I was lowered down into the water. The diving suit felt heavy, the boots thudded into the bottom of the pool. I could make out the shapes of the two men waiting at the air pump. They spoke to each other as they waited for my signal. The pool was not the best test of the suit's capabilities, but we were checking the basics. The air pump hadn't been used in decades and the suit itself needed basic leak testing. I started wading to the deeper end of the pool. The water was now 2 feet above the top of the helmet. I breathed slowly, making the air last as long as I could.
3 minutes passed.
I decided it was enough and raised my hand. The men continued talking, now deep enough in conversation to have physically turned to face the each other. I waved harder, making small ripples on the surface. Nothing. My focus on my breathing broke. I was never comfortable with enclosed spaces. I took a few steps closer to the shallow end, my hand breaking the surface of the water. I splashed water at the men. They snapped out of their conversation and started unlocking the air seal. I felt the pull of the tube on the top of the helmet as air started siphoning through. I took a few steps back toward the deep end. As I walked, I looked back at the men. They were standing still, no longer chattering to each other. I stopped and stared back. I heard a faint gurgle from the air tube. The sound grew louder. Something was coming down the tube. I looked up to the vent. A drop of water splashed onto my face. I looked back at the blurry shapes of the men, they stood still. Even through the rippling water they seemed to be frozen in time.
Water started rushing into the helmet, I started to panic and move back to the shallow. The weighted boots seemed to be heavier than at the start of the test. I assured myself it was just fatigue, though I had hardly been exerting force. I tried to move quickly, but felt stuck after 3 steps. I turned to look at the men. They continued to watch. The pouring water echoed in the helmet, starting to disorient me. I felt something brush against my ear, though water had only filled to my jaw. I looked at the surface of water inside the helmet. Even through the brackish water I could see something was moving. I felt it brush against my neck. The water had reached my ear. I tilted my head back, trying to keep my nose out of the water. Small, sharp teeth pierced my neck. The tiny razorlike jaws to bite deeper and tear my flesh. I closed my eyes and screamed. I tried to move my arms and legs but the diving suit had grown too heavy. I felt more creatures hit my face as they dropped from the air tube. One started tearing at my cheek, another crawling into my ear, before starting to bore into the drum. The pain was excruciating. The water was now at my nostrils, even with my head pulled back. I felt the creature in my ear turn and bite deep into the canal wall. I opened my mouth to and yelled. Water clouded with blood rushed into my mouth. Creatures followed. My throat tore, my ears burned, my mind began tear apart.
My eyes opened wide and I gasped for air. I had woken from the nightmare shaking. My heart beating rapidly and my torso covered in a fine coat of sweat. My terror slowly dissipated and was replaced by confusion as I took in my unfamiliar surroundings. A yellow glow cut pierced the dark. The light peeking out from the underneath the bathroom door was dull, but bright enough to reveal the layout of the bedroom. I closed my eyes and breathed slower easier, trying to piecing the jigsaw together. I rolled onto my right and I saw her. She had her back to me. Her breathing was soft and rhythmic, I hadn't disturbed her. Her beautiful body moving in time with her slow breathing. She was beautiful. I moved closer and gently placed my hand on her waist. I brought my face against her exposed shoulder. I kissed her shoulder gently and touched my cheek to her, letting my hand drift to her stomach. She stirred slightly and sighed happily. My lips split into a smile. I kissed her shoulder again, and let my hand drift back over her perfect curves, savoring the feel of her skin under mine.
I turned away and lay on my back, looking up into nothing. I felt content.