling his seatbelt, Matt straightened his legs, sighing in relief as he stretched them into the aisle. Standing up, he ducked his head, reaching into the overhead compartment and extracting a blanket and pillow. "Take these and try to get some rest," he said, bending down to hand them to Jack, a gentle smile playing into his brown eyes. "If you can't sleep, I've been told I have a pretty good voice, and my nieces have introduced me to quite the repertoire music.

"A lullaby, huh?" Jack laughed, and the plane dropped, the seatbelt sign flashing frantically, masks dropping and flying through the air as the plane quaked. Jack reached out a hand to Matt, started to pull him into his seat, but watched in horror as a massive tremor ran up the aisle, sending Matt's head flying into the opened overhead compartment's door. He slammed back into the ground, blood waterfalling down the now-steeply inclined aisle.

Jack still stretched towards him, but there were screams and sickening snaps, and then suddenly there was sand rushing towards them and everything went black.