Douglas opened his eyes. He was in the dark again, back in the tank, Deep Escape, floating in space, but he wasn't alone. Something was in here with him. Crouched over him, a presence, a sound, a body without a body which had been following him around.
Cold fingers shot out and wrapped around his neck. Pushed him down underwater. Douglas looked up, from dark water to dark sky. Even in perfect pitch he could make out the face of the man above him. It was no surprise. His lungs and eyes burned. He took in great, big mouthfuls of water and noticed, as his vision faded and shook, that it had a strange taste, like the watercooler at work, and he thought back to the attendant who had introduced him to the device he was now drowning in.
“In order to help you stay afloat, the water is treated with Epsom,” he had said.
It tasted like salt.
Tight fingers squeezed his throat shut. They turned his vision black, blacker than the water, the dark river that swallowed him down.
“You're in the darkest place in the world.”
Not yet. But soon. All that was left was to give up.