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Torn Between Two Worlds chap2

by hamsterlady 

Posted: 14 July 2004
Word Count: 8357

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It took a few minutes for the terrorists to compose themselves before they started shouting to each other, ensuring they had all survived the landing. The terrorist leader looked at the carnage around him and the gaping hole in the side of the fuselage. He knew that would be a weak spot as the police or security forces would be able to see straight into the ‘plane and possibly instigate a rescue. Therefore something had to be done about it quickly. He had come too far, put too much planning into the hijacking to be beaten so soon. He had no inclination to surrender at this stage despite the sudden turn of events.
He ordered his men to block the hole in the ‘plane with debris lying around the cabin and then he headed for the cockpit to see what state that was in. As he entered the radio crackled into life.
“Flight 278 please report if you have any casualties or need medical assistance,” a voice came over the radio from the control tower.
The terrorist leader thought for a moment. There were several passengers clearly in dire need of medical treatment. If he didn’t let them go they would probably die and would therefore be worthless to him. He was afraid he would be seen as a soft touch, someone who could be won over if he offered to let them go too easily. But he was on a mission, and was fully prepared to lose his life in the process and knew that he could use these injured passengers as a bargaining tool.
“I am prepared to allow a few passengers to leave the ‘plane now, but the rest will stay. If you try to storm the ‘plane we will blow it up. Is that understood?”
“Yes, we understand. Our priority is the safety of the passengers. Just let us help those passengers who are injured.”
“In exchange for the passengers,” the leader continued, “you will arrange for the release of twelve of our people who are being held in your jails. A further six are being held in the United States.”
The radio went dead for a few seconds while the negotiator discussed the situation with his superiors. Once again it crackled into life.
“We don’t have the authority to negotiate their release. We will need to contact the right people who will be able to negotiate that with you. Give me a list of names and I will see what I can do.”
The terrorist read out the names of eighteen countrymen who had all recently been imprisoned for terrorist acts.
“In the meantime, please release any passengers who need medical help. In return we agree to provide you with food and water, and if you will allow it we would like to connect a generator to the plane so that you can have lighting and air-conditioning to make it more comfortable for those remaining on the ‘plane,” suggested the negotiator.
The terrorist leader considered his options. He would have been a fool to think it would be that easy to negotiate the release of his fellow countrymen.
He shouted to one of his men who were standing a few yards away from him. They talked amongst themselves for a minute or two, trying to decide what to do.
The terrorist leader picked up the radio and depressed the button on the side of it.
“We are prepared to release eight people, in exchange for food and water. You will also provide us with lighting. There are two passengers who have been badly hurt in the landing and need assistance leaving the ‘plane and there is one whose body needs to be removed.”
“Very well, we will send stretchers for them.”
The details were discussed and not before too long there was movement in the cabin as people got ready to leave. The door was opened and a set of stairs was slowly positioned in front of it. Two men walked up the stairs, carrying boxes of food and water, which they placed just inside the ‘plane under the watchful eye of the terrorists. Once they had put everything down they headed back down the stairs to collect further supplies before leaving the area. As soon as all the boxes had been delivered one of the terrorists pointed his gun at two of the passengers who were sitting close-by.
“Go and collect the food. One false move and I’ll kill you,” he shouted at them. The passengers did as they were told without exchanging any words or glances and returned to their seats. Almost immediately three ambulances positioned themselves on the tarmac a few feet from the bottom of the stairs and four paramedics made their way up the stairs carrying stretchers. Terrorists frisked them and checked their medical bags to ensure they were unarmed. Once satisfied they signalled them to get on with removing the injured passengers, and also the dead man.
One of the paramedics walked along the aisle towards where Connie was sitting. She looked at him. His eyes showed no signs of panic, more a reassuring calmness of someone who was trained for this type of situation and Connie wondered if he was perhaps a member of the special forces, carrying out a recce of the ‘plane ready for a rescue. He stopped for a moment, and looked towards the gaping hole in the side of the ‘plane. A terrorist saw him and started shouting at him to keep moving. He obeyed and moved on towards one of the injured passengers.
It took some time for the paramedics to prepare the badly injured for transportation but having strapped them securely into the stretchers they slowly manoeuvred them out of the plane, closely followed by the walking wounded.
As soon as the last person left the ‘plane the door was firmly shut behind them and the terrorists started separating the passengers into the different sections of the ‘plane to make it easier to keep an eye on them. Once they had all sat down there was an indescribable stillness, a false sense of calm. Everyone was psychologically preparing themselves for what could be a long wait while negotiators were brought into discuss the release of the prisoners.
Connie found herself gazing round the ‘plane, everything was quiet now. She glanced down at her watch to see what the time was when she noticed her hands resting on the table in front of her.
She started to move her fingers, slowly at first and then much faster. She applied pressure to her finger tips to see if she could feel any sensation of pain. As she did a surge of relief swept through her body, causing her to laugh out loud. No one looked at her or even noticed her. She put her hand up to her mouth, shocked at her realisation that this wasn’t her reality; it was nothing more than a lucid dream. What appeared as real to her and extremely frightening was just some nightmare she had stepped into. Over the years she had conditioned her brain to recognise her own hands in dreaming so that she could pull herself out of a dream if she needed to. She wondered how she had failed to recognise the signs on this occasion. She had been so caught up with the trauma as it unfolded that she had failed to see it for what it was.
Despite her vast experience of dreaming Connie felt something as different about the quality of this particular dream, however. Normally when she became lucid she had the power to change the dream itself but on this occasion she couldn’t. She was merely an observer in someone else’s nightmare.
The woman next to her was clearly disturbed by the events and as their eyes met Connie felt her fear. She touched the woman’s hand, trying to reassure her that everything would be all right and that this nightmare would soon end.


The DJ’s voice on the radio on Connie’s bedside cabinet brought her attention back into her body and she reluctantly opened her eyes. It was raining outside; she could hear the splattering of water as wind blew it against her bedroom window. The thought of a dull and dreary Monday morning offered little encouragement for getting Connie out of bed. She lay still for a while, trying to absorb her dream, wondering why or how she could step into someone else’s situation and the significance of it. What a nightmare it had been, everything so vivid, even the fear, she recalled. Afraid that she might forget some of the details she quickly scribbled as much of it down as possible in the book she kept beside her bed.
The voice of the DJ was a reminder that time was fast moving on and Connie knew she had to hurry or she’d be late for work. She’d only recently started a new job and couldn’t afford to get any black marks against her name just yet.
Having gobbled down some cereal she prepared to set off in the pouring rain for the commute to the office. Her job wasn’t that great, just a secretarial position working for a temperamental boss in the City, but at least it paid her mortgage.
Connie opened her front door and seeing the rain decided to drive to the station. It was only a couple of miles away but she was in no mood to either walk or wait for a bus. It seemed as though everyone in the near vicinity had the same idea and the closer she got to the station the heavier the traffic was. With windscreen wipers frantically trying to clear the excess water away, Connie sat bumper to bumper in the queue for the car park. She glanced at the clock on the dashboard and felt herself getting annoyed as the valuable seconds ticked away which could mean the difference between getting to work on time or being late. To her relief the brake lights on the car in front went out and it edged forwards past the barrier and into the car park with Connie following closely behind. She hurriedly attached an antiquated security device to her steering wheel, picked up her bag and umbrella and sidled out of the car, trying not to dent the car parked next to it. She could hear the announcement that her train was fast approaching so she had to sprint the hundred yards or so to the station and arrived just as the train pulled in.
As the doors of the train opened the smell of stale air and damp clothes was apparent. Connie made her way to a seat by the window and placed her bag on the heater by her feet in an attempt to shut off some of the hot air from blowing directly at her. The warmth of the carriage and hypnotic trickle of rain on the window sent her into a state of semi consciousness. She found herself thinking about the hijacking and going over the details in her mind.
The jolt of the train brought Connie back into the everyday world. Pondering what it was exactly that she had witnessed, she tried to ground her energy as she felt incredibly spaced out. She knew she needed to pull herself back into her body in order to give her enough energy to get through the day.
The crowd swept Connie along as it surged off the train and across the busy station concourse to the Underground. Still in a daze she made her way down the escalators and along the series of corridors to the platform. It was extremely crowded, people standing five or six deep at some places and she knew it would be a while before she would manage to get on the train. As each train arrived people pushed forward, tempers fraying with frustration. After three trains had come and gone she finally managed to squeeze inside one, using the other bodies crammed in against her to prevent her from falling over as the train lurched when the driver applied its brakes. Eventually she arrived at her stop and as the doors opened she virtually fell out backwards onto the platform along with others that had forced their way into the carriage after her.
The rain had eased slightly as she left the station for the five-minute walk to the office. The company she worked for rented a floor in a grand building in the heart of the City. Connie walked inside the building and said hello to the security guard as she made her way across the highly polished floor to the lift.
Her boss was already in the office when she arrived. He was desperately sorting through paperwork at his desk, cursing, as he couldn’t find what he was looking for. Connie smiled to herself as she saw him, he was in exactly the same position as when she had left him on Friday and she wondered if he had been there all weekend. Today was a big day for him; he had to make a major presentation to his bosses and had clearly switched into stress mode.
“Have you got that report on shipping insurance?” he shouted to Connie in an irate voice, not even allowing her to take off her coat. She wondered why he found it so difficult to locate as she had left it in a clearly marked file for him.
“Here’s the document you need. I’ll go and get you a cup of coffee,” she said, trying to pacify him. She hated leaving anything until the last minute and it infuriated her when someone else did that, especially if they then tried to drag her into the confusion. She hung up her coat and propped her wet umbrella in the rack to drain and made her way to the coffee machine. As usual several cups of unidentifiable liquid had been placed on the shelf beside the machine.
Rather sheepishly Connie walked into her boss’s office and placed the cup on his desk, but it did little to help the situation. He was by now in overdrive with his ranting and she hurriedly left the room, clutching a pile of paperwork that he had thrust on her for copying. She rushed over to the photocopier and started to make the copies. Just as she was close to finishing, her boss shouted across the office to her that he didn’t have time to wait for her; he would have to leave without the documents. Coffee drunk, papers crammed into his case and he was gone.
Connie could feel anger building up inside her as she completed the task and walked back across the office to her desk. A few of her colleagues looked up as she passed them.
“What’s up with him?” asked one of them.
“Search me. As usual he’s left everything to the last minute and now it’s my fault by the look of things,” Connie replied as she settled down at her desk. Everyone knew what he was like. His last secretary had walked out after just a couple of weeks, so Connie had at least broken that record.
Connie sighed loudly; she had the rest of the morning in peace, a chance to mull over what she had seen in her dream. She felt she needed to discuss the dream with someone and decided to call her best friend and fellow Dreamer to see if he could meet her for lunch.

Joe had managed to find a table in the corner and was desperately trying to attract Connie’s attention as she entered the pub and fought her way through a crowd of people. His face lit up when he saw her; “I was really surprised to hear from you, what’s up?”
Connie relayed the dream to him. He sat quietly, listening to every word. By the time she had finished her story a look of concern had filled his eyes, “Haven’t you seen the headlines? A ‘plane was hijacked last night, look; they had to do an emergency landing at Stansted as part of the plane was blown away.” He pulled out his copy of the Evening News that had been tucked into his coat pocket.
“You’re joking,” Connie read in disbelief. “It must be a coincidence.” She paused, her brain ticking over. “In the past when I’ve had a premonition, the details have been quite vague, whereas in the dream I was aware of minute details, everything was so real, even the smell on the plane. Why would I see such a thing?” she asked Joe, hoping for an answer.
“You said you felt it wasn’t your dream, perhaps you stepped inside one belonging to a terrorist.” Connie pulled a face and frowned. Joe ignored her and continued, “I’ve been reading a book about psychic ability and premonitions and, based on their theory, you telepathically tuned into one of the terrorists,” he paused for a second while he tried to judge Connie’s reaction; she appeared transfixed by what he was saying. “After all, they must’ve been planning this hijacking for some time, this isn’t the type of thing that you’d just do. I’d imagine it would take a lot of organisation to arrange for weapons to be brought onto the plane, especially with the recent tightening of security at airports with all the terrorist threats. Let’s face it, you’re always experimenting with dreaming, maybe you’ve just found a gateway that takes you into this dream state, this particular dimension,” Joe tried to reason with her.
He got up and walked to the bar to order some food and drinks. While he was away Connie reflected on what he had said. She thought back to the first time she had met Joe at a dreaming workshop and realised that she had come a long way since then with her dreaming ability. Connie had always been a Dreamer. As a child she would go off exploring new worlds and having incredible adventures in this fantasy land, this alternate reality. She would often meet a man who would come for her night after night and take her to explore places that you only ever read about in science fiction novels. At the time she assumed everyone had this type of dream but when trying to discuss them with her friends they just made fun of her, called her names and made her feel embarrassed. She desperately wanted to fit in and in order not to alienate herself she decided to keep quiet about her dreams and experiences.
As she got older the dreams became clearer and more regular. So much so that she often found herself desperate to go to sleep so she could go off exploring. She became obsessed with dreaming, and the people she met in her dreams, who in many respects were closer friends than those in ordinary reality. She reached a point when she was desperate to speak to someone who could understand what she was going through. This search to find someone to discuss her dreams with took her to a workshop on exploring the dreaming dimension, run a man call Chris, who, in Connie’s opinion was an expert on the subject. She first met Joe on this particular workshop and was quite taken by him. They had become good friends over the past five years and had carried out numerous dreaming experiments together in an attempt to explore whole new dimensions that Chris had insisted were there, just waiting to be discovered.
The sound of Joe placing the glasses on the table in front of Connie and the voices around her in the pub brought her attention back to the moment.
“You look as though you’re miles away,” Joe commented.
“I’ve just been thinking about what you said. Supposing I have opened a gateway into ordinary reality, but within dreaming? I don’t particularly want to have premonitions, apart from being distressing, it’s a waste of energy. Who’d believe me anyway?”
“I would,” he smiled, “but I don’t know if the authorities would. They may well think you were a bit of a crank, in all honesty.”
“Yeah, right,” Connie smiled before continuing, “I feel really shaken by what happened. It was awful on that ‘plane and when the door blew off and those people were sucked out, I felt physically sick. I can’t describe that feeling of seeing people clinging desperately onto life, even though the odds of survival were stacked against them. It’s a shame the terrorists didn’t get sucked out, then at least I’d feel that justice had been done in some strange way. What did those people do to deserve to experience such an ordeal? And now you’re telling me that it really happened, that what I saw wasn’t purely a nightmare.”
“I’ve no idea what you’ve been through Connie. It must have been terrible, but there must also be a good reason why you’ve had this experience, even if you can’t figure it out now. As far as the hostages are concerned, at least they landed here, if there’s anyone who can resolve this peacefully it’s the British authorities. At least we’re not hot headed and likely to go rushing in without trying more peaceful options. If it comes to the worst our Special Forces are the best in the world, so the hostages have that on their side.”
“I suppose you’re right, I just can’t get the vision out of my mind. Do you think I’ll end up there again tonight?”
“If it was me I would try to get back there. I suppose I’d just want to see what was happening. Maybe you can get some information that might help.”
“Who? The police?”
“I suppose so. I’m honestly not sure. But there must be someone who would be interested”
“I don’t know about that. I think they’d definitely think I was a nutter if I phoned them up with this. I’ll have a think about it though but I’m honestly not sure if I want to go through that ordeal again.”
The waitress arrived with the food, interrupting their conversation. Somewhere under the mountain of chips was the veggie burger Connie ordered. Suddenly it seemed quite unappealing as she pondered the possibility of gaining access to this new dimension.
“On a different subject, how’s the job?” asked Joe.
“Ever get that feeling you’ve made a terrible mistake?”
Joe nodded.
“I had that feeling by lunch time on my first day. I’ve always thought of myself as being quite intuitive, but I got it horribly wrong this time. How I could have ended up working for such a patronising, sexist boss is beyond me.”
“Look at it as a learning experience for you. If he were really nice you wouldn’t learn anything. You can recapitulate your energy and see him for what he really is. All the while you view him this way you’re giving him your energy. Just remember to pull it back at the end of the day. It’s your energy, why give it to him?” Joe suggested.
“Maybe you’re right, but I can’t help thinking this is some kind of karmic punishment, I must have done something incredibly bad in my last life to deserve this. I really don’t feel like going back this afternoon. I wish I could go off sick but I doubt if that would help the situation. My boss was in such a foul mood this morning, how can I face him when there are so many more important things going on in the world? He’s pretty insignificant in the great scheme of things isn’t he?”
“Yes, but I doubt if he sees it that way. Perhaps on a deep level he realises that you’re not particularly impressed by him and that’s why he behaves the way he does. Maybe you’ve dented his ego.”
Connie nodded, not really taking on board what Joe was saying, her mind was elsewhere. She played with the glass on the table, swivelling it round in a pool of water that had formed beneath it. She looked up, aware that Joe was watching her. She smiled at him, “What’s news with you?” asked Connie, aware that she had dominated most of the conversation during their lunch.
“Well, I have some really great news. You remember the bodyguard course I was telling you about? I’ve been accepted on it and start next Sunday.”
“That’s great, bit different from what you’ve been doing though,” replied Connie, pleased for her friend, but slightly mystified at the direction he was heading.
Joe had worked on a trading floor for several years but lost his job a year ago when several cut backs were being made. It was as though he had lost his magic touch for making money, and he had to go. In many ways it was a relief for him having led such a stressful life, but adjusting to not having to go into work each day left him feeling empty and useless. Although he had received a good pay off and didn’t have to worry financially for a couple of years, he decided he had to at least go out to work each day. He got himself a job waiting tables in a newly opened bistro, quite close to where he lived. The total change in job gave him some breathing space to decide exactly what he wanted to do.
“I know it’s going to be a bit of culture shock after waiting tables for the past year, but I wanted to do something exciting without a fixed routine. After all, if I don’t like the course or feel it’s not for me, I don’t have to get a job at the end of it. I can always continue waiting tables. If I don’t try I’ll never know, and I’ll always wonder what might have happened. Meanwhile, I’ve got a couple of books I have to read before the course so I’m up to my eyes in studying.”
Connie glanced down at her watch; her lunch hour had raced by. “I’d better go now; I don’t want to be late.”
“Keep your chin up; give me a call if anything else strange happens to you.”
Connie reluctantly returned to the office. Her boss was sitting at his desk, scowling as usual. Obviously the presentation didn’t go too well, she thought. She found herself looking at her watch all afternoon, willing the time to pass so she could get home and see the news to find out what was happening with the hijacking.
Five o’clock finally arrived and she rushed out of the office, not bothering to say goodbye to her colleagues. She didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to call her back and give her more work. When she arrived home she had missed the news on terrestrial television so she channel-hopped onto cable until she found a live broadcast from the runway where the hijacked plane was situated. It appeared that the hijackers were demanding the release of several political prisoners. Negotiations were in hand to release the hostages, but so far there had been no developments.
Connie sprawled out on her sofa as her mind went over her conversation with Joe earlier that day. She started thinking about the workshop once again where she had first met him and what Chris had taught her about the different dreaming dimensions. According to Chris, it was necessary to clearly fix one’s intent to enter a lucid dream. Without intent, it was difficult to succeed. But Connie had no recollection of having fixed her intent to enter the hijacking dream the previous night. As she went off to sleep the previous night, she had been more concerned with getting some rest so she could get through the week at work.
On the workshop Chris had explained to the group about the fine line that divides the dreaming world from ordinary reality and that it is possible to have a foot in both worlds at the same time. According to him it was necessary to focus one’s attention on that fine line in order to step into a lucid dream state. He also outlined the different dreaming worlds that it is possible to enter and that whilst some people have extremely lucid dreams it is possible to enter equally powerful worlds in a not so lucid state. But the type of dream Connie had entered for the hijacking wasn’t among the dreams Chris outlined. What was this dreaming dimension she had found, she wondered? The thought crossed her mind that perhaps Chris had never found it. Joe certainly hadn’t despite him spending years attending workshops and courses to improve his dreaming ability.
In many ways she felt scared about trying to re-enter the dream, but also realised the importance of facing up to her fear. Part of her felt it would be an exciting phenomenon if she was able to re-enter the same dream as it was happening simultaneously in ordinary reality. After some thought her curiosity got the better of her and she decided she would attempt to re-enter the dream.
Almost as soon as she settled down in bed and closed her eyes she could feel herself being pulled back to the ‘plane. It seemed so real to her, as though she had never been away that she felt she needed to make sure she was only dreaming and that she hadn’t mistaken this reality. She placed her hand on top of one of the seats and felt the fabric with her fingers. It felt real enough to her, perhaps too real. If this were a dream she knew she would be able to move about without walking as such. She fixed her intent and in a second was hovering above the ground, almost gliding along. She felt relieved that she had been able to confirm that this was only a dream. The thought had occurred to her that perhaps the day at work and meeting with Joe had been the dream and she was in fact still trapped on the ‘plane, but having confirmed that this wasn’t the case she felt happy. She stood in the centre aisle and looked around the cabin. A large part of the hole in the side of the ‘plane had been filled with broken chairs and hand luggage piled high in an attempt to obscure vision from the outside. The lights in the cabin were on, albeit slightly dimmed due to being connected to a generator. She shivered and felt quite chilled by the night air. She noticed the passengers covered in blankets and anything else warm that they could find as it was exceptionally cold that evening. She decided to walk through the ‘plane and assess the situation, making a mental note of the terrorists and passengers. The captain and crew were all sitting at the front of the ‘plane; one of the terrorists was sitting alongside.
As she travelled along the aisle she was aware of a man looking at one of the passengers. She had not seen him before and in many ways he stood out from all the other people there. He was a man in his fifties, his hair was quite dark but slightly thinning on top and on his left temple was a birthmark. He had a look of concern on his face as he scrutinised a woman who sat before him. She looked extremely frail. Connie recognised the woman as being the wife of the man who had had the heart attack. She felt sad to think that this poor woman was still stuck on the ‘plane when she should have been at home, surrounded by friends and family and being allowed to grieve for her husband. Connie stood completely still as the man looked right at her and a slight smile filled his face, which totally unnerved Connie. She stared back at him, wondering who he was, and knowing that he could definitely see her, even if no one else could. His smile caused a jolt of panic through her body and in a split second she found herself lying once again in her bed.
She glanced over at the clock on her bedside table, its red numbers illuminating the room. It was only two o’clock. She still had time to return to the dream if she wanted to, but she felt too scared to do that. The terrorists didn’t particularly bother her, but the man in the aisle did, for some reason. She moved her hand along the wall behind her bed, searching for the light switch. Having found it, the brightness of the light as she switched it on made her squint until her eyes had adjusted. She decided to record her dream and description of the man before she forgot it, although she found it hard to believe that she could forget his face in a hurry. She knew she wouldn’t get to sleep again and decided to make herself a drink. She shivered as she pushed her duvet to one side and stepped on the carpet. The temperature had dropped that night, although it was only September, there was a definite hint in the air that autumn was fast approaching.
Having heated up some milk and made a mug of hot chocolate she headed back to bed. She pondered the dream once again. If she had gained access to this particular dimension of being able to view something happening in ordinary reality, should she report it to the police or army? Perhaps she had information that might help secure the release of the passengers, she wondered. In many ways she didn’t want to believe this new talent to be true, the thought of it scared her and she decided to put it down as a coincidence. There was the chance that the report of the hijacking had stuck in her mind and that was why she had dreamt the same dream, although on a deeper level she knew this not to be the case.
She drifted in and out of sleep for the next few hours until being woken abruptly by her radio alarm once again. She dragged herself out of bed feeling exhausted, her head feeling as though it was full of cotton wool. The last thing she wanted to do was go to work, but she felt she couldn’t justify ‘phoning in sick.
The journey to work took a lot of effort and she felt relieved to finally sit down at her desk. Fortunately for her it wasn’t going to be a particularly busy day as her boss was to be ensconced in meetings for most of the time so she would at least be able to take things at her pace.
As soon as she could she phoned Joe and relayed her dream to him.
“That’s amazing. How do you feel about it?” he eagerly asked.
“I feel lousy. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through the day. Do you think there’s any possibility that this dream is purely a coincidence?”
“Maybe,” he replied, “but maybe not! I’m convinced you’ve stepped into the mind of a terrorist.”
“Thanks for that reassurance, that’s just what I needed, to think like a terrorist,” she replied sarcastically. She noticed her boss heading in her direction and didn’t want him to find her on the ‘phone. “I’ve got to go; I’ll speak to you if there are any developments.”
“Feel free to ‘phone me any time”
“I wanted to ‘phone you at two o’clock today, but I was afraid to wake you.”
“Don’t worry about it, just call if you need to.”
She hung up and tried to look busy shuffling some paperwork across her desk when her boss arrived.
Somehow she managed to get through the day although a lot of it was a blur for her. She decided not to check the news when she got home, she desperately wanted to avoid hearing or reading anything about the hijacking so there was no way it could stick in her mind when she went to sleep. She managed to sleep quite well that night and believed that she had the situation under control.
However, the rest of the week didn’t go according to plan. After dinner on the Friday night she decided she needed an early night, she felt totally exhausted after everything that had gone on that week. She attempted not to think of anything in particular as she drifted off to sleep. It wasn’t long, however, before she could feel herself heading back to the ‘plane. As she stood in the aisle once again she shouted out loud, “I don’t want to be here.” The stranger she had seen the last time she was there was further down the aisle and he turned to look at her. He smiled at her, “Then why are you here?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, “why are you here?”
“In all honesty, I don’t know either. One minute I was sleeping, the next I was standing on this ‘plane. You know that this is the ‘plane that has been hijacked in ordinary reality don’t you?”
“Of course I do. Were you on it when it was hijacked? I was, it was terrible,” she heard herself bragging.
The stranger shook his head.
“Where do you live, in ordinary reality that is?” asked Connie, feeling slightly curious and plucking up the courage to strike up a conversation with him. Her annoyance of finding herself on the ‘plane again far outweighed her fear of the stranger.
“Russia. Moscow, in fact. How about you?”
“Oh, so in actual fact you’re home right now?”
“I suppose so, in a warped kind of way. How do you think we entered this dream, the same dream?”
“I’m not too sure. It is possible to dream the same dream, but I’ve not done it before when it’s happening simultaneously in ordinary reality.”
“Me neither.”
Shouting on the ‘plane interrupted their conversation. One of the terrorists started to drag a passenger out of their seat and made him kneel at the front of the plane. The terrorist leader shouted at the man, who was in his forties and clearly trembling as the muzzle of the gun was placed at the back of his head.
“You work for the CIA, don’t you?” shouted the terrorist to him.
“No,” came a stifled reply.
“We know you work for them or the military. Confess and we will spare your life, otherwise you will be executed.”
“Honestly, I don’t work for them. I’m just a businessman returning from a business meeting,” he whispered, almost unintelligibly. It was clear he was terrified.
Connie felt scared for him. Other passengers on the ‘plane had a look of panic across their faces. It was then that she noticed the smell on the ‘plane had changed too while she had been away. Everyone and everything smelt of alcohol. She wondered if the terrorists had doused everyone in it so that fire would spread easily if the ‘plane were stormed, thereby reducing their chances of survival. She shuddered at the thought of it and redirected her attention back to the man on the ground. The terrorists were still shouting at him, although it was clear that they weren’t getting anywhere with him, in fact they weren’t getting anywhere with any of the negotiations. The ‘plane had been on the ground since early Monday morning and no prisoners had yet been released by the British government, nor were they likely to be.
The terrorist leader looked at the man who had his gun pointed at the head of the businessman. He made a crude signal to him and in a split second the man’s life was taken away. Screaming rang out as blood and brains splattered across the cabin, covering some of the people. Connie put her hand up to her mouth to stifle a scream; her eyes wide open in terror and disbelief. She was overcome with nausea and it was all she could do to stop herself from being physically sick. She looked at the stranger standing next to her but despite feeling uncomfortable near him for some reason, she was glad a fellow Dreamer was there.
“I’ve got to get out of this dream now,” she cried to him, “I can’t stay here anymore, I’d rather not know what was going on.”
The radio on the plane interrupted her thoughts and the conversation with the stranger. It was the negotiator trying to find out what had happened, why a gunshot had been heard.
“We warned you that if you didn’t release the twelve prisoners by one a.m. we would start executing the hostages. You have one hour to release them and let me speak to them otherwise we will execute another passenger,” shouted the terrorist leader down the radio handset.
The terrorist didn’t wait for any reply from the negotiator. He had had enough of waiting; it was obvious to him that some form of sign was needed to convince the British government that they were serious and quite prepared to kill everyone on board.
There was a distinct change in atmosphere on the ‘plane, from the relative calm that Connie had found earlier in the week, to an underlying sense of panic.
The minutes ticked by one by one, and then some of the terrorists started getting nervous. Movement had been detected outside the ‘plane and they wondered if the SAS were about to storm it. They had in fact been in position since the ‘plane arrived, just waiting to see if their services were needed and it was clear that they now were. A diversionary explosion and fire just outside one of the windows caused the terrorists to rush to that area, positioning them ready for an attack. As they were facing that direction a loud bang and flash of light exploded behind them as the opposite door was blown off and several black clad and heavily armed men made their way through the cabin. Gunshots rang out as each of the terrorists was targeted. Everything happened so quickly it was difficult for Connie to take it all in. In what seemed like just a few minutes the passengers were being moved quickly out of the ‘plane as small fires started to break out.
Connie turned to speak to the stranger as she had almost forgotten him in all the excitement, but when she turned around he had gone; there was no trace of him whatsoever. She sensed it was time for her to leave too and made a hasty retreat back to her physical body.
Connie eagerly switched on the radio when she awoke to hear that the hijacking was over. All the hijackers had been killed and the hostages released. One man had been shot dead by the hijackers and this had prompted the SAS to storm the ‘plane. It was all over. The news about the man being killed brought back the feeling of nausea she had felt when she was on the plane. She rushed out of her bed; afraid she might throw up, and headed for the bathroom where she quickly took some medication to settle her stomach. She made her way back to bed, she was tired and in need of a rest, although sleep did not come to her. Instead she lay still, quietly going over the events of the previous week. The sight of the stranger on the ‘plane stood out. His appearance added mystery to what was already a strange dream, but he was clearly another Dreamer. She wondered who he was and why he had vanished in the blink of an eye, why he hadn’t stuck around to see the ending.
She decided to call on Joe to discuss the hijacking and found him having a busy Saturday at home catching up with some household chores.
“I hope I’m not interrupting you,” Connie said
“Not at all, I love any excuse to get out of doing housework,” said Joe, drying the soapsuds from his hands. “Come in and make yourself at home. Are you feeling OK, you look a bit pale?”
“I’ll be all right, nothing that a cup of tea won’t sort out.”
Connie walked into the lounge and climbed over the vacuum cleaner that was in the centre of the room, trying not to trip over its cables.
“I see the hijacking is over,” Joe shouted from the kitchen.
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” replied Connie as she settled down in the armchair.
“And I thought you just wanted to see me,” said Joe, laughing.
“I found myself going back onto the ‘plane last night, in a way it was exciting,” Connie continued.
“I thought you might somehow, what happened?” he asked as he handed Connie a cup of tea.
“I was actually onboard when the rescue was made. One minute the terrorists were panicking and shouting at each other, the next minute the SAS were blasting their way on board. I felt as though I was watching it on TV, it was extremely real but at the same time I felt slightly removed from it, at least from the danger.”
“Who needs to go to the cinema when they can tap into real life drama?” Joe laughed. “Were you frightened at all?”
“Not for me, I still felt it was someone else’s dream and that I was safe. Although there were moments when I had to remind myself of that. The worst thing was when they executed one of the passengers. It was awful Joe; I keep reliving the moment in my mind. The vision of blood flying through the air, I felt physically sick in the dream. This morning I had to take some medicine to stop me from throwing up. I still feel pretty rough at the memory of it. Watching him pleading for his life I felt overwhelmed by fear for him, I really can’t describe it.” She took a sip of tea from her mug, and wiped away a tear that was forming in the corner of her eye as she remembered the details. Joe got up and walked across the room to her and put his hand on her shoulder to reassure her.
“I’ll be OK Joe, I’m just a bit shaken by this whole thing,” she breathed deeply, trying to compose herself. “Oh, there was something else, I met the stranger again. We talked for a while, apparently he’s Russian.”
“What’s his name?” asked Joe, perched on the arm of Connie’s chair.
“We didn’t bother introducing ourselves to each other. But it would seem that he didn’t know why or how he had managed to step into the dream either. One minute he was there beside me the next minute he had vanished.”
“Perhaps he was scared and decided to do a runner.”
“Maybe, but he gave me the creeps though. I don’t know what it was about him, but there was something I didn’t like. I wondered if perhaps he was telling the truth and in actual fact he did know how he had accessed the dream, I just had a feeling that he was a lot further advanced than he gave himself credit for, as though he was lying about something.”
“Perhaps if you ever meet him again you can ask him some more questions. It would be fascinating to find out what he made of the dream, don’t you think?” asked Joe.
“Yes, but I doubt if I’ll ever see him again. If I do, I’ll be sure to ask,” said Connie in a matter of fact way.
“How’s work, any improvement?” asked Joe.
“Don’t spoil my day please,” pleaded Connie, “it’s as awful as ever. What did I do to deserve this? I seem to go from one bad situation to another, always repeating the same mistakes.”
“Remember that all the time you view your boss this way all you’re doing is giving him your energy, your power. That’s something that you clearly need right now to go off dreaming. Try to pull some of it back and it’ll reduce him to the idiot that he really is,” advised Joe.
“I try to, I even keep a mirror on my desk and point it in his direction to deflect his negative energy from me so that I’m not always in the firing line,” said Connie.
Joe laughed at Connie’s technique.
“Well, perhaps you should wrap your entire desk in silver foil. Come to think of it, why not wrap yourself in it too. That should certainly do the trick, there’s no way his bad vibes will get through that,” he suggested.
Connie laughed at his suggestion, tears starting to fall down her cheeks, “What a great idea! On that note, I’m going to love you and leave you.”
“You mean I’ve got to get on with the housework?” asked Joe.
“Exactly. Good luck with the course. Give me a call as soon as you get back, I can’t wait to find out how you get on. Try not to shoot yourself in the foot!” said Connie as she made her way out of Joe’s flat to her car.
“OK, I’ll try not to,” Joe smiled, “If there’s an emergency leave a message on my voice mail. I don’t know if I’ll be able to respond immediately as we might be incommunicado for some of the time, but I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”
“It all sounds very exciting.”
“Almost as exciting as your dreaming,” laughed Joe, “some of us have to make our own excitement, not like you of course, where excitement manages to find you.”
Joe watched as Connie got into her car and drove away. He headed back into the house to finish the housework and get his case packed ready for the course.

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