Once upon a time, a young man embarked upon a journey to go to Larnaca, Cyprus for his summer. He had many adventures during that time, but one was curiously recorded before he even arrived. Airports can be a frightening thing, and you never know what will happen, or if you get out of the experience alive. Here is that tale:
-disclaimer: My time at the London, Heathrow airport was entirely safe. The security staff that I interacted with were both patient and helpful. Nothing sinister was happening at all, nor did I ever feel like I was in danger. It was, however, a nine hour layover in the middle of the night, so I wrote this during that long, miserable time. Enjoy.
London rose up from the sea of clouds like some sort of dark creature, covered in millions of bright, beady eyes. It stared up at the plane, awaiting the delivery of the people who where just beginning to wake from their slumber.
The girl next to me saw the creature as well. We both looked out the window in surprise as it emerged more and more from the grey, cloudy blanket without warning. Our decent had awoken it.
We both buckled our seat belts after a short announcement from the captain. He told us we were landing. He told us we were descending towards the beast.
London grew in size as we flew down into it’s dark, mysterious depths. A row of bright, blue eyes opened to show where it willed us to land, and it accepted us without hesitation.
The plane jerked to the ground and we landed with a rough skid. London rumbled underneath us in an ominous greeting.
The seat belt lights disappeared, and a host of people stood to grab their baggage from the compartments above. They scuttled towards the exit, unaware of what was about to await them.
The girl who had sat next to me talked to the flight attendant about the book she was reading on the way over, the man standing behind me rubbed his nearly cut, gray hair; three stylish teenagers in front of me sluggishly scattered to collect their mess. We had all arrived into the beast for different reasons, but the beast did not care. Some people called the beast their home, but others, like myself, simply wanted to pass through to a different destination, leaving the beast far behind them.
Night had fallen, however, and those who wished to escape the beast’s darkened embrace had to seek refuge inside the third terminal until dawn. Only then could they continue on their way. Only time would tell if the beast would allow them to survive the night. Only time.
We huddled together in the third terminal. Nothing open, everything shut. Only security, and a few construction workers, were still out. Some of the travelers were foolish enough to lay on the black, steel chairs to fall into a deep sleep. Not I. Had I a friend, or a trustworthy companion, or an ally, then perhaps. We would take turns keeping watch while the other slept, but I was alone. Alone in the embrace of the beast. So I stayed awake, thinking only of the morning. It would come, but not quickly. The beast would see to that.
I wished for a friend all the more as the people of the beast rounded us up at the edge of the third terminal. They were moving us to a different terminal, but I still didn’t understand why or which one.
The small group was herded along the tight corridors, unaware of their coming fate. Only following.
Terminal seven. There’s where we stopped. The guard said to stay in the terminal until morning. Then, another guard would come to let us out and direct us to our desired location. I gave him a smile upon walking into the terminal, but only for formality. I understood that there was no turning back from our now locked prison.
We were backed into a corner, stuck there till the morning would come. I moved to the very back. If something were to go down before the morning, I would need time to react and examine the options. The beast was treacherous, but I was determined to beat it.
Some returned back to their slumber, and one lady began to stare ceaselessly into the contents of their purse. Maybe asleep? Maybe dead. Who could know? Perhaps the hunt had started.
I discovered a vending machine in the back of the room. I acquired a bag of peanut M&M’s. I had to keep my strength up. I attempted to acquire water as well, but the machine didn’t seem to be working. I would try again later if I decided that it couldn’t wait. Well played beast, well played.
I annoyingly munched on the peanut M&M’s and continued to observe everyone who was corralled with me. Most were stirring or moving about, except for the dead purse lady, of course.
I looked outside to see the millions of bright eyes, which looked back at me. The huge glass windows destroyed any kind of privacy from the monster. There was no running, and now no hiding.
I looked down and realized that I had run out of M&M’s. I could no longer bite into the annoying spheres of plastic and chocolate. The dead purse lady suddenly moved her head up, and then returned to her original position. New hypothesis: she is not dead.
I then definitely did not lay down and get some rest. No! That’s just what it looked like! I kept one vigilant eye open, and an arm ready to strike for the throat when the time for battle would come!
There sitting across from me was a Indian man, somewhat on the larger side. He once worked diligently on his laptop, but it now listening to some very hardcore metal that poured out of his headphones. If a battle ensues, I think I should stick with him.
But just like that, the sun rose, and the beast slumbered. It’s eyes closed, and the loud growl of the night disappeared.
I had survived. Only time would tell if I would get through the return journey. Only time.