Dark thoughts had troubled him during his flight into the city.He walked into the practice at just before ten.
‘Just fill in this form,’ said the pretty blonde receptionist. She stank of cigarettes, despite her efforts to camouflage the stench with perfume.
Another smoker in healthcare he thought while scanning her petite frame. He filled out the form and handed it back to the receptionist who managed to check it despite her eyes flickering towards his powerful physique. He felt the familiar warmth in his cheeks as his face reddened. Natural shyness meant female attention was something he still struggled with.
He spied a newspaper on her cluttered desk. Its headline was partially covered with a folder. The words ‘Plane crash – 257 dead’ and ‘man at fault?’ were visible, giving no doubt it was referring to him.
Please don’t mention it he thought. It’s bad enough seeing a doctor, let alone the whole world knowing my problems.
‘Just take a seat and I’ll holler when it’s time,’ said the receptionist.
The sounds of the city blew in through the waiting room window: car horns, police sirens, and shouts of newspaper vendors. The combination of humidity and the hypnotic ticking of the wall clock soon had him asleep. His limp body pressed down onto the chair causing it to groan in protest. The familiar scene played over in his mind as he dozed.
“Both engines out, losing altitude” the co-pilot shouted.
The plane lurched as its wings see-sawed violently.
‘Altitude 28,000 feet, 27,500 feet, 27,000 feet…. engine one on fire,’ screamed the co-pilot as he performed his emergency drills.
He heard once more the screams of terror and whispers of ‘I love you’ coming from passengers as the aircraft spiralled out of the clear warm sky into moody looking rainclouds. His mind was overcome with confusion. Weakness spread through his body and it took all his strength to keep the plane level.
The receptionist gave a polite cough, snapping him from the dream before the inevitable ending. His eyes opened and he stood up, shaking off fatigue with his arms and head.
‘Doctor Hoffman will see you now,’ she said with a smile.
‘Thanks,’ he replied. ‘And sorry for… you know.’ He pointed to his chair, where one of the legs had buckled. He made his way to Doctor Hoffman’s office, passing the receptionist who was reading the newspaper he had seen earlier. The headline was clear now. ‘Plane crash – 257 dead – Superman at fault?’