“Tell me first about love,” he replied.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know about love,” she answered.
Below the shadow of the hood, she glimpsed his smile. “You will,” he said. “You will.”
A sudden gust of cold wind made her turn away. When she turned back, he was gone.
She searched the landscape and the chill returned. She hugged herself and realized one shoulder hurt. The sound of howling wind broke into her dream. Her eyelids fluttered open, but her eyes refused to focus. There was a sore spot on the left side of her forehead. She touched it and found a bump. Struggling to awaken, the world became a white blur. Her eyelids felt heavy and uncooperative. She forced them to open fully and tried to make sense of the snow-covered cliff in front of her. A twisted sculpture of metal and wire drew a frame around her vision.
Her mind began to catch up. The twisted metal was the fuselage of an aircraft. She was still strapped in her seat. Snow and a bundle of wire lay in her lap. Other drifts of snow filled the isle beside her. An icy wind cut at her face.
Memory of the crash began to force itself upon her. It began with smoke in the cabin. The right engine failed. The pilot changed course, because of something about drift-down. A slow descent began into clouds, followed by a massive impact beneath the airplane. The right wing struck something. They spun and crashed and slid, and crashed again.
Wide-eyed Cassiopia looked for her companion, Scott Markman. He was still in his seat in the isle next to her, bent over and unconscious, his head covered with a layer of snow and frost. What remained of the aircraft’s front dividing wall and instrument panel was in his lap and against his chest. She thought to scream but looked around and found no one to hear. Jerking sideways, she reached for Scott, but her seatbelt restrained her. She wrestled to unhook it, and stiffly made her way to him, brushing the snow away, and gently lifting his chin. There was a bad cut and bruise on his forehead, but it was not bleeding. There was a pulse in the carotid artery. He was encased in twisted instrument panel and wreckage. She pushed forward on a section of it to no avail.