Richard Saxon

An author in progress


1: Lost

You’re two hundred and forty feet underwater, floating in darkness by the entrance to a deep cave. Before it stands a sign with large block letters and a simple warning: “Stop! Prevent your death, go no further.” Though eerie, you’re an experienced individual with a license as an advanced open water diver, with several trips within caves. You proceed, ready to map out thus far unexplored regions; only a trimix tank and a mouthpiece keeping you from an unpleasant demise.

Proceeding within, you are shocked by the overwhelming darkness. You turn on your flashlight, which gives you a good view of the clear waters, but it also creates a bizarre sense of being trapped within the narrow passages.

A line has been attached by the entrance, serving as a passive guide into the network before you. The plan is to extend it deeper into the network of caves, but should you lose it, there’s no calling for help, no turning back, no hope. You’ll get trapped, panic, and inevitably drown.

Despite this, you keep moving, deeper and deeper into the darkness. You eventually reach the end of the marked path, not even noticing the slight decline leading even further down into the depths of the ocean.  

After thirty minutes in the cave, you check your residual pressure gauge, estimating the time you have left before surfacing becomes an absolute necessity. With your trimix tank and a reserve, you have just over two hours underwater. One third was reserved for the journey downwards into the cave, which happened so far without incident, leaving a generous margin of error. The second third is being spared for the outward trip, with the last third saved as a reserve.

Then you glance at your dive computer, which lets you know that the depth has increased to almost three hundred feet. Surprised, but not worried, you attach another point of the line, ensuring an easy trek back to the surface. Below you lie a ground void of all life, just fine dirt and sand dragged in by the current.

But while finishing up the line attachment, your tools slip, sinking down towards the sand. You react instinctively, pushing towards the bottom, just a tad harder than intended. Though you’re still in control, your sudden movement dislodges the dirt from the ground, causing a sudden silt out.

Left blind, your heart starts to race, and your respiration rate quickens. Adrenaline is the culprit, but you need to get it under control, lest the air in your tank runs out prematurely.

Falling back on your training, you know you just need to find the line, and pull yourself back to clear waters. You reach out your hand, knowing you left the line right above you, but there’s nothing there to grab onto. The horrific realization does nothing but deepen your panic. You push upwards, frantically searching for your only rescue. But with the network of caves far more complex than first anticipated, you end up swimming further and further away from the exit, away from the only guide you had.

Minutes pass, ticking down with the pressure gauge, counting away the oxygen left in your tank. But by some miracle, you manage to escape the silt cloud. You can finally see, and for just a moment, you start to calm down. That is until you realize that you haven’t the faintest idea where you are. You peer down to notice that you only have one third of your oxygen left, the last third you so desperately needed for the ascent. Being nowhere near the exit, surviving has become a statistical impossibility. Though you’re technically still alive, your death has been marked as a fixed point in history. It’s only a matter of time before your air runs out, and you drown, cold and alone in the depths of the ocean.

These are the harrowing experiences turning many a diver away from the dangers of the deep waters. And the few lucky enough to survive such an incident would most certainly swear to never set foot in the ocean again. But among those, a select few react with the exact opposite response, gaining a newfound attraction to the concept of diving, needing to prove themselves against all odds.

After surviving one of these cave incidents years prior, my soul was bound to the depths. In response, I took up rescue diving, swearing on my own grave to protect others from suffering the same horrific fate.

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Blue 52

In 1989, we detected a faint call coming from the depths of the ocean. A strange cry from a massive creature, traveling alone in the vast blue waters below. At first, it sounded like an oddity, a malfunctioning hydrophone, but then we heard it again in 1990, and 1991.

With only five percent of the ocean explored, it baffled us. To any untrained ear, it sounded like a whale, but its pitch was too high. Measuring at a frequency of 52 hertz, it meant that the song couldn’t be understood by any known species of whale. Thus, it was destined to exist on its own, and is has been dubbed the loneliest creature in the world.

We called him: Blue 52.

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