Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tanks Don't Float

Another Excerpt from Insignia


Almost floating in midair, Sam watched Mara land with a great splash, displacing a huge amount of water. Droplets shot out in a wide radius like daggers or homing missiles, with vicious intent. The sheets of water themselves reached their peak of inertia and curved downward, falling back into the canal like hundreds of diamonds. Sam inhaled a large breath and slipped into the water after Mara almost gracefully, the sharp spray stinging his face before he became submerged. The water was cool, but not nearly as cold as he expected, and very salty. He remembered reading about that in geography class.

Suddenly, fire slammed into his senses as the seawater assaulted his open eyes. He closed them in surprise, fighting his way up to the surface. The force of the waterfall pushed him downward again as he struggled through the deluge, finally breaking the surface. He gasped in air, kicking his legs against the current and scanning the spray for Mara. A commotion of splashing to the left drew his attention, though amidst it all he saw no sign of human anatomy.

Taking the clue, he ducked under the water quickly and slid his way toward it, forcing his eyes open even though they began to burn almost immediately. A black boot flew only inches in front of his face as he dove deeper into the canal. It was Mara, scrambling violently toward the surface, a trail of bubbles dancing up from her partially opened lips. She seemed to be making negative headway, sinking instead of rising, a look of terror on her distorted features.

Sam headed toward her, but was unable to get close enough to her flailing form to be of any assistance. Even using his Foresight, he couldn’t see a clear opportunity. Wondering if his skill was compromised by being underwater – Which doesn’t make any sense, he told himself – he decided to go for Mara anyway. Rushing forward and pushing the water away with both legs, he attempted to grab the collar of her jacket. The back of Mara’s flinging hand connected with Sam’s face; pain exploded stars across his vision as his head snapped to the side. His body went limp in surprise as he stopped fighting the current, trying to clear the clouds from mind. The water carried him, a trail of red following as he floated easily to the surface. More pain startled him from his lethargy as his head smacked against the concrete lined wall of the canal. Reaching upward, he groped for a handhold, fingernails scrabbling on the rough surface, and found one:  a narrow lip jutting out from the wall. He yanked himself partially out of the water and was greeted with a throbbing in his temple. With his other hand, he touched his face.

Yep, he thought as his hand came away bloody. Broken nose.

Looking around, he tried to orient himself. The sky was above him and the water below. Good, that’s all normal. He took a deep breath and noticed that he was about a hundred yards away from the waterfall. The current was not as strong here as it had been closer in and he was able to retain his grip on the wall relatively easily. He looked up. The wall was much higher than Sam would have guessed – maybe ten to twelve feet high – and smooth above the three-inch ledge onto which he was holding. This was going to make it near impossible for them to climb out.

Them… Sam looked around for Mara. She hadn’t surfaced yet. He swallowed hard, trying to relieve the pain in his cheekbones so he could try and find her. Suddenly, the world slowed and water flowed past him like molasses, ripples rising and falling languidly. The breeze became a static hum, filling his ears like cotton balls. Through the now stilled water, he could see Mara lying on her back with only a couple of bubbles left, their amoebic forms changing fluidly as they wobbled to the surface. She moved very little as her heels, the last to settle on the canal bottom, bounced gently several times. Her features had gone slack and her eyes were closed. She looked calm, relaxed even.

(Picture from:

No comments: