Mike Nelson didn’t know which way was up. He looked around in the darkness and kicked himself for getting himself into this situation. An experienced diver like him! Rapture of the deep killed fools, it killed people who ignored the time, divers who went too deep for too long. But not Mike Nelson, for God’s sake!
But here he was, miles down in darkness, and he didn’t know which way was up.
He didn’t know anything.
He hung motionless in the darkness and thought about that. He knew a couple things. He knew that he didn’t know which way was up, and he knew that he wasn’t really Mike Nelson. He was just some diver who had gone too deep for too long, and that was that.
Aw, hell, he thought.
Rapture of the deep.
Diving is one thing. Making it back to the surface is another thing. But the first is no good without the second.
Mike Nelson, who wasn’t really Mike Nelson, looked around.
Fuck, seriously. He couldn’t see a thing. Nothing. No thing.
Then something, like, flashed.
Pretty far away, he thought, although he could’t really tell because it was really dark and his eyes might be playing tricks on him. But something flashed, like a bioluminescent fish out hunting. Or maybe krill closer by. They glow, he thought.
The diver had seriously no idea which way he was pointed. Hell. How long had he been down here?
He listened to the ocean. He could hear everything. The whole oceanic sound-effects record was playing all at once. The pinging of submarine sonar. The song of a humpback whale. The clicking sound that one fish makes. Crabs clicking their claws together in a catchy syncopated rhythm.
At least that’s what it sounded like. Remember, it was dark.
He listened to his breathing.
The hiss of his, of that thing that did the air. Starts with an ‘R’. Regulator. The hiss of the regulator. The roar of the bubbles passing his head, roiling up toward the surface.
It hit him. The bubbles go up. He just had to follow them. Slowly, of course, so the nitrogen dissolved in his blood didn’t form bubbles and give him the bends, but, yeah.
He lit a torch, briefly, and exhaled and watched where the bubbles went. He was glad he did, he was totally turned around. He got straightened out and turned the light back off because he didn’t want to attract anything large and carnivorous with foot-long teeth and shit.
Just as the light went off and darkness engulfed him, he might have seen something large and gray out the corner of his eye.
Jesus, what was that? His heart slammed in his chest like a rat in a coffee can.
It made him want to drop everything and swim to the surface as fast as he could.
He tried to keep down the panic. If it was a shark, it would already have eaten him. Right?
So that was something else he knew. Two new bits of information. Something gray was real close to him in the pitch darkness, and hadn’t eaten him. Also, now he knew which way was up.
What more could a guy want?