The quake was originally registered with a magnitude of 7.7 but that figure was later revised down slightly to 6.5, the USGS said in a statement. The Cascadia Subduction zone is a 680-mile fault that runs from Cape Mendocino in California to Vancouver Island in southern British Columbia. Early reports are of a major split in the fault resulting in a trench in the ocean floor that may rival the depth of the Mariana Trench in the northwest Pacific....’
I grew up in the middle of a lot of land. The views everywhere were of grass or crops with a distant haze of mountains to fence it all in. There was a shallow fast river and a well behind the house, but that was as much as I saw of water. I didn’t look in the well. It made me think of an unblinking black eye.
The roots of the land wanted to wrap themselves around my feet and keep me from ever leaving but I found a way of pulling myself out. The trouble I got into was minor at first, just a way to have some fun. It just got serious real quick.
I can’t say I didn’t mean to do it. I held the shotgun to his head and sighted down the long barrel. It made me feel bad, small somehow, like the barrel was a highway stretching out for miles with only his skull at the end. I lost my perspective and the world shrank into that stretch of metal. The voices of the others grew distant and I had to do something to drag myself back to seeing things as normal. The only thing I could control was the trigger. So I shot him and a shrapnel piece of his skull got stuck in my forehead. I still have a scar. The psychologist in the prison told me I rub it when I get stressed out. I know I’m rubbing it now, but I can’t stop.
It’s so dark outside. I try to convince myself that I’m floating, but I know I’m dropping. No one knows where the bottom is.
Mustn’t think about that or I won’t be able to stand it.
So I got away from the infinity of grass and ended up in a 6 x 9 cell waiting for the day the warden and the preacher would come for me. Except the day the warden came, he had some government stiff with him. Regulation suit, regulation face and a terrible idea. It seemed like a good idea at the time, like most bad ideas. He didn’t even have to convince me. I just said yes straight away. It was a way out of the box I was living in.
A way into a different box in the sinking dark.
I saw fish at the start. Then, when the dark came, I watched a whale go by. It took a long time to pass and it didn’t seem to even notice me. Other things showed up. Things with lights and bones where they weren’t supposed to be.
They didn’t tell me much, the scientists. An underwater earthquake made the bottom fall out of a trench. Their sound surveillance system started to pick up sounds that they hadn’t heard before. They just wanted to find out what was making the sounds. Not a big deal. Someone had to go down to see. Only no one wanted to go down. Maybe they thought the hull wouldn’t hold on their little tub. Maybe they were just plain scared. I didn’t have anything to lose except maybe a couple of months of life not worth living.
I didn’t know I’d be so afraid of the long dark under me and the lengthening dark above. The world was all black but for a lightning flash from a creature that didn’t look like anything. After a while, even those flashing creatures were gone and there was nothing but the empty dark.
My ears started to feel funny and when I put my hands either side of the window to peer into the black velvet, I felt the alloy and titanium walls vibrate. I could almost feel the weight of the darkness pressing against the walls.
The vibration was in my ears too, not a sound that I could hear, but a sub sound that made my fillings tremble and the hairs on my arms raise. I tried opening my eyes wide to make out something outside the lights of the sub but there was nothing. The world ended beyond the lights.
Kane, you’re almost at the limit of the sub. Can you see anything?
Broderick on the radio. He had given me a few talks that amounted to training before they closed me in here.
Can’t see anything. There’s nothing out there.
There was a silence and then Broderick’s breathing.
I’m bringing you back up. You can’t get to the bottom anyway.
Broderick was okay. He seemed like an ordinary grunt just following orders. I wiped sweat off my face and sat back to wait for the world I knew. Then something hit the sub.
The nudge was almost gentle. The sub spun sideways and my teeth chunked down on my tongue.
Kane, what the hell was that? You ok?
I saw the eye pass the window, followed by an enormous plated body. I sat still, afraid movement would draw it to me. Broderick’s voice squawked on the radio again and I wished he would shut up in case it could hear him.
They told me that there couldn’t be anything down here. They thought there might be a source of natural gas or an underwater volcano bubbling and making the sounds that the hydrophones could pick up. They never said that there would be something with an eye bigger than me. Then I heard Broderick’s voice and it made me more afraid than anything else ever had.
We’ve lost control of the sub, Kane. You’re sinking.
Then the long deep dark below opened up and took me in.
I didn’t sleep or pass out, though there were times I thought I would and wished for it. Instead, a sort of craziness came over me. I smashed up some of the stuff in the sub and cracked my skull against the wall, once by accident and once on purpose. I was hoping that would end it, but I couldn’t do it right. I just got a bad headache and a blurriness in my left eye.
Now, I’m sitting here, still drifting down, getting further away from the light with no hope of ever getting back. The sub will crack, or fail me some other way. No one can come for me. There are things outside and I reckon they’re curious to see what I taste like. It seems like the middle of the prairie would be a fine place to be right now. All I can do is close my eyes and imagine it.
I wonder if the sensors above will pick up the sound. I wonder if Broderick will hear me die. I want someone to know. Anyone, so that it’s not just me in the dark.