Inflight hallucinations


I have undertaken an epic trip to attend WorldCon in Kansas City, Missouri. This has involved many flights, and I knew things were going to get weird.

I didn’t think it would get weird quite so quickly.

These are my notes from the first three hour part of my journey, the flight from Christchurch to Sydney.

6.10: Journey is off to a great start. I have a row of seats to myself even though the rest of the plane is quite full. I got up at 3am, so now is the time for sleeping.

6.35: An elderly Chinese woman has appeared at the end of my row.

6.40: She doesn’t seem to want to communicate. All good.

6.50: She actually hasn’t moved at all.

7.00: Or acknowledged the flight attendant.

7.10: Still zero movement. She has stared straight ahead (I think, she has dark glasses on) since she appeared there.

7.15: In my head I’ve named her Li Jing. It’s the only Chinese name I actually know.

7.35: Li Jing doesn’t appear to be breathing.

7.40: What if she’s dead?

7.45: Holy shit I think she might be dead.

7.50: Or she’s a hallucination. I don’t want to ask her if she’s real just in case she says no.

8.00: No moving. No breathing. Li Jing is wither dead, a hallucination or a very realistic robot is standby mode. None of this seems very likely.

8.15: What if Qantas has ghosts? I didn’t consider the ghost angle.

8.40: Gah…I closed my eyes for a second and Li Jing is gone. I can’t see where she went.

9.00: I’m now worried I imagined all of this.

9.15 (I think, we’re now on Sydney time): I actually kind of miss Li Jing. She wasn’t a comforting presence, but she was quiet and for the last fifteen minutes I’ve been listening to a very noisy Australian man named Bruce give his opinion of many things. Come back Li Jing, I promise not to ask if you’re dead.

9.25 Goddammit Bruce.

9.27: Goddammit Bruce.

9.40: We’re landing. I no longer know what’s real and what’s not. Is this a dream? Why would my brain do this to me? Bruce is still talking.

I don’t even know what time it is anymore: I’m in Sydney airport waiting for my next flight.

Bruce is thirty five feet away.




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