They were somewhere between LAX and Sydney, way out over the Pacific Ocean, when the plane hit rough air. The boys were both asleep, finally, and Karen lay in a waking doze, drained of all energy yet too wired to submit to sleep.

It was a relief to see them unconscious. They’d been awake so long, passed through so many time zones, that both boys had lost it completely. They had become so feral that even the endless loop of movies and TV no longer subdued them. But now Dylan was curled beside her with his head in her lap, snuggled under the airline blanket, one small, sock-less foot poking out from beneath. Torin lay rigid as a plank, mouth wide, with his head against the window-blind. The arm of Karen’s seat was up and dug painfully into her shoulder with the sudden dip and shudder of the plane.

Karen had never before confessed this to herself, but she was terrified of flying. For the sake of the boys, she had pressed down her true feelings, wore a brave expression she hoped concealed how tightly she gripped the armrest as the plane peeled from the runway, how her belly churned each time, as now, they hit a bad patch of turbulence…

Read more in the anthology Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, edited by Sarah Read. Illustrations by Carrion House.