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Chapter One
The jet lurched and started to lose altitude. Someone screamed. Nate heard someone saying “Ohshit ohshit ohshit” over and over again. The ground was coming up fast. The pilot was wrong. They didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Tanzania.
Then, blessed miracle, the engines came back on and the jet leveled out. Some of the weight on Nate’s heart eased and he could breathe again.
The flight attendant came through the cabin handing out inflatable life jackets. “Put these on. We may have to land in the water.” Caleb was closest to the exit and she showed him the emergency exit bar and the button to deploy the inflatable slide. Nate thought of all the times he’d sat through the flight attendant lectures on what to do in the event of a crash and paid no attention.
The engines cut out again. Someone was sobbing loudly. Santiago was cursing in Spanish. Nate knew he was hyperventilating but he couldn’t seem to help himself. The ground got closer. They flashed over a river. The jet began banking right as the pilot steered it toward the ocean.
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The engines came back on and Nate nearly cried with relief. The plane gained precious altitude.
Then he heard someone yelling. “Over there! I see something! I think it’s a runway!” Everyone tried to look. Nate was fumbling with his seat belt when the flight attendant came on the intercom.
“Remain in your seats! Please!”
The jet banked to the left. A ragged cheer went up from the passengers. Nate tried to swallow but his mouth was too dry. He heard a woman praying in a language he didn’t recognize and looked over to see Omisha, her hands clasped before her, tears streaming down her face.
The jet bucked as the engines cut out again. They sputtered once and went dead for good. The jet began to dive.
Nate looked out his window, hoping they were over the airfield. The ground was getting very close, very fast, the trees flashing by in a blur. He gripped the armrests, trying to prepare himself for the impact. Would he die immediately, a sudden burst of pain and then nothing? Or would he lie broken and burned in the jungle and scream out his last moments?
At the end, the cabin became strangely quiet, the screams and sobbing and praying seeming to pause. It was so quiet Nate could hear the landing gear going down.
Thumping and cracking from below as they began to strike the tops of the tallest trees. Any second now. Nate braced himself. How had he ended up here, on a jet falling out of the sky? It was hard to believe that less than twenty-four hours ago the future had seemed so full of possibility…
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Watching the End of the World synopsis
They are the lucky ones, chosen to be contestants on the latest reality show. A private jet whisks them away to Africa, heading for the exotic island of Madagascar, where fame and fortune await. But while flying there they receive news that terrorists have released a biological agent in the world’s busiest airports. Every airport is shut down. With their fuel running out, they are forced to crash land on a jungle airfield in the war-torn nation of Mwinda.
But they soon learn that the airfield – complete with a warehouse, solar power, food and water, even satellite TV – comes with a price. Armed men attack them. The flight crew is killed, the jet destroyed by a rocket. When they find a cache of drugs and guns in the warehouse, they realize the airfield belongs to a war lord.
Life becomes a battle for survival against a ruthless enemy, while every day the TV delivers news that grows worse and worse. The terrorist virus is sweeping across the world, killing millions of people. There will be no rescue from the outside, but they are not alone.
They are being watched…