Connecting Flight – ch.5

A previous reader said that the next two chapters, 5 and 6, might need to be reversed.  Some opinions are that by chapter 5 a book needs to clarify a conflict, to set the direction for the rest of the story.   As it is written now, that happens in chapter 6.  Chapter 5 is more about a physical challenge for them combined with what I can only describe as a “fun” chapter before setting up a conflict in chapter 6.  So I’m just not sure which should come first, this chapter I’m posting as 5 or the next one, thus making this chapter 6 instead of 5.  Oh well.  We shall see.

And again, my greatest thanks to those of you still with me, still reading, and still giving your time so generously.



Chapter 5

About the only difference between Chris and Ann sitting in the lounge car at about 1 in the morning and any other couple sitting in a diner in Philadelphia at 2 in the morning was that these two had not been on a date for the previous four or five hours.  The tables and booths were smaller but lined up similarly.  The bar and stools, bolted to the floor, were smaller versions of diners back home, but no more drinks were being poured here.  They couldn’t feel the motion of the train, but they could see random lights, stars, and horizons moving past the windows in a car that had been fairly crowded an hour before.  They welcomed the emptiness and put their feet up on the empty half of each other’s booth bench.  They weren’t asleep, but they wished they were.  They tried, but there were too many thoughts and things to think about.

“Tell me again why you didn’t go through the door?” Ann asked.

“It wasn’t about going through the door.  It was just something that felt wrong about following the kid.  I had a really creepy vibe.  Didn’t you feel anything?”

“No.  I saw you take a step, and I saw you back up again.  Then you said, ‘This isn’t right.’  And then you went back to the corner and sat on the floor.”

“I didn’t say ‘This isn’t right.’  Did I?”

“Yup,” she said.

“I don’t remember that.  I remember getting hit with a – like a breeze through the door.  Like a window opened and a cold breeze came in.”

She turned his way a little.  “A breeze through the door?  Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“I did tell you.  You asked why I didn’t go through the door, and I told you about the breeze.”

“You did not,” she sat more upright.  “You just said that something didn’t feel right.  You’re having some memory issues.”

“Oh well.  I don’t know what to tell you.”

“Oh well?  You tell me one thing, then tell me another, don’t remember the first thing, then you don’t remember the second thing, and all you have is ‘Oh well’?”  She leaned against the table, closer to him.  “What happened to the tense and nervous guy who spends an hour picking out Christmas cards?  Now you’re just the ‘Oh well’ guy instead?  You’re acting more like sixty instead of thirty.”  She took a breath and sat back.  “And I know you never told me your age, so don’t bother mentioning it.”

“Yeah, maybe I’m too relaxed about this,” Chris said.  “Maybe I should be freaking out.  Maybe I should be crying about my family and all the things I never got to do.  Never got to Europe.  Never took surfing lessons.  Never went to a nude beach.”

“Really?” Ann chirped.

“Just seeing if you’re paying attention.”  He smiled.  “And you said I’m not funny.”

“You lie.  You wouldn’t go to a nude beach if everyone else died.”


“Okay,” she softened, “bad choice of words.  But-”

The door at the far end of the dining car slid open, and they immediately looked up.  A disheveled man shuffled in, the one who Chris had noticed as they were boarding the train.  Chris wondered if the man was homeless, had somehow sneaked aboard, and was now looking for food in the dining car after everyone had gone to sleep.  The old man glanced in various directions, up down, left right, past the booth in which Chris and Ann sat.  He moved through the car to the opposite door, slid that open, and then disappeared into the next car.

“Did you feel that?” whispered Chris.

“I felt something, not sure what.”

“That’s what I felt when I was about to follow that kid.  It’s like someone opened a door to a freezer and-“

Before they could talk further, a woman stumbled in through the same door that the old man had just left.  She planted herself on a bar stool as if there were a bartender there, flipped open a cell phone, flipped it closed, then stuffed it in a purse.  Less than a minute later the door opened again.  A man entered carrying two drinks, each with a small straw and a few ice cubes.

“Did you think you could get away from me?” he sneered.

“You again?  If my husband sees you following me, he’s gonna be pissed,” she slurred.

“Oh, just have a drink and relax.”  He handed her a glass.  She took a slow, slight sip.

“I’ve had many drinks, and I don’t mean just today, but I have no idea what that is.”

Ann looked to Chris.  “I bet he spiked her drink with something.”

“Good girl,” the man said.  “So, where you from?”

“Doesn’t matter where I’m from,” she said.  “Matters where I’m going.”

“I like the sound of that.”  The man slid off his seat and moved behind her.  He put a hand on her neck, gently massaging while trying his best to keep eye contact.  He smiled as her eyes closed.

“I like that,” she purred.

“As good as your husband does it?”

“Mmm.  Better.”  Her head leaned forward, exposing more of her neck.  He took advantage and used two hands while moving his face into her hair.  His whisperings were inaudible to Chris and Ann, but it didn’t matter.

The woman giggled, then he did.  “I told you I have a husband.”

“Does he have one of these?” the man said, and he pressed himself closely against her from behind.

“Pretty sure.”  She spun around on her barstool, knees slightly apart, until the man parted them further.  He pushed his teeth gently against her neck.  Her head fell back, eyes almost closed, and legs weakened.

“Don’t you dare fall asleep.”

“I need to lay down.  I had too much to drink.”  She attempted to get up but struggled as he got an arm around her waist.

“My room is in the next car.  C’mon.  You can lay down in there.”  He smiled and glanced at both doors before guiding her towards the one through which they had entered.

“What about my husband?”

“I’m sure we’ll find him later.”

Ann turned to Chris.  “What do we do?”


They followed the man as he guided the drunken woman to the door.  He slid the door open with his elbow and moved with her through while Chris and Ann stepped with them before it closed.

“Almost there,” the man grunted.

Ahead was a corridor with a dozen windows on the left and doors on the right, each leading to private rooms.  The man swiped a key card in the fourth door and took the woman inside.

“Well?” Ann said.  “You going through this door, or you chickening out again?” 

Chris quietly walked towards the door and disappeared through it.  Ann, like a child entering a swimming pool, held her breath and followed him through.

Inside, the woman had already flopped onto a bed about the size of an army cot.  The man was undressing.

“This looks jus’ like my rumm,” she tried.

“They all look alike.”  He tossed his pants on a chair.

They don’t all look alike.”  She giggled and pointed between his legs.

“They don’t all feel alike either.”  He moved closer.

“No, no.  My husbin’ eh lookn fer me.”

“I’m sure he’ll find you eventually.”  She shifted back on the bed towards the wall and away from his approach.

“Now what?” asked Ann.

“I don’t know,” said Chris.  He stood by the bed and reached for the man, trying to pull him off the woman, but his hands swept through like nothing.  He stepped to the door and tried to knock on it, but the result was the same.

“I have an idea,” said Ann.  She crawled on the bed and turned her back before rolling towards the woman until she was absorbed into her.  There was no visible reaction that Chris could see from the unstable, drunk woman.  He watched and waited helplessly.

“Chris,” he heard, “can you hear me?”


“Holy shit, this woman is toasted beyond anything.  I feel like I’m in a vodka bathtub.”

“I can hear you, but I guess he can’t.  And her mouth isn’t moving.  This is wild.”

“Yeah, well, not for me.  I’m trying to fight him off, but either she’s really drunk or I just can’t control her.”

The man slid her dress up around her waist and spread her legs enough to plant himself between them.

“Oooh, I like when you fight me,” the man growled as the woman pushed against him enough that he gripped her wrists to hold her down.

“Uuugh!  This isn’t working.” Ann yelled.  “Think of something.”

Chris circled the tiny room, looking for any ideas but found nothing.  He moved to the man’s pants on a chair and tried to remove the belt but failed.

“Oh no,” Ann cried.


“You know what!”

“Huh?  Oh.  You can feel it?” Chris asked.

“Oh God yeah.” Ann said as the woman fought less and returned the animal kisses that the man had been forcing on her.  “Oh, she’s right.  They’re not all the same.  Holy Christ!”

“All right, stop it,” protested Chris.  “I don’t want to hear that.  Try to keep in mind you’re being raped.  You don’t have to like it.”

Chris continued to think until something shiny caught his eye.  It was a small picture frame no bigger than a postcard.  In the picture were two children along with the man and woman on the bed.


“What?”  Ann groaned.  “Either stop him or get out of here and let me enjoy this.”

“No, it’s okay.  They’re together.”


“There’s a picture here of them together.  They were just flirting.  Just playing around.”

“Oh good,” huffed Ann.  “Now get out.”


“Uuuuhhhhh God.  This is kind of – uuuh – personal?  I’m, like, having, uuuh, oooh, sex.  And nine times out of ten I prefer not to be watched, okay?”

“Nine times you what?”

“Nothing.  Get out.”

“Oh.  Ok.  I’ll be outside.”  Chris disappeared through the door and returned to the dark dining car where they had been when they first saw the couple.


Roughly thirty minutes later Ann returned to the dining car and sat across from Chris, exactly as they had before the couple had entered.  She flopped into the seat with a great exhale.

“I guess it was good for you?” Chris asked.

She said nothing.  Only smiled.

“Aren’t you married?” Chris asked.  “Don’t you feel guilty?”

“Ask me tomorrow.”

“Do you think you could have fought him off if she wasn’t drunk?”

“Well, I think I was controlling her a little, but I’m not sure.  Maybe I’ll go back to their room tomorrow and try again when she’s sober.”  She gave an exaggerated smile.

Chris leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.  “I’m gonna try tomorrow when someone’s having breakfast.  Coffee and bacon.  Maybe an omelet with tomato and cheese.”

“I don’t like eggs, but what about that kid?”

“I was just thinking about him.”

“I know.  The way he was looking at you, he had to see you.”

“People can’t see us.”

“How do you know?”

“How could they?”

“Hey.”  She sat up.  “If you had asked me this morning if this – whatever this is, if this could even exist like this, I’d have said no way.”  Her attitude grew.

“Calm down, will you.  I didn’t mean to upset you.”

Ann huffed and relaxed again in the seat.  “When I was a kid, my sister always said she saw things.  We’d go into a house, like a friend’s house, and she’d tell me there were people in there.  Like an old lady in a rocking chair, but I would never see anything.”

“Did you believe her?”

“Of course not.  I was just a kid.  I didn’t know what to believe, but I didn’t want to think my sister was crazy either.  She’d get upset, and she’d get yelled at for telling stories.  Sometimes she’d cry at night about how nobody believed her.  She’d get grounded or whatever, but she’d never change her story.  I really felt bad for her, and it turns out she was right.”

“Well, she might’ve been right.”

“Shut up.  She was right.  I knew it then, but I was too afraid.”

“Afraid of what?”

“Afraid of what?  How about afraid of knowing there really were dead people walking around us?  Isn’t that scary enough?”

“It’s not that scary,” spoke a voice from several tables away.

Chris and Ann sat up straight in their booth, hands hitting the table, heads snapping towards the voice.

“Who’s there?” Chris asked.  “Where are you?”

Slowly, an image appeared, like a candle that starts out faintly but then brightens to full strength.  It was the elderly man who Chris thought might have been homeless.


Question 1:  The “ghost rules” have not been clearly defined yet but will be in the next chapter.  Do you have any suggestions, warnings, preferences, recommendations about ghost rules either here or in other stories?

Question 2:  Was there anything “wrong” (opinion, of course) about the sex scene?  Do you feel Chris and Ann handled it well, or was there anything that bothered you?


46 thoughts on “Connecting Flight – ch.5

  1. This chapter seems considerably shorter than the others. As for the sex scene; this is only my opinion, but there should be more….just saying.

    • there should always be more sex. and yes, it was shorter, but that wasn’t intentional. i should check the next chapter because it’s possible they could have been combined.

  2. I’m confused about the ghost rules, so am glad that they will be set more in the next chapter. I keep thinking things can or can’t happen and then something occurs that voids that (like being able to walk through doors but hands can slap on tables!?)

    I was surprised that this didn’t pick up straight after the last chapter – I was a little bewildered by the sudden change in tempo at the start of this chapter, but then you got into the dialogue and it made sense.

    As for the sex scene….Hmmm, this bothered me a little. I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with Ann taking advantage of the drunken woman to satisfy her own sexual needs (ghosts have sexual needs?!). Although I could believe she initially entered the woman’s body to defend her, once they established they were a couple (ghosts can communicate without speaking!?) it felt voyeuristic for Ann to remain there. It didn’t quite fit with my impression of Ann so far….

    Great chapter ending though…makes you want to read on.

    (On a related note, this does remind me a little of Ghost and the scary guy who lives in the Subway who teaches him how to touch things…that’s not what happens, right?)

    • to start at the end, right – that’s not what happens. however, what does happen does have a similarity. also, i wrote this many years after seeing ghost, so i had totally forgotten about that scene.

      about ann and the sex, yes, she originally wanted to help the woman, but then she got caught up in the “emotions” of what was happening, kind of like she got caught up in the emotions of the two women whose thoughts she had entered in the previous chapter.

      as the story progresses, ann’s character, as well as chris’s, will evolve, and this is part of it. i could explain, but i would rather not because i don’t want to give away anything, even though it might be small.

      this chapter is short, and there might be a way to combine it either with a previous or the next chapter. it’s something for me to investigate for sure.

      thanks again for battling through it, and i’m sorry the sex scene bothered you. up until now, their investigations and explorations have been fairly fun. that will change.

  3. Question 1: The “ghost rules” have not been clearly defined yet but will be in the next chapter. Do you have any suggestions, warnings, preferences, recommendations about ghost rules either here or in other stories?
    I am interested in where you are heading with these “rules”. So far, I don’t have any problems with them.

    Question 2: Was there anything “wrong” (opinion, of course) about the sex scene? Do you feel Chris and Ann handled it well, or was there anything that bothered you? No, I believe Chris would’ve left. I think I would’ve jumped into the guy, just to see. We don’t know Ann as well, so she is okay being fine with it. Besides, she didn’t start out to do that.

    I also, have not read the next chapter, but I think this one is fine here. I hate formulas and that’s what the other someone was telling you. By this chapter… and by that… I don’t agree with that except in very general terms.
    I did notice something I had been told. I was once told that anytime you change POV you should have a new chapter or a break to show it. You changed once from Christ to Anne in just a paragraph break. I was okay with it, but you may get criticized for it by the more professional people.

    • i will have to go back and look for that change in POV. there is a change coming up that i don’t know how to avoid, but it will be an entire chapter from her POV. i hope that works. fingers crossed.

  4. The weird ghost rules doesn’t really bother me, I feel like the confusion is all part of what Ann and Chris is going through and trying to figure out. So long as there’s a legitimate reasoning or so I guess after the initial exploring has been through I think it’d be alright.

    The sex scene only bothered me a slight bit because I was very surprised with Ann’s reaction to the man and how she voluntarily stayed inside the drunk woman to experience it with her? It was like a thoroughly inception-mind-stringing threesome. Plus, I was further surprised also by how Chris handled Ann kicking him out of the room. But maybe that’s just how some adults go about things haha.

    Personally, I like the this ‘fun’ part of the story before the crisis comes up in the story, which this ‘homeless’ guy seems to foreshadow. But I haven’t read the next chapter so I guess I can’t say that with some, or complete bias.

    Very interesting, look forward to chapter 6 !

    • I am glad that you saw this chapter to be “fun.” I was worried that some readers might feel it was inappropriate to use a combination of sex kama humor, and what seemed to be a lecherous man taking advantage of a drunk in woman. At first it certainly seemed that way. But I was hoping that readers would be okay with it when they realized that the couple was married and just having fun.

      Chapter six should be here somewhere around 1 or 2 p.m. today. New York time. I hope your enjoyment continues. Thank you again, and again.

      • Well everyone does have they own sense of boundaries, but I think it has been said that great artists a lot of the times comes up with even more vulgar sayings incorporated between traditionally great words? I for one am one for the fun and it just took a matter of perspective from a different person’s upbringing and life to not get too personally bothered by Ann and her indulgences. At least I was glad it was not a rape scene.
        I’ll be back ! (:

      • yes, there is some indulgence here for ann, and she seemed to enjoy it. her sexuality will come out more later.

        i’m sorry about the lack of sleep i may have caused you, or maybe it had already happened, in which case it wasn’t my fault, but i can still be sorry that you had to deal with it.

        either way, your attention to these chapters is purely a gift, and i graciously accept that gift. thanks and thanks again.

      • Oh it’s totally alright! I consider it more worthwhile of my time then indulging in my own OCD of properly organizing and naming my songs on my phone..
        That’s intriguing to hear! It’s fun discovering the characters (:
        You are very welcome Rich, keeping the Duck entertained, I must thank you !

      • there is nothing to thank me for. i have the easy part. write down what i “see.” you have the hard part. reading through it. thanks ducky.

  5. Hi Rich
    I wrote notes as I went along this time:
    Lots of repetition in first para: about, smaller, emptiness-empty, thoughts and things to think about.

    I like the tease with the door!

    Some overly descriptive bits: ‘glanced in various directions, up down, left right, past the booth’

    Love the description of them entering the door – the ‘child entering a swimming pool’ was brilliant!

    Q1 – the ghost rules so far are confusing – they can feel some things but not others, I think you need to define how it works. Is it their thought processes that define whether something is solid to them or not?

    Q2 – I thought the sex scene was bordering on pervy but also a lot of fun so I’m torn. I think it would work better if we thought of Ann as a sexual person – maybe if she’d gone ‘into’ a bloke before when she was trying people on for size, or made a smutty comment – something to make us feel like she likes a bit of the other (as we say over here).

    This was my favourite chapter so far – it flowed brilliantly and we’re starting to get to know Chris and Ann.

    I have another question, though. Out of all the names in the world, why did you choose those two? For me, they’re not very memorable – I’d go for something that stands out a little – not as outrageous as Cinnamon Sky (that one’s mine anyway 🙂 ) or Tarquin, but maybe Jerome and Deborah or something?

    Looking forward to the next chapter.

    Oh, and if you fancy a break and a two minute giggle, pop over to mine, I posted my Friday Fiction yesterday 🙂

    • repetition is something i’m having an issue with, as it’s been mentioned a few times. i think the words just start to blend together and i don’t realize how often they’ve appeared, but i clearly have to work on that. thank you so very much for picking that up.

      as for the left-right up-down, i added that at the end before posting because i wanted the character to appear to not notice chris and ann at all.

      as for ghost rules, i wanted there to be an appearance of rules but without explanation, and the explanation would come soon, and then the reader could retroactively apply them to explain what has been seen so far.

      as for their names, i wanted “chris” to be sort of androgynous, didn’t want him to be a “manly” kind of guy, so i used a name that wasn’t very “tough” sounding. as for ann, i wanted her to be very basic, but maybe that was too basic. i also wanted something short and easy to type because i could always replace it later.

      i will get over to the fictioneer post. thanks. and thanks double triple for the very valuable advice, suggestions, and attention. happy friday to you.

  6. Chris + Ann = Christian

    Keep going…so far I’m enjoying your exploration with these two, but one thing does trouble me. If you’ve already posted this so long ago…why on earth are you asking for our input? Why not go ahead and work on getting it published.

    As for Ann’s character, she seems a bit of a wild-child at heart and maybe needs Chris to ground her….just saying.

    Perhaps, when the two of them realize they are soul mates that’s when the real sparks will fire.

    • ann is a wild child who’s been held down for a long time. and her inner self is coming back again. in the previous version, that did not exist so much, which is part of the unbelievably great amount of help that you and others are giving me. and that’s also why i haven’t tried to publish it yet. because i know it isn’t totally ready in its current state, but you aren’t really seeing the “current state” because i’m revising each chapter before posting, and then adjusting again according to comments.

      also, the ending is currently weak and rushed. I need to add one, maybe two more chapters to the end, but i will get a better feel of what to add based on these revisions. i hope that answers everything, but if not, please ask me to clarify. and happy friday. and thanks double thanks again for your generous help.

    • i posted the whole thing about a year ago, got some feedback, but not much help. just things like “great job” which was worthless, mostly. about six months ago someone asked me to send them the whole thing, was a published writer who had experience. that person got about halfway through and quit because that person writes non-fiction, and this wasn’t interesting enough for them. so i didn’t mind, but that’s where i got some feedback from someone else, which i’ve referred to a few times.

      • Where is the original version? I’d enjoy reading both versions to get a better perspective on what you are aiming to accomplish and why.

      • what i’m aiming to accomplish is improving the story, but of course you know that. i’m trying to fix point of view issues and tighten up scenes that aren’t clear as to purpose or action. i’m also trying to add more description, less dialogue, because i tend to lean on dialogue too much.

        for you to read previous drafts wouldn’t help, but it’s very nice that you want to. i don’t keep previous drafts because it can cause confusion about which is the better draft. but thanks again for asking.

      • How long have you been reading?
        How long have you been writing?

        Those are two very important questions to ask yourself when writing your story.

        Take the Man in the Sea, The Life of Pi, and Castaway. The basics of the stories are very similar. The authors made each story their own. Taking our opinions and perspectives is all and good, but when does the story become your own when each of us have given our two cents to the point you change it?

      • you aren’t changing the story. i may be writing things like “a guy went over there and did that.” but in my head, i might be thinking “chris walked over to the bar and poured a drink.” there is always more in a writer’s head than makes it on the page, so i need help to find out if what’s in my head is making it out.

        of course, that’s an extreme example, but i made it that way to more illustrate my point. so, you and others are not changing the story. you are helping to make sure i’m telling the story that i have in my head. mostly.

      • Okay, why didn’t you correct me when I referenced the sirens to Christmas in July or Chris + Ann = Christian, if those aren’t the same perspectives as yours?

      • chris + ann = christian is a coincidence. and it’s interesting, especially because someone suggested i change their names. now that you brought that to my attention, it is a good reason to keep it. but there is nothing to correct about it. same with the sirens. perhaps i should have acknowledged that. sorry.

      • That is what I mean, if one of us comes up with a different perspective that differs from yours does not make any of our perspectives wrong. There is only so much control the writer is going to have over his/her audience. Our personal life experiences are what directs us to take the journey through any book. (just saying)
        You are a fantastic writer, at least try to have a little more faith in your own abilities to portray a story in the way believe it should go.

      • i’m not changing how or where a story goes. i’m just getting help to make sure that readers can “hear” what i’m “saying.” fantastic? thanks very much.

      • Yes, Richard…I think you are a fantastic writer at least try to have a little more faith in your own abilities. You do that a lot. Self doubt is detrimental.

  7. The conversation between Chris and Ann in the first part of the chapter is very good, it shows some confusion and changing perspective.

    I am not bothered the rules haven’t been clearly established, but I would have liked to see both Ann and Chris more curious. I would like to see their emotional center tipping over a bit.

    The sex scene, it does bother me. Initially Ann believes she is entering the woman to save her, yet her reaction is one of pleasure or eagerness. Any woman would be disturbed by the situation. That she has entered this woman, she should have seen this man is actually her husband, this revelation should be what allows her to sink into enjoying the moment. If she cannot find this in the woman’s psyche then she should be enraged by the actions of the man. The discovery they are a couple should not require Chris telling her based on a picture.

    • yes, i see what you mean, but maybe the woman was too drunk for ann to have seen through her thoughts in order to know. well, that’s my best guess of my own work. but i see your point, and i will have to reevaluate just in case. thanks so much for your attention and time.

  8. Question 1: The “ghost rules” have not been clearly defined yet but will be in the next chapter. Do you have any suggestions, warnings, preferences, recommendations about ghost rules either here or in other stories?

    I look forward to seeing the “rules” defined. Just don’t make it like it’s some sort of secret society in the way that Stephanie Meyer did with Twilight and the vampire “rules”.

    Question 2: Was there anything “wrong” (opinion, of course) about the sex scene? Do you feel Chris and Ann handled it well, or was there anything that bothered you?

    They did what any normal human would do in trying to intervene, the only thing which could have made it “wrong” would have been if Chris had entered the man’s body. I don’t need to finish painting that picture I’m sure!!

    • i know what you mean about painting that picture. but there may be more “pictures” in future chapters…

      thanks so much for your help. again and again.

  9. Just one little comment: “I need to lay down” and two lines below “You can lay down” –> that should be “lie down”

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