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Quantum Flight 888 is a 2017 psychological horror novel by Nathaniel J. Nelson. It tells the story of a flight from Boston to Los Angeles, on which several passengers die bloody deaths with no apart cause. QF8 is available on Amazon and a sample is available on Nelson's website.

Description[]

Almost fifty percent of Quantum Flight 888 consists of flashbacks, exploring the lives of the characters prior to their boarding Flight 888. While the characters' POV chapters are shuffled, their flashbacks are depicted in a reverse order, all of their first flashbacks being set within a week prior to the main storyline. This format changes in the fourth "part" of the novel, in which the characters experience unique fantasy worlds made up of objects and people significant to their lives, acting as the culmination of their flashbacks; in the fifth and final "part," the characters are given "flashforwards" to see how the events of the flight changed the course of their lives, and how the fantasy worlds affected their previous psychological troubles.

Plot[]

Flight 888[]

Part One[]

On June sixth, 2016, a Boeing 777 departs from Logan International, en route to LAX. Nearly every seat is filled, due to a last-minute promotion on the part of the ill-reputed Quantum Airlines. Neil Munster, a suicidal alcoholic, boards the flight only to escape New England, where he has lived his entire life. Delilah Arain, a YouTube personality, is traveling to Los Angeles for a callback on a film audition. Joshua Teller, a former archaeology student now working a deadend job, is returning home from his father's funeral in Boston.

Minutes after the plane takes off, a young woman begins shrieking, her eyes bleeding, and finally dies with no apparent cause. The situation is taken over by Eva Van Savage, a flight attendant and aspiring writer; Eva enlists Robert Noran, a doctor, to help her cover up the woman. The pilot and in-flight manager refuse to turn the plane around, and Eva is forced to lay the woman in the front row.

Delilah tries to involve herself in the situation, sitting with the woman's daughter until she is removed by Eva and Doctor Noran. Joshua's seat neighbor in third class, Craig Bennecker, volunteers him to check the next cabin and see what happened. Joshua and Delilah end up sitting together and theorizing on the woman's death. Meanwhile, Neil Munster drinks and begins feeling unsteady.

Soon, another woman dies and the passengers descend into anger and confusion. Eva and her manager, Joan, attempt to calm everyone, and eventually they all seem to accept that there's nothing to be done but wait. Delilah begins interviewing passengers, trying to find a connection between the two woman, but she finds nothing. She and Joshua are joined by Jessi Gibson, a college student and political activist, who joins them in theorizing. Meanwhile, Neil begins hallucinating his former student and lover, Maryanne Poore. It becomes clear that all four point of view characters believe themselves responsible for the deaths: Eva thinks she jinxed the flight via her recent airplane disaster novel, Joshua thinks he cursed the plane by bringing a stolen artifact (the hand of a terracotta soldier) onboard, Neil thinks his wishes for death are coming true, and Delilah thinks God is finally punishing her for breaking her childhood vow of chastity.[4]

Part Two[]

When Neil begins conversing with the dead bodies, believing them and everyone else on the plane to be Maryanne, Eva restrains him in the galley. Having a blowout argument with Joan, she quits on the spot, returning to the cabin and declaring that she is on the same side as the passengers, and that she believes the airline knows something about the deaths, hence the discounted tickets. She is confronted by Craig, who demands to know what's going on, believing Eva is in on the conspiracy. As they argue, seven more passengers die at once.

Jessi confronts the restrained Neil, who has lost his mind completely. After being reprimanded by Joan, Jessi reveals that she has been reporting every development on her massive social media accounts, and that the story has developed into national news. Craig and Joshua grab Joan and bring her to their cabin, tying her up. Joshua, Delilah, and Eva admit what they believe caused the deaths, all of which Craig laughs at. He threatens Delilah and is held at gunpoint by a woman who claims to be an air marshal. A now-free Neil Munster returns to the cabin, speaking coherently but cryptically, and pretends to shoot several people with a finger gun; when he "shoots" Eva, the finger gun apparently works, and she dies with a bullethole in her chest.[5]

Part Three[]

Caleb, the air marshal's young traveling companion, listens to all this occur, apparently hearing the thoughts of everyone else. He is then visited by a spectral girl who reminds him of his mission on the flight: to kill his father. Joshua overpowers the air marshal and takes her gun, moving Eva's body to the galley where he orders Doctor Noran to examine her and determine if there is a physical bullet in her chest. Joan, distraught over Eva's death, reveals that the airline did accept a payment from an unknown source, presumably the US Government, to transport some form of special cargo, though she doesn't know what this cargo is.

Returning to his cabin, Joshua confronts Craig, who has panicked and destroyed Eva's book as well as the terracotta hand. He threatens to kill Delilah – who claimed she herself was cursed – and Joshua begins to choke him out. In the next cabin, Delilah stands near a pile of corpses who begin to move, one of which revealing its face to be her father. Meanwhile, Jessi follows Caleb out of the cabin and sees the ghost girl commanding him to kill his father; Neil appears, revealing the girl to be Maryanne Poore, and himself to be Caleb's father. The plane apparently begins to disintegrate in the air as Jessi finds herself in a forest.[6]

Part Four[]

The characters all find themselves in their own separate fantasy worlds (a psychological theory brought up earlier in the book) where they're confronted by their pasts, forcing them to either die or accept what they couldn't before and move on. Delilah finds herself on an island ruled by a tyrant king (her fundamentalist father), who presides over all the men in her life and forces her to humiliate herself to make up for breaking her vow of chastity as well as selling nude photos when she was desperate. Delilah conquers her fantasy world when she confronts her father, telling him that she is allowed to have her own opinions and do what she wants with her body. Joshua appears in a dark labyrinth, one arm having turned into lifeless clay; he faces a sphinx and the god Anubis before being tried by a jury of old friends. He accepts that all of the wrong turns in his life were his own fault, and that he had only ever blamed other people.

Jessi wakes up in a colonial fair, where she meets several vendors and a woman heavily implied to be her estranged mother. She then enters a tent, where she confronts her childhood fear – a clown from a picture book – and realizes that her true fear is being viewed as a joke by those around her. Caleb finds himself in a cemetery, the headstones bearing the names of his fellow passengers, and is confronted by his father, now sane again. Neil tells him that he's special, and that he's proud of him, though he warns Caleb he has a hard road ahead. Neil then walks off to be with Maryanne, ready to accept retribution for his sins. Caleb then travels through all the others' fantasy worlds – including Joan's, where she subconsciously mourns Eva – before waking up on the plane.

Finding everyone else unconscious, Caleb forces himself to the cockpit, where he psychically manipulates the copilot's body into opening the door. He reaches into the copilot's memories and learns how to work the plane; speaking to ground control and absorbing new memories, Caleb is able to land the plane semi-safely at LAX. The plane is then boarded by men in black Kevlar, who knock Caleb unconscious and take him away as the others are being tended to by medics.

Jessi listens in on what appear to be two federal agents arguing, annoyed that no one realized Caleb's father was on the passenger manifest, and no one refused to put him on a plane with a cursed flight number. As Joshua wakes up, he realizes he killed Craig in anger, and silently apologizes. He reunites with Delilah on the tarmac, and they try to figure out what's going on. Doctor Noran is still caring for the first victim's daughter. Jessi gives Joshua the pieces of the terracotta hand she was able to smuggle away from the plane. Joan collects the pieces of Eva's book. At some point, Delilah and Joshua decide to sneak away from the crowd and escape LAX.[7]

Flashbacks[]

Delilah[]

  • Twelve hours ago – In Boston, Delilah Arain receives an email offering a callback on her failed movie audition. To her disappointment, she has to sell the van she's been living in to make it to Los Angeles on time. At the airport, she meets Joshua.
  • Twelve days ago – In Los Angeles, Delilah auditions for a movie role, with the recommendation of Johnny Martin, a film producer she slept with the night before. The audition goes terribly, and Delilah leaves California in disappointment.
  • Seventeen days ago – Delilah arrives in Los Angeles and goes to a bar, where she meets Johnny Martin. They sleep together in his penthouse, and he decides to recommend her to his director.
  • Three years ago – While staying in Centennial, Wyoming, Delilah receives word from her estranged father that her mother is dead. Shortly after, her cat Lily is struck by a car and killed.
  • Four years ago – Delilah (then Esther) graduates high school with no plans for her future. She is confronted by her father, who correctly interpreted an answering machine message from a boy to mean that he and Esther had sex. Calling Esther a whore and likening her to the Biblical Delilah, Jordan claims she has lost her soul to the Devil. Esther's mother comforts her, revealing that she doesn't believe in God, and that she only married Jordan to escape her miserable life in Pakistan. That night, Esther packs her few belongings and steals her parents' minivan, driving off into the night.
  • Four years ago – While Esther's parents are gone for the weekend, she gets a call from the son of her pastor, a surprisingly popular boy named Elijah Wells. He invites her to a party: a first time for her. She attends the party, where Elijah gives her her first kiss and she begins questioning her beliefs. After the party, she loses her virginity to Elijah, breaking her childhood vow of chastity.

Joshua[]

  • Five days ago – In Boston, Joshua Teller witnesses his father's funeral and can't help but wonder if his death is connected to the hand Joshua stole from a terracotta soldier in China.
  • Eight days ago – Returning to Boston from China, Joshua goes to the Museum of Fine Arts and meets with Oliver Witt, a connoisseur of supernatural artifacts, to ask if the terracotta hand could be cursed. Witt gives him a noncommittal answer and Joshua is left wondering.
  • Five years ago – Joshua, working a deadend job, is recruited by his friend to meet with his student, a child actress who has shown interest in archaeology. While on the set of her movie, Joshua meets Oliver Witt, a fellow Bostoner and paranormal enthusiast.
  • Seven years ago – While a student at the University of Southern California, Joshua presents a psychological theory of his to a professor. He later changes into his lower class persona (using the nickname Josh) to work at a sports bar. He accidentally outs himself as highly educated and intelligent to his coworker.
  • Eleven years ago – While a freshman at Hudson University in Maine, Josh spends much of his time walking around campus in anger, thinking back on his recent discovery that his parents hid his acceptance to USC for unknown reasons. He considers disappearing from New England and making a new life for himself away from his parents.
  • Sixteen years ago – Joshua's parents attend his parent-teacher conferences, and are told the same thing by all his teachers: Joshua is brilliant, but lazy and not committed to his education. Joshua recalls a day when he overheard his teachers saying the same to each other in private.

Eva[]

  • Eight days agoEva Van Savage wakes up in a hotel room, hungover and with a man she doesn't know. She remembers she drank the night before in disappointment after having her novel rejected by a major publisher. She resolves never to overdo it again, and to keep working till she reaches her goals.
  • Two months ago – Eva returns to her parents' mansion in San Francisco to finish her latest novel. Her father offers to make some calls to publishers, but she refuses, wanting to build her career without her parents' help.
  • Two years ago – Eva stays at a popular flight attendant home known as the Abbot House. While there, she has a work-related nightmare, apparently prophesizing Flight 888. When she wakes up, she decides to write the dream into a novel.
  • Three years ago – Eva returns to her parents' house for a visit and catches her mother in the throes of passion with another man. She later realizes that her father can't demand a divorce, or he would lose custody of his underage son.
  • Ten years ago – A senior in high school, Eva writes her final paper on the horror genre, delving into real-life supernatural experiences and the divide between horror movies and true paranormal activity. Her paper foreshadows and explains much of the novel's primary storyline.
  • Eighteen years ago – Eva is asked to stay after school by her fifth grade teacher, who confronts her about a horror story Eva wrote and left in her desk: this conversation directly mirrors Eva's conversation with Joan in the main narrative. Angry at her teacher's snooping, and unaware that she was impressed with the story, Eva leaves in a huff.

Neil[]

  • Four days ago – After being released from prison, Neil Munster arrives at a cemetery in Brunswick, Maine, where he sees Maryanne Poore's headstone, confirming she is dead. He attempts to shoot himself, but realizes that his punishment for his sins is living in constant regret.
  • Four days ago – Neil is released from prison and returns to his hometown of Bowditch, where he drinks at the local tavern and works up his resolve to see Maryanne. He goes to her house and is held at gunpoint by her mother, who tells him Maryanne killed herself. Realizing she isn't lying, Neil promises to do the same.
  • Sixteen years ago – A high school teacher in Bowditch, Neil is concealing a secret affair with his underage student, Maryanne. One morning the police show up at his house to arrest him; he runs, eventually making it to Maryanne's house, where he realizes she was the one who reported him despite their consensual relationship.
  • Sixteen years ago – Neil and Maryanne have sex at a local hotel before buying weed and smoking in an abandoned lot. Maryanne asks Neil to give her better grades, and he refuses, instead trying to lecture her about her current assignment.
  • Sixteen years ago – Neil is grading papers after school when Maryanne approaches him to invite him over for dinner. He accepts, and gets along well with her parents. Having drunk a lot, the Poores insist he sleep over; Maryanne takes advantage of this situation to seduce him.

Jessi[]

  • Three months agoJessi Gibson spearheads a student protest at Boston College against the administration's recent handling of a student's rape charge against a professor. While blocking traffic, the protestors are stopped by campus security, who bring Jessi to the Dean of Students. To Jessi's surprise, she finds out that the accused professor was a woman and the victim a man; she isn't sure how to react to this. After she is suspended, her father picks her up and informs her he's pulling her out of school and sending her to live with her aunt in Los Angeles.
  • Four years ago – Jessie finally manages to date her crush, David Gosselin, and their relationship seems perfect. When a trip to the circus brings up repressed memories of her childhood fear of clowns, David comforts her. However, just after they have sex for the first time, David breaks up with her. This contributes to her true fear: being seen as a clown by those around her.

Caleb[]

  • Eight hours agoCaleb Munster is confronted by federal agents in an underground bunker, debriefed on his task to take Flight 888 with his guide and to stay calm. The agents discuss the flight number and its alleged curse, but decide to ignore the implications. Caleb's mother, Maryanne, appears to him and reminds him that his real task is to kill his father, whom he previously lured to the flight via psychic.
  • One month ago – After being kidnapped from his grandfather's house, Caleb is interviewed by the federal agents. One of them, Martin Handle, flies into a rage when Caleb reads his memories and reveals that he wished his little brother dead and it came true, as well as his hidden pedophilia. Caleb, reacting poorly to his anger and cursing, accidentally kills him in the same was as the victims on Flight 888. After being tranquilized, he is approached by the ghost of Maryanne for the first time, and she tells him he has to kill his father.


Flashforwards[]

  • Delilah (ten years later) – Delilah and her husband, Truman Hardy, are alone in their penthouse suite. Delilah reflects on how Truman, a childhood fan of hers, resolved to marry her and built up his fortune with that goal in mind. She tries to watch a documentary about Flight 888 (partially created by now-Professor Joshua Teller), but Truman turns it off, not wanting her to keep reflecting on that night. Delilah reminds him that he married all her trauma along with her.
  • Joshua (five months later) – Back in China, Joshua returns the remains of the terracotta hand, wanting to make up for his mistake despite no longer believing in the curse. Returning to his hotel, Joshua continues working on an article he's been writing about Flight 888 – after that night, he decided to dedicate his life to studying the supernatural, finally finding his purpose.
  • Doctor Noran (seven years later) – Doctor Noran, who has now adopted Angel Moreland and become a general practitioner, arrives at the Van Savage mansion, where Christian Van Savage has finally agreed to meet him. Having become a recluse after his daughter's death and his wife's suicide, Christian is furious when Noran tries to explain the supernatural element of Eva's death; however, Noran proves that there was no bullet with her autopsy report. Christian and a now-grown Eddie begin to consider the supernatural element for the first time.
  • Jessi (six months later) – Jessi, now living in LA with her aunt, attends a paranormal activity survivors' meeting, though she believes she's the only one there who actually experienced the supernatural. Though she has been self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, Jessi feels more confident than she did before the flight, thanks in part to her fantasy world experience. While self-flagellating by Googling Flight 888, Jessi sees an article she hadn't before: a tell-all by Joshua.

Characters[]

(see List of Quantum Flight 888 characters)

References[]

  1. QF8 copyright page
  2. https://books.google.com/books/about/Quantum_Flight_888.html?id=2ICBswEACAAJ&source=kp_book_description
  3. https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Flight-888-Nathaniel-Nelson/dp/1982022582
  4. QF8 Part One: 11:07 – 1:30
  5. QF8 Part Two: 1:30 – 2:45
  6. QF8 Part Three: 2:30 – 3:30
  7. QF8 Part Four: 4:00 – 7:30
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