Special Charter – Friday Fictioneers, June 2016


Copyright Rich Voza

Throughout the day a straggling line of bewildered souls meandered through the airport to a previously unseen check-in desk beneath a blue screen showing a destination of which none had heard.

The sun sank in a ball of orange flame, as the last of the passengers boarded a plane that had lingered all day on the airport perimeter.  Pulling back unaided, it trundled uncleared, unannounced, to the head of the runway.

As perplexed air traffic controllers looked on, the aircraft sped down the runway, before soaring into the gathering twilight, as the world read about the events that were taking place in (…………)  *

*  Insert as applicable:  Rwanda, Syria, Srebrenica, Oradour sur Glane….. the list is seemingly endless. 😦

The last time I ran this for the prompt, it’s fair to say that a lot of people didn’t understand it.  So probably no change there then. 🙂  So I’ve doctored a few words here and there, and paused for a moment to reflect on how many more places could have been added to the footnote in the intervening three years…

Apologies if I didn’t comment on yours last week.  An ongoing fault (nine days!) on our broadband line reduced my connection to something less than dial-up speed, and I eventually lost the will to live. 

Thanks Rochelle, for allowing the opportunity to try again with this, and to Rich Voza for a wonderfully evocative photo.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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52 Responses to Special Charter – Friday Fictioneers, June 2016

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Mystery plane. World events. Numbness. Tragedy. It’s all there


  2. Dear Sandra,

    Loved it then, Love it now. The video is haunting as is your story.




  3. Where does it end? And when?


  4. michael1148humphris says:

    I like the phase, bewildered souls, My own view of their destination, the stars,


  5. Wonderful. I think the word that gives the clue about what it’s about is ‘souls’.


  6. Bewildered souls indeed! Nicely done.


  7. When will it end… even more apt than the first time. Love it.


  8. Very thought-provoking. The perplexed air traffic controllers add to the poignancy for me.


  9. wmqcolby says:

    I got it. I think I might have, too, the last time.

    All the best with your internet speed. I miss your terrific feedback. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ceayr says:

    A real heart-render this one, created with your normal artistry.
    Wonderfully written, but too sad to really enjoy.
    It just goes on.


  11. The body count keeps rising, the nonsensical debates grow louder and that which makes us humane keeps falling.


  12. There isn’t an end. Apt story for the times we live in and obviously well-penned.


  13. I think it’s poignant that a post from 3 years ago is still relevant today. The suffering never ends and the reasons never change. You convey the distant hopelessness so well in this piece.
    I hope your Internet Hell ends soon.


  14. Jan Brown says:

    Another commenter said “haunting.” That’s a good word for the story, the video, and our messed up world. Powerful story, Sandra.


  15. I love the tone of this piece, Sandra, although it’s all too true, unfortunately. There are so many violent places in the world. Hope your Internet recovers soon.


  16. plaridel says:

    i’m afraid the list will go on indefinitely.


  17. Mystery & mayhem! Very appropriate!


  18. draliman says:

    I’m reading it as a “plane”-load of people killed in the (insert as applicable) conflict on their way to their next destination (wherever that will be). Great piece, even if my interpretation is way off 🙂


  19. subroto says:

    I guess an update was due anyway. Charon’s boat needed to be replaced by a more modern means of transport. At least now there will be some in-flight entertainment 😉


  20. liz young says:

    The message is clear as a bell, in my view – those who can afford the flight get out, the rest remain to shoulder whatever Fate throws at them.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. mickwynn2013 says:

    I didn’t see it the first time but certainly got it this time and the idea that three years later the situation is not just still the same but worse, is harrowing, as is the piece. People herded about, losing their homes and these are probably the lucky ones, despite their bewilderment. Powerful as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. rgayer55 says:

    The fill-in-the-blank part is a sad testament to the times we live in. Unfortunately, things will probably get a lot worse before they get better.


  23. Thought provoking with the fill in the blank but then Russell’s comment really had me thinking…how long have we been saying that?


  24. Yep, great story, fill in whatever you want, too numerous to mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A haunting story, Sandra. I watched the film from the link and the one following it which explained what happened to the town. I seem to remember reading about that village years ago. It’s was another chilling example of “man’s inhumanity toward man” especially during war. It’s an ancient evil that keeps recurring. The pictures, especially those of the children, are enough to make a heart bleed. The very fact the French left the ruined village as it was has shown they wanted never to forget or let anyone else forget. Well written. —- Suzanne


    • Sandra says:

      There are so many towns in France where similar slaughter took place, Suzanne. The French are very diligent in remembering and paying respect to those places.


  26. madamewriter says:

    Great mystery – it creates numerous possibilities in the reader’s mind. Time travel, aliens, or more bizarre…unexplained experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Margaret says:

    I love the phrase ‘bewildered souls’. It captures perfectly not just the victims of the unnamed countless massacres, but the response of all of us who wonder why it keeps happening. A powerful story.


  28. gahlearner says:

    If only more people than the air traffic controller saw and understood that plane, then maybe… but no, we see ships full of desperate people, we see children drowning, and still things get worse, not better. Depressing story, Sandra. But also poignant and much needed. Excellent.


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