SURFACE LAUNCH: T-MINUS 6 MINUTES.
The computer’s voice was unnervingly calm as red warning lights flashed throughout the Sea-Lab. My heart slammed against my pressure suit as I raced through the narrow durasteel corridors.
“Come in, O’Connell,” the mission directors’s gruff voice crackled in my earpiece. “This is Lieutenant Ross. I’m almost to the Launch Bay, no sign of Smith or Evans. Do you copy?”
A shower of hot sparks spewed from the upper bulkhead, singing my suit. As I skidded to a halt, the corridor went dark.
“Do you copy?” Lieutenant Ross sounded more urgent.
Fighting cold panic, I depressed the comm button on my wrist. “Copy, Lieutenant. On my way through the East Corridor now.”
“Hurry, O’Connell. This launch is automatic – couldn’t delay it if I wanted to.”
My eyes adjusted to the murky blackness, and I took off running again. “Copy.”
SURFACE LAUNCH: T-MINUS 3 MINUTES.
Just to think – a few hours ago everything was fine. We were a team of scientists and military personnel, completing our 60-day mission at the bottom of the Atlantic. Some were getting a little stir crazy after 48 days of living in “The Bubble,” – our nickname for the multi-million dollar dome which was keeping us alive down here – but overall things had gone without a hitch. Then, without warning, the Sea-Lab had begun to destabilize, and we found ourselves racing for our lives.
The lights were dark, meaning life support was failing already. Very bad.
Ross crackled into my ear again. “O’Connell, launch doors seal in 30 seconds. Do you copy?”
Adrenaline coursed through my chest. “Wait!” I screamed into the radio, frantic. “Almost there!”
I rounded the corner, saw light coming from the open hatch.
SURFACE LAUNCH: T-MINUS 1 MINUTE.
My body slammed into Ross, sending us sprawling to the ground as the hatch swooshed closed behind us. I was straining to breathe, but I forced myself into a launch chair and strapped myself in. That’s when I realized that Ross and I were alone. No sign of the others.
I felt sick, but a violent lurch jerked me back to the moment. Down below there was a loud explosion. Then, without warning, I was slammed into my seat as the boosters began dumping air into the ocean, lifting us toward the surface. In theory, the ascent would be controlled – giving the cabin time to depressurize slowly – but it felt as if a giant fist had slammed my body into the ground. We were rising too fast, my head grew light from lack of oxygen…
And that’s when I saw the snakes. Like slippery shadows of death, they slithered across my chest, squeezing the breath out of my lungs. I tried to scream, but their grip was too tight.
“Help me,” I choked, sobbing uncontrollably. “Please!”
The cabin flooded with golden light, and a powerful man with a gleaming sword appeared before my eyes. “You’ve been running your whole life,” he bellowed. “Stop.”
To my horror, he plunged the golden sword into my chest. “It burns!” I cried, but the man ignored me.
The serpents slithered like mad, then fell away. At last, I could breathe again. I was free.
“Thank you,” I whispered, but he was gone. I felt a cold slap, and the lieutenant’s face came into focus.
“We made it,” he said flatly.
Before exiting, I discovered a Bible – something Evans had left behind. “It’s a two-edged sword,” he used to say. Before…
I picked it up. Maybe my experience had been a mere hallucination, maybe not. But I knew this…
It was time to stop running.
This week’s challenge at Christian Flash Weekly was to use 400-600 words and the Scripture below to concoct an unforgettable tale.
Happy Friday to all!
Scripture Prompt: Isaiah 27:1
“In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.”
2 thoughts on “Christian Flash Weekly – “Countdown””
Excellent, well written story. Great ending. One of your best.
Thanks – I appreciate that!