“You survived a plane crash?”

I heard the therapist say it, but it barely registered in the back of my mind. What was his name again? I couldn’t remember. His face was long, with big eyes. He reminded me of a mantis.


“What?” My mind had drifted again. He was always upset about that, how I could never stay focused on what he was saying. Other thoughts just sucked at the ocean of my mind like a whirlpool.

“You were saying… about that plane crash?” The therapist prompted.

“I don’t like to think about it much,” I said evasively. “I don’t remember much either. Just the cold.”

“The cold?”

I nodded. After a moment:

“Evelyn, how long ago was this?”

“Oh, I’m not sure. Maybe a couple of months?”

He scribbled something in his notebook. You would expect a laptop, or that yellow legal paper, but his notebook was customized. There were pictures of cats all over the cover. Sometimes, when our sessions were especially boring (which was often), I liked to stare at them and pretend they were batting balls of yarn.

“I’m sorry, I just need to step out for a minute. Sit tight until I get back, okay?” He told me, flashing what was supposed to be a reassuring smile. He closed the door behind him, leaving me alone with the clock that ticked loudly. It almost seemed purposeful, as if it was supposed to fill the silence of the space. I didn’t realize until now how dark the room was. Shy gray light trickled in through the half closed blinds. A few drops of water fell from the roof to accompany the slight drizzle outside. I was glad I had worn a jacket today. I didn’t like to be wet.

“I’m sorry about that. Are you ready to keep going?” The therapist had returned and sat in front of me. I hadn’t seen him even come in.

“Sure.” I replied. He didn’t like it when I stayed silent. He always acted very calm, but I could see the annoyed twitch in his brow whenever I didn’t respond.

“Where were you going?” he asked.


“When your plane crashed.”

“Oh, yeah, right,” I said. He liked it when he was right. “It was a business trip. Somewhere on the west coast. California, I think?”

“How was the ride?”

“Everyone was very loud. Planes are overwhelming. No one likes to fly, I suppose.”

“That’s understandable. Was there any turbulence?”

“Not until the end.”

“Were you scared?”

“I don’t remember.”

I didn’t feel anything, not until a sharp scream pierced the air. I felt it stab my heart, clogging my throat, pounding in my head. I had never heard something so primal before. It resounded through my body and echoed in my ears.

“You mentioned that it was cold where you landed?”


When it’s warm, you always forget how the snow bites your skin and the wind steals your heat and every nerve in your body is lit on fire. Which is very ironic, considering that cold is the opposite of fire. Funny how your body confuses two completely opposite things.

“And what happened after?”

“I’m not sure. I found that town, somehow.” That wasn’t true. Sometimes I lied to him. It was for the better. Psychologists had a way of getting you in trouble for things you said.

The plane was flying smoothly, until it wasn’t. The metal beneath my feet shook and screamed.

I like the way that adrenaline feels. It warms your body, protects you from pain, shields you from the things you’re not strong enough to handle. I was completely unaware of the metal shrapnel in my side until after I dug myself out of the deep snow. In some ways, I was lucky the side of the plane had collapsed and sucked me out moments before impact. I wouldn’t have survived otherwise. Nobody in the front of the plane did. The first couple of rows had been crushed like a tin can. I didn’t even want to think about what had happened to the cockpit.

There were only a dozen of us that survived the crash. There may have been more, but no one volunteered to look. For a couple of days we just huddled in the cargo hold, holding onto each other. Someone even dug the piece of metal out of my side and showed me how to clean the wound. I can’t recall their face, not sure if I even got to thank them. Last time I saw them, they were face-down in the snow.

The supplies ran out faster than our patience. Desperation turns even the most civilized men into animals. I have never been a person of strict personal morals, so I really had no qualms about doing whatever I needed to in order to survive.

Greek mythology had always been a personal interest of mine. There was something so captivating about how these fantastical stories had been believed as truth by so many people. I especially liked the story of Achilles. No matter how invincible they seem, everyone has a weakness.

The Achilles tendon was a lot stronger than I realized. It took a few good jabs before I felt it snap. The leg trembled, collapsing under its own weight with its main support being torn away. Hot red blood was the first thing that had warmed my skin for what felt like an eternity. It sprayed over the snow in an eager stream, dark spots that stained the pure white snow with what I had done.

I didn’t feel bad. It was an act of self defense. He got what was coming to him.

“What do you remember?”

“Nothing. Not until the hospital.”

“Okay,” he said, finally satisfied with his questioning. He flashed another smile and pushed his wire glasses up the bridge of his nose. I wasn’t sure why he bothered. His nose had a crook in it where the glasses would settle after he readjusted them.

“Do you need someone to escort you back to your room?”

“I’ll manage.” I told him, clutching the leather arm of the chair with my hand. As I reached the door, he called to me. I glanced at the sharp fountain pen in his hand, trying not to let my annoyance become apparent. Showing emotion is perceived as rude.

“I think our sessions have been going well, Evelyn. I’m going to recommend you for release.”

I nodded my thanks with a sigh, moving swiftly out the door. Even though everything I had done was justified, I still held it close to my chest. Besides, once you get that first taste for blood, it never really goes away.