100 Words, Day 3: Out of the Hold, Into the Water

The undertow pulled at Marlowe before the water reached his chest. Peters held out the respirator, but Marlowe didn’t reach for it. If he let go of the handholds, the current would rip him loose. He wasn’t ready for that.

Instead, Marlowe opened his mouth. Peters wedged the rubber mouthpiece in place, holding tight until Marlowe gripped it with his teeth. “Good flow?” Peters asked.

Marlowe sucked at the respirator twice. The oxygen tasted sharper than air. He nodded.

“Just go with it when the undertow grabs you. Dyson’ll pick you up on the Cheetah at the other end, and we’ll see what kind of readings we get this time.”

Marlowe nodded again. Then he let go.

The undertow sucked him down fast. Air bubbles blurred past him like a firecracker light show. Even with his teeth clenched, the respirator ripped free. Marlowe grabbed at the line, but the undertow slammed him into the ocean floor before he could catch it, tumbling him through coral and anemones and kelp. He grabbed at rocks alive with tube worms and nematodes. And when the ocean floor was bare, he grabbed at sand. His latex gloves stripped bare to his fingers as something pulled him backward, downward, deeper. Something Marlowe couldn’t see.

Something that wasn’t an undertow.

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