Ever since they were children Marie and Susan had wanted to be pilots. Most of their friends and parents just laughed at them playing in the garden with toy planes, they'd make comments that they would be better off playing at air hostess' and to get their heads out of the clouds. There was one person who encouraged them all the way and told them they could be anything they wanted to be, it was Susan's grandfather Charlie. He'd been a pilot in WW2 and come back to England a changed man. He'd also come back to a changed country, with women taking jobs in factories in the men's absence he found England to be a new and exciting country and he liked it. He thought there was nothing his granddaughter and her friend shouldn't be able to do if they really wanted to do it.
It was a hard slog through pilot training, but they both got there after lots of perseverance and putting up with endless sexual innuendo from their fellow fly boys. The only problem was there were no major airlines that would take them on, full pilots licence or not this was 1970's England and sexual equality was still a long way off. Susan's grandfather was old and frail by the time she got her full licence, but he still had enough fight in him to be absolutely livid when he found out about the unfair treatment Susan was having to put up with. He knew she was twice the pilot of those toffee nosed sods and could fly circles around the bloody lot of them! So he came up with an idea, if no airline would take them on as full pilots then by god they should start their own airline. He'd worked hard all his life and invested wisely and was planning on giving Susan a large inheritance when he died. Instead of having to wait for him to kick the bucket he decided to give Susan her inheritance now, not in cash but in the form of a light aircraft! It was a only a small plane, a six seat cargo and haulage plane. Susan and Marie were over the moon when he took them to the airport and they opened the private hanger to reveal the plane. It was small and a little rusty but they loved it immediately.
Their first jobs together were mostly haulage, taking cargo and packages back and forth across the channel to Europe. Susan was the captain of the aircraft and boss of the company, Marie was a good pilot but could sometimes be a little nervous in heavy weather, so she was happy with her place as co-pilot. Susan knew that one day Marie would be able to Captain her own plane, she had the skills but just lacked the confidence.
Over time their company went from strength to strength, they invested in more and more cargo planes and took on more staff. They were equal opportunity employers and took on men and women in all kinds of roles. It was not until the late eighties that they took the step of buying their first commercial passenger aircraft. They couldn't compete with the big companies so decided to try the other end of the market and go for high end air travel. Limited flights for an exclusive clientele with a small number of aircraft to business destinations. It really worked and slowly but surely they built up a reputation for excellent and punctual service.
Marie and Susan still flew a lot of the flights themselves, it was the flying that they really loved and they tried to keep doing it as much as possible between all the board meetings and business plans. It was one such flight from London to New York that their friendship was tested to breaking point and beyond.
Everything had been going quite smoothly, they'd taken off from London on time and were making good time to New York. It was a late night haul and the in Flight meal had been served to the passengers and crew and now most of the passengers were settling down to sleep. They were about two hours from New York when the head Stewardess came screaming over the intercom. It was so shrill it made Marie almost jump out of her seat. She was screaming something about a passenger gone crazy attacking everyone. She continued to yell and scream until their ear sets went dead. Marie turned to Susan, she looked pale and pretty shook up. Susan got up to look through the spy hole of the cabin door, she turned to Marie with a sick look on her face. She told Marie that it looked like a blood bath in there, she said she was going to go in and see if she could help get any staff and unhurt passengers to the rear of the plane and was going to try to restrain the violent passenger. Meanwhile she wanted Marie to get in touch with New York control tower and tell them what was going on and see if they could be diverted to a closer airport. But Marie just sat there stunned for a minute staring at Susan, she spoke in a slow monotone voice, almost as if she was in a dream. She told Susan that if anyone should go out there it should be her, it was much better that Susan stay in control of the aircraft and radio the tower. Before Susan could protest Marie had already got up and gone out the door into the blood drenched cabin.
Half an hour passed without a single noise coming over the intercom. Susan was getting worried, she'd contacted the control tower and got them diverted to Boston airport. Emergency services were waiting for them to land, they wanted more information on how many people had been injured but from the cockpit Susan had no way of knowing what the hell was going on. She put the plane on autopilot and looked through the spy hole again, the cabin was smoky and it was hard to see anything at all, but suddenly a horrible figure loomed into view....
The thing hammered at the door, kicking scratching and screaming all bloody murder on the other side. Susan thought there was no f**king way it would get through. Those doors are bullet proof, just as she took her seat back at the controls the door began to bend and dent. Susan knew it wouldn't hold until they got to Boston, she also knew she did not want to unleash that thing by landing anywhere near a populated space. She decided to do an emergency landing, she put a message out for whatever passengers and crew where left alive to brace and prepare for an emergency landing. She put the plane into a steep dive and began to bring it down into the frozen wastes of north America, she knew even if she survived this crash she'd still be in the middle of no where. She sent out a message to air traffic control of her current position and what the hell was going on. She knew they wouldn't believe her and this would probably be the end of her career.
She leveled the plane out and could see a frozen valley bathed in moonlight ahead, she just had time to think about how much this was going to hurt when the cockpit door smashed in.
The monster dove at Susan, she banked the plane sharply to the left throwing the monster of its feet and smashing it into the cockpit window, cabin pressure was lost, the wind lashed in and shards of icy rain cut at Susan's face. The plane rolled onto its side, she was loosing control. At that moment she remembered her Grandfather's face, he always believed in her no matter what, she grabbed the controls and pulled the aircraft level. The monster had been thrown to the back of the cockpit, it clawed its way towards Susan and was just about to sink its teeth into her neck when the plane smashed into the ground.
The plane sheared its way across the frozen ground, Susan could hear rocks ripping at the fuselage grinding and cutting through the metal. The aircraft seemed to scream out in pain as Susan put the engines into full reverse to try and slow them down as they barreled down the icy mountainside. The plane must have slid 200 meters when it snapped in half, the cockpit and part of the cabin spun away as the engines exploded in a shower of aviation fuel, the monster was being tossed all over the cockpit, but was still trying to grab at Susan, she was bracing in her seat now, there was nothing else she could do. The side of the cockpit smashed into a rock face and tore away, jolting the monster upwards and knocking it out of the cockpit, a few seconds later the front of the plane came to a sudden halt in a snow bank.
Susan woke up a few minutes later, her head was bleeding and her right arm was broken. She was shaken up but managed to pry herself out of the seat and onto the floor. The plane was a f**king right off, she thought the boys back at the hangar would never let her hear the end of this, then she thought of Marie and began to cry. That thing couldn't have been Marie she thought, there was no way it was her. Making a strap with her tie she tied her broken arm tight to her chest. The pain was excruciating but she managed to drag herself out of the wrecked plane and onto the snowy ground. She could see how far they had slid down the mountain, the burning wreckage lit up the whole valley, the flames licking up into the cold night sky towards the stars. Then she saw a dark figure move in front of the flames and she froze in terror.
It was Marie, she could see her ravaged uniform and her co-pilot stripes. The thing began to limp over towards Susan, dark blood pouring from its mouth, as it grew closer Susan noticed it was wading through a pool of aviation fuel on the ground, she fumbled through her pockets and pulled out a lighter her Grandfather had left her in his will, inscribed into its silver metal were a pair of angel wings. She flicked it open and lit it and threw it as hard as she could towards the monster. The aviation fuel went up in a flash, cremating her former friend and co-pilot in seconds. Susan flopped back into the cold snow, and passed out.