Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#Teasertuesday entry. Thanks for reading. Extra thanks for commenting. I appreciate the time and consideration.



This is a flashback D.T. Rhysing has at a critical juncture in the story. In this scene the Argo, an experimental submarine he was serving aboard, has smashed into the sea floor four hundred and twenty feet below the surface. All the crew save D.T. and Brendan Braddock are dead in an undersea inferno that is consuming the interior of their submarine.

They have only one way to escape and they have taken it, leaving the Argo by a partially open hatch in a maintenance bay. The maneuver is called a free ascent. No air tanks, no second chances and only seconds to spare. As they begin their long ascent the Argo implodes below them....

The Bones of the King - CHAPTER 133 - Newborn

The ring of gas expanded below, followed closely by a billowing column of bubbles that rose to slowly surround them. D.T. could feel the warmth they carried through his skin. Brendan was shouting out words, expelling a trail of bubbles from his hood. The Argo was obscured for a while but showed briefly after the plume dispersed. The blocky shape merged with the blue bottom, becoming just another pattern of shadow and light and then they were alone in midwater, save for an ever shifting cloud of tiny, oscillating bubbles which grew in size as they watched, calving and calving again as the surface drew nearer.

D.T. kept up the litany of airway opening okays, a minimalist prayer of supplication whispered in a vast and beautiful cathedral. Brendan’s muffled shouting and the muted melody of air moving through the sea could not drown out the constant kettledrum rumbling of the Argo. It seemed to come from all directions at once, remote and distant yet clear and sharp in his ears. D.T. felt as though he was suspended motionless between the silver sky and the indigo depths, no more or less significant than any of the plankton through whose realm he was passing. He felt no need to breathe despite having been ascending for what seemed a long while. Including their time in the maintenance bay and factoring in an ascent rate of eight feet per second he knew their journey would take no more than a minute and a half, but, if pressed to, he would later say that it seemed much longer.

After a time D.T. began to be able to pick out the finer details of the waves moving across the surface as the blue around him gradually lightened. They had passed through over three hundred feet of water and were getting closer to light and life when D.T. felt something in the darkness calling him, urging him to stay behind and be a part of the unhurried and eternal rhythm of the sea. So real was the feeling that he gasped and almost held his breath, an action that would have had swift and fatal consequences. The rush of adrenaline his fear set coursing through him made him kick out desperately. The last fifty feet passed in a rush, full of anticipation of success and equal parts dread that something would arrest his ascent just before he reached the surface.

In the final seconds D.T. screamed out under water and shot into the air, arms wind milling as though he was climbing an invisible ladder, eyes still straining upward as his lungs sucked in fresh air. He fell back into the embrace of the sea and cried, newborn in the blinding light of the hot tropical sun.


  1. Tense as a guitar string. Great imagery, as always. I can see the world around D.T. and that's a good thing.

    One recommendation: print it out, take a red or blue pen and circle all the "-ings" you have going on, then tone them down. The reason: "-ing" rings in the ear as we read, and can become a distraction. Easy to fix. And once you do this a few times, you'll catch it as you actually write it. :-) But not all "-ings" should be eradicated. Be choosy; be thrifty.

    Great job, Doug! :-)

  2. I meant to add that the "birthing" was brilliant. Change is coming for D.T. I just know it!

  3. Great tension, beautiful description. A great scene!

    Nicely done.

    Julie Johnson

  4. "D.T. kept up the litany of airway opening okays, a minimalist prayer of supplication whispered in a vast and beautiful cathedral."

    I am not sure what exactly that sentence means, but it is beautiful. It was my favorite sentence in an excerpt full of deadly beauty.

    Good read, Doug, thanks ;)

  5. Just woke and read these comments. Will post more detailed thanks when I get up to the summit and have dinner.

    The 'okays' mentioned are a way for a diver on a free ascent to keep his/her airway open and allow the expanding air to leave their lungs without exploding them (internal rupture). They had to pressurize the compartment they were in to allow the watertight door to open, then exit quickly. As such, the air in their lungs is compressed and will continually expand as they rise. Free ascents are time sensitive not because of air, but because if they stay at pressure for too long they will get the bends upon surfacing. Very few free ascents are or have been performed. The record is 620 feet. Amazing stuff. Sorry if this ran on. The details were covered earlier in another chapter.

    Madison, for you to enjoy that sentence without knowing what the 'okays' were is very heartwarming to me. Thank you. I only added this so that you could know why they were both saying the word all the way up to the sun.



    Gotta go, more soon..; Mahalo.

  6. for a second there in the middle, I thought D.T. was going to give it up to the call of the ocean! And of course I approve of a sea vessel named the Argo :)

    A very tense and dramatic scene with strong imagery. Thanks, too, for stopping by my blog!