D.E.P.T.H.

Professor Michael J. Thompson was going in and out of conscienceless, he felt his body moving, but he wasn’t controlling it. When he managed to shakes off the headache that he had gotten from the explosion he saw green tiles on the ground. The ground was wet like spilled bathtub water on the bathroom floor. He sensed that his hands were bound together by the wrist and that someone, or something was holding him up underneath his arms. He forced himself to open his eyes and looked to his right and saw what looked like a fishman carrying one of his arms. He looked to his left and saw another one, what were they? Their grip on his arms were tight as they dragged him on his tiptoes across the ground. His heart raced and his head throbbed before he fell unconscious again.

‘How’s it going?’

‘Daniel? I wasn’t expecting you, what are you doing here?’ Michael stopped examining the image on the computer screen and turned to face his son by the door to his laboratory.

‘Your been in here for days. The crew is starting worry.’

Professor Thompson was a map geographer. He was in his early fifties; his hair was greyed and scruffy. He wasn’t one who generally focused on his appearance to his fellow colleagues, it didn’t really bother him when he would walk past them in the galley after going out to get something to eat before going back work and he would hear them whispering to each other about his current lack of hygiene. His ex wasn’t an angel by any means and after a long court battle, he managed to win custody of his son Daniel, who was only five at the time and didn’t understand was going on at time. He studied very hard after the divorce so he could provide a better life for his son. He got the opportunity to map some of the most remote caves in the world and by word-of-mouth he got a job at D.E.P.T.H (Deepsea Explorer Personal Terrain Hexographer), a large company that wanted to use his skill and knowledge of mapping hard terrain so they could map the Mariana Trench.   

‘Yeah. Sorry I’ve been so busy trying to work out this data out,’ Thompson pointing to the screen.

Daniel walked over at looked at what his father was working.

‘Yesterday during the echo scans the sub picked up a tunnel hidden inside the wall. From what the echo showed it is empty.’

‘How big is it?’ Daniel asked.

Daniel had some other things to talk about, first he had to hear his dad out. He hadn’t spent much time with his dad since they both arrived on the Liberty three weeks. His dad trained him in deep sea diving, so he knew how to pilot the subs used to explore the Trench. In a way he followed in his father foot-steps as they were both men of the sea. His dad more on the science, with experience piloting subs as well, but not as much as he did. Since he began working his dad fifteen years ago when he sixteen, his dad got a contract to map the rivers of the Amazon. His dad didn’t know what the company wanted the information for but during that time Daniel had asked his dad on the working of the subs and after begging for weeks for his dad to allow him to try piloting one them.

During the dive, Daniel was in the pilot seat in the front and his dad in back keep an eye on him. They were suddenly taken up by a sudden current that took them off course and nearly crashed them on the riverbed. The subs at that time weren’t made of six-inch Lexan class to protect the pilot so one crack in the glass and they would have drowned in the sub as the subs were also heavier and less mobile than the current models. Their sub was spinning around in the current before the weight of the sub forced them out. They almost smashed into the rocks on the surface, Daniel managed to control his nerves long enough to pull down on the stick so they would head back up to the surface. His dad put his hand on his right shoulder and smiled at him. Daniel looked over his shoulder and smiled back, and since then he would log whatever hours he could get on the sub. When he was old enough, he went for his license through the military, which his dad had a contact and allowed him to take the test. He failed the first attempt due to nerves and almost wrecked the sub. His dad convinced his friend to give him another chance and with some guidance from his dad on controlling your nerves and reminding him of their first lesson in the Amazon he passed the test. Since then he has been working independent contracts for the government and he later pm opened his own business for training civilians and the military on driving subs from shallow waters to the deep sea of the Trench; not that many men could handle the pressure and isolation of the darkness of the Trench, but that was the way of things.

‘I would say it’s about the size of Manhattan.’

‘That big!?’ Daniel was shocked, ‘that’s kind of odd isn’t it. Aren’t most caves made up of tunnel networks and small inlets, which usually means an air pocket?’

‘Glad to know that you still remember somethings I taught you,’ Thompson smiled back at his son.

‘Look. I need to talk to you.’

‘What is it?’ Thompson asked.

‘You. Look…We’re, me, Carrie and the crew are concerned that you have spent to much time on the latest readings. Now I spoke to the captain and he granted my request for some shore leave and Carrie and me want you to come with us to the mainland for a few days and get some R & R.’

‘Shit. Is it that bad is it? I thought Captain Marz wanted this done asap? Thompson answered.

‘He does, but not at the expense of your health. So, will you take me up on my offer.’

‘Okay, okay. But before I do I want to go on one more dive tomorrow. After that I’ll do whatever you and Carrie want. A good wife is hard to find, believe me I know.’ Thompson shyly smiled.

Daniel didn’t answer back to that at first. He pat his dad gently on the back ‘I know. She is a gem, very rare and getting rarer these days. Okay I’ll see you off tomorrow and get some sleep otherwise you won’t be diving at all. That’s not from me, that’s from the doctor.’

‘No problem I’ll finish this then…’

‘Soon dad okay. Don’t make me get Carrie.’

‘Fine. See ya tomorrow.’

Thompson felt consciousness come back, he opened his eyes and looked at the humanoids that were still dragging him. Their faces looked like giant piranha head with rows of sharp teeth shaped like four-inch bone needles. Their eyes were black opals. They never didn’t make eye contact with him, they didn’t seem to even acknowledge him as their eyes were fixed at whatever was across the bridge they were now on. The ground had changed from earlier, green tiles. He looked down at his hands that were bound by some kind of coral that locked around his hands, holding them together by the wrist. He saw that he was in some kind of city.

The ceiling was so high that he couldn’t tell if he was looking at the night sky or not, the roof was blue, but with sprinkles of white light, it was in shades of blue and green. The air was humid and it agitated his nose with the smell of seaweed and fish. The city was made of blocks which appeared to be houses or something similar that appeared randomly around him and what he could see in the distance on either side of the bridge from where he was. whatever the order they had; he couldn’t think of what it was. It didn’t help that his head was still sore from the explosion from the cave collapse.

The fishmen were taking him somewhere, but he had no idea where or for what purpose; he felt his heart in his throat as his chest tightened, he took a quick glance and saw weapons on their belts. His best guess is that they were swords, judging by the handles that stuck out from the side of their belts.  

Ahead of him at the end of bridge was an alcove, built of the same material as everything else. Coral and small crustaceans and snails were littered everywhere even on his cuffs and the clothing of the fishman. The fishmen stopped several feet away from the end of bridge.

Two fishmen appeared, a little one that was running circles around them. The one on his right appeared male with long white hair that fell below his shoulders, he wore a mask similar to the fishmen carrying him, only more elaborate in design and the gems in its eyes were larger, almost like swimming googles. Whatever it was it was wearing sleeveless body armour exposing his bare muscular arms, black and bronze gauntlets and boots. And he held a forked spear in his left hand and his mate in his right arm. She wore a similar mask; with smoother lines and the gems for the eyes were like cat eyes. She wore a dark blue-green dress that covered her feet. They moved slowly towards him; like they had weights on their feet. They stopped three-feet away. The little ones looked like gremlin; standing two-feet tall with little stump like legs and tiny arms. It looked like one of the fishmen that were still holding him, its head was like a wild animal, a prehistoric predator fish with shark teeth and a single Dorsal fin running from the top of the head to the back. The gremlin was running around like a crazy animal, it was distracting Thompson as he tried to look at the eyes, or the gems of the male and female, trying to make some kind of eye contact with them.

The male creature spoke in a language Thompson couldn’t understand. Its words made sounded like popped bubbles. It pointed at him and then opened his arms in a half circle in some kind of gesture. Unsure of the situation Thompson looked down at the ground, trying to figure what he could do to let them know he met no harm.

An idea came to him when the gremlin run up to his left leg and wrapped its arms around it, its clothing was digging into his wetsuit. It looked up into his face, it smiled at him like something from a nightmare, it had a long clown like smile with small shark teeth, it was chilling. He lost his nerve and putting all his weight into his arms he smacked the small creature back, it rolled like a ragdoll by the two fishmen’s’ feet. The fishmen holding him for a moment loosened their grip at what just happened and he shoved the one on his left causing, causing it to fall off the bridge, he didn’t hear any kind of scream.  Not wasting the opportunity, he twisted his body, bringing his cuffed hands into the face of the other one, hitting it in the jaw knocking it over. He paused for a second to see that the male and female fishmen were looking at the small one, the female knelt down by it. Run you idiot, he turned and headed back across the bridge. He had to find his sub and hope the explosion didn’t seal off his exit.

His lower right leg went numb for a second then an agonizing pain shot up his leg, he screams as the pain reached his throat and as he fell face first to the ground. He sat up and glanced at his leg and saw a spear had gone from the back of his shin to the front; three teeth were sticking out of his shin. He went to grab the spear when the male fishman ran up to him to, face to face making him cower back. The fishman growled at him and its gem eyes although empty burned right through him. It ripped its mask off, Thompson was shocked. It was human and before Thompson could say anything, he was backhand, knocking him out.

Thompson awoke to find himself suspended in the air; arms spread out above his head. His arms were bound by the wrist by chains, he saw that he was in a large room with two massive doors in front of him. He the chains ran from his wrist to a large A-frame that curved down to the ground where he saw another fishman by a metal wheel that his chains ran into. The ground had the same tiles like before in a dark-green and beneath him thirty-feet below was a round large pool that took up half the room. He ran his eyes around the room, he saw skeletons along the dome shaped wall, they were human from the looks of it, while others were some cross breed between a human and shark; they were all missing their lower half.

His wounded leg was numb and sending messages of sharp pain to his throat, he wanted to scream, but he was cold and his energy was leaving his body, his blood from the exposed wound was dripping into the pool. By the door were the two fishmen he met at the bridge, they were watching him as he struggled to understand what was going on, the male had the spear back and holding it in his left hand. The female was cradling the small creature in her arms.

Suddenly a dark shadow appeared in the pool, getting Thompson attention. The shadow was of a massive shark. ‘NO, PLEASE, NO!’ Thompson yelled at the fishmen, the male and female ignoring his plight.

The water swirled like water going down a drain and huge head of a grey Goblin Shark burst out of the water, its mouth wide. It snapped its mouth mere inches away from Thompson’s feet before sinking back down. Thompson screamed again, but they didn’t listen. The fishman by the gear looked to the male and female. They nodded to it. It turned the gear anti-clockwise lowering Thompson closer to the pool.

The Goblin Shark launched again, biting on Thompson’s feet gnawing them off. Thompson bellowed in unimaginable pain. Blood poured out from his angles, now stumps.

They signaled again and he was lowered once more, this time they lowered him several feet. He tried to scream but the pain was too much, tears running down his face. He heard the water churned again, unable to bear to look down at the monstrosity that was coming again. The Goblin Shark surfaced; mouth open and bit down, swallowing half of him as it bit down shredding through his waist like it was nothing. He couldn’t scream, he wanted to but he had nothing. As his life drained and his vision went dark, he looked at the male and female and was sorry for what he had done. Moments before darkness took him his mind went to his son and that he would never see him again, he hoped that Daniel wouldn’t go down to find out what happened to, and then it ended.

Exiting the pit, the door closing behind them as their visitor was placed on the wall the queen, Maral looked to her he king, Jakul with their child still cradled in her arms, ‘when will it? It never seems to end.’

‘I don’t know,’ Jakul replied, trying to think of a solution. He couldn’t think of one, where were all these creatures coming from, the recent one looked like them. How is that even possible, he thought as he caressed the check of their daughter, ‘we’ll find a solution. I promise.’

The End?

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