Flight into Darkness (Flight Trilogy, Book 2)

Flight into Darkness (Flight Trilogy, Book 2) by Mike Coe

Book: Flight into Darkness (Flight Trilogy, Book 2) by Mike Coe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mike Coe
Tags: Fiction
industry into a nosedive, taking with it any hope of a better quality of life for all airline employees.
    The bright, kitchen lights, smell of fresh bread, and the clatter of dishes helped bring him out of his half-dazed state. A glimpse at the black of night beyond the sliding glass window leading onto the patio was a sobering reminder of what lay ahead.
    “Hi, Honey.” Keri said, greeting him with a kiss. “Were you able to sleep?”
    “Remind me to kill the neighbor’s dog,” he growled. “I’m sure I’d be doing them a favor.”
    Keri’s face scrunched with empathy. “I’m sorry.”
    “While I’m over there, I’ll be sure to put a knife in their kid’s basketball.”
    Keri placed a plate in front of him with baked chicken, rice, and broccoli. “What would you like to drink?”
    “Water’s fine.”
    As ice cubes clunked into the glass from the dispenser, she said, “So, is it New York, Boston, or Miami tonight?”
    “New York,” he grunted.
    Regardless of the destination, it was all the same. Drive to the airport, complete a routine preflight, takeoff into the darkness, climb to cruise altitude, stare into the black of night for five to six hours while fighting the urge to sleep. Then approximately thirty minutes from landing, tank up on enough bad coffee to last through the descent and landing, make the bag drag from the arrival gate through the terminal to the crew van to the hotel, find the room, pull the curtains, crawl into bed and hope for a few hours of rest. His two greatest enemies were the noise of departing guests in adjacent rooms and the dreaded, mistaken knock on the door: “Housekeeping!” It was a constant battle with circadian rhythm, chronic fatigue, and living in an upside-down world.
    Keri set his water glass on the table and took a seat. “Thanks,” he said.
    After the debacle with her father’s inheritance, Keri returned to work. However, not willing to sacrifice her time with her young son, she waited until David had entered the first grade. In the shadow of 9/11, the idea of continuing as a flight attendant was unsettling, plus being on the road and away from David was not acceptable. She decided to return to school for a nursing degree.
    Between the time David started first grade and the birth of their daughter, Martha, Keri completed a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing and had worked two years as a nurse at a local emergency clinic located only a few minutes from their house. With qualified nurses being in short supply, she had been fortunate to find the perfect job with the perfect hours. Her added financial contribution helped to pare Ryan’s 30 percent pay cut at the airline.
    Financial catastrophe bred a new form of corporate greed. Airline managers began to look on the tragic events of 9/11 as a trump card in a bigger scheme aimed at breaking the backs of labor unions—a form of unorganized conspiracy.
    With the help of inflation, a flying public conditioned by lowered air fares and less frills, a younger workforce willing to accept lower wages in exchange for the promise of job security, skyrocketing fuel costs, and the use of bankruptcies to shed expensive pension obligations, corporate executives worked frantically to spin the negative events so as to forever blur the actual value attached to the professional responsibilities of being an airline pilot.
    Ryan and Keri were blessed by what most would call a good marriage in a day when most marriages are little more than a mini vacation down the highway of lust, littered with offspring created from the 8 - 12 % possibility of failure as read on the warning label of most condom packages.
    “Hi, Dad,” David said and signed, walking into the kitchen and slipping into his chair at the table. His guttural voice sounded strained.
    “Hey, Buddy,” Ryan said and signed. “Where’s your sister?”
    A moment later, small arms squeezed his waist. “How’s my sweetheart?”
    “Fine.” Martha

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