Last week's Story Improv was really great! Here is the result, written by:
Mask, check. Tank, check. Underwater camera, check.
Forty-five minutes was all she had. Sabrina perched on the edge of the boat, her flippered feet dangling above the swooshing sea. She stared into the fathomless depths. It was down there somewhere. And she had to find it.
In the breath she took before diving from Mac's fishing boat, Sabrina pushed away the heavy sensation of pure fear that seized her. "I have to do this! Mac would have done it for me!"
Two weeks had gone by since Mac's death. No way he would go diving alone, and definitely not without checking his tanks to make sure they were full. This was the last place he'd been exploring--the last place they'd been exploring together. They were so close. She turned around and fell backward into the mirky waters. She wasn't one to dive alone, either, but she couldn't trust anyone. Something had gone wrong, and she was going to find the evidence to prove it.
Her gaze adjusted to the vast darkness of aqua and shadow, streams of afternoon sun filtering into endless sea. No treasure was worth his life. Even the last known resting place of The Queen's Dagger and its limitless mystery. Treasure? Death? Somehow she knew she wasn't alone in these waters.
Sabrina swam along slowly at first, allowing her vision to adjust to the murky water. Her skin prickled, and she knew without a single doubt that she wasn't alone. Someone or something shared this hazy water world with her. She paused, floating in the soundless deep for a heartbeat...two...three...every nerve screaming to return topside.
She refused to give into the fear that threatened to overwhelm her. She would NOT be deterred. Slowly, Sabrina circled in the water, taking in every detail she could make out in the hazy, dirty water. What if someone had followed her? Unease crawled up her spine, and she did another 360. Just to be sure. Nothing.
*Okay, Sabrina. Get a grip. No one knew you were coming here. Stop getting freaked out.* Drifting deeper into the murky depths, Sabrina tried to refocus. She had to do this. For herself. For her parents. For Mac. Suddenly, the temperature of the water shifted. Sabrina's senses spiked. What was that? It almost seemed like a shadow behind her. Before she could turn to investigate, arms encircled her from behind.
She fought against him, but his grip never waivered. He pulled her down, deeper into the darkness below. Sunlight faded from above, but another light blinked on from behind. It must have been her attacker's helmet lamp. Reefs of plantlife edged into her vision framing a wall of rock. She couldn't scream. Couldn't wiggle free? Is this what happened to Mac? The plantlife split in an unnatural fashion against the cliff edge to reveal a cave. Oh no! Once in there no one would ever be able to find her again. Fear as large as the darkness of the cave swallowed her as she took one last look at the open sea before disappearing into her black tomb.
Her attacker tethered her ankle to an invisible anchor, then turned and kicked away. The light of his helmet dimmed and shrank away as he left her there. To die. Flailing and kicking, she tried to remain calm and think. She groped along the walls and floor of the underwater cave. How many minutes had gone by? More importantly, how many did she have left? Her fingers found something smooth in the sand. Blindly exploring, she felt for its shape. Long. Sharp along the edges. She scraped the mud and sand away. If she could retrieve whatever this was, maybe she could use it to cut away her tethers.
Sabrina forced herself to stay calm. Hyperventilating would only deplete her oxygen more rapidly. She focused on uncovering the unknown object, praying as she worked. "God? You're my only hope of getting out of here alive. Please help me." One last desperate plunge of her desperate fingers into the sand, and the buried item broke free and rested in her hand. A knife! Its six-inch blade, a bright slice in the dark water, sent a glimmer of hope into her heart.
She hacked at her restraints. Once. Twice. Three times. The fourth time and her binds released. She checked her tank levels. A few minutes left. She took her flashlight from her belt, thankful her attacker hadn't bothered to take anything from her. She swung in a circle, shining the light as she turned. What was that in the shadows? She swam a little closer, daring to investigate.
Only a few feet upward and she surfaced inside a cave. No, not merely a cave- a massive cavern. She jerked off her mask and blinked the dim picture into view. The bow of a ship lay on its side and angled outward toward the exit of the cave. An exit. Tears burned her vision and the ship's bowed blurred. An old ship. Was this The Queen's Dagger? Had Mac made it this far?
Slowly she walked toward the broken ship lying on its side like a mortally wounded animal. The only sound was the splashing of water droplets falling from her body as she moved. Angling around the tip of the ship, curiosity getting the better of her, she sensed the presence again. Whipping around, hands raised to protect herself, she froze, the scream stuck in her throat as she came face to face with Mac - the husband she had buried six days before.
Sabrina woke to find herself alone on the deck of Mac's fishing boat. The waves rocked the boat and for a moment, she was disoriented. "Wasn't I just in the water...under the water....on a boat....Mac!" She sat up quickly, and then fell back on the deck, her head pounding. "Easy there...you passed out. Here, drink this." It was Mac, and he was wiping Sabrina's face with a cool cloth, while holding a metal cup in front of her face. Sabrina drank and then started to cough. "Mac?" was all she could say.
Staring into Mac's beautiful, worried eyes, Sabrina tried to focus on something, anything to center herself. It was like waking up in the twilight zone. Mac was alive and here with her. How was that possible? Her heart still hurt with the pain of losing him, and now...
Mac slid a finger down her cheek in a familiar one-fingered caress that ended, as it always had, at her lips. "It's really me, sweetheart. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that, but I didn't have a choice." Sudden, white-hot anger zipped its way through Sabrina's mind, and she sat up straight, knocking his hand away.
"Didn't have a choice? I could have died down there!"
"Love, I never would have let you die." The worry in his face shifted to reluctant determination. "But now that you've seen the ship, the only way you won't be killed is if you disappear from your life. We'll have to stage your death." If anyone else had said those words, she would have watched his eyes for a glimmer of amusement to surface, and waited for a punchline. But this was Mac. He would never frighten her unnecessarily. Sabrina stared over the edge of the boat into waves that crested sharp as dragon's teeth. "Mac? What in heaven is down there?"
She waited for his response, but he turned his head away looking out across the horizon. A distant rumbling caught her attention. They had company.
Mac knew who was coming and he knew that he and Sabrina could never outrun them. He turned back to gaze at the woman who held his heart. He was glad to have her with him again - and terrified that he would really lose her in the fight that was coming.
The shrieking of an alarm jolted his already jangled nerves and Mac whipped around searching frantically for a place to hide... and as he turned, looked across his pretty, sleeping wife to the alarm clock on the bedside table. He fell back on his pillow with a groan. So much for pizza with the works and Moose Track ice cream at 11pm. He was just getting too old...
*Make sure to join in our next group session this weekend, starting at midnight!