I am a massive fan of the movie Sanctum, and the way that it makes you think, and I found myself wanting to write a fanfic about it. I struggled for a little while to find a plot that holds that integrity of the story without changing the events of the movie too much, and I think I've finally found it. So have a read, and let me know what you think!
I am not a man of this world. I was not made for cities and mortgages, nor woman and dating, nor children and families. I am like my father in the way that the water calms me, the sound of my own, dry breath, and the feel of my body sluicing through the still water reminders of what life really is like. There's a beauty, to the caving systems, and a challenge, one that can defeat you in a heartbeat, but one, that with careful, and meticulous planning, we can adapt to, and win. Each and every one of us that makes up this team knows the risks of what we're doing, and each and every one of us is prepared.
I am no exception.
In fact, I am probably the most prepared of all of us here, and it is the reason that, the moment things look like going bad, they all look to me. It is the reason that I force us to check, and recheck equipment, until I'm certain it's perfect, and I am the reason that we keep going, even when the rest are ready to give up. Singlehandedly, I am responsible for a multitude of discoveries, which has become to cave divers as the Eiffel Tower is to most of the population. I have seen more of these caves than I have the land above it, and my only friends are those that I dive with, the bond between us inexplicable.
I am separated by these people though, no matter how closely bonded we are, by the past that none of them share, and the present that all but I do. Each and every one of my teammates has a family, and a life that they can never sever outside of the caves, and it makes them fallible. In times of danger, they panic, too scared of what they have to lose to stop and think. I, however, have nothing, except for the cave systems, that one day will surely take my life, and I can think, and plan, and because I have survived worse, I can see a way out.
There's six of us on this particular journey, four other men, two women, one of whom I have slept with, and one I have never seen before. Along with her, two of the men are newly drafted to our team, and even though I trust them enough to agree to this expedition, I'm not sure how well they dive, regaling the three of them to the back, Sav in front of me, and Jules behind, my eyes, for this part of the journey, more transfixed on the motion of Sav's legs, rather than the caves, even though my fingers lightly graze it's rough surface, touch telling me the minute difference between [i]centimetres[/i] of the limestone deposits. Sav, like the other girl, does not have the fleshy curves that make sex more enjoyable, and fill me with that sense of satisfaction; instead, Sav, and the new woman to the team, are stocky, muscle densely packed onto their frames, consequence of their passions, femininity lost to the depths of that which we explore. Fucking Sav was like I was fighting her, scratches marring my upper torso for weeks, the bruise from a bite on her shoulder, and from my fingers on her hips.
It had been a release of tension more than an attraction, but now, watching the way she moves through the water, disturbed water pushed against my face, cool against my skin, I know that, given the chance, I'd do it again.
We won't get a chance down here though, as fun, and as satisfying as fucking in caves is, a more primal connection to nature than anything else I've experienced, because there are six of us, time is limited, and last time, Sav had told me, was the absolute last. She'd found a man up above, one who was around when the expedition was over, who wasn't buried beneath the sheets until he began planning the next one, with no interest in the life that everyone else lived. This dive, I suspect, will be our last together, and we only got that because of courtesy. The knowledge that she could throw me away so easily hurts, just like I suspect that my mother hurt my father when she left, but the life she wants me to live is an unfair one, and she knows me well enough to not even bother trying. We'll both tell ourselves that what we had was just sex, nothing more, and while I stare at her legs, and the rhythm with which they move, I can almost believe it.
The small tunnel which we have forced our way through comes to an end, the cavern it deposits us in enormous, even though most of it is rocky outcrop, the tunnel now a stream running through it, a new cave that we are probably the first to explore. Like so many others that we have come across, it reminds me of Forward Base of years ago, my breath hitching in my throat as I make my way towards ground, tearing the rebreather off my face, and breaking the order in which we have swum for today. Sav pulls herself out of the water next, resting her hand on the top of my head for a moment as she passes me, failing to seat herself by my side, nestled under the crook of my arm, as she always had before this journey. Jules comes next, pity on his face as he rummages in his pack, holding the chocolate bar that we always agree we won't bring, but which he always does out for me to take.
Memories have been banished from my mind, my face now masked with a wry smile as I take his offering, nodding my thanks to him, and tearing the plastic. Their reactions are always like this, and I know I can count on them, but I cannot speak for the other three, who are unknown entities, and will only ask questions, force me to relieve a story that I have systematically put behind me, save for those glimpses, whenever we find something new, or whenever someone is in trouble, or whenever I have to repeat the measures that I once hated my father for. Consistency is key, down here, careful planning, and a knowledge of how events will pan out, when you follow your plans. Down here, has become my life, and as such has consistency, and predictability, the only changing constant the unknown that we are searching for; where a cave system finishes, or feeds into a new one, which we have not before thought of. My relationships are consistent, and predictable, or they were, the hole that Sav's departure will leave gaping, and something that I will only address when she is gone.
The chocolate is half gone before one of the newbies makes his appearance, and then fully when the female follows. Like Sav, Jules and I, they pull themselves onto the rock, but where we are silent, they are chatty, digging through packs and comparing food, marvelling at the cavern, and wondering where the system will take us next. Not used to this behaviour, I shoot them a dirty glance, muttering the poem I'd always considered my father's under my breath. Like it did with him, the words, their rhythm, and the inconsistency drugs caused it to have, focuses me, and I am calm as I wait for the final man to make his appearance.
He is taking too long. Likely, he has panicked, the man being the biggest of all of us anyway, the cave therefore the most of a squeeze for him, and sudden, irrational impatience over taking me, I stand, reaching for my rebreather, shrugging myself into it as I seek Jules out, watching as he tells Sav a joke of some kind, her laughter infuriating me further. "What the fuck, Jules?" My voice has become deeper that it even was at seventeen, and slightly gravelly, a consequence of caving, the volume of the water making you shout, and straining your vocal chords more than above does, "You said they weren't greenies!" They were supposed to be experienced enough that something like this wouldn't happen, that we wouldn't have to deal with the decisions that came of mistakes, like we'd had to on other journeys, like I'd had to more than anyone.
Before he can answer, I have gone, feet unfortunately bare, but rebreather in my mouth, meaning that the extra time this journey will take will hardly matter. Not that it is a long journey, in the end, this man close to the mouth of the tunnel, and in a space big enough I can navigate around him with ease, this death therefore painfully needless. Slowly, I begin to examine him, ignoring the nausea in the pit of my stomach as I let my fingers traverse his smooth, cold skin, looking for a reason for his death. Finally, I find it, his rebreather tube punctured. No, his rebreather tube split, the hole too smooth, too straight to be anything the rock wall caused. He equipment had been sabotaged, he had been murdered, while I swam on ahead, and almost certainly his killer was still with us.
There was no god down here, something that my father had instilled in me, right up until his death, but now, there was a devil. And unless we sought him out, we were fucked.