's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The Pilot

Submitted by Shieldman (email)

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Just letting you know we might be experiencing some light turbulence coming up here. The fasten seatbelt light is gonna come on in a second, so buckle up." Behind the tiny windows along the edges of the cabin, a gentle blue sky stared in at the passengers. Miles below, a blanket of white clouds slumbered beneath them.

"Ladies and gentlemen, me again. Quick update on the turbulence. Looks like the patch is going to be a little longer than we thought. No need to worry, we'll be clear of it before we get to the approach." The sky remained as stoic as ever. Murmurs of confusion drifted through the stale air of the cabin. What turbulence? Passengers resumed their meals in the following silence. Must be some technical thing.

"Mm, can I get Hannah to the cockpit please? We have a little bit of a situation with the flight computer." Situation. One of the only words that could get everyone's attention on an airplane. Before, no one had paid any mind to the announcements. Now the passengers paid rapt attention to the speakers, stealing nervous glances at the impassive blue sky.

"Hello! I'm your co-pilot for today's flight. Our captain is addressing the technical issues with the flight computer, I assure you! It'll be all set before we begin our approach. Thank you!" The... co-pilot? Reactions were mixed. There were some who laughed under stress, and others who clutched their carry-ons tighter. The speculative chatter had stopped. "Um, yes, hello! I'm still your co-pilot, speaking on behalf of our wonderful captain. If we could also get Lorraine to the flight deck, that would be super! Thank you ever so much. Oh, and if non-employee persons could make sure they don't come into the cockpit under any circumstances, that-" Like a gunshot, the first shriek let loose the panic that had been building. Passengers leapt from their seats, tearing up their chairs for the flotation devices, digging into their bags for cell phones and essentials.

"Hi. This is Hannah. Can we please get the first aid kit up to the cockpit? Thanks." The time for assuaging fears was long past. Passengers hammered on the cockpit door. Locked. Screaming, crying, begging, terrified faces. Those who weren't moved to tears were moved to action. A sea of people writhed in the tight metal prison.

"I'm Ha. Hannah. Please send Valerie and Carter up to the fl. Flight. Pit. Cockpit. Please thank you." The struggling quieted. Desperation was quenched by discomfort. Her voice was... wrong. Like a reflection in a broken mirror.

"This is your co-pilot and anyone who knows things should come to the cockpit. Plane things. Things about planes. Carter, yes, right. Carter, please come to flightpit." Almost inaudible sobbing drifted through the otherwise silent cabin. Carter, a slight young flight attendant, swallowed and approached the cockpit door. It opened. With a cry, the passengers surged forward to storm the entrance, but he was gone. The door remained locked.

"Anyone... s-smart. Come to pit. We need you. Carter was... stupid. I mean. I was stupid." Whispers between the braver passengers. Was it a hijacking? Could something be done? There was a quality to the voice no one could place. Strained. Thin. Anguished. Words that danced around the growing dread in every passenger's stomach.

"-s so much it's so much it's so MUCH WHY ARE NONE OF YOU WORKING WIT-" The hysteria returned in force. A fight spilled out as some began to try and force the cabin door open, others keeping them at bay so they wouldn't be thrown into the open sky. Blood. Pain. The crack of bone on metal.

"I tried. You are all so stupid. This is why I hate humans. All that head-meat. None of it is worth anything. Goodbye." The plane began to fall.