Blood shoots from Tristan’s nose, spraying through the damp air. I watch, frozen in pure shock, as Tristan topples backward and crashes against the metal wall.
“Tristan!” I shout instinctively, rushing toward his limp body.
I kneel down by his side, searching his dazed eyes.
“Are...are you okay?” I ask breathlessly.
“Yeah, I’m fine Tessa,” Tristan mumbles, wiping his hand across the stream of blood steadily pouring out from his nose.
“Ian, how could you do that?” I cry, whirling around to face him.
But Ian is gone.
“Ian?” I call out, my heart pounding like a hammer in my chest.
I don’t know where he wants, but right now, all that really matters is attempting to seal up the tiny hole that is slowly but steadily leaking in water.
Tristan stands up with the sheet in his hands and quickly walks over toward the hole. He unfolds it and pushes it up against the wall, sealing the hole.
“We just need something to hold this down,” Tristan announces, turning his head toward me.
“Uh...I’ll look for something,” I say, trying to keep the edge of panic out of my voice.
I whirl my head around, frantically looking for something to block the hole with. But there’s nothing.
Tristan turns around, and when he looks into my eyes, I can literally see the hope drain from his face.
I am at a loss for words. It feels as if there is a cold, iron clamp gripping my throat, preventing me from uttering any sounds.
The water continues to steadily stream through the crack, its sound detectable over the ominous humming of the submarine’s motor.
I shake my head at Tristan, and he lifts his arms, outstretching them toward me. Without a word, I run to him and envelop into his arms. He pulls me close against his chest, wrapping his arms tightly around my back.
We stay there for a few long, dragged-out moments, standing there just like that until Tristan murmurs something.
“Huh?” I ask, my voice muffled from my face being pressed against Tristan’s chest.
“Tessa, turn around,” Tristan says quietly, an edge of alarm in his voice.
Slowly and shakily, I pull away from Tristan and turn around. And when I see who is standing in the entranceway of the control room, my heart skips a beat.
“Tessa, come with me,” the man in the white lab coat says sternly.
He is standing still, his arms crossed against his chest and his foot tapping impatiently on the steely metal floor.
I’ve seen the man before many times. He is one of Hal’s cronies, one of his right-hand men.
I stare at him, hatred burning in my eyes.
“Now,” the man says coldly.
“She’s not coming with you,” Tristan announces, trying to sound as confident as he can.
But I know that his words mean nothing. There’s no way out of this.
“Tristan, nothing bad will happen to her, we promise,” the man says, adjusting his wire-rimmed glasses on his long, hooked nose.
“Oh yeah? Like I’ll believe that. And what are you going to do about this?” Tristan exclaims, pointing to the hole in the submarine wall.
“We will handle that issue after Miss Tessa comes with us,” the man says, his voice unsettlingly calm.
He doesn’t seem concerned in the slightest bit that there is water continuously flooding the submarine, miles and miles under the surface.
“Fine, I’ll go,” I say, hatred still burning into the man’s eyes.
“Tessa no!” Tristan exclaims, grabbing my hand when I start to walk toward the man.
I turn around, looking Tristan right into his eyes.
“It’ll be okay,” I whisper, even though every bone in my body is telling me the opposite.
Tristan swallows hard, and I can see tears start to pool up in his crystalline blue eyes. I quickly turn around and continue to walk away, unable to look at him anymore.
“Thank you for complying with us, Tessa,” the man says, his thin lips curling up into a fake, sallow smile when I approach him.
I immediately want to kick him in the balls, and I take every muscle in my body to contract and stop myself from doing so. Instead, I just stare at him blankly, as if I were brain dead.
“Come with me,” the man says, then turns around and begins to walk away down the long, dim corridor.
Reluctantly, I begin to follow him. In my swirling cloud of thoughts in my mind, I momentarily think about attacking him, but instantly think otherwise when I see the multiple guns and knives sticking out from under his belt.
Probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
I turn around one last time to see Tristan still standing in the control room, his eyes wide with fear. My heart wrenches as I imagine how he must feel, helplessly watching me get dragged away. I quickly turn back around, my eyes training on the back of the man’s head.
We walk down the hallway, then make a right turn, heading down a hallway I haven’t been in before. Surprisingly, this hallway is even dimmer than the one that we were just in, and I have to strain my eyes just to see a few feet in front of me. Our footsteps echo eerily off the iron walls, reverberating over the low, constant humming noise.
“Where are you taking me?” I suddenly ask.
My voice sounds strange. Foreign to me.
“Somewhere safe, don’t worry,” the man says without turning around.
I swallow hard, unable to believe his words.
We make another turn and arrive in front of a large metal door with a wheel, resembling a bank vault door. We come to a halt and the man turns around, facing me.
“Now Tessa, I promise you that what lays beyond this door is purely, one-hundred percent for your safety and only your safety,” he says.
“What is it?” I ask sharply, shaking slightly.
“You’ll see. I can tell from your face that you are scared, but this time I promise to you that it is nothing bad.”
I scrutinize the man dubiously, trying to tell if he is actually telling the truth or not.
I cannot tell.
Nevertheless, the man turns back around and the man begins to turn the wheel. It makes a horrible screeching sound, causing me to instinctively clap my hands over my ears in an attempt to block out the noise. Finally, he stops turning the wheel and slowly swings the heavy door open. It moans creakily as it turns on its hinges. My heart pumps in my chest as I stare in front of me, anxiously anticipating what lays behind it.
When I see what lays beyond the entranceway, my heart nearly stops.
It is a small, dank looking room, filled only with long rows of rusty, metal benches. There are portholes around the walls, looking out into the dark, mysterious ocean. And, there are two inhabitants in the room.
Ian and Hal.
Instantly, they both look up at me.
Ian’s face is smeared with some blood. Tristan’s blood.
Hal smiles at me, immediately sending chills all throughout my body.
“Come on in Tessa,” he says, beckoning me inside.
I am frozen, rooted to the spot and unable to move any muscles in my body.
Hal’s eyes dart from me to his associate standing behind me. He nods his head, and I am suddenly pushed through the doorway and into the room.
“Wait!” I scream, but it’s too late.
The door clangs shut, sealing me inside the small space with Hal and Ian. The two people I have the most complications with on this submarine.
“What the fuck is going on?!” I shout angrily, trembling as I stare at the two of them.
“Well, now that you two are both here, it looks like it’s time to go,” Hal says.
He stands up and walks to the other side of the room. I warily watch as he kneels down to the ground, pulls open a trap door built into the floor and climbs down into darkness. A few moments later there is the sound of Hal closing the door shut behind him, leaving Ian and I alone in the small quarters.
I suddenly feel choked up and have to swallow many times to try to force down the tears that are threatening to spill over any moment now. I slowly turn around, facing Ian, who is still sitting down on one of the metal benches.
Anger pulsates in my veins as I stare at the blood on his face, remembering what he did to Tristan.
“Tessa, everything’s going to be okay,” he whispers, looking up at me earnestly.
I do not break my foreboding glare at him.
“Oh yeah, of course everything’s going to be okay. It’s not like you and me are trapped in a room with our evil captor miles and miles under the surface,” I spit sarcastically, crossing my arms across my chest.
Ian stands up, taking a slow step toward me. Instinctively, I back away, bumping into one of the benches behind me.
“Tessa, this isn’t a room,” Ian says quietly.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I snap, raising my eyebrows in confusion.
Suddenly, a loud rumbling sound begins from underneath us, shaking the floor beneath our feet.
“What’s going on?” I shout panickedly.
“Us two, we’re getting rescued,” Ian says, his lips breaking into a huge smile.
I ogle at him, half shocked and half confused at what he is saying.
“Just look,” Ian says, pointing his finger to the porthole windows on the wall opposite from me.
I swivel my head, looking out the circular windows. At first, it takes me a few moments to fully process what is happening. But when I do, I nearly faint.
Ian is right; we aren’t in a room. We are in another smaller submarine that is now in motion, leaving the flooding submarine and everyone who is inside of it behind to die.