This is a series story, Professor Jack Jenkins Part Three. (if you missed part one, tap here) (Or part two, tap here.) Mike meets with his best friend Andre, an airline pilot, and tells him he has accepted a new appointment in Johannesburg; Andre thinks he is crazy to do this. Mike feels strange about something tragic happening to Andre when they part ways. His thoughts are ignited by a nightmare, and he becomes anxious. He has a chat with Prof about his fears, and some exciting events arise from the discussion. The follow-up of this story will be published in three weeks; I have decided to publish a regular series of stories for those who visit my site. Why don’t you join us? Below this page, you will find a button, ‘Subscribe’ Click on the button, and you will be notified of the next release. At any time, if you no longer wish to be notified, you may unsubscribe. Enjoy.
Professor Jack Jenkins
Circa 1964 -2012
Chapter Three – The Horror
“It’s just that I am tired of selling trucks. You don’t need a Mech E degree to sell trucks! I must take up the offer.” “But Johannesburg, it’s a mini–New York man!” Andre showed his disapproval of Mike’s proposed move south of the border. “You have just moved into your new house; how does Joycelyn feel? “She hasn’t spoken to me for two days.” “Can’t say I blame her; I wouldn’t want to tell Mary that kind of news; she’d kill me.” “Look, Andre, you are a career man, First Officer in the airlines; you’ll make Captain in a couple of years, and I’ve got a wager that says you’ll join me down South.” “No way, mate, I joined the airlines for the long haul.”
They said their good bye’s and went their separate ways.
Mike left the club apprehensive about Andre as if something terrible would happen to him. (Was he becoming like Nanna?) This feeling was on his mind for a few days, and one night he woke up drenched in sweat. He’d dreamed Andre’s plane was on fire and saw him struggling with the controls, and suddenly he was awake. “I will never forget the terror written on Andre’s face as he fought to save his plane.” Mike opened up to Joycelyn when she had asked him about the nightmare.
She was happy and at ease now; as she had recovered from the shock of having to move from a home she had decorated with love and care. Their very first home – and living in it only one month, she was furious. Mike had accepted an offer of a partnership in a trucking company with a large vehicle fleet. The company paid their relocation costs and loaned him money for a deposit on a house, which they chose overlooking the third green on a golf estate next to a private school. They had settled their two lads, Mike Jr. and Paul, in school, and the boys were doing well.
Nanna wasn’t far away either and spent many pleasant weekends with the family. She was a mobile granny who spent time with each of her six children on a rotational basis, as she never wanted a home of her own. She loved her large family, and all loved her. Her only possessions were books, a photo album, and bedding. Wherever she went, she carried her bedding. Mike asked why she schlepped her bedding everywhere. “None of your business Mikey,” Nanna replied curtly. He suspected it had something to do with her spiritualism. But as it turned out, he never discovered her reason and was too chary of asking again.
Mike found that he was spending more time with Nanna as time passed. She had begun to share many of her spiritual philosophies with him. He became deeply interested in what she had to say and wondered if he would take after her one day.
Mike was on the green at six in the morning, practicing chipping and putting. He chipped a shot that fell onto the edge of the green but then sunk the long putt. He was quietly congratulating himself when a shout pierced his thoughts. “Shot Mikey!” It was Prof. “You’re up early, Prof.” “Ha ha, Mikey, how amusing. The last time I got out of bed was when I woke up dead two hundred years ago.” “Just kidding, Prof” “Smartass.”
“What’s up?” “Nanna says you two are getting on well, and she felt it was time we met up for a chat.” I’m all ears, Prof.” “The world of spiritualism is an exciting and interesting field, Mikey.” “I know, I know, Prof, but it’s not for me.” “Why?” “Look, Mom and Dad tolerate Nanna because she is Dad’s mother, and they respect her. But they are devout Catholics, and the church says its Devil stuff.” “Do you think it is Mikey?” “No, I don’t, mostly because I know nothing beyond what Nanna has shared with me and what I have experienced with the three of us, especially the time travel; I know it’s real. But I would not speak to anyone about what we have been through. Not even Joycelyn knows the full story. I want to take on a bit more traveling, though; excuse me if I don’t go with the rest Prof.” “Why not?” “Dad would lose his wig if he knew what we’d been doing, so I will keep all under the covers for the present if you don’t mind. I do need to talk to you about something, though.” Mike was pleased his question to Prof would take them off the subject.
“It’s about Andre, isn’t it?” “How did…” Mike stopped; of course, he knew; what doesn’t he know, he said to himself. “You are getting there, Mikey, slowly but surely. Andre has invited you two to fly up to the lake this weekend; he’s got you family tickets on the airline. “From my side, this subject is not open for discussion save one thing. Do not do the return flight with Andre.” There is an earlier flight. You two must take that one.” Mike stared at Prof and felt he was becoming ice cold with fear; but he knew it was pointless to question Prof’s instruction.
Mike approached Andre the following day. “Could you arrange an earlier flight for us, bro?” I must cancel the weekend if I can’t get back to meet with my boss.” Mike lied. “I understand, bud; as far as I know, that flight is never full – everyone wants to stretch their weekend, so they book on the later flight.”
They took off on Friday late afternoon and landed in the early evening. They had a wild party that night, dancing and drinking the night away. Neither Joycelyn nor Mikey were big drinkers and were thankful the next day when all the others were nursing heavy hangovers in the morning. Andre had introduced them to the crew, and the group went water skiing nearly all day. Some stayed around the poolside, and others played golf or tennis. Airline rules did not allow alcoholic consumption 24 hours before flying, and the partying Saturday night took on low tones. Mike turned to Joycelyn. “It’s hard to imagine this country is at war while we are all enjoying a relaxing, fun-filled time in the sunshine. Over the way, the army and the guerrillas are fighting to the death.” “Don’t talk about things like that, Mikey; you frightened me. Have there ever been any attacks on this resort?” Mike sensed Joycelyn’s fear. “Not that I know of, and maybe that’s because a large military base is here. The rebels are in small guerrilla groups that fight on a hit-and-run basis, so attacking a military base doesn’t make sense.”
“By the way why are we leaving on the early flight Mikey?” Joycelyn was curious. “I have a meeting at the office at five.” Mike lied. “On a Sunday?” “Yep, something important; to do with the security situation.” Another lie; he did not dare mention his meeting with Prof.
The holidaymakers boarded the second aircraft, and it was Andre’s turn to sit left seat, his ‘leg’ in airline terminology. There was a light-hearted mood among the passengers, and several were a few sheets to the wind. The take-off was uneventful and smooth as the plane lifted into the cloudless evening sky. A ball of setting sun was behind and to the one side of the aircraft. They had been about 20 minutes in flight and settling into cruising altitude. The two pilots relax, and Andre switches off the seatbelt signs. He turns to the captain to speak but is interrupted by a blinding flash of light, a lava-hot heat, and a loud explosion. The airplane disintegrates; bodies and luggage are thrown violently from the wreckage.
‘Flite KCB 211 Shot Down Inbound from Lake Mvura Huru All Feared Dead.’ The early morning city news headlines read. Later in the day, the first messages from the investigating team confirmed it was a handheld missile fired by guerrillas destroying the plane and killing all on board.
Joycelyn and Mike went to Andre and Mary’s home. Andre’s Parents were there. Mary, deathly pale, was hugging her mother-in-law. They embraced their friend but realized no words would ease their shock and grief.
Their flight back to Johannesburg was uneventful; neither were talking, each in their world of grief.
Mike received notice of the funeral, but because of the investigation, there was a delay. Finally, a date was confirmed, a week ahead. He and Joycelyn had agreed that Mike should go alone as another trip would be disruptive for the boys. Mike left his little family and boarded the aircraft. He was fearful, troubled, and had a bitter taste in his mouth. Quite unexpectedly, a thought crossed his mind…
What if he time-travelled two weeks back and somehow managed to persuade Andre not to take the weekend flight? That way, his buddy would still be alive. As soon as he returned, he would raise the issue with Prof. “No need to wait, Mikey, let’s chat now.” There was Prof seated next to Mike. He stuttered…” How did you…” Realizing he was going to ask a stupid question, Mike shut up. Recovering from his shock, he whispered, “Prof, what will the cabin steward think? You pop into an unoccupied seat?” “Mr engineer, my bright berry – they can’t see me or hear us talking.” “They’ll see my lips…” “You look forward, and we will communicate telepathically.” “Okay, okay, I get it.”
“Forget your idea; it cannot be done.” Prof’s harsh statement pierced Mike’s mind. “Why not? Mike was angry. “Andre will never be persuaded to do that. He is a career man through and through and is working with all he is worth to get his skipper’s ticket.” “You mean was.” “No, I mean, is – remember, what you want to do will mean going from present to past present; a process accomplished by moving yourself faster than light.” “I understand.” Mike was already scheming into another idea.” “That won’t work either.” “What won’t work?” Mike knew he was again asking a stupid question. “If we put the kibosh on the plane at the last minute, that will only delay the inevitable.” “Please explain, Prof.”
“What I am about to tell you is top secret.” Prof went on. “If you did speak about it, I think you can appreciate no one would believe you, and the parties involved might see fit to take you out.
“Our forces, not guerrillas, shot that plane down.” “What are you saying?” “There were four high-ranking terrorists on board known only to our information sources and the global intelligence corps.” “The GIC?” Mike swallowed hard. Someone decided to shoot the plane down to take the terrorists out. Whoever chose this persuaded a group of guerrillas, arming them with a missile launcher, to do their dirty work. So, four terrorists and sixty or so innocent people met their end. I hope you can see how complex the issue of time traveling in the past is, Mikey. The butterfly effect, remember? If you change anything, no matter how small…” “I know, I know, Prof.” “One last thing; had those four terrorists been left to their own devices, they could have been responsible for many more innocent people dying.” “Prof, who has the right, aside from God, to make that decision?” “I don’t know, Mikey – just a thought though – maybe God allowed it to happen.”
A tear slowly slid down Mike’s face as he was snapped out of his trance by the cabin steward, “Are you alright, sir?” “I, I’m fine Mike stammered. Prof had vanished. “What can I get you to drink, sir?” “Whiskey on the rocks, please, oh, and make it a double.”
He was not looking forward to the funeral, knowing what he now knew. But although facing Mary with this newfound knowledge would be difficult, he had to do it for the sake of Andre, her and their two boys.
© 2022 Peter-James Pienaar. All rights reserved
The follow-on for this story will be published in 3 weeks. If you are not already a follower, join now as a follower (click on the ‘Subscribe Button’ below.), and you will be notified.