The Catalyst: Part II

“Our descent into the abyss was paralleled only with our descent into madness. Who knew we would become capable of such chaos? In the fight for survival, no sin seemed too far.” ~The Memoirs of Doctor Earnest P. Mallory

A Citizen of Laurentia

The dark halls were littered with broken beams and shattered glass. The only light was the haphazard torrent of sparks at the end of the corridor that erupted rhythmically from a hanging, electrical conduit swinging back and forth, dragging it’s exposed wires across a puddle of dirty water. The periodic bolts of light scattered like bright daggers up the hall to greet me, poorly illuminating the destruction on it’s way. I had blacked out as the rig descended into the water. I remembered a massive jolt as I felt the concrete and steel supporting us all give way. I must have struck my head when the science ward smacked the surface of the ocean. I imagined it happening, as though it were a fat kid doing a belly flop – except this plunge would leave more than a red mark on my abdomen. It surely meant death for all of us.

When I came to, I was below a fallen steel beam looking up at mostly fractured glass – the only thing between me and the black, icy waters of the North Atlantic. I could sense the corridor’s large, industrial panes were struggling under the weight of an entire ocean. Fortunately, the beam’s weight was mostly supported by a cabinet – utterly destroyed from the impact. I was able to wriggle out from under it, and take in the scene. I suddenly became aware of my plight. I started to panic, as my heart raced and my breath quickened. I could feel the whole of the ocean closing in on me. I had never considered myself claustrophobic, but there was something about the knowledge of millions of gallons of water and at least 2 miles between me and a sustainable air supply that made me dizzy with fear. As I stood up, I realized the hall was not level. The whole structure was cocked at what must have been a 38 degree angle – though my equilibrium was so out of whack, it was hard to tell. I struggled to remain upright, and began to move myself slowly down the corridor – summoning what little courage I could find. Though, I’ll admit, I had no idea where I was going, or what I hoped to find. This was hopeless.

As I slowly inched along the hall towards the sparks of light, It occurred to me how miraculous my survival truly was. Why had we not been utterly crushed by the pressure yet? How much oxygen did we have?  How long would it last? How many survived the plunge? These were questions I would have to answer later. For now, I needed a plan. Do I just give up? No. The thought of being crushed and suffocated down here was horrific to me. I had to escape if I could – maybe the idea of living with my choices was horrible. Maybe I did deserve this, but this was no way to die. Not today. I had to find a way out and to the surface.


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