Jason Lawrence Bell
Stories
Search single story

03-10-20

03-10-20                   PUSH ARROW TO BEGIN AUDIO

Each day that passes without resolution is another day that the anxiety of the public expands and frantic demands for protection heighten. The media has fed the fire with speculations of disaster, and the government has spun their explanation until no one believes them. Finding a solution has fallen onto the shoulders of Patrick Hanifan, the senior official at NASA. His department oversees commercial and military flights throughout the United States. It has been three months since the initial reports began, and the volume of incidents has increased daily. Hanifan’s staff are exhausted and out of ideas where to go next. But they know they must persist.

The first report came from an overnight flight from Los Angeles to Britain. There were 347 travelers on board, of which five were babies under the age of two. Sometime later that night when most passages were asleep, everyone was woken by singing. The five babies had spontaneously begun singing a simple tune. A pretty melody that no one recognized. The younger babies could only hum the melody but the ones closer to two years of age could belt out the song over and over. The children over two years old seemed unaffected and stayed quiet.

The passengers were fascinated by the singing until the babies started acting strangely. It seemed like the babies could see something or someone in the cabin that the others could not see. The babies would look fondly in the air and reach their arms up as if asking to be picked up. They seemed to sing to the invisible whatever. Their behavior continued until the flight landed, then the babies stopped singing and began acting normal.

Later the parents of the children reported the babies became obsessed with airplanes and pictures of big commercial planes. One of the parents noticed when her child turned two years old the obsessions stop and everything returned to normal. Hanifan saw the aging out as a good sign, but the incidents on overnight flights were multiplying and the pressure for an explanation was growing as well.

The melody was becoming a public fascination. It was a simple phrase that seemed to be soothing and calming. Songwriters were trying to put words to the tune but nothing worked. It was best as a simple melody. With the calming power of the melody it began being used in yoga classes, stress reduction programs and even jails would pipe in the gentle tune. But the melody didn’t dampen the public fear of what is happening to their babies.

Mothers worried that their babies were becoming delusional and their minds have become predisposed to mental illness. What problems will they be faced with once they’re grown? What a situation. Babies were seeing invisible figures and their parents were imagining horrible illnesses. The parents also noticed that the children over two were beginning to sing the tune while playing. Hanifan held regular interviews with the children from the planes to measure progress. But now even the children who were not on the planes began singing the song while playing. When asked about the melody all the children responded the same, ‘it’s my melody. It’s for me.’ Almost word for word.

Hanifan reviewed the statistics of the children on the planes and discovered over one hundred babies have had the plane experience. Hanifan theorized that this may be a ‘hundredth monkey’ situation. The ‘hundredth monkey’ theory is the idea that once the hundredth monkeys learns a new task then the whole population of monkeys know the new task. Possibly the experience is now part of all babies.

Hanifan has learned that the airplane experience has ended. Babies have stopped seeing invisible people and raising their arms. Flights are now completely normal. This immediately takes the pressure off Hanifan, but he needs to present a report of the phenomena. The last sentences of his report read. ‘We may never know what caused the few months of strange actions by babies. Theories of oxygen levels in plane cabins, or mothers’ milk, or mass hysteria are without merit. The only thing that remains constant and unchanging is the melody. The children of all ages now sing it daily. It is a reminder that the children are still deeply affected by the experience of the plane children. A generation has changed but no one knows the extent of the changes. All we can do is watch them closely and see what they become.’ Peace**