Friday, October 15, 2010

The Deep End.

The Deep End.

On the outside. Not sinking. Floating. Adrift. Surrounded by the pitch black sea. Eyes feel wider than is possible. Visibly focusing in…

In the distance I can make out the lines of the substation. I’m drifting farther and farther away from the small flickering lights. Square inside of a circular outlet blinking yellow. SOS. A call that I can’t answer as my body remains adrift. Eyes barely blinking as I can hear the alarm on the oxygen tank sound. Suffocation won’t be long as the intake on this suit is now disabled. Unable to stop it as my lifeless body runs rampant with this waking disease.

How can I leave them there like that?” It’s what I keep thinking as I seal off the bay doors and move down the hall.

Three are down in forward compartment and two more are in the next cabin. I don’t have any ammunition for my gun or I’d end their suffering. A state of frozen suspension. Perpetually hanging on between life and death as they line the corridors of this steel box. I realize it’s too late for them as I move toward the back compartment and find another two.

“Please shoot me.” One of them begs me as he slowly deteriorates into waking coma. Sweat beads off his forehead. His bloodshot eyes are losing focus as he reaches out his hand to beg for death. I back out slowly sealing off another door and head towards the next compartment.

It was supposed to be perfection. Living in the middle of an ocean surrounded by nothing. The only thing that could come between humanity and utopia was there. Something alive. Viral. There before the base went into the water. Before the dream that was ten years long and five minutes old. Whenever there is anything about human perfection it always leads to something going wrong. The Garden of Eden had an apple. Hitler hunted and killed the Jews.

The place is coming down all around me and every corner reveals another half corpse lining the thick metal halls. Every face is locked in never-ending horror as it watches the world move forward without being able to react. The only thing left to do is find the antidote and get out. The last place you want to be is a burning house without water.

Sick bay locks have been disabled. The doors are sealed from the inside and there’s no override in the exterior panel. There’s no time. The ship is failing quickly. Intermittent quakes rock the hull and have shorted out life support. Thermostats and temperature control are offline as the heat rises leaving the air a thickened state of wetness. The captain’s quarters should have a remaining pistol with a spare round or two. I double back to the rear compartment and step over the Second mate and another crewman. There’s no sign of life among these frozen zombies.

In the interior of the captain’s main cabin the ships logs are running overdrive. I can hear his conflicted statements about the plague.
“It’s Dr. Shelby’s theory that the virus is blood-borne.”
“Dr. Cladd disagrees with Shelby over the origins of the virus.”
 “Cladd believes the virus to be contained.”
“Shelby confirmed Cladd’s death was due to the virus.”
“Shelby took his life last night after further tests on crewman Grayson proved to be inconclusive”
“The virus seems to be an airborne pathogen.”
“Grayson is immune. A cure has been found.”
“Half the crew is dead. The other half has mutinied against us for the cure.”
“God forgive me…. forgive me…. forgive me…”

His last words echo across the comm. It’s like reliving the experience before they shoved me into the launch tube to get help. The mission to get help failed and the remaining crewman that fled have infected the outside. So I’ve returned for the antidote. The only thing that will save humanity from perfection.

As expected the captain’s pistol still has a few live rounds. I can see the empty casing next to his body. The hole in his head didn’t claim his life. I can see his eyes blinking as his head lies in the dry blood of the injury. Carefully I step over him and pick up the pistol. One round won’t make a difference to the door. I take aim and give at least one person peace.

The sick bay doors give quickly after I’ve put a round into the exterior panel. The interior should be empty. It’s not. There’s a handful of bodies laid out on the exam beds. I step into the room and make my way toward the medicine locker. Doc Shelby didn’t keep too many things on board. I can’t miss the antidote. It’s safe out in the open. Out in the open is where I should be looking… SCCCRKKK!

It’s the sound of the last breath of air I can muster out of my mouth before giving into the lack of oxygen. The small prick of the needle in my neck stings as I lose balance. My eyes look up as I’m falling and focus upward. Doc Shelby.

“I’m sorry to have to do this, but you can’t take that. Don’t worry I’ll synthesize enough for you to take back. However, I’m sorry. Unfortunately you won’t be going back the way you came.”

He administers two more injections while working on the antidote. I can see the quickness of his movements as I lay motionless.

“There have been others. There will be others. You can not stay. To call it sabotage, it's much more than that. There will be vials locked in the lower leg portion of your suit. The antidote takes thirty-three minutes to take effect. You’ll wake up in enough time to reach the surface. Again I am sorry for this.”

Three minutes and counting upward on the dial. It’s thirty-six now. I’m still tightly secure in this containment suit and rising. Slowly rising. Without motor function I can only estimate that I’ll reach the surface in time to experience the effects of the antidote.

“Will I be left here like them?” It’s all I can think as I rise slower and slower towards the surface I can not see. Motionless. Among them. Trapped between life and death. The deep end has consumed my eyesight as the yellow light of the substation no longer is more than a twinkling light in the dark abyss of ocean.

The Deep End. Another from earlier this year. Not sure when exactly. Not much to say about. A little inspired by a friend who hadn't seen a movie. Letting it stand. Thinking of Matisse. If you don't know the reference... not to worry. enjoy. kisses. m.

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