One night a plane appeared out of nowhere, the only passengers aboard: thirty-six babies. As soon as they were taken off the plane, it vanished. Now, thirteen years later, two of those children are receiving sinister messages, and they begin to investigate their past. Their quest to discover where they really came from leads them to a conspiracy that reaches from the far past to the distant future—and will take them hurtling through time. In this exciting new series, bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix brings an element of suspense that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
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Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of the bestselling Shadow Children series, Palace of Mirrors, Running Out of Time, and many more novels. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio) She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
It wasn't there. Then it was.
Later, that was how Angela DuPre would describe the airplane -- over and over, to one investigator after another -- until she was told never to speak of it again.
But when she first saw the plane that night, she wasn't thinking about mysteries or secrets. She was wondering how many mistakes she could make without getting fired, how many questions she dared ask before her supervisor, Monique, would explode, "That's it! You're too stupid to work at Sky Trails Air! Get out of here!" Angela had used a Post-it note to write down the code for standby passengers who'd received a seat assignment at the last minute, and she'd stuck it to her computer screen. She knew she had. But somehow, between the flight arriving from Saint Louis and the one leaving for Chicago, the Post-it had vanished. Any minute now, she thought, some standby passenger would show up at the counter asking for a boarding pass, and Angela would be forced to turn to Monique once more and mumble, "Uh, what was that code again?" And then Monique, who had perfect hair and perfect nails and a perfect tan and had probably been born knowing all the Sky Trails codes, would grit her teeth and narrow her eyes and repeat the code in that slow fake-patient voice she'd been using with Angela all night, the voice that said behind the words, I know you're severely mentally challenged, so I will try not to speak faster than one word per minute, but you have to realize, this is a real strain for me because I am so vastly superior....
Angela was not severely mentally challenged. She'd done fine in school and at the Sky Trails orientation. It was just, this was her first actual day on the job, and Monique had been nasty from the very start. Every one of Monique's frowns and glares and insinuations kept making Angela feel more panicky and stupid.
Sighing, Angela glanced up. She needed a break from staring at the computer screen longing for a lost Post-it. She peered out at the passengers crowding the terminal: tired-looking families sprawled in seats, dark-suited businessmen sprinting down the aisle. Which one of them would be the standby flier who'd rush up to the counter and ruin Angela's life? Generally speaking, Angela had always liked people; she wasn't used to seeing them as threats. She forced her gaze beyond the clumps of passengers, to the huge plate glass window on the other side of the aisle. It was getting dark out, and Angela could see the runway lights twinkling in the distance.
Runway, runaway, she thought vaguely. And then -- had she blinked? -- suddenly the lights were gone. No, she corrected herself, blocked. Suddenly there was an airplane between Angela and the runway lights, an airplane rolling rapidly toward the terminal.
"What now?" Monique snarled, her voice thick with exasperation.
"That plane," Angela said. "At gate 2B. I thought it -- " What was she supposed to say? Wasn't there? Appeared out of thin air?" -- I thought it was going too fast and might run into the building," she finished in a rush, because suddenly that had seemed true too. She watched as the plane pulled to a stop, neatly aligned with the jetway. "But it...didn't. No worries."
Monique whirled on Angela.
"Never," she began, in a hushed voice full of suppressed rage, "never, ever, ever say anything like that. Weren't you paying attention in orientation? Never say you think a plane is going to crash. Never say a plane could crash. Never even use the word crash. Do you understand?"
"Okay," Angela whispered. "Sorry."
But some small rebellious part of her brain was thinking, I didn't use the word crash. Weren't you paying attention to me? And if a plane really was going to run into the building, wouldn't Sky Trails want its employees to warn people, to get them out of the way?
Just as rebelliously, Angela kept watching the plane parked at 2B, instead of bending her head back down to concentrate on her computer.
"Um, Monique?" she said after a few moments. "Should one of us go over there and help the passengers unload -- er, I mean -- deplane?" She was proud of herself for remembering to use the official airline-sanctioned word for unloading.
Beside her, Monique rolled her eyes.
"The gate agents responsible for 2B," she said in a tight voice, "will handle deplaning there."
Angela glanced at the 2B counter, which was silent and dark and completely unattended. There wasn't even a message scrolling across the LCD sign behind the counter to indicate that the plane had arrived or where it'd come from.
"Nobody's there," Angela said stubbornly.
Frowning, Monique finally glanced up.
"Great. Just great," she muttered. "I always have to fix everyone else's mistakes." She began stabbing her perfectly manicured nails at her computer keyboard. Then she stopped, mid-stab. "Wait -- that can't be right."
"What is it?" Angela asked.
Monique was shaking her head.
"Must be pilot error," she said, grimacing in disgust. "Some yahoo pulled up to the wrong gate. There's not supposed to be anyone at that gate until the Cleveland flight at nine thirty."
Angela considered telling Monique that if Sky Trails had banned crash from their employees' vocabulary, that maybe passengers should be protected from hearing pilot error as well. But Monique was already grabbing the telephone, barking out orders.
"Yeah, Bob, major screwup," she was saying. "You've got to get someone over here....No, I don't know which gate it was supposed to go to. How would I know? Do you think I'm clairvoyant?...No, I can't see the numbers on the plane. Don't you know it's dark out?"
With her free hand, Monique was gesturing frantically at Angela.
"At least go open the door!" she hissed.
"The door to the jetway!" Monique said, pointing. Angela hoped that some of the contempt on Monique's face was intended for Bob, not just her. Angela imagined meeting Bob someday, sharing a laugh at Monique's expense. Still, dutifully, she walked over to the 2B waiting area and pulled open the door to the hallway that led down to the plane.
Nobody came out.
Angela picked a piece of lint off her blue skirt and then stood at attention, her back perfectly straight, just like in the training videos. Maybe she couldn't keep track of standby codes, but she was capable of standing up straight.
Still, nobody appeared.
Angela began to feel foolish, standing so alertly by an open door that no one was using. She bent her head and peeked down the jetway -- it was deserted and turned at such an angle that she couldn't see all the way down to the plane, to see if anyone had opened the door to the jet yet. She backed up a little and peered out the window, straight down to the cockpit of the plane. The cockpit was dark, its windows blank, and that struck Angela as odd. She'd been on the job for only five hours, and she'd been a little distracted. But she was pretty sure that when planes landed, the pilots stayed in the cockpit for a while filling out paperwork or something. She thought that they at least waited until all the passengers were off before they turned out the cockpit lights.
Angela peeked down the empty jetway once more and went back to Monique.
"Of course I'm sure there's a plane at that gate! I can see it with my own eyes!" Monique was practically screaming into the phone. She shook her head at Angela, and for the first time it was almost in a companionable way, as if to say, At least you know there's a plane there! Unlike the other morons I have to deal with! Monique cupped her hand over the receiver and fumed to Angela, "The incompetence around here is unbelievable! The control tower says that plane never landed, never showed up on the radar. The Sky Trails dispatcher says we're not missing a plane -- everything that was supposed to land in the past hour pulled up to the right gate, and all the other planes due to arrive within the next hour or so are accounted for. How could so many people just lose a plane?"
Or, how could we find it? Angela thought. The whole situation was beginning to seem strange to her, otherworldly. But maybe that was just a function of being new to the job, of having spent so much time concentrating on the computer and being yelled at by Monique. Maybe airports lost and found planes all the time, and that was just one of those things nobody had mentioned in the Sky Trails orientation.
"Did, uh, anybody try to contact the pilot?" Angela asked cautiously.
"Of course!" Monique said. "But there's no answer. He must be on the wrong frequency."
Angela thought of the dark cockpit, the way she hadn't been able to see through the windows. She decided not to mention this.
"Should I go back and wait?..."
Monique nodded fiercely and went back to yelling into the phone: "What do you mean, this isn't your responsibility? It's not my responsibility either!"
Angela was glad to put a wide aisle and two waiting areas between herself and Monique again. She went back to the jetway door by gate 2B. The sloped hallway leading down to the plane was still empty, and the colorful travel posters lining the walls -- "Sky Trails! Your ticket to the world!" -- seemed jarringly bright. Angela stepped into the jetway.
I'll just go down far enough to see if the jet door is open, she told herself. It may be a violation of protocol, but Monique won't notice, not when she's busy yelling at everyone else in the airport....
At the bend in the ramp, Angela looked around the corner. She had a limited view, but caught a quick glimpse of a flight attendants' little galley, with neatly stowed drink carts. Obviously, the jet door was standing wide open. She started to turn around, already beginning to debate with herself about whether she should report this information to Monique. Then she heard -- what? A whimper? A cry?
Angela couldn't exactly identify the sound, but it was enough to pull her on down the jetway.
New Sky Trails employee saves passenger on first day on job, s...
"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.
Descripción Hodder Children's Books, 2009. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0340970669