The Airbus 320 (320) V1 was flying high above the soft blue sky that resembled a calm sea. Enjoying the beautiful view, Manya noticed something like a scooter under the left wing of the plane, drawing a path in the distance. A silver-coloured plane, ripping the heavenly ocean. Gathering speed, the strange jet caught up with the Airbus 320 and continued forward, just below its wing.
The sky was still blue and without stars, without sun, without a moon.
The two planes moved parallel to each other, without worries, like birds flying freely and beautifully.
Slight engine noise was drifting in the aeroplane cabin, flat, lulled. The sky “spoke”—a world of clouds began to change from blue to white, from white to charcoal grey, until they completely covered the silver plane. Manya was seated at the very back seat, 30A, and she was looking for the silver plane, but it seemed to sink into one of the clouds. Her gaze jumped from cloud to cloud, but there was no sign of the metallic silver bird. The girl did not dare to ask any of the passengers about the silvery bird flying nearby. She had a photographic memory, and she had sealed every detail of the plane—from the sharp nose of the plane and its thin elongated wings, up to the similar of a curved back of a fish. She kept her mobile phone firmly in her hands after she managed to take a photo through the small window of the plane from her seat 30A.
The landing was soft, like a feather touching the ground early in the morning. A cool sea breeze stroked the matte skin and scattered the dark-brown hair of the teenage girl who had arrived in her hometown. The taxi stopped in front of a metal gate with chess squares drawn on it. Satisfaction was written on Manya’s face, and a tiny thrill grew, almost like a childish sensation.
The smell of hyacinths, as well as the colourful blooming violets, filled her heart with joy and love for everything in this yard, in this house.
The news on the television at ten a.m. was full of the usual reports of politicians, frauds, hospitals, and wars. “BREAKING NEWS” appeared as red-coloured subtitles on the TV screen. Then a message followed: “An unidentified plane was spotted at two-thirty this morning parallel to an Airbus 320. When Earth Control tried to contact their crew, the plane vanished without any trace.”
The girl shuddered; her gaze froze on the TV screen. She had her favourite drink of hot milk with cocoa, grabbed her cell phone, and rushed out toward the observatory. There, the professor’s warm eyes looked at her curiously.
“I know why you are here so early,” the professor said. “I heard the news, but I’m waiting for you to tell me what happened.”
Manya embraced the old man, handed him a box of chocolates—his favourite, cherries with liquor. Her little fingers tapped the screen of the Android phone impatiently, searching for the picture of the silver plane. She bit her lip when she saw that the picture she took didn’t show the strange silver plane but a big, grey cloud.
“But I saw this strange aeroplane,” Manya said, confused. “A metal machine with a sharp muzzle, thin wide wings, and a body with a curved back like of a fish.”
The professor followed the story of his student, approached his desk, and switched on his hand-assembled laptop. All his students knew the password, “Eureka 007.” His eyes stared with anxiety, and he tapped nervously on the keyboard. He opened files until he eventually came to a file called “Phoenix.” A picture appeared—it was the one that Manya had taken with her Android phone from her seat 30A while watching through the aeroplane window. The beautiful silver aircraft filled the screen.
The professor turned on the projector-lights so stars and constellations were on the ceiling of the planetarium. Manya glanced at the gleaming outlines, stars she already knew and studied with interest.
“You must be wondering how the picture from your phone has appeared on my laptop,” the professor said quietly.
Manya approached the telescope, glanced at scrawled sheets of notes around it with handwritten dates and times.
“Yes, that’s right,” the professor said. “I followed an object with strange movements in the last month with the telescope. It was always at two-thirty in the morning. I recorded everything and the sudden disappearance of the silvery object. I figured you were flying on the late flight at the same hour this strange object appeared every morning. I used a signal from the satellite Phoenix. Phoenix was sent into the universe by a group of scientists a quarter of a century ago. I manipulated its signal to record everything from your Android phone to my laptop. It was at two-thirty in the morning that I saw the photo you had taken from the plane. Your advantage is that you saw this plane with your eyes, and I saw it through the photo.”
The professor turned on the huge television on the wall as if in a portrait gallery.
Manya glanced at the screen below the starry “sky,” when her favourite spokesperson for the weather forecast appeared. “So breaking news in the weather forecast, there will be something between rain and snow, silver lights in the blue sky, and our ‘Earth Control’ services will not be able to detect it…”
It was followed then by a child’s drawing on the weather forecast screen: a silver plane with a sharp muzzle, thin wings, and a fish-like back. “This is a passenger’s drawing from the Airbus 320 aeroplane. The passenger drew the unidentified aeroplane you heard about in our breaking news. So, expect a silver breeze and a fresh march.” The synoptic ended with his usual sense of humour.
Manya looked at the professor. “You have a new student, Professor—the young artist from the plane Airbus 320.”
The laptop signalled, and the drawing of the young artist appeared on the screen.