I touched the combination lock. I concentrated so hard I felt like I was dead-lifting five hundred pounds. My pulse quickened. A line of sweat trickled down my nose. Finally I felt gears turning. Metal groaned, tumblers clicked, and the bolts popped back. Carefully avoiding the handle, I pried open the door with my fingertips and extracted an unbroken vial of green liquid.
Thalia kissed me on the cheek, which she probably shouldn’t have done while I was holding a tube of deadly poison.
“You are so good,” she said.
Did that make the risk worth it? Yeah, pretty much.
Big Boss: You ejected the first bullet by hand, didn’t you? I see what you were trying to do, but testing a technique you’ve only heard about in the middle of battle wasn’t very smart. You were asking to have your gun jam on you. Besides, I don’t think you’re cut out for an automatic in the first place; you tend to twist your elbow a little to absorb the recoil. That’s more of a revolver technique.
One of the most famous and well documented modern day
hauntings was that of the restless spirits of Flight 401. Flight 401 was an
Eastern Air Lines flight that was regularly scheduled to fly from the JFK Airport
in Queens, New York, to Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida. However,
on December 29th, 1972, Flight 401 would go from being a routine
daily flight to one of tragedy.
On this day, the
flight was operated using a four-month old L-1011 jumbo jet. The flights pilot
was Captain “Bob” Loft, the First Officer was Albert Stockstill, and the Second
Officer was “Don” Repo. There were 176 passengers on board. When the flight
began nearing its destination, Captain Loft and his crew were carrying out
routine landing procedures when Stockstill noticed that the landing gear
light, which told the crew that the nose
gear was properly locked in the down position, did not light up. After failing
to get the light to illuminate, Loft had the airport give the plane permission
to enter a holding pattern instead of landing right away. While in the holding
pattern, the crew began measures to confirm that the landing gear was indeed
down, and the jet was put on autopilot. At first everything was fine as the
plane reached its assigned altitude of 2,000 feet. However, in the next two
minutes the plane dropped 100ft, flew level for two minutes, and then began to
descend at a pace so gradual that it could not be perceived by the crew. Within
the next minute the plane lost another 250ft, and a few minutes after that
reached only half of what the assigned altitude was supposed to be. At this
point the Captain and crew noticed that something was going wrong with the
altitude. However, it was too late. Ten seconds after this realization the
plane crashed into the Everglades. The Captain and his officers died, along
with 10 flight attendants and 97 of the passengers.
Months later, sections of Flight 401 were recycled to be
used on other aircrafts. Soon after the parts were effectively disseminated
among the fleet, paranormal reports began to surface. Many senior airline
personnel on the planes that contained salvaged parts from Flight 401 began
seeing the deceased captain and his officers. Crew members, flight attendants,
and passengers would often see the silent figure of a “drawn and ill-looking
man” wearing an Eastern Airlines uniform. When approached the man would disappear.
This mysterious entity was identified by several of those who had witnessed his
presence to be non-other than the captain, Bob Loft.
Although Captain Bob Loft would often be unresponsive, there
were several incidents where people had full on conversations with the
apparition. One of these incidents occurred to one of the vice presidents of
the airline who was about to embark on flight to Miami from the JFK airport.
While in the airport, the vice president saw a man in uniform standing near the
terminal entrance. Assuming that this man was the captain of the flight, the VP
began to speak to the him. However, mid conversation he realized that the man
he was speaking to was in fact the deceased Bob Loft. As soon as he had this
realization, the mysterious spirit vanished. Another incident involved two
flight attendants and a flight captain. They were having a conversation with
Bob Loft in the plane’s cockpit when he suddenly vanished. The captain and
flight attendants were so shaken up after the encounter that the flight had to
be canceled before take-off.
Captain Bob Loft was not the only crew member of that fatal
flight to continue hanging around after death. Don Repo was also seen on
numerous occasions. Unlike Bob Loft, Repo was a helpful spirit who seemed to be
looking out for Eastern Airline flights safety. One time, a flight engineer was
carrying out a normal pre-flight inspection when he felt another presence
looming over him. When the engineer turned to see who had joined him, he was
shocked to see that it was Don Repo. Repo reportedly told him “You don’t need
to worry about the pre-flight; I’ve already done it.” He then walked away and
disappeared. At another time, a flight attendant noticed that a flight engineer
was repairing a galley oven. Later on the flight attendant went to thank his
colleague for doing the repair only to find out that the colleague had in fact
not done the repair, and that the repair was still scheduled to be completed.
Interestingly, it was later discovered that the galley oven had been salvaged
from Flight 401.
As reports continued to occur, airline authorities refused
to acknowledge the possibility of ghosts from Flight 401. Instead they
recommended that anyone who had a “paranormal” experience seek some of the free
psychiatric services being offered by the airline. Although the authorities adamantly
refused to discuss anything ghost related, Eastern Airlines began to quietly
remove all of the salvaged parts of Flight 401 from their fleet. Ever since the
parts were removed all sightings have ceased.