Ocean Deep: Tell Me A Story, Jake...
Leanne awoke and instantly tried to sit upright. This proved to be an instant mistake for in doing so she tipped the inflatable raft upon which she had been lying and fell beneath the surface of the ocean.
She floated there, face down as the seconds ticked by, and opened her eyes to see the vast, dark emptiness below. She caught movement, the family group of liopleurodons were circling. How far away they were she could not be certain but in truth distance was irrelevant for the creatures could cover enormous spaces incredibly quickly.
Arms around her shoulders pulled her and Leanne gasped for breath as she broke the surface.
"I got you, Li. I got you."
It was Jake. Leanne would recognise his voice anywhere and not only for the fact she listened to his and Ollie's banter pretty much every day, though she was fucked if she knew how he was up there with her, bobbing upon the surface of the ocean.
More to the point she was not entirely sure how she was there. The last thing she remembered with any clarity was heading to the Precious Stone's engine room and unless she had gone completely mad, the Precious Stone was pitched awkwardly on the ocean floor.
"Jake..." she murmured as his strong arms kept her afloat. "Jake..."
"Don't even try to talk, you've been through hell," he replied. She could tell he was trying to keep his voice as calm and level as he could and in fairness, he was not too far from finding success. "I'm gonna' let you go though, just for a second, whilst I right this raft... Don't you go anywhere."
Leanne was not entirely sure she could go anywhere had she even wanted to do so. She felt so weak, so drained, and neither were things she was accustomed to feeling.
In her still-groggy state she contemplated that there must have been more than a simple oxygen leak on the Precious Stone, though she could not even begin to hazard a guess as to what that might have been.
Jake hoisted her from the water and laid her as gently as he could upon the raft and she felt the heat of the Sun as it warmed her saturated clothes.
"Tell me a story, Jake," she slurred. "Tell me what happened down there."
"I don't know, exactly," the man replied. "I do know that Ollie's gone. He sacrificed himself so that I could get back to the submersible but we were close, Li... We were oh so close. If it hadn't been for the pleuros I reckon we'd have both made it back but when we got within range we could see them circling, bashing into the hull pretty regular. There's no way we'd have got past them.
"So Ollie shrugged off his oxygen tank and slit his wrists. Motherfucker didn't even tell me what he was gonna' do. Not sure I'd have stopped him, in truth, but he was my mate; woulda' been nice to say goodbye, y'know?
"Anyways I got on board and found you unconscious, face down in about eight inches of water. It was rising quick and I knew I didn't have long to get you out of there before the pleuros finished with Ollie, so I grabbed a few things, tied a rope around your waist and got you to the surface."
He smiled, weakly, taking her hand in his.
"I sent up a flare so with any luck, we'll be picked up before dark, assuming the pleuros don't decide they want to eat us, first. The rest, you know."
"You're a fucking idiot, Jake."
Leanne opened her eyes and looked up towards the sky. The vast majority was clear, blue and cloudless though as she flicked her eyes to the southwest, the horizon looked decidedly dark.
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Epic Tales from Beautiful Minds: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
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