Homeward Bound – Short Story

The first the controller knew about the missing passenger on Flight 241, was the battered suitcase on the carousel.

The battered brown case slid around the circular belt, like a loan surfer on the waves. The controller picked up the case and took it to his office.

It always amazed him that people could get off a flight and leave their case behind. Many rushed back to the airport a couple of hours later. Jet lag having stolen the last of their brains.

Placing the battered case on the table he checked the label. Marcia Edwards, Flight 241 from London Gatwick. Quite a small suitcase for a continental flight, but still each to their own.

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Having checked the passenger manifest he saw that Marcia checked in on time. Row six, seat C an aisle seat. Another check of the manifest showed that Marcia Edwards had never checked into Australia. This was strange she couldn’t still be on the plane because that had been turned around and was heading back to the UK.

The controller made a call.

“Tom, it’s Jack in baggage control any irregularities on Flight 241.”

“Nothing Jack turned it around in record time. Why?”

“We have an unclaimed bag for a Marcia Edwards here and it seems like she didn’t check in this side.”

“Strange, well she definitely wasn’t on the plane he chuckled.”

The controller hung up the phone. He decided to take the route Marcia would have taken from the plane to customs to see if he could find her.

Despite an hour of looking in every restroom and secluded seat, there was no sign of Marcia Edwards.

The controller went back to his office, scratching his head. He decided the time had come to open the case and see what it contained.

He slipped a Stanley knife along the edge of the lock. With the smallest of twists, the leather came away and the suitcase sprung open. The suitcase was empty except for a sheet of paper and a bronze urn.

The controller opened the piece of paper and read the handwritten note.

To whoever finds this, please ensure my ashes are scattered in my homeland, Australia.

Thank you in advance for your help.

The controller picked up the urn to look at the name engraved on it. Marcia Edwards. The controller ran his fingers through his hair, what the hell was going on?

Photo by SHTTEFANon Unsplash

After several phone calls, the mystery deepened. No one remembered seeing Marcia Edwards on the flight. The passenger in Row six, Seat B said the seat beside him was empty. He did report smelling a scent of roses, every now and again, though.

Interviews of the check-in staff resulted in confirmation that an elderly lady had booked the suitcase in.

The door staff reported checking the same old lady onto the place. Resulting in her bag never being considered a threat. The controller asked if they could fax over the CCTV photo of the woman boarding the plane.

When Marcia Edwards’ family were phoned, they reported that Marcia had passed away four weeks ago. It had been her last dying wish, her ashes were taken back to her homeland of Australia. Her family had all been too busy to attempt to follow this. They then reported they had misplaced the urn between them.

The controller asked them to fax over a photo of Marcia Edwards. It matched completely the photo from the CCTV.

Photo by Haiqal Osmanon Unsplash

It appeared a dead woman had boarded a plane in the UK, with her suitcase containing her urn. As the plane took off she had jumped onto another celestial plane. Happy her ashes were heading exactly where she wanted them.

The next week the controller took Marcia Edwards to the beach and finally set her free into her homeland.

Photo by Sean O.on Unsplash

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