Backstage, Paige looked frantically around to find her best friend Kim. Glancing at her watch, she saw she now only had 5 more minutes until the taxi would arrive to take them back to Gatwick Airport. Kim should have been right in the wings, but after having looked round everywhere she had access to, she couldn’t find her.
She turned around.
“AH!” She yelled and instinctively slapped her stalker. It was Kim. She raised her hands to her mouth in melodramatic shock.
“Jesus! Kim, I’m so…” Her apology trailed off as she watched her best friend smile. They both started laughing and laughing. They slumped on the floor together while hugging and laughing with giddy randomness until finally ditching their casual hysteria for sanity.
“I’m so sorry Kim.”
“It’s okay love, anyways we should leave now, I sure want to go back to Ireland, plus you just got a text from Colin. He really misses you ya know.”
Paige’s face crumpled up. “I don’t know why he would still want to see me after how I acted at the restaurant.”
“Ahh come on Paige. He loves you no matter what! You know that! If you can get a guy who is still in love with you after shouting at him in front of over fifty people in a restaurant, I’d say he’s a keeper.
The ringtone of fate started as scheduled. Paige answered the call.
“Hello, miss. I’ve arrived but I can’t see where you are.”
“Ooh, good. Don’t move, we’ll be there any second.”
*a while later*
“Can those with tickets in aisles W to Z please make their way to the desk so you pass through to the plane?”
The only three people left to board were Paige, Kim and a man in about his thirties sitting opposite them.
Everything about him was well-groomed, his goatee, his eyebrows, his short, dark blond hair that was pulled back in a very tight, short ponytail. He even wore an immaculately ironed shirt, tie and silvery-grey waistcoat, with a small black briefcase by his side. Too formal for an economy flight to Dublin. Too bizarre that he had been supposedly reading the same two pages of his newspaper for about half an hour, without looking up, once.
The moment they had been called, he chuckled to himself and sighed as though he had just been told a hilarious joke before getting up after the two girls.
When the three had got to the back of the back of the plane. He allowed Paige and Kim to get past as he put his briefcase into the last available overhead cabin.
Kate had chosen to take the window seat and Paige sat next to her. Despite there was a free row in front of them and next to them, he sat next to Paige. She sat for a few moments as the plane began to move in an awkward silence before turning to the man in the suit.
“Um, not to sound rude or anything, but you do know there are another two free rows right?” The man laughed again.
“Well, that sounded pretty rude to me.” Paige froze, she didn’t know how to respond. She mumbled an OK before slumping back into her seat. As the man turned back to his paper, she glanced as subtly as possible at what he was reading. It was something about a young prodigy chef who managed to single-handedly win a Michelin star for a French restaurant in the west of Paris. It made no sense whatsoever. This story had no reasonable explanation as to why this man would need to stare at it for half an hour. The man caught her glancing and smiled wryly in her direction. She blushed instantly and tried to pretend that that had never happened.
Later as the plane was about half way through it’s flight, one of the air-hostesses began to walk down the aisle with the refreshment trolley. Oh good. He thought. Jenna’s here.
“Hello ladies. What is it that you would like to drink?” Paige looked up.
“Ooh. Um, an orange juice for me and Kim will have a sparkling water. I hope I’m right.”
“Yes! Yes you are silly.” Paige gasped in mock-shock before they began to laugh hysterically.
The air hostess turned to the man.
He leaned to her ear and whispered “Make sure the pill is in the sparkling water, okay?”
“Now blush like I’ve just made a really good flirtatious joke.” She did as she was told and handed the drinks out to the women beside him. The man's accomplice winked at him before asking:
“Oh, sir. You never told me what you wanted to drink.”
“Water will do thanks.” As he received his water he sipped and waited patiently as Paige took a sip of her own and quickly slipped into a comfortable sleep. Paige hadn’t noticed what the man had done, and a good thing too.
“Can I ask, what’s your name?”
“Why would I tell you that?”
“I don’t know, just human nature I guess.” Why was she being so weird around this man, she would never act around strangers. She distrusted them completely.
“Count to two with your eyes closed and then maybe I’ll tell you my name.” Again Paige didn’t know quite how to react to his response. After hesitating, she finally closed her eyes and counted to two. When she opened them, something was different.
“Why is the door to the toilet black? I swear it was white before.”
He grinned. “Don’t you want to know what’s inside?”
“No. I want to know why it’s changed colour in the first place.”
“Just do it. Get up.” He walked over the door and made a motion hinting that he expected her to follow. She did, unbeknownst to her reasoning.
“Open the door.”
“Why not? Don’t you want to see if it’s changed inside too?
“I do, but—“
“But what?” His eyes widened in realisation and he started to laugh.
“What? What’s so funny?”
“You think I’m some sort of rapist don’t you.”
“No, of course—“
“Then just open the door. Or are you afraid?” She frowned disapprovingly at him. So in a childish attempt at defiance she thrust open the door with a quick twist of the handle.
A brilliant stream of white light burst through the door, blinding her eyesight and forcing her to look away.
“What the hell is that?”
“Do you trust me Paige O’Shailey?” She turned to look at him worriedly.
“How do you know my name?”
“Do you trust me or not?”
“No. Not when I know nothing about you and you seem to know a lot about—“
"Good. Rule number one. Never trust a man with a goatee and a black briefcase."
“Oh shut up.” He said whilst shoving her through the frame.
“Definitely was a good idea to get the princess over with first. What a bitch. ” He mumbled to himself, before closing the door. He turned round to check no-one had seen. Even though he had told Jenna to make a fake announcement to hold the passengers' attention, he had to be certain. A little boy of about five had turned around on his seat and was staring at the door in shock.
“Mommy! Mommy look!”
“Ugh. What is it darling?” The mother turned around to see a man sitting down in his seat after having come out of the toilet. The door was white.
“Is this your way of telling me that you want to go to the toilet? Okay. Fine.”
The man sat back down, content with the work he had just done. And it will revert right back to normal. The toilet portal was always my favourite.
Colin Moore stood at the welcoming area in the arrivals terminal with a box of chocolates and a bouquet of white roses, Paige’s favourite. He began to feel more self-conscious standing at the front as more and more passengers came through and left. But not Paige or Kim. Where are they?
Then out of no-where Kim came bursting through with her handbag, black tears streaming down her face.
“Kim? What’s wrong? Where’s Paige? I mean, why isn’t she with you?”
“Honest to God, Colin I tried. When I asked them where she was, she said she didn’t even exist! So I looked for her. She wasn’t in the toilet, she wasn’t in the cabin, she wasn’t—“ Colin grabbed her shoulders and tried to calm her down gently.
“Kim, it’s okay. Calm down. It’s alright. It’s gonna be alright. We’ll find her.” She looked at him angrily now.
“You don’t understand Colin. She’s gone.” She burst into tears once more.
“She’s vanished into thin air.”