The periscope begins to rise up out of the churning water, swiveling around as it goes. We all wait in apprehension, shivering as the cold rain sprays into our faces. Then, the submarine begins to surface. Just from a mere glimpse, I can tell that it is colossal. It stops rising just when its roof rises above the surface of the water.
A small, circular hatch pops open.
“Everyone, go on in!” the man shouts over the roaring winds, pointing to the hatch.
No one moves. No one wants to be the first one to descend into the ominous gloom.
“Well it looks like I’m going to have to pick who goes first!” the man yells.
He then steps forward and violently pushes someone towards the submarine. To my horror, I watch as Tristan is pushed off the dock and onto the top of the submarine. I gasp as he slips on the slick, wet surface and nearly topples into the icy, swirling water below. But thankfully, he grabs onto the top of the hatch, regaining his balance.
“Well what are you waiting for, go down!” the man shouts.
Tristan turns around, glancing at all of us with a pained expression on his face. Then, without a choice, he climbs into the hatch and slowly begins to descend down the ladder until he disappears from sight.
After Tristan goes, others begin to follow, carefully climbing onto the top of the submarine and going down through the hatch. I am the last to go down. When it is my turn, I look down into the murky darkness, swallowing hard. Then, after taking one long, last deep breath of fresh air, I descend down the rickety, rusted ladder. When my feet finally hit the floor, I walk around blindly in the pitch darkness, trying to follow the echoey voices of the people that are already down here. Finally, after bumping into various walls, I find myself in a small, dimly lit, circular room.
“Well this sucks,” Dylan finally says, breaking the gloomy silence.
I look around and spot Ian leaning against the opposite wall, gazing out one of the portholes into the dark waters.
“This is strange though, why are none of those doctors here?” a girl asks timidly.
“They’re probably up front driving the submarine,” Dylan says.
Suddenly, there is a horrible, loud, screeching noise. I instantly put my hands up to my ears, trying to block the sound out. Then, the submarine begins to move, slowly descending under the water as it goes.
We are officially trapped under the sea. And this time, there is no possible way to escape.
Small droplets of water drop down from the ceiling, plopping right on my head. I wrap my arms around my body, shivering in the damp, musty air.
“Hey, what’s this door go to?” Dylan says.
I glance over at him to see him pushing open a panel in the wall. It swings open to reveal some sort of storage closet. He walks inside.
“Dylan, I wouldn’t go in there,” Nikki says warningly.
But he doesn’t listen. Instead, he walks further into the closet, disappearing into the darkness. We all wait in apprehension until he finally comes out, holding a large, bulky object.
“Look what I found!” he shouts, holding the object up.
“What the hell is that?” someone asks.
It appears to be some sort of stereo or boombox. But there’s something about it, something different, that makes it look very strange. Maybe it’s the bulkiness of it. Maybe it’s the various wires coming out of it. Whatever it is, it just looks odd. Dylan sets it on the ground, kneeling down to examine it. He begins to press various buttons.
“Dylan, I wouldn’t do that,” Tristan murmurs, his voice barely audible over the deafening hum of the descending submarine.
“Why not? It’s just a radio,” Dylan says, continuing to press buttons on the stereo.
“I don’t know, it’s just that...”
But before Tristan can finish, there is a loud beep after Dylan presses one of the buttons.
Then another beep. And another. And another. The loud beeps continue to sound from it.
“Oh shit...” Dylan whispers, pointing to the stereo as he slowly backs away from it.
I look at the stereo and see exactly what Dylan is talking about. My heart stops when I see that a countdown has lit up on the screen.
With each beep one second counts down. Pure terror floods through my body when I register what this is.
For a few moments, everyone stares at the bomb, probably frozen in fear and shock just like me. Then, chaos erupts.
“WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO YOU DUMBASS?!” people shout furiously, violently pushing Dylan up against the wall.
Dylan throws his arms up in the air and tries to wriggle free, but he is completely outnumbered.
“Let him go!” Nikki shouts, but no one listens to her.
“I told you, you shouldn’t have touched it!” Tristan shouts angrily in Dylan’s face.
As everyone continue to push and shove Dylan, the bomb relentlessly continues to count down, its beeps getting louder and louder in succession. I stare at it.
Finally, I cannot take it anymore.
“EVERYONE STOP IT!” I scream at the top of my lungs.
Instantly, everyone whips around. I swallow hard, feeling everyone’s eyes on me.
“Let him go,” I demand, trying to keep my voice as level as possible.
No one moves a muscle.
“I said, let him go. Now."
Reluctantly, they release him and he slumps to the ground, groaning in pain.
“I don’t care if it’s Dylan’s fault; we don’t have time to deal with him right now. All I know is that if we don’t dismantle this bomb, we are all going to die.”
My voice cracks on the last word. Everyone continues to stare at me in silence, the only sound being the ominous beeping of the bomb. I look up at the ceiling and see a security camera, pointing down directly at us.
“HELP US! THERE’S A BOMB!” I scream, desperately waving my arms and looking straight into the camera.
I have a sinking feeling that no one is going to come help us. Feeling like a deflated balloon, I slowly lower my arms.
“Well does anyone know how to disarm a bomb?” I ask, panic and desperation rising in my voice.
The second after I ask that I realize how stupid of a question it was. What are the chances that any of us know how to successfully disarm a bomb?
“Don’t you just cut the wires or something?” a boy asks timidly, breaking the silence.
“Yeah, I think he’s right,” a few others chime in.
My heart is thumping so loud that I can hear it thundering in my ears.
“This bombs going to go off no matter what, so I think we should at least try to disarm it,” a girl I’ve never seen before says, her voice trembling slightly.
Then, I hear a voice that I haven’t heard in a very long time.
Everyone turns around, staring at Ian. He is leaning against the wall, glaring at everyone with his dark eyes.
“No?” Tristan asks.
“I said no. We’re not disarming it,” Ian says flatly.
His eyes meet with mine then quickly dart away.
“Ian, do you realize that if we don’t disarm this bomb, it’s going to blow up and we’re all going to die?” Tristan exclaims incredulously, widening his eyes at Ian.
Ian shakes his head.
“No it’s not,” he says.
“Why not?!” Tristan exclaims.
“Because it’s not a bomb.”
I stare at Ian, utterly confused.
“What the hell did you just say?” Tristan asks.
“I said, that thing there is not a bomb,” Ian repeats, pointing his finger at the stereo.
“Ian, it’s a bomb and we are all going to die in 46 seconds when it explodes,” Tristan says, panic evident in his voice.
“They’re just testing us, it’s not a real bomb. They’re not stupid; they wouldn’t put a bomb on their submarine,” Ian says.
I continue to stare at him. My throat feels constricted, as if it is the diameter of a straw.
“How do you know? Are you secretly on their side or something?” Dylan hisses, glaring at Ian with anger in his eyes.
“No, of course I’m not. But you guys have to trust me on this; I know it’s not a real bomb. They’re tricking us into thinking it is because they want to see how we react. Look, I bet you they’re watching us right now and laughing.”
Ian points up to the camera on the ceiling.
“I don’t know, but I’m getting as far away as I can from this thing,” Tristan says.
He then runs into the dark hallway where we came from. Almost everyone follows him, scurrying away as fast as they can. I stand there, rooted to the spot and unable to move or speak. Ian finally looks up at me.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” Ian says.
His eyes burn into mine. My entire body is quaking with fear.