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Flash Fiction: Under the Water

Darius is a former high school literary and feature writer with a BS degree in Information and Communications Technology.

Photo by Sarah Lee via Unsplash

Photo by Sarah Lee via Unsplash

Studies have shown that a handful of spaces below the surface of the ocean had been only discovered. Five percent, to be exact-approximate, according to those that study the field for years and years. People from all over the world, in every continent, have ventured in these perilous yet majestic biomes, looking for vast knowledge with each and every made discovery.

We in the scientific community had heard of this news and read articles of people dipping their feeble feet in the shores until they swam and swam to the middle of the ocean, only to be dragged by the waves, with some pretty much put away covertly by "officials" that investigate these missing people and silencing those that seem to know them. Some of us in the scientific community had found these coincidences to be, rather, preposterous. For you see, the report of such anomalies, anomalies that could hinder our progress oceanic expansions, mere bumps that could stop our operations of discovery.

But some I never thought I would wish to remain undiscovered for eternity, for may the heavens bless their souls if they ever, even try, to discover it.

We were the last voyage of a government-led mission in the Pacifics during the cycles of Summer through Winter. The conditions were seemingly best, according to weather statistics, in these parts of the blue, unexplored world. Low waves and minimal tides on the seashore can be seen, perfect for those bathing in the saltwater of the beaches, and the sky is as clear as mirror-made porcelain glass laced with bits of soaring clouds. But we are not those who'll stick on the surface of the great blue, looking at floating missing objects, sightseeing discarded chunks of melting Antarctic polar ice caps, or lost people from the shores; we are "excavators" for new scientific artifacts, most are pieces of weaponry, left to be uncovered from the depths of the oceans, untouched by the land-dwelling majority, awaiting to be recovered for the better future. And though outer space travel is much recognizable by the mainstream media, we will never let ourselves be in the spotlight until a specialty is unearthed from the deep depths. For you see, these missions are so exclusive that they made us sign multiple layers of cotton-made contracts and affirmations.

We don't know what the government was doing with these old things, but they were very eager for us to sought out every nook and cranny to scour for seemingly useless objects.

There were three of us during one particular mission, with each boarding a semi-high-tech-mini-submarine created by some of our specials, communicating through three-way specific radio wave frequencies. The aquatic vehicle is made and specialized to survive even the intense pressure and to withstand the ever-freezing temperature of the underwater as it descends to an almost endless void of space, darkness, and nothingness.

On one of our missions dedicated to finding lost "things" that sank during the greatest wars humanity had faced, looking for lost crafts and artifacts of the past, and archaic antiques for local, international, and illegal bidders to fight for, we received a lead from an unknown agency, possibly controlled by the government themselves, that an important artifact was to be recovered while it lied hidden within the depths for god-knows-how-long.

When we descended from our starting coordinates, it was if having the other missions we have had in the past. But you could feel our excitement and anticipation inside the compartment of our vehicle as we slowly burrowed through thick layers of cold, shivering saltwater.

A few hundred meters below and we could still see blooming underwater ecosystems usually made up of species of schools of fish and almost bottom-feeding crustaceans and colorful coral fields that looked like paintings.

Nothing unusual.

A few more hundred meters and we observed that the sunlight was beginning to lose its power. Only a few species thrive in such an open space of blue and sky. We communicated with each other as we continue our descend, further intensifying our expectations for what may be concealed in the underwater.

Photo by Will Terra via Unsplash

Photo by Will Terra via Unsplash

Our hundreds of meters of going down turned into thousands, and thousands continued more until we see nothing but the lights of our vehicles and the pitch, black abysmal water. And when we finally reached our desired destination, we scoured the seabed like bottom feeders looking for dead fish that fall from our above. We molded the floors of the undersea like chilly, dark-ish clay, playing with them as we monitor our screens for potential treasures. We've heard of tales, histories, on how late explorers would find treasures in these dismal locations, treasures of riches and gold and diamonds told by the pirates that once roamed the seven seas. But we were never there to look for such valuables; we were there to look for any lost objects our land-dwelling chiefs are eager to find. "So valuable they could kill," noting what one of our officials said to us.

A few hours later and one of our companions found something unusual that words couldn't be written to describe it. That must be it, we thought, but that's just the part of it. He somehow described it as an elongated, almost-metallic object that withstands our vehicles' height and length, with strange, glowing inscriptions marked on every inch of its surface. Now you much be thinking that that must've been impossible, to find something like this in the bottom of the gigantic ocean, but I will tell you right now that this is a common sight for us. What's strange is that he described it growing as we converse on our communicators. Growing, that's something a metallic-like object couldn't do unless it's cooked in heat and molded-in intense pressure coming from two or more locations. He continued its odd behavior until we heard nothing but white noise. My companion almost panicked and scoured the location, picking up his signals in our monitors.

We exchanged decisions, contradicting each other on continuing the mission and looking for our missing comrade, with each conversation rising to an argument. Nothing was as cold as the sweat the poured down my temple as we were approached by a state of panic, something we shouldn't do in such a mission. And as went on and on to discussing our possible solutions for the rising situation, I had seen it. I saw what my comrade might have seen before disappearing like air. I had seen a towering metallic object in front of my vehicle, with strange inscriptions glowing like fireflies in the countryside marked on its surface. It was as if sliding through the seabed, scraping the soft sands beneath it like powder on a table. It almost as tall and wide as our vehicles, but then it slowly grew. And it was seemingly getting closer to my location as if it was chasing a missing piece of itself that awaits unknown assimilation.

I noticed that I had dropped our communicator in the ground of my vehicle as I was mesmerized by its strange oddity. Both ends had sounded white noises as I looked at my monitor to look for my other comrade. But something in me snapped to move away from its grasp, escaping the location and trying to never look back. The beads of sweats turned into rivers as my palms went as cold as the ocean itself, holding on to my vehicle's controllers as I ascended away from that... thing.

It felt like forever, climbing the darkest and chilliest parts of this planet away from what I had seen. My mind went haywire as I try to focus my attention on the only beam of light that could penetrate the pitch black, dark ocean. I ramped the controls into maximum but it still felt as if I was a snail on a leaf as if I was getting dragged by what I had seen into nonexistence. And before I knew it, I broke the surface of the ocean. The sky had turned dark, particularly starry. The waves were almost roaring around my submerged vehicle. I had thought that I was finally away from it.

Five towering objects slowly ascended, with each a few meters away from my vehicle, forming an almost star-like formation. The marks are much more visible in these towering obelisks as the water it pierced fell from its tips. They were far elongated and thick and slippery that having them deduced as metallic objects sunken on seabeds is an understatement. I tried to make a run before I get in contact with any of it, or worst consumed. But the controls wouldn't work. None of them would. And then I found myself caught within a web woven in the ocean by an unknown, sentient entity.

The towering unexplainable obelisks stopped on top of my vehicle, seemingly forming a shape. Besides my sounds of my every grudge on trying to fix the damn vehicles, I could hear the rampaging drums of my heart pounding as if there were no more tomorrows left to expect.

The obelisks didn't move for a while until a blinding beam of light above it was piercing through the mirrors of my vehicle. And in just a snap, the light somehow defied gravity by lifting me from the surface of the ocean. I watched the roaring waters of the sea below it as the light slowly engulfed my vision.

And then there was nothingness.

I woke up on a coast guard ship with a few crews looking at me as if I am from another dimension. I choked on water and continuously coughed until I gained enough power and consciousness to stand up, slightly kicking the aluminum flooring of the boat, lifting for about a few inches above it, and colliding my back on another hard surface.

I returned almost empty-handed, with nothing but a bunch of stories written in a fictional novel. The government, and our chiefs, didn't believe every word that I gave them. I looked for my fellow comrades, but they subtly hinted that they are still missing. They also accused me of having worked with another agency to infiltrate the entire operation, of killing my comrades. My other colleagues deemed me as the traitor from the undersea. And they locked me up in a room with nothing but pens and papers to finish my, otherwise, mission, bland colors, hard flooring, cold temperatures, and a single, pale, locked, sliding door.

But I had told them everything. And I will tell them everything. And I will continue on telling them all the very same damn things.

© 2020 Darius Razzle Paciente

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