Another presence was below them. They had felt the blast of bubbles, the brief shift in temperature. Someone had come up. More unsettling, He (Gooshan was sure it was a He) wasn’t even cloaking his thoughts much, which they were more than capable of doing. It was a Deeper, a large one, if young. He was practically pacing, swimming in large laps somewhere down near the elevator.
“How close are we?” Thorn called to the loaders.
“Two fins short of the close line” came the answer from one of those tasked with calling a finish on the load. Thorn and Gooshan were thinking the same thing – can we close it early and take it down? Will that upset him more? Thorn had eased off his line some. Gooshan didn’t sense it quite as near breaking now, but the side of the case was listing and swinging dangerously without Thorn there to fully damp the motions.
The next moment brought their worse fears upon them. Thorn tried to slow the pendulous motion, and his thread snapped completely. As he shot 40 meters away with his net, the load began pulling them all down. Loaders scrambled free for their lives, and everyone had given up damping their waves of panic as they all fled . They would have felt the sinister wave of the Deeper below them, were it not for his sudden physical presence. A blast of cold water rose with him as he caught both the crate and everyone near it with his forehead and upper back. Those loaders who hadn’t scrambled clear, easily 10 or more, were knocked unconscious. Some, probably worse, Gooshan thought detachedly. She was frantically moving, already 1000m clear of the area.
The Deeper was enjoying this…
Raw and unedited for your reading pleasure – gotta love first drafts.