Terminal Scribbles


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    Prudence looked over Scotty’s shoulder as he furiously scribbled on several sheets of paper. He’d work on one, then flip to the next, never concentrating on one for long.  
    “Flight 422 to Phoenix is now boarding,” the announcement began, but Prudence tuned it out. Their flight wouldn’t be boarding for another twenty minutes. 
    “Mommy! This ones finished finished,” Scotty exclaimed with triumph. The first picture had an old Gothic cross displayed prominently in the middle of the picture.  Around it, on a green lawn, stick figure people stood crying.  
    “Oh, what is it?” Prudence asked. She didn’t want to tell him it was morbid, and deep down a part of her hoped that she was interpreting it wrong. “It’s a picnic, right?”
    He gave her the look that she recognized all too well. It said, “Don’t be dumb, Mommy.” 
    “It’s a funeral, and the people are sad because the plane crashed,” he stated with a smile.
    “So, are we being buried?” Prudence asked. The question felt too morbid to ask a five year old. 
    “No, our plane is fine. It’s delayed by the crash,” he stated as certain as though he’d said the sky was blue.
    “What crash?” she asked. But he went back to scribbling on another of his pictures.
    I’m only imagining things, Prudence told herself.  Kids see sensational things on television and recover the memories on a whim. That had to be what was happening. He’d heard of a plane crash and being at the airport was bringing those thoughts out. 
    “Mommy, it’s the man from the funeral!” Scotty cried, interrupting her train of thought. She looked up to see Scotty pointing across the waiting area. 
    It took her a moment to identify which person he was pointing at. Once Scotty saw that she was looking at the man, he went back to his frantic scribbling. The man paced furiously back and forth next to the window screaming into his cell phone. His movements were so animated she was amazed that she hadn’t noticed him before. 
    “Mommy… Mommy… Mommy…” Scotty said to her. Each time he said her name he pulled her hand. But she was transfixed watching the man across the room. He had punched the terminal window twice in the last minute and she was curious if airport security was going to come talk to him. It would serve him right if they did. 
    “Mommy,” he yelled and she sighed. Without turning to him she pulled her hand from his grip and quietly chided him.
    “Mommy will look at your pictures in a minute Scotty. You need to learn a little patience, now go clean up your stuff,” she told him. 
    He quieted down and she could hear him picking up his backpack, putting his crayons inside. That was nice, he actually had listened for once. If only he’d listen all the time. But that was something that every parent wished. 
    “I love you, Mommy. I’ll be okay,” Scotty said, before sniffing and hugging her leg. She could feel wet spots through her skirt where he’d hugged. Was he really crying?
    She glanced down to ask him what he meant, only to see his jacket disappearing out of sight and into the crowd. She jumped up and tried to run after him, but the press of people was too great to let her through. 
    “Scotty, where are you…?” Prudence called after him. She listened and didn’t hear him reply. All she could hear was the murmur of people talking and… There was another noise that she couldn’t place. A high pitched whine crescendoed until it blocked out the noise of the terminal. 
    Prudence’s eyes dropped to where her son was sitting and locked onto her son’s drawings as the whine continued. There were two pictures, one of a little boy with a backpack huddled in a corner somewhere crying. The backpack told her that this must be Scotty, but the corner could have been anywhere in the airport. The background contained that same dark green that covered about half of the walls in the terminal.
    At viewing the second picture her heart froze and she began to understand. In exquisite detail Scotty had drawn the mosaic of the terminal floor. Laying in the middle of the mosaic, in the brown plaid pencil skirt she was wearing, lay her body. Her broken corpse was splayed and crushed, accented by bloody footprints leading every which way. There were even two little marks where his eyes had dampened her skirt. 
    A shriek broke through the high pitched whine before being echoed by people all around her. She had time to look up to the windows, to see the plane with its engines engulfed in flames approaching before she felt the crowd surge around her. 
    The mosaic rushed up to meet her. Her legs and torso being crushed as people tried to flee. As she felt her consciousness ebb from her mind Scotty’s words echoed in her ears. “I’ll be okay… I’ll be okay… ” He had said nothing about her. 

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