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Rescue Diver

She sent out a distress call from the depths

Far below the surface, with 120 feet of seawater between me and the sun, the only colors that remain are the blues and blacks. When I shine my pocket dive-light on the reef, it becomes a paintbrush, reds and pinks and oranges popping in the small circle of unfiltered light, the black lion fish flaunting its toxic frills in full tiger-technicolor.

Sounds carry in water, but there are few of them. I distinctly hear the snap of my air-tank O-ring giving way, the thunder like a reverse waterfall of my air free-flowing from the blown valve in a silver column rushing toward the distant surface. My thought is deceptively calm as the air-bubble-dragon flicks its tail at me in farewell: there's no hyperbaric chamber on this island, a rapid ascent will be as lethal as the next reflexive inhalation which is a moment away. Slow-motion like my thoughts, I grasp the knife sheathed at my calf and strike my empty tank with its hilt—one more metallic sound carried through the water. I know the desperation of a drowning woman.

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