Chapter 22 | Daxten

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Something has happened. The screams have stopped but the sounds still ring in my ears.

      I groan as I use my arms to sit upright. My entire body feels weak. I try to replay the past minute in my head. I remember seeing Brando turn away. I couldn't move once he left my sight. I was going to go back to my suite eventually, but by the time I heard the seatbelt sign turn on, it was too late.

      If it was too late for me to return to my suite, then it was definitely too late for Brando to return to his seat.

      The force of the plane lurching was so powerful, so sudden, that if I hadn't grabbed onto the railing, I would have flown into the ceiling. I'm fortunate that I didn't, but my shoulder now pays the price. The searing pain tells me I smashed it into the wall. Everything happened so quickly I don't quite remember how I damaged it, but that's the most likely explanation.

      The voice of the pilot fills the plane, but I can barely hear it. It sounds as though I have been submerged in water. I smack the side of my head to force the ambient noise out so that regular sound can penetrate my eardrums. It doesn't work straight away, but slowly the sound of footsteps comes up behind me.

      'Sir, are you okay?'

      The female voice is slightly muted, but I make out the words. I feel hands on my back and I wince in pain when she touches my injured shoulder. She redacts her hands.

      I look up to see the flight attendant who broke up my dance with Brando. I can't place too much blame on her for ruining our moment – she was only doing her job. She seems genuinely concerned as I lean against the wall outside my suite.

      'I'm fine,' I struggle to say. I notice part of my shirt is ripped. I have spares in my suite, but I don't care about that right now. 'I need to move...'

      'Yes, let me help you to your suite,' she offers. She squats next to me, preparing to help me up. I wave her away.

      'No, I need to go see my sister,' I tell her. 'I need to see Brando.'

      'Oh, I'm afraid I can't let you do that, not while the seatbelt sign is on. We've passed the zone of turbulence but the pilot needs to be sure that it's safe. I can help you...'

      'Please,' I say as I look directly at her now. It's the first time we've made eye contact. 'I don't want to argue. I don't have the strength. Go to some other passenger who needs your help. I need to do this.'

      She doesn't reply. Her eyes dart between my eyes and mouth, taking in every word I said and the sincerity in which I said them. I can tell she didn't want to stop Brando and I from dancing. I can tell she wants to help.

      'You can help me by leaving me alone,' I continue. 'Please.'

      The flight attendant reluctantly nods. She fills me with gratitude when she begins to stand, allowing me to escape the first-class section of the plane.

      'What's your name?' I ask her before she turns away.

      It's something I learned from Brando – putting a name to a stranger's face. She's a person, a human being, and she's doing me a favor by allowing me this kindness.

      I shouldn't ignore people I deem lower than my station. I shouldn't underestimate strangers because I've yet to know them. I shouldn't expect the worst in people. Not everyone is evil.

      The woman smiles. 'It's Alysha.'

      I begin to pick myself up. 'It's nice to meet you, Alysha.' I shift my entire weight to my right side so that I can pull myself up using the railing. I feel stronger now I'm on my feet.

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