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Inky Deep

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The ocean was my home for me. The briny deep was what interested me most, and it was always my dream to explore all of it. Yes, of course, as a diver you hear stories of vicious, immense creatures no one could prove. Like prehistoric monster-sharks, or gargantuan squid with tentacles as large as city buildings.

Yes, that did discourage me a bit.

It was eerie, however; the fact that each time I turned, land was in the vast distance. Miles of water fading to an inky blackness was beneath my feet, and I was alone with just my older brother, the captain.

I had just come up from a dive. I swam through swarms of pelagic fish, fish who swam neither at the bottom or at the surface. In my travels, I met a humpback whale and her young calf—and I met a shark—deterred by my suit and oxygen tank. Yet, there was something rather odd happening.

My stomach sank as I recorded my odyssey in my journal, when the boat began to rock. Odd, the water was as still as glass just a minute ago. It would pass, I convinced myself, with a sudden rush of terror. I began to grow rather suspicious when the waves got larger and the rocking became more intense.

I stood and put my journal on the seat. I paced slowly to the starboard side and peeked over the side to see nothing but a deep blue. My heart slowed. I sat back down as the water calmed, only for it to rise back up with an intensity that brought water into the boat. My ears picked up the small breeze flowing through the air. My head snapped to find nothing there but a fly, or a fuzz in my vision.

"Mark?" I asked as I stumbled toward the captain's quarters, my voice shaking with anticipation. No reply. I called his name again, a bit louder, and got no response in return. My skin grew warm and I turned the knob slowly, opening the door to the normal quarters with a still helm and no captain. I scuttled back in a mixture of disgust, alarm and devastating sadness.

"Mark!" I called as loud as I could, tears welling up in my eyes and the back of my throat.

We had one set of gear—he couldn't have dived. He wouldn't have swam. He knows of sharks. So where was he? I paced to the port side and once again peered over. A pink, slimy tentacle inched up the side of the boat—growing thicker as it creeped up the hull. A second one joined it to the left, then the right. It's head-sized cups were lined in rotating teeth as sharp as blades and as large as my hand. Shadows crawled and surrounded me, slime and brine dripping onto my skin. A suction cup grasped my back; the teeth sinking into my flesh and releasing hot, stinging liquid into my tissue. I attempted to scream, but nothing moved. Paralyzing venom. I could only watch through fading vision, the gargantuan squid I've heard so much about. And I could still only watch, as I neared its beak, and heard a crack as my bones broke under its strength.

I woke up later that day, unable to move, only left to my senses.

I'm still here, in the Atlantic.

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