Home > Unbreakable (Shadow Falls: After Dark 0.5)(6)

Unbreakable (Shadow Falls: After Dark 0.5)(6)
Author: C.C. Hunter

Chase saw his father’s eyes fill with a mixture of anger and empathy. “Since it’s a twelve-year-old girl that’s been waiting for a kidney for four years and if she doesn’t get this one, she probably won’t make it for the next one. I’ve taken care of her since she was eight. I’m a part of the transplant team and the best nephrologist they’ve got. I’d like to be there to make sure she gets the best care she can.” He inhaled. “Look, I know you care about Baxter. I care about him, too. And I’m telling you, Jimmy will find him. Baxter is going to be fine.”

A part of Chase understood his dad’s dilemma with the surgery, but he could still let Chase stay. “Ask this friend of yours if I can stay with him.”

His dad shook his head. “I don’t trust … I mean, I don’t know Jimmy that well.”

Chase frowned. “If Baxter dies, I’ll never forgive you!”

His mom turned around. “Chase, let’s calm down. Your dad has complete faith in Jimmy. He’s our best bet right now.”

Chase didn’t want to calm down. He wanted to go back to the cabin. He wanted it so badly, his gut churned.

November 1, 2:30 p.m.

News Flash: Update

Emergency crew trying to reach plane crash site finds new route

The emergency crew trying to reach the wreckage of the plane flown by Dr. Edward Tallman with four passengers on board, has decided to try a different route due to the icy terrain. The crew reports that a new route has been mapped out, and they hope to reach the wreckage within the hour.

“However,” said Tom Phillips, Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer, “if this path isn’t workable, we’ll have to start back to make sure we can be back to safety before nightfall.”

Another SAR helicopter has flown over the site and reports no signs of life. Yet the town remains hopeful that when the team arrives at the crash site, this becomes a rescue mission and not just recovery. “But either way,” says Phillips, “we have a job to do.”

More updates will be made when available.

October 31, 4 p.m.

Chapter Six

Trying not to think about the girl who needed surgery, Chase prayed that the airport would tell his dad that conditions were too bad to fly. When the rental car company dropped them off at the airport, he noticed the temperature had dropped steeply. But his prayer went unanswered. And now they were in the plane, about to fly out.

His dad’s phone rang. He looked back at Chase. “I’ll bet that’s Jimmy with good news.”

Chase held his breath, hoping. Could he convince his dad to go back for the dog if they had found him?

His dad took the call, but whatever he heard the caller say must not have been good news because he wasn’t smiling. “Okay, thanks. I know you will.”

He stuffed his phone back in his pocket and looked back at Chase with regret.

Chase’s gut clenched tighter. Had something bad already happened to Baxter?

“Jimmy hasn’t found him yet, but he’s still looking. He promised not to quit until he finds him.”

Chase slumped back in his seat and looked out the plane’s window. A few snowflakes hit the glass pane. The six-sided pattern stuck, glimmered in the sunlight, then melted, turning into a slow moving speck of moisture.

All Chase thought about was if Baxter was getting snowed on. Or if he had gone back to the cabin and didn’t understand why they were gone, just like the last family that had abandoned him.

In a few minutes, his dad had permission to take off. Tami reached over and touched his shoulder. “My gut says this guy is going to find Baxter. I really think he will.”

Chase nodded and wished he could believe her—wished he could concentrate and relive their kisses and ponder all of the possibilities for them in the future. There was a lot to think about there, but instead the worry over Baxter weighed on his heart.

Looking up at his dad, he saw him glance up at the sky. Picking up his radio, he called to confirm it was safe to take off. Chase held his breath, thinking this might be his lucky break. No such luck.

His dad nodded, hung up, and told them all to turn their cell phones off. They were leaving. The storm was five hours away, his dad informed them. They would be safe.

At least that gave this Jimmy guy—someone his dad trusted with Baxter’s life but not Chase’s, which was not a good sign—five hours to find Baxter.

The plane took off with ease, the gray sky greeted them with a snowy mist. A few minutes later, Mindy put on her headphones and went into her music zone, but she met his eyes every now and then and he knew she was worried about Baxter as well. The heavy silence in the plane matched Chase’s mood. That mood plummeted deeper when a sudden jolt shook the plane. The unexpected jarring threw Chase against the cabin wall.

“What’s happening?” his mom asked, her voice heightened with panic.

“Downdraft,” his father gritted out as he fought to control the plane. But the small aircraft kept falling and being yanked up and down.

The cabin filled with loud shrieks from his sister and Tami.

“I got it. I got it,” his dad yelled over their screams in an attempt to put everyone at ease.

No ease came. The plane continued to fall. Fear swelled inside Chase as his dad fought the controls. The plane tilted at an angle. Tami’s shoulder came against his. She grabbed his hand, her grip amazingly tight. He gripped back. Determined not to let go.

“Watch out,” his mom screamed again. “The mountain! The mountain!”

Another jolt shook the plane. The wing must have clipped something. A loud crack, the shrill noise of metal being crunched, vibrated in Chase’s ears. Behind that hideous noise his mom called out, “I love you guys.”

That was the last thing Chase heard before everything went dark. Dark as in complete blackness. Nothingness. And because he feared what was coming, he went there willingly.


Chase was stuck. Caught. Trapped in the middle of something … of somewhere.

The darkness started to fade. He saw light. He saw … he saw his family.

“Are you okay?” he yelled out, not understanding why he felt this raw sensation that something was wrong. Not that they looked wrong.

Unlike him, they were in a tunnel. A tunnel of light. He didn’t understand. Why were they there, when he was … here? Wherever here was.

Worry. Panic. Terror. Emotions continued to swell inside him, and somehow he knew if he could get to his family, it would be okay. He would be okay. That he wouldn’t be stuck anymore. He tried to move closer to them, but something held him back. No, it didn’t just hold him back. It pulled him back.

“No,” he said, trying to free himself to go to them.

His mom looked up. Her mouth moved as if talking, but he couldn’t hear her. Then she waved him back, as if telling him to go. Not that he had a choice.

Whoever, whatever had him, kept moving him. His family was getting smaller and smaller. Why wouldn’t his mom want him to come with them? He didn’t want to be alone.

In the distance, he heard barking. Baxter. Thinking of Baxter brought on another wave of unexplainable panic. Why was he worried about Baxter? He squinted to see his dog was with his family. It didn’t seem like it. But they were so small now, maybe he just couldn’t see.

But the barking seemed to be closer than his parents and Mindy. He shifted his gaze looking for the dog. When he glanced back up at his family they were nothing but tiny specks in the surrounding light.

He could still hear the barking. “Baxter?” he called. “Where are you?”

Then he remembered Baxter was lost. Lost. And the storm was coming. His heart suddenly swelled with another memory. The plane. The … crash.

His heart pounded against his chest.




The light disappeared. Or that light did. Another light turned the inside of his eyelids red. He tried to open them, but they felt so heavy. Crusty, as if something had glued them shut.

Before he tried again, the pain hit. Pain in his arm. In his neck. His head. But amazingly, nothing else hurt. That’s when it hit him. It didn’t hurt because he couldn’t feel anything. He couldn’t feel anything below his chest. Not his legs, or his feet.

Forcing his eyes open, bits of white fell toward him. Snow. A flake fell into his eye and he blinked it away. More raw panic gripped his chest.

His parents? Mindy? Tami? He swallowed. His throat barely worked. He tried to raise his head. It hurt, but he did it anyway. “Mom? Dad?” he called, but the sound barely came out.

He blinked several times and tried to focus. All he could see was a mangled piece of metal that had once been a plane. The plane his dad loved. He called it Amy, named after his mom.

“Mom?” he called again and turned his head to see if he could spot anyone. He couldn’t. But then he saw the snow around the mass of mangled metal. It was red. Blood red.

He remembered the light. Seeing them in the bright tunnel. “No,” he screamed and tried to get up, but he couldn’t move his legs.

He dropped his head back in the pillow of snow. Hot tears rolled down his cheeks.

A wave of dizziness hit, bringing the blackness back. He embraced it.


Noise. Chase’s mind registered it. Metal scraping against metal.

He saw the red again on the back of his eyelids and forced his eyes open. Snow caught on his eyelashes, or was it ice? His face felt almost frozen, sort of half-numb.

“Damn it, Tallman. This wasn’t supposed to happen,” the voice boomed out of nowhere.

Chase used every bit of his energy to lift his head. He saw two men standing beside the red snow and plane wreckage. One wore a white coat. The other wore black, all black: black jeans and a black coat.

“I should have never involved him in this,” the man in white said, as if he was looking at …

Is he alive? Chase tried to speak but only air came out. Then again, he must have spoken, because the two men swung around as if he’d yelled the words.

“One of them is alive,” the man in white said. They both rushed closer, their footsteps crunching on the snow.

One of them? Only one? They were dead. His dad, mom, Mindy, and … Tami. He remembered the light.

November 1, 4 p.m.

News Flash: Update

Four confirmed dead in plane crash on Jasper Mountain Range

After a nearly six-hour trek to the crash site, the Search and Rescue (SAR) and Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) converged on the wreckage of the Cessna 210. Sheriff Ted Carter of Jasper County confirmed getting the report twenty minutes ago that four bodies have been found at the crash site of the plane flown by Dr. Edward Tallman and carrying four passengers. The friends and family of the victims already in Jasper have been notified. Identification of the bodies has yet to be made. But regrettably, the emergency crew does not anticipate finding any survivors. The crash site was worse than they had originally suspected, and it is believed that the last remaining passenger could have been thrown from the plane or is lying among the charred remains.

Sheriff Ted Carter was quoted saying, “On behalf of Jasper County, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the individuals who lost their lives today. As we continue to monitor the situation, our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those who were on board.”

More updates will be made when available.

Oct. 31, 4:45 p.m.

Chapter Seven

Had these men really said his family was dead? Chase let his head fall back down. No, he couldn’t accept that. Couldn’t believe they were gone. He fought to keep his eyes open, wanting to ask again—to beg them to be wrong. To save his family. The two men appeared over him. He tried to open his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Black spots, like fireworks, started popping off in his vision. He couldn’t make out their faces, but he saw their shapes.

Then he saw … he saw their eyes. Glowing. Bright lime green. What the hell was wrong with his vision?

One of the men crouched down beside him, the snow crunching beneath the heels of his shoes. It was the guy in the lab coat. Chase couldn’t make out his face, but he saw his eyes, still glowing, and the white coat.

“Damn it,” the man said, looking up at the guy wearing black who stood over Chase. “He’s a carrier. Did we bring gloves?”

“No,” the other man said.

The dizziness had Chase closing his eyes, but he listened. Their voices were distant—as if on a radio in another room. He tried to pick up his right arm, but couldn’t.

“We’re here, kid,” one of them said and Chase felt his body shift slightly as if someone was moving the snow from around him. “Damn it. If I touch him I risk activating the virus. He’s in bad shape. He wouldn’t be able to survive the turn.”

“I disagree,” the deeper voice said. “It’s his only chance to survive.”

“He’s too weak. It’ll kill him,” the other voice argued.

“Probably, but he’s dying anyway. Turn him and at least he has a chance. It might not be much of one, but it’s the best shot he has.”

He was dying. He thought hearing it would have caused him to react. He didn’t. He thought of the light tunnel where he’d seen his family. He wanted to go there.

Chase opened his eyes to tell them it was okay. He couldn’t speak but he stared at the blurry figures. One of the men passed something to the other.

Chase blinked the ice from his lashes and saw the man in the white lab coat holding a knife. Chase’s heart thumped once in fear. Then he watched as the man turned the knife on himself. He put the knife to his palm and gripped it. Blood, one drop at a time, dripped from his clenched fist.

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