Amelia Earhart Sees (Elegiac visions of the next world in the depths of the Pacific)

The silver skin of her Electra reflects the setting sun. The twin engines hum, steadfast lift is provided by the wings. The strange invisible waves of the radio beacon fly out across the ocean, far faster than the plane itself. Here among the tiny green islands and endless blue waters are beasts that wait in dark places. Her presence in the sky has stirred them from their slumber and in the deep the water churns. Her navigator hopes he has the right line of direction to safety; ugly eyes follow them. Ahead they wait.

Messages to the ship at Howland Island are received. But for some reason Amelia can’t hear their reply. She flies on in desperation. The fuel gauge’s needle hovers over the big red ‘E.’ She knows that eventually gravity will win, even the mighty destroyers of the US Navy were no match for it. As sure as time, her Electra powers off and glides down to the scintillating sea. But instead of crashing into the water, it dives smoothly beneath the waves.

“Fred, Fred!!” She cries out to her navigator in shock. “We’re still alive, how?” The hull of the plane remains airtight. Looking through the windows they can see the bright green slowly give way to dark blue, and finally to black. Fred watches, the whites of his eyes are seen in the glow of the radium dials of the plane’s instruments, “Out beyond there lies nothing” he whispers. Yet still the plane falls.

Diaphanous clouds of glowing jellyfish flood into view. Small, quick creatures flash lights through their bodies and dart in and out of the crowds. Black fish with enormous eyes hang glowing lures in front of their tooth-lined grins, and blue and green and red angels seem to float over their heads. Oddly, neither of them are afraid, they’re more interested than scared. Amelia asks to no one in particular: “Where are we going?” She takes the yoke of the plane and sets the flaps for a steep dive. The Electra plunges deeper into the Pacific.

They soon see a dim red glow. There are cracks in the sea floor. The bubbling heart of the Earth lies exposed between large cliffs of rock. The heat and pressure do not affect them. They fall directly into the chasm and are swallowed by lava. The cockpit is warmed by the glow of the magma. Fred looks at Amelia. “I suppose that we are heading to Hell, I never did find a reckoning for sin.” She looks down at her feet, closes her eyes. She talks without looking at him. “I don’t believe in Hell. Perhaps we will keep descending. Perhaps we will fall out of the world altogether.”

It was imperceptible, there was no change in direction, of gravity. The darkness came again. Until bright white light replaced it. They squinted and looked out the front windows of the Electra, the sun shown as a huge globe hanging in a field of azure. Nothing was above and nothing was below. The metal airframe slowly began to disassemble, aluminum panels orbited them as planets with screws as little moons. They were standing unsupported, unclothed, they felt cool air and stretched out their limbs. The sun became enormous and yet they could still look directly at it without pain or fear. Closer and closer they approached. All they could think was ‘love.’ All they could feel was God.

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