We rushed toward the Sheriff, Pem and I, with all our might, trying to reach him before the torpedo caught up to us. As I got closer, I could see there was some kind of cave behind him. “Get inside!” I yelled, knowing there was little chance we could get far enough to escape the blast.
I could see the Sheriff stare at us with confusion, he couldn’t comprehend why I would be yelling at him, but then his eyes flicked behind us and fear crossed his face. He seemed frozen. It seemed his brain was not ready for this type of adventure. He was but the Sheriff of a slow troll town. It was not to be unexpected being caught in an underwater city where giant robot eels were firing torpedoes at you was not for everyone. I, unfortunately, had gotten used to this kind of nonsense long ago.
So the Sheriff was scared stiff at the entrance to the cave as he stared up at the rapidly approaching torpedo, but it was fine, I told myself. The two of us, Pem and I, were coming at him with enough speed and between the two of us enough mass to push him back into the cave. As the two of us slammed into him, we slowed down considerably but the three of us were all able to make it into the cave in time. Or so I hoped.
The torpedo hit the ground behind us mere seconds after we entered the cave. We managed to have gotten far enough in to escape the initial explosion, but the force of the blast went through the water and into the cave with little room to disperse. Seconds before we were hit, I was able to notice Toleuk standing before us. Then the wave of force came barely in sending us all flying backwards into the cave.
The impact hit me like a truck. I could feel the heat of the explosion, the water boiling around me. And then there came the pain. So much pain. I screamed as we went tumbling end over end. I’m sure I would have drowned right then and there if it hadn’t been for the rebreather.
We smacked hard into the back of the cave and I got the general sense that the explosion had finally passed us, but I was in too much pain to really tell. My perceptions of events began to get cloudy. I could tell that the there was light in the tunnel and something in the back of my head told me it was probably from the rebreathers. I could see blood in the water. Where it was coming from was unclear to me, but I seemed very sure that it was blood. Someone must have been bleeding. Was it me?
I remember pain and agony. I remember the dirt in the water and the blood. I remember seeing the others, looking hurt and frightened. Then I remember them coming toward me and them saying words. I don’t remember what they said, what the words, though I did seem to have trouble understanding what they meant. But I could remember that they looked worried. I remember that. But things got a bit groggy then, a bit confused. We were in trouble and we needed to get out of there, I know that. The urge to leave was strong, but I just couldn’t get myself to focus. I heard yelling and screams, but it had seemed so far away at that moment.
When I woke up, I was no longer in a dark cave. That much was obvious. For one, it was not dark. It was actually quite bright. I thought for a second that maybe I was back home, but when I tried to sit up, I found it didn’t work so well. I was moving oddly as if I was underwater. That hit with an immediate realization that I wasn’t back home and all that craziness that was coming back to me now hadn’t been a dream.
Of course, if all the ‘craziness’ of my life was a dream, I’d lose the last decade or so of my life. But that thought came to from a bit of a distance and I came to the conclusion that I must have been medicated. I could feel the loopiness with every move I made, every thought I tried to think.
A pair of fish people came into my room and tried to keep me from moving. “It’s ok, Mr. Clay. Just relax. Everything is all right. Your liaison will be here shortly to talk to you about your injury.”
“My injury?” I asked. The word sounded strange in my ears. “What injury?”
“Don’t worry about it, Mr. Clay. You’re in no danger now. Everything has been taken care of. You’re fine now. Your liaison will be with you shortly and he’ll explain everything.”
“Explain what? What does he need to explain?”
“Just lay back and relax, Sir. Everything will be explained by your liaison as soon as he…”
“What needs to be explained? What happened!? What injury!?!”
to be continued…