"They say that when a man is going to drown, when he finally gives up the struggle - it's sort of blissful, for a moment. And then he drowns."
~ John Hodge
There are a lot of ways Jack Rhodes thought he would die. And there are a lot of ways he thought he wouldn't. Given, it wasn't a thought that was at the forefront of his mind every waking second, but it did cross it from time to time.
After all, he did have one of the most dangerous jobs in the universe. He was pretty sure shark wranglers had a higher life expectancy than Navy Seals. Not to say anything against shark wranglers -it was a highly respected field, after all.
Yet, for instance, if Jack was walking down the street in New York City, he would be less worried about dying in quicksand than getting hit by a car.
(Not that quicksand wasn't a very real, new-world concern that should be addressed thoroughly.)
Or maybe when jumping from a plane, he might have the intrusive thought of what would happen if his parachute didn't open.
But never ever, in a million years, under any circumstance did he imagine that he would die like this.
It was embarrassing, actually.
Drowning, that is.
He had spent years training in the harshest conditions to survive anything from Nor' Easters to Hurricanes.
And now he was going to die in this bread-box.
No one had ever sat Jack down and told him that the correct protocol for drowning was to panic, not catalog every crime-breaking detail about his scenario.
But, then again, no one had ever taught him how to escape from an inescapable room that was intent on drowning him.
So due to his ignorance of this crucial rule, Jack Rhodes thought about the law. More specifically, the laws that had been broken so he ended up here now. He thought about everything that had led to this exact moment. He thought about all the wrong turns he had taken and all the mistakes he had made.
Maybe this was his own fault.
He always assumed that he would go down in a hail of bullets, rather than drown like a wet rat. But Jack decided that he didn't have much of a choice at the moment.
'The law-breaking wasn't as important as the reason behind it,' he concluded.
It always went back to the beginning. Why the criminal did what they did. At this moment, he understood why. Greed can make a person do a lot of things. It didn't mean that he agreed with what they had done. Of course, he didn't.
Jack Rhodes didn't believe that rules were made to be broken. They were made to be kept and fulfilled.
Maybe, if he was lucky, that would be engraved on his gravestone. Such thoughts consoled him.
Especially at this present moment when the water was rising. Quite rapidly.
It roared past him with a deafening thunder, swirling in circling pools, viciously beating against him. It coursed higher and higher, reaching his chest, hugging him with a frigid embrace. The cold wormed its way through his protective layer of clothing and leeched into his body. He could already feel the effects set in, his muscles locking up and tensing. If he could see in the dark, he would assume his fingers were turning blue.
Hypothermia nipped at the door.
The current grew stronger and stronger, tossing him around like a rag-doll. He struggled to breach the surface, fingers clawing at the liquid barrier.
His head rose above the water and Jack sucked in a shallow breath. The replenished oxygen did little for him. His lungs expanded and expelled it in seconds.
Arms writhed and legs kicked but to no avail. The cold was freezing his muscles, every movement was pure agony.
His heavy boots weighed against him and he sunk, down, down, down. . .
Below the waves - below the oxygen - below life.
The further he sank, the closer death crept towards him. Death reached out its hands and clawed at him - scratching - pulling him closer and closer to the edge of no return. His head hit something hard and stars burst across his vision. He thought he knew constellations-had every pattern memorized- but at this moment, it was like nothing he had seen before.
A star in the throes of death.
His lungs were burning, a fiery reminder of his impending doom. He couldn't hold his breath anymore, no matter how hard he tried to fight the inevitable. Water rushed up his nose and crawled down his throat, choking him.
Darkness surrounded him in his watery grave as he felt himself fade.
Jack partially wished that no one would find his body: then he wouldn't have to think about the demeaning manner in which he- a Navy Seal- died.
But then, as he reached death's door, for the first time in his existence, Jack knew he was drowning and he wasn't thinking about survival.
He was thinking about her.
One last thought flitted across his consciousness before he succumbed to Death - it would all be worth it if she survived. . .
Does this chapter sound familiar? It's a mirror of the first chapter with Silvia. (And we all know what happened to her. . . YIKES)
I actually loved writing this chapter so maybe I'm a psychopath. Oops!
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Eridanus Flooding (WATTY 2018 WINNER)Mystery / Thriller
Commander Jack Rhodes is a retired Navy Seal. Well. Retired isn't what he would call it. More like fired. Yes. Fired would be the correct choice of word. No one retires at the age of 32. When a mission went wrong, leaving Jack as the only survivor...