The Secret Traveller

He packs a few belongings in a small bag with a little food. There is a plastic bottle of water with a long straw that fits through the lid. The airport excites him, the plane on which he will travel roams up and down the runway like a nervous dog. Its turbines thrill him as they whine. He watches the people lining up ascending the gangway into the fuselage. They remind him of little dolls he had when he was a boy. He fixed them into their seats and flew the plane round their kitchen, annoying his mother till she shooed him out with the brush. She is dead now. What does he have left but a new life over the sea?

Fixing himself into his place on the plane, he takes his chance. His ear defenders vibrate, such is the roar as the plane jolts out of its taxi-ing and points upward. It thrusts at an obscene angle and rushes into the clouds at a pace. He feels his skin stick to his face, his eyelids peel back and his fingers claw at the wind. He has no breath and already he is a limpet, stuck to the undercarriage of the great machine. Tiny droplets of ice form in his pores like a coating of marcasite and he is gone.

But his body surges forward at one with the body of this gigantic metal bird, glinting in the sun, its legitimate passengers are oblivious, their thoughts filled with their own small lives while one even smaller is snuffed out beneath their baggage. For some 9 hours, preserved from decay by the ice, a drop in altitude as Heathrow beckons, effects a rapid thaw.

At a certain height he peels off and tumbles into the cool blue air over a patchwork mish mash of gardens in Clapham. How many look up to the skies upon hearing the hopeful sound of an airliner approaching its destination, to note with surprise this speck hurtling from its base? The impending impact strikes horror into the heart of any bystander as gravity exerts its influence.

His remains are a missile set to cause mayhem, threading darkly towards the earth. A crash, a whump, a crater in a garden only yards from a leisurely chap enjoying a snooze on a sunlounger at the back of his house. What outrage at the laxity of airports in foreign climes, the carnage he could have caused, never mind the devastation to his own sad body, caused by unimaginable desperation.

What life can be so bad to willingly engage in such a death?

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