Chapter 1 – Extract 5 from The Paradise Induction!
It must have been an hour – maybe two, thought Chris as he rustled awake. The next thing his senses knew was the horrific stench of raw eggs. But the smell was even more pungent and deep, like chicken left for weeks in a disposal heap. His nostrils almost burned and breathing became difficult.
Chris watched as three, then four, then five people unbuckled their seats, got up, and moved away with faces wrinkled like prunes. Some who remained seated held their noses visibly, and others gritted their teeth under closed lips.
“That smell is stinky,” said Darren.
“Yeah it’s bloody awful innit,” replied Eadie. She looked at Chris and shrivelled her nose. Chris smiled, raising his eyebrows, then scanned the other passengers.
Who had done it? he thought.
The odour began to retreat and just as clean oxygen appeared to surface, the stench slithered back into the atmosphere, drowning Chris with its thick breath.
He shut his nasal cavity, but in breathing through his mouth, he could almost taste the tangibility of mouldy cheese on his tongue.
“Oh for Christ’s sake!” shouted a well-spoken, British pensioner as he rose from his seat and moved to the restroom area; many people had gathered around the space near the toilets to escape.
Some who were enduring the cloud, chuckled quietly, perhaps in nervous disbelief at how terrible the smell was. Others shared in the man’s anger with deeply etched frowns.
The stink intensified, the heat of it brushing Chris’ face. He watched as more people, stood up; one was visibly complaining to the cabin crew, while he saw another raise his head to the sky and breath an exhalation of relief.
Someone on the plane had a great deal to answer for.
To his side, Chris heard Darren beginning to wretch.
“Oh love,” Eadie said. “Are you alright?”
It happened so fast that the wetness on the bridge of Chris’ nose and lips, confirmed its reality.
The child had projectile vomited over his seat, spraying the screen in front of him with yellow clumps, with bits rebounding into his mother’s lap and Chris’ face.
“Oh dear, what have you done?” she said. “Oh dear, oh dear. So sorry about this,” she exclaimed, talking to Chris.
Chris wiped his nose and mouth. “It’s okay. Happens to the best of us.” He stood up in the aisle, ready for the the child’s inevitable escort to the restroom.
“Thank you,” said Eadie as she ushered her son out.
From standing point, Chris continued to survey the faces of the people around him. More got up and moved out of the stink space. From a distance, he could read their lips as they spoke to the cabin crew; they weren’t happy.
The smell kept dimming, then growing worse, then hiding again, then amplifying to greater strength than before. The stink then intensified so much that Chris knew that whoever was causing this gaseous commotion, had descended from passing air to sharing solid matter with their underwear.
Chris checked the time on his phone and shook his head. It seemed likely that everyone on the flight would be obliged to live through this for the next four and a half hours.
He remained standing, waiting for his fellow passengers to return.
The smell of the vomit rising from the floor began to mix with the merciless stench. This was joined by the aroma of airline cuisine, creating an orchestra of scents, all vying for attention.
Delicious bacon battled against half-digested food, wrestling with the stink of an open sewer drain.
Chris looked at the beautiful woman to his side, who had her pink pullover stretched over her nose. She smiled at him with her eyes and he grinned, shaking his head.
“Definitely didn’t expect this,” he said.
She continued to smile through her eyes and returned to the romantic comedy Chris could see she was watching on her screen.
“Really really apologise about this,” said Eadie who returned, accompanied by a member of the cabin crew – a slim woman in her forties with a lot of makeup and perfume on. Darren trudged behind with his head down and his face bright red.
“Sorry sir,” said the cabin staff member. “Can I just get in there?”
“Sure,” said Chris as he stepped back, seeing she had a sponge and small bucket of soap water in her hands.