The Cavern – Part 10

I was in the second inflatable airlock thinking about how I needed more Stim, I had set them all going and was about to head back to sort out a rota, one that would involve most people in some fashion, the big dig had started, we would get out!

But then I heard it, a great rushing a susurration, a wall of sound and the echos of… screams, my purples closed and I turned to the other in the airlock confused. ‘Shut the airlock!’ hissed my lecturer. I reacted on instinct. A mass of people pilled into the narrow tunnel we were in, slipping and sliding on the uneven floor, they pushed and batted at each other, clawing to get ahead.

I looked at the others fearfully, ‘what… what is going on?’ one of them asked.

‘I don’t know I admitted,’ stamped? Riot?

‘It sounds like water,’ said my lecturer slowly.

I stared at him, hoping our little bubble would remain unnoticed by the thundering herd, ‘but there is no stream to burst like that and even a large storm above ground wouldn’t cause that sort of sound.’

‘Fire!’ squeaked another of the team, a woman with the remnants of dye in her fur.

‘My kids are out there!’ cried a middling man with course ears that weren’t very expressive, I didn’t need flapping ears to tell me he was panicking.

‘We would be crushed by the crowd if we went out there.’ I managed to say just as they all burst out talking and shouting and arguing at once. If it was a fire we were trapped. I snatched at the hand unit my father had pressed onto me and tried to call, but no one responded. Then the thud of the wave hit our tunnel, those running past were bowled over as it crashed and rolled.

‘By the Everliving!’ hissed my lecturer as a yougling was smashed into our airlock, I expected it to give but it was a good design and the shattered creature was carried away a moment later. I stepped back in horror.

Screams and wails bounced around our little bubble as the realisation sunk in, the cave was being flooded. Everyone out there was dead, family, friends, I staggered at the thought of my parents. ‘Mum! Dad!’ I hiccuped and turned away from the torrent rushing by, the water tumbled corpses and was dark. Sobbing racked most of the team, I lent back against the wall and quivered with suppressed rage. They had lied to us! They had let us believe there was hope!

There was no way this cataclysm was natural they had to have pumped that water in! The Nesu would die if I ever got out of there, that was one thing I knew for certain, how dare they! I had understood the quarantine in a cold objective way but this… I shook with rage my purples flaring and locking down tight.

I thought of the efforts the council had gone to, trying to preserve something of us as a people, a culture and then the laughter hit me, they had bought the antique chairs to try and preserve them as a legacy of who we were and now those chairs would be smashed to pieces, the tapestries wet and so would rot. The laughter rocked me with a violence once I started I could not stop, dared not stop, what would I be without the raw sound gushing from my throat – just a puddle of nothing hiding in a precarious bubble deep below the earth whilst her race was annihilated.

I threw my head back into the rock wall behind me.

I had failed, my parents had failed and I laughed. ‘Ginglar! Stop!’ my lecturer commanded, I grinned horribly at him but he strode to me and pushed me down onto the floor. He sat upon my prostrate legs so he was facing me, his knees either side of my own. His fingers were strong, he was a classic miner unlike me, slender and slight, not good for child baring as my grandmother always used to intone – he held my head, made me look at him. ‘We need you, there are still Suma surviving, still a race that needs you!’

I tried to shake my head, I wanted to just close my eyes and ignore the nightmare, maybe when I awoke it would be gone. But his penetrating eyes calmed me and slowly my breathing returned less ragid, the laughter was quelled. He kissed my forehead and smiled sadly. ‘I shall get the first aid kit.’ And was moving before I could ask what for, I saw his fingers were covered in yellow, I was bleeding!

I looked up at the wall and saw the splatters from where I had hit my head, I shuddered with cold and fear but the blood loss was minimal. As he bandaged me I thought on what we could do stuck as we were, what food did we have with us? What resources other than digging equipment and then the thought I wished I hadn’t had – we were in a sealed bubble of air, ‘tranquilize everyone,’ I whispered to him. He nodded and spoke quietly to the medic in the team. She looked at me and nodded and began setting out her needles.

The man who’s children were now in the watery grave beyond fought but was soon restrained and drugged to a stupor. The medic approached me, ‘how much air do we have?’ she asked, I grimaced and shrugged, ‘I do not know.’ She nodded and looked back at the prown group.

‘Should I euthanas?’ she asked quietly. I felt the cold queasiness slosh through my gut and shook my head. ‘No we need to try and survive… we are probably the only remnant of the Suma.’

‘Ah yes,’ she said looking serious, ‘but I do not rate our chances.’

I sat up at her tone and looked at the wall of water, ‘they wont want to waste so much water and energy pumping it, it will receed and then we can… salvage what we can and see to getting out of this damn cavern.’

‘It’s not going to be that easy,’ I saw she was shaking.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

‘I… I’m not supposed to say but I suppose you are the council now?’

I nodded.

‘The rite will not have been performed and most of the population is a cadava out there.’

My lecturer moaned, ‘please tell me you are just superstitious?’ he murmured.

She shook her head. I lent back against the wall and closed my eyes. This had to be a dream, please please. But I knew it wasn’t.

Posted: Friday, January 3rd, 2014 @ 9:21 am
Categories: Series, The Cavern.
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