Trisha looked out
the window as the small plane moved down the auxiliary field and lifted
in spite of the
seemingly tangled mess strewn on the right side of two major runways.
From her vantage point inside the ship,
Trisha Holden could
see the entire airport. Planes were crookedly out of line only on one side
of two of its major runways.
It was almost as
if they were playing follow the leader. She could see some of the damaged
planes being moved to empty hangers,
on the far end of
the tarmac, in order to clear the field for the incoming planes.
It was a strange
sight to say the least, and Trisha couldn't help but wonder why the planes
were so disarrayed,
instead of being
lined up, as they normally would be, and safely tucked within their assigned
gates ready to take on passengers.
From what she overheard from the pilots milling about the concourse, as
she waited to board her plane,
even the pilots
involved in the mishap weren't absolutely certain as to what caused them
to skid off the runway.
All they knew was
that they did.
She remembered them
saying that it seemed as if the runway moved as they were landing their
Really, she thought.
They actually said
They must have been
She heard one of the passengers saying that
"The pilots could
have sworn the runways moved sort of like a roller coaster just as they
were touching down,
and as they did
so, the strange effect took complete control of the landing.
Each pilot tried
desperately to regain control, but they were unable to do so until the
planes were actually off the runway.
At first they all
believed the shimmering effect on the runways was like that of massive
heat waves, rising one after another off the concrete,
as it does on hot,
humid, sunny days.
It wasn't until
their wheels touched down, did they realize something else was going on
beneath their plane,
and said they actually
felt the ground beneath them shifting.
If what they
say is true," she added, "it's no wonder that so many pilots missed the
Trisha had wondered at the time, what the passenger was talking about,
and what would cause anyone to make a comment like that.
She thought the
statements coming from the pilots were strange,
and what was even
stranger to her was the fact that their comments were made within earshot
of worried passengers.
Passengers who felt
that they had narrowly escaped being seriously hurt or that something even
more catastrophic could have happened.
thoughts continued, they could be right.
All the planes could
have crashed or exploded when they landed.
that didn't happen.
The passengers were
only shaken up, nothing more.
Even now, as she flew away from the airport she still couldn't get the
real meaning of the pilots' comments out of her mind.
Did they know something
that she didn't know and were keeping mum about it or were they just as
in the dark about it as she was?
Or, which was far
more important, was there really a problem?
A problem that could
be far more devastating than it appeared to be at the time.
If so, what are
the "powers that be" going to do about it?
Trisha looked up and away from the activities on the ground and beyond.
In the distance
the sporadic belching of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, against the mountain ranges
and lush-green vegetation, captivated her.
As long as 'Pele's'
anger is contained we have nothing to worry about.
But she couldn't
help hoping that when Kilauea sputtered in an angry, reddish/orange eruption
that she might be
around to see its fiery red hot lava flow down along the side of the mountain,
but from a safe, really safe, distance.
She smiled inwardly
thinking about that aspect, as the inter-island plane continued its flight
over the various islands in the Hawaiian chain,
bringing her closer
to Maui and home.
She strained to catch a glimpse below as her plane closed in on Pearl Harbor
and when the plane circled over Pearl,
as it did on a regular
basis, a pensive look crossed Trisha's face.
She stared down
on the Memorial where over two thousand men were entombed.
She watched, mesmerized,
as drop by drop, oil seeped to the surface from the watery grave below,
minor oil slick, which began its odyssey more than over fifty years before
she shivered slightly
as goose-bumps crept over her.
Brushing aside a
tear, Trisha looked away.
* * *
The small plane made its final approach to the landing field at Maui.
Trisha saw her father
waiting patiently for her arrival.
She waved furiously
at him even though he couldn't see her.
When her plane's
wheels touched down and taxied up to the hanger, an anxious Joe Holden
rushed towards it.
"You're late," he said as he hugged, kissed his daughter, and then grabbed
"Just a little," she answered.
"More than three and a half hours," he admonished.
"Couldn't be helped," she answered smiling at her father's frowning face.
"Why, what happened?" he asked.
"Oh, some sort of fluke about the pilots missing the landing strip."
"What?" he asked, stopping in the middle of the field, and staring at her.
"Dad, we can't stay here. C'mon, I'll tell you as soon as we get to the
With his arm tightly around his daughter's shoulders, Joe Holden guided
her back toward his waiting Jeep.
Having settled into
the vehicle Joe waited for his daughter to explain her comment.
"Well," he said, "I'm waiting."
"I guess it had been happening periodically all day long.
But the first incident
apparently was the worse," she said, pausing to look at her father, his
frown had deepened considerably.
Catching her breath,
she continued, "Several of the pilots claimed that the landing field shifted
just as their wheels touched down
and that was why
they had skidded off the field, stopping just short of hitting the concourse
where all the people were standing,
transfixed as they
stared out of the windows, frozen in their tracks, watching the planes
heading toward them,
unable to move away,
unable to protect themselves, waiting for the crash that never happened."
"What! Were the pilots drunk?"
"No, Dad," Trisha laughed. "They weren't drunk. Since I don't know what
all I could think
of was that it could have been some sort of a virus, which affected their
The strangest part
is that not all of the pilots were affected.
It appeared to be
happening only during specific times of the day
and only to those
who had been eating lunch at the local pub the past several days. But what
that had to do with any of it, I couldn't say.
Needless to say
that aspect has been investigated by the local authorities to see if there
was a connection,
and apparently their
conclusions were that the pub had nothing to do with any of it.
Still, the effect
on the pilots was only intermittent even if it appeared to be a day long
so it couldn't have
been a budding epidemic now, could it?"
"No, I don't think so," Joe said slowly, shaking his head,
"but something must
have caused them to miss the landing strips.
What did the authorities
do about it?"
"Since enough of the pilots were affected, not only the pilots,
but an investigation
of the planes involved was undertaken and as far as I know is still going
Guess it will take
several days, weeks even, before they really know what the cause was, but
in the meantime, the flights were canceled.
The landing strips
and planes were checked. The mechanics thought maybe the altimeters were
off calibration, but that wasn't it.
No one could find
a reason for the mishaps,
it wasn't the pilots,
the airstrips or
so they decided
to let the planes take off and here I am."
"Did the wheels collapse when the planes landed?" Joe asked.
"Don't know, Dad, I wasn't on any of those planes when they landed at that
airport, just on the one that took off."
"Why?" she asked,
looking at him curiously.
Joe fell silent for a moment. She thought he didn't hear her.
Then just before
she raised the question again,
he started the engine
and said, "Somehow, I don't think I like what happened. It doesn't bode
"There is something
else going on. Mark my words."
"This isn't the
end of it, I am sure of it." "Oh, Dad, don't be so silly."
"Everything is fine,
see," she said as she held out her arms and turned around as best as she
could in her seat for his inspection.
"Nothing happened," she giggled, "except for the pilots unable to land
their planes on their moving landing strip,
but it's not likely
to happen again. I'm sure the authorities will see to that."
"Say what you want, Honey, but I don't like it," he said, as his frown
"There is more to
this than we know."
"Something is going
on that we're not privy to
and we are not about
to be at least not for now," he added solemnly, as he drove away from the
airport and headed towards home.
* * *