Paul Mila Books

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Bill looked at Bob in bewilderment and shrugged. Bob unclipped his wreck reel from his weight belt, pushed the brass clip through a porthole, snapped it back onto the line, and pulled it taut. He gave his brother the okay signal, and Bill turned his flashlight on.

The first four-foot section into the hatchway was littered with an assortment of debris hanging like stalagmites from the ceiling. Bill shone his light up at the ruins and dove under the entanglements lest he be snared. Bob followed carefully as he played out line from his reel. Bill swam through two compartments congested with dangling wires and cables until he reached the third. This compartment wasn’t draped with overhanging debris and spread out into a huge corridor. Bill’s light danced off the walls and floor, which were covered in rich colorful soft corals. Nature’s very own mural of sea life was displayed before him.

Bill turned to see that his brother didn’t get caught up in the cobweb of cables. Bob was right behind like a good dive buddy. The pair dove down stairwells to lower levels, stopping only to tie a bandana around some interesting piece of war machinery.

The forward section of the carrier also housed the bow torpedo room. Bill was frenetic, attaching Renegade rags to live bombs everywhere. Bob was uneasy with his brother touching these explosive devices that were corroding before their very eyes. Checking his dive computer, he realized that they had only eight minutes to reach the surface, otherwise they would go into decompression mode.

He tapped Bill on the arm, pointed to his computer, and gave the diver up sign. Bill nodded in the affirmative, and the pair retraced their steps out of the various compartments. Bill was amazed at the immense size of the interior of the carrier, but apprehensive that there were no ways in or out except through the hatchway they had entered.

Bob was doing a fine job of reeling them back toward the safety of the hatchway out from this historic but deadly tomb. Suddenly, Bill grabbed his brother’s fin and pointed to the left corner of a massive room. The pair swam over to what appeared to be a huge nest. Gigantic girders, lockers, and machinery were arranged in a wide circle. In the middle of the circle was a mammoth pile of fish bones and gigantic empty eggshells. They knelt down on the floor, looking at the strange fabrication before them.

Bill looked at Bob, who had a quizzical look on his face. Then as if in slow motion, Bob’s eyes widened to the size of hubcaps. Bill saw a bright flash of silver zoom past. His flashlight beam mirrored off the silver with such intensity that he was temporarily blinded. The silver bullet rocketed between him and Bob, and Bill was stunned by its speed and brightness.

Bill turned his flashlight off while he once again tried to adjust his eyes to the dark. Once his vision cleared, he saw that Bob was still kneeling across from him. Bill turned on his light and motioned to his brother to lead the way out. Bob didn’t respond, and his hands dangled at his sides at an odd angle. Since the bright flash had blinded him, Bill was seeing everything in slow motion as his sight gradually returned. Still, there was no response from Bob, so Bill did the universal diver attention action by flashing the beam of his flashlight back and forth. Again, there was no reaction, so Bill played the beam toward his brother’s face.

He shrieked a garbled scream that made his regulator fly out of his mouth. His brother’s head was missing! A steady stream of dark fluid leaked out of the top of Bob’s torso like smoke from a freshly extinguished candle. When Bill’s light beam illuminated the liquid, it reflected a crimson color. Bill continued to stare at the grotesque figure that knelt where his brother had been just moments before. His cries made him swallow mouthfuls of water, and he began to gag on the salty brine.

In his panic to replace his mouthpiece, Bill dropped his flashlight. With the regulator dolling out mouthfuls of precious air, he made a mad dash to swim out of the house of horrors. He swam over Bob’s still-kneeling torso and raced back into the previous compartment. Without the wreck reel or his dive light, however, the hysterical diver swam straight into a spider web of pendulous cables. He was caught in the trellis of wires, and in his panicky state, spiraled into further distress. Soon he was corkscrewed into place, suspended from the ceiling in an impossible maze of unforgiving circuitry.
Bill was sucking up air at an exorbitant pace. His struggling only caused him to become more tangled until he could move no more. Suddenly he was able to see much clearer. The sun must have poked through some clouds, and the ambient light was penetrating the depths, illuminating his mausoleum. He could see straight ahead since the tentacles that held him were from the rear. He understood that this was the end, and he felt at ease as a wave of tranquility washed over him. Drowning isn’t too bad, he thought. It’s painless and it will be over in a few minutes.

His peacefulness was broken by a slight movement ahead. Bill strained his eyes to see what was stealthily approaching. The sunlight that reached this depth refracted and splintered, causing visual distortions. The advancing being was shrouded in a ghostly silver hue. The surreptitious movement of this shimmering shroud had a hypnotic force on Bill until it got right up into his face.

He screamed with such velocity that his regulator once again flew out of his mouth and he inhaled a mouthful of water. He could not yell again, only choke as a steady stream of bubbles rose from his free flowing second stage. Bill was barely able to reach his octopus and gobble a mouthful of compressed air and regain his composure. The creature went eyeball to eyeball with him, and Bill knew he was looking at a disciple of Lucifer. It hovered in front of him, the huge, angular teeth gleaming. Worse was the coldness of the colossal black eyes that studied him. Without apparent movement, the devilish beast backed up a few feet and studied its prisoner with those unblinking orbs of doom.

A slow wave of panic gripped Bill in a death hold. He was trapped like a fly in a spider’s web as he watched his captor casually eat his brother Bob. Making a decision, he spit out his air supply and hungrily drank the salt water of death. This would be a quicker, less painful fate than hanging around waiting for the fiend to tear him apart. The last thing he saw was the demon looking over at him with Bob’s leg dangling out of its mouth. That abominable image floated with Bill into his serene afterlife.

 

 
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