A to Z 2017–G is for Gulf

Well, a couple of these stories have definitely taken a bit of a dark turn. I wonder what my Muse is thinking?

G is for Gulf

Dennis smiled at Michelle from behind the boat’s console. “Whatdya think, babe? Please tell me you’re having fun. I really want this trip to be magical.”

“Actually, Denny,” she said, “I think it’s kind of awesome.” Michelle had a hand on her head, securing her hat against the wind. “I still can’t believe you planned it all without me.”

“I just figured it’s been too long. I’ve been working too hard. You’ve been taking care of the kids. I think we both needed this. Some grown-up time.”

Grown-up time. The words they used to inform the kids that, no, they were not permitted out of bed this late. Not even if Mommy and Daddy are watching TV.

“Besides,” said Dennis, “it’s past time we got more use out of the SCUBA certifications we worked so hard on. I mean, the honeymoon in Jamaica was awesome, but that was five years ago.”

“Seven.” She sighed.

Oops. “Seven years ago. See? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten what year it is.” He smiled again, hoping Michelle wasn’t going to use that against him later. For now, Michelle looked peaceful. More relaxed than he’d seen her in a long time.

The GPS on the rented boat indicated the were at our destination and Dennis cut the power.

“So, what’s the big surprise you wanted to show me?” Michelle asked. “We’re, what? Ten, fifteen miles offshore? It’s not like there’s much to see in the middle of the Gulf. Ugly old oil platforms—”

He wiggled his eyebrows at her. “It’s more like 25 miles or so. And, trust me, there’s plenty to see. Once we get in the water.”

On impulse, Dennis kissed her and she blushed. He decided he’d have to work on getting back in that habit.

After setting anchor and getting into their gear, the couple tipped over the side of the boat and began their descent.

The water was clear and blue, and the scenery didn’t disappoint. While not quite the intensity and diversity of Jamaican sea life, the bright coral and colorful fish that called the abandoned oil rig home made for spectacular viewing. Even a pair of dolphins stopped by to say hello.

As they swam, Michelle got Dennis’ attention and pointed at what looked like a light deeper down.

Dennis checked his timer and depth meter, and shrugged. They had time to investigate. It was probably just more divers.

As they got closer, Dennis realized it was more than a dive light—too bright for that. Or maybe someone just had much better gear than their rented equipment.

When the light turned red and started flashing in patterns, he stopped and grabbed at Michelle. This wasn’t something he wanted to discover after all.

Michelle swam on. Dennis grabbed at her tank, and was taken along for the ride. He couldn’t stop her, but he wouldn’t let go. So down they went together.

The light surrounded them and suddenly the panic gave way to peace.

What looked like a shimmering blob came toward them, growing bigger, and both simply stared. A distant thought told Dennis it was a large bubble, the shimmer a trick of refracted light. But why would a bubble be growing like that?

It opened around them, and felt oddly like surfacing sideways. Michelle dropped her regulator and laughed. Dennis looked around, unable to comprehend what was happening.

“Welcome!” Dennis felt the panic bubbling again when he realized a man with no diving gear was in the bubble with them. Talking.

Michelle laughed again. “Dennis,” she said, “how did you manage it? It’s just like—“

“It wasn’t him,” said the man. “He won’t remember. You thought he was lying about not remembering when we met before. He wasn’t.

“Michelle, it’s you I’m here for. You finally came back to me.”


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