She was in her bed and the light from the window was tickling her eyes. Bianca cracked one open. Morning. Bright sunny morning. She opened both eyes now and turned on her side. Michael’s pillow was empty. Bianca took a deep breath and caught a whiff of coffee and toast. It made her smile. Home was where it smelled of coffee and toast as far as she was concerned. Especially when someone else made them. She sat up and smoothed her hair back. It always went wild while Bianca slept. According to Michael, who currently opened the door, it was because Bianca slept restlessly, kicking and tossing.
“Good morning,” her husband said and leaned down to kiss her. “It was another wild night and I don’t mean the end of last evening. You tossed and turned for hours.”
Bianca huffed an exasperated sigh.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she said. “It’s not like I was having nightmares or anything. I didn’t dream at all.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Of course I’m sure.”
Michael tipped his head to the side and looked her over.
“Do you know a lot of people who claim they don’t dream actually do dream? They just don’t remember their dreams. Fun fact: we’d go truly insane if we didn’t dream. This is what science says.”
Bianca ran her fingers through his curls, currently just as wild as her hair and pulled him in for another kiss. An image surfaced in her mind.
“There was something about a plane flying in thick fog,” she said, frowning. “It’s just an image, nothing else. If that’s what I was dreaming about, the state of my hair is perfectly justified.”
“It certainly is, captain. Come on, let’s have breakfast.”
Besides the coffee and the toast, there was also butter and strawberry jam. For a moment before she sat at the table and reached for her mug, Bianca felt ten again, on a July morning in her parents’ home, impatient for the day to finally begin.
“Is it a special day? Did I miss an anniversary?”
They’d married in September and it was not September. It was July. And they’d met in March, four years ago. It couldn’t be an anniversary.
“No,” Michael said as he sat across the table from her. “Except I wanted to make you a nice breakfast. Just because.”
“Just because,” Bianca repeated and lifted the mug that said I’ve got one nerve left and you’re getting on it, every word a different colour. Just because. She peered into the coffee and it rose towards her and engulfed her into warm blackness.
Bianca came to with a start. Her heart was close to bursting out of her chest and her pulse was way over a hundred. The yoke dug painfully into her ribs; Bianca pushed back and looked around to make sure there were no witnesses to her moment of embarrassment. The plane was on the ground, which was in a way even more embarrassing .Who fell asleep in a plane on the ground?
Someone knocked on the open cockpit door and she turned. Michael Dahl froze, staring at her like she was the last person he had expected to see there. Which was silly because he was her first officer and had been for five flights already. They worked well together and he was also amusing, which made their time together rather pleasant. Yet Michael Dahl was very married, so pleasant was where it all ended.
“Hello?” Bianca said. “Did I grow a third eye or a horn?”
“No,” Michael said and unfroze. “No, of course not. I just had something like a déjà vu but not really deja, you know?”
“Not really,” Bianca said, taking the folder with the flight documentation and setting it on her knees. “But you looked shocked there for a moment.”
“Yeah, I was.” He sat in his seat and ran his hand through his hair. “It was weird. Really weird.”
Bianca made a sound of acknowledgment as she went through the documentation. Michael peered through the windscreen and made a face.
“Some nice fog we’re having.”
Bianca looked up.
“There shouldn’t be a problem, according to the tower. It’s only thick close to the ground.”
“Yeah, probably. Still don’t like it. Never liked fog.”
Bianca turned and stared at her first officer.
“You were born and raised in Copenhagen and you don’t like fog.”
“Yes. How is this surprising?”
“I don’t know, really, it just is. I thought growing up with a certain climate you get used to it. You don’t have to like it, of course, but you just get used to it and stop paying much attention to it.”
“Well, I don’t pay special attention to fog but I dislike it. Which is why I moved,” he said with a shrug.
“Well, in hindsight it wasn’t the most sensible decision I’ve ever made.”
This made Bianca laugh and she was still laughing when the cabin manager, Samantha, peeked into the cockpit.
“Good morning, captain. Good morning, Mr. Dahl. How are you today?”
“Very well, Sam. And you?”
“Ready for takeoff. We’re not going to have trouble with that fog, are we?”
Bianca shook her head.
“None at all.”
“See you later, then.”
Bianca returned her attention to the documents but the unusual silence made her look up again. Michael was staring through the windscreen unseeingly.
“Is something the matter, Michael? You know you can tell me. You should tell me.”
Michael Dahl turned to her and something in his eyes made her want to jerk back, which Bianca resisted. An insistent, singular look that flashed and disappeared when he blinked.
“I don’t know if something’s the matter, captain. Something feels wrong. Something here, in this cockpit. Or the plane, I’m not sure. Something is not as it should be.”
“That’s not some dark premonition, is it?”
He shook his head slowly.
“No. More like a piece in a puzzle that doesn’t fit but has been forced into a slot. You know? A piece from another puzzle. I sound deranged.”
Bianca didn’t respond to that but raised her eyebrows in agreement. He did sound deranged. There was no wrong piece here, everything was normal. Just another day and another flight.
“Okay, I suggest you shake it off because we’re due in half an hour. Let’s start the engines.”
Bianca flipped the first switch and everything went black.
You can get the full book here.