World Upside Down
It wasn’t the cracking that woke Alice, but the first droplet of water hitting her face. She gasped, blinking rapidly as she instantly woke. Somehow she was lying on the back wall of the sub.
Alice put her hands to her face taking a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair. Above her was the dome window. Nothing was to be seen outside. Only blackness beyond. She squinted at it but it just blurred before her eyes.
Around her everything was colored in a bluish haze from the backup lights. Here and there tiny yellow and red lights blinked their small emergencies.
Quickly she blocked more droplets with her hand. Then she froze. Where was the water coming from?
She jerked up, body crying in pain, and groaned. Just bruises, she told herself as she achingly moved.
Once she was steadily on her feet and the swaying had stopped in her own head, she awkwardly stood on the curved back wall of the sub staring at the acrylic window above.
No visible cracks.
She lifted her hands and gripped the seat hanging just above her head, knuckles whitening. As she waited, the tension was unbearable. She closed her eyes, whispering, “Father God, please don’t let that be a crack. Please, please, please.”
Looking back up, she noticed the blood trailing down her hand. Slowly, she brought the hand down. No cut. Then lifted her hand to her aching head, grimacing when she found a spot on the right side. Probably just a scratch…
Then another water droplet fell, and its sound echoed in the silent chamber she was entombed in. Her eyes drawn to the new ceiling and heart thudding, Alice wiped the blood off her hand and pulled herself to the side of the sub. She started climbing.
How had she even ended up sideways? Submarines were bottom heavy which kept them up right. This had to mean she was probably on land, but then why did she see nothing but darkness outside, and what about the water?
Life was upside down and made no sense. Front and back were now literally up and down.
Alice had just hooked a knee up onto the seat after crawling up on the side wall when the sub jerked. Alice flew back into what had once been the ceiling and fell down to the back wall and lay there, all breath gone before sucking it back in coughing.
For whatever reason the sub was moving and not by its own engines. As she lay there breathing she felt the submarine pick up speed, and it moaned beneath her. A memory slithered its way into her mind. The bright light approaching the sub. No breath, but not from lack of oxygen. The humming noise. And then…she remembered.
The monstrosity. Trembling Alice slowly shook her head. No, just no. She put a hand to the hull and shoved herself up off the ground, stumbling to stand.
Looking up, her mouth flattened. This was her sub. She decided where it went.
This time she kept each foot hold firmly and made her way towards the control system above. Pulling herself swiftly if not confidently up the side to avoid falling again, Alice made great time. At last, she swung into the seat and buckled herself in.
Grabbing the controls, she noted a red light blinking to indicate that they were at depths that the submersible wasn’t meant for. A grim smile. Well, she was still alive. And if the water had been a leak, she would have been dead by now. Praise the Lord for the soundness of the submarine. She prayed it would keep.
Another little yellow light caught her eye. The sub was on battery power. The main electrical engine would need safety checks. Her eyes roved the control board full of blinking lights. All would be fine until she dealt with the current situation.
Focusing on the dome window, Alice switched on the exterior lights…nothing. But then, the black and gray colors slowly began to shift.
A rubbery, sludgy sound grew as it slid across the window enveloping and echoing around her.
Alice’s skin crawled. She reached for a hidden casing below the dash. She had never thought there would be a reason to use it. Again, it seemed she was wrong. Opening it she felt the black switch inside.
For a moment, her hand hovered. Then a high pitched cry tore through her ears. Pain pierced her, she arched her back and her hands shot up to her head. The sound was in her, part of her, tearing at her. There was no other choice.
She flipped the switch.