- 4 -
When the plane started to take off, I thought I might throw up. My fingers squeezed the arms of the seat so tightly that I’d break them if I wasn’t careful. I’d never been on a plane before, and it scared the hell out me.
This amused Ezra endlessly. He chuckled warmly at my stricken expression as the engines came on, making all sorts of whirring and clicking noises that sounded like death to me. I looked out the window at the dark night around us and imagined the plane crashing into the runway and bursting into flames.
“First time flier?” A woman across the aisle looked over at us.
“She’ll be fine,” Ezra cut her off shortly, and I was too busy being terrified to comment on his rudeness. When he looked back at me, he smiled.
“You could say something comforting,” I suggested in a thin, anxious voice.
“Why? This is distracting you from thinking about other things going on around you,” Ezra said. “It’s less than a three hour flight to New York, and I’d like to wait for you to eat until the next flight.”
By “other things” he meant the other passengers, who flooded the red-eye with the scent of their blood, and the plane wasn’t even that full. I’d had just eaten yesterday, which meant I wouldn’t need to eat for another five or six days, but I wasn’t great at controlling my hunger.
“Mmm, sounds great,” I muttered. Unfortunately, he had a point. My current level of fear made it almost impossible to notice my thirst.
“Really, you should be enjoying this,” he said with a wry smile. “There’s only a small window left where you’ll be able to feel fear like this.”
“Oh, yeah, this is totally awesome.”
“Let me give you a little tip.” He leaned in towards me, lowering his voice so it would be inaudible to anyone around us. “Even if the plane does crash, you’ll survive. You’re immortal now.”
It hadn’t dawned on me yet. I was a vampire, and I wasn’t going to die in a plane crash.
My fingers relaxed on the arm rest. Still, whenever we hit turbulence, I’d grip onto Ezra for dear life, but he’d just chuckle.
I tried to enjoy the rest of the flight, but it was dark, and even with my improved vision, there wasn’t much to see out the window. Ezra brought some books on tracking, and he went through them, even though I’m sure he’d read them before. He’d probably read everything ever written.
“Where are we going anyway?” I asked him quietly. Most other passengers were sleeping, and I didn’t want to wake them.
“New York City,” Ezra replied without looking up from his book. “And then to Finland.”
“Finland?” I raised my eyebrow, completely caught off guard by his answer. “Peter’s in Finland?”
“I believe so.” He flipped a page. “Scandinavia has always been his favorite place to hide out, especially in winter. There’s hardly daylight for months, and the temperatures are usually below freezing.”
“So we’re just going there because that’s where he usually goes?” I still couldn’t wrap my mind around Peter hanging out in Finland. That just didn’t sound… exotic enough?
“No. Peter’s had a run-in in Finland. I don’t know exactly where he is, but I’m certain he’s there,” Ezra said.
“A ‘run-in?’ What happened?”
“I’m not entirely sure,” he said at length. “And I’d rather not speculate.”
“You’d rather not speculate?” I repeated. “I’m on a plane flying half-way across the world, and not only do you not know where we’re going, but you’d rather not even speculate on why we’re going?”
“Finland is not half-way around the world,” Ezra corrected me.
“Whatever.” I sunk down in my seat and crossed my arms over my chest. “I can’t speak Finnish.”
“You don’t need to. I can.” He flipped another page in his book, and I sighed.
“You’re gonna be a hoot to travel with if you’re like this whole time,” I muttered, and he laughed to himself.
I borrowed a book from Ezra so I had something to do with the rest the flight. After a couple hours of reading about native Finnish wildlife, I vowed to get as many magazines and books as I could when we landed at JFK. That was my plan until we actually started de-boarding the plane, and Ezra grasped my hand in his.
“There’s a layover here,” Ezra told me quietly as we walked. “You can’t eat until we get on the next plane, because you’re a mess when you eat. I need you to stay by me and never let go of my hand, no matter what. Is that clear?”
“Yeah but….” I was about to ask him why, but then we were stepping beyond the plane, and the smell hit me for the first time.
There hadn’t been that many people in the Minneapolis airport. In fact, I would go so far as to say there weren’t even that many people in Minneapolis. JFK terminal is a city unto itself, full of hot, sweaty people pressed up against each other.
Suddenly, my thirst appeared with a vengeance.
Waiting in the airport was torture. Most of the time, I had to grip Ezra’s hand so tightly, I don’t know how I didn’t break a bone or something. I sat rigidly, my eyes locked on my shoes in front of me.
Ezra sat next to me, a leg crossed over his knee, with a magazine open on his lap and telling me all about Martha Stewart’s recommendations for making Halloween treats. He was trying to keep me calm and focused, but hearing about making Rice Krispies treats orange made me want to vomit.
Going through security was very hard, but Ezra told me to keep saying the alphabet backwards in my head. It didn’t really soften the burning thirst inside of me, and I kept my eyes locked on the throbbing pulse in the security guard’s neck, but I didn’t bite him. So I counted that as a success.
Ezra gave me the window seat and belted me in, which made both of us feel better. I closed my eyes and tried not to think of Jack. He lurked painfully in my thoughts and only made my bloodlust increase. The whole situation felt very precarious, and I started to think that I wasn’t ready for this trip.
When the engines of the plane revved, Ezra leaned over and whispered, “If the plane crashes, it’ll be in the ocean. The ocean’s full of sharks, and they can kill us. You actually have something to be afraid of this time.”
“Is that supposed to comfort me?” I asked through gritted teeth.