Diving story for Halloween: Underwater World - The Black Book.

Written by Yuliia Kliusa
10/11/2023 09:06:00 en stories | 6 comments

The full moon illuminated the calm sea. The Underwater World bobbed in the calm waters of the Mediterranean.

Martín Rivadavia was sitting in front of the sonar screen, half asleep, his glassy gaze fixed on the signals emitted by a locator from the bottom of the sea. Suddenly, a hand landed on his shoulder; Startled, he tilted his head, discovering his partner Sandra Soler.

The full moon illuminated the calm sea. The Underwater World bobbed in the calm waters of the Mediterranean.

Martín Rivadavia was sitting in front of the sonar screen, half asleep, his glassy gaze fixed on the signals emitted by a locator from the bottom of the sea. Suddenly, a hand landed on his shoulder; Startled, he tilted his head, discovering his partner Sandra Soler.

—I caught you asleep.

"None of that," he replied, sitting up straight in his chair. I keep my eye on the screen.

-Something new?

—Nothing, the device only detects the presence of debris and plastics. The sea is a huge garbage dump,” Martín stated, clicking his tongue.

-And what is that? Sandra asked, leaning over the screen.

—By the nails of Christ! Kill me if that's not the broken hull of a ship!

—I'm going to call the client.

Sandra Soler, thirty-three years old, blonde, tall and lanky, with straight medium hair and beautiful green eyes, ran in search of Richard Laverton. The enigmatic albino and cadaverous-looking man had rented the liveaboard and requested the presence of two diving experts, all in exchange for a large sum of money that he paid in advance. Sandra went down to the lower deck. A strong smell like corrupted water permeated the hallway. Laverton was emerging from his cabin at that moment, dressed as if he were a preacher from deep America: a good quality black suit, white shirt, black tie and hat of the same color. Sandra jumped, frightened, and spoke in a trembling voice:

—Sir, we have found something interesting. Maybe it's the boat you're looking for.

—Finally, after all these years! he exclaimed, rubbing his bony hands. I was right to trust you.

—We'll have to wait for dawn. Then I or my partner will put on our diving equipment and confirm if what lies on the seabed, seventy-five meters deep, is the wreck.

—It is, without a doubt. It's the Tiberius. It sank in 1548, taking with it eight hundred sailors and soldiers from a Christian coalition after engaging in a naval battle against Turkish pirates. The chronicles say that Duke Ottavio of Fidenza, a character accused of witchcraft and necromancy, was traveling on the ship; According to my sources, he was in charge of guarding the Black Book, a grimoire—book of magical knowledge—written in the year 1348 in blood and bound in leather by a mad monk, focused on black magic and the description of exorcisms, although Its main intention is to teach how to invoke the six Black Spirits.

—Don't tell me you hired us to find a book written seven centuries ago.

—Find him and bring him on board.

—That was not what you agreed with my brother.

—The kind Mr. Soler, owner of this fabulous research vessel.

—I thought it was about doing a photographic report of the sunken wreck.

—Forget about the photographs. Your mission is to get the grimoire into my hands. Look, miss, I paid double the price of the stipulated rate for your services, so don't come to me with complaints.

—Do you think the book will still be intact down there?

—Of course, well protected inside a silver chest.

Sandra raised her eyebrows in surprise. He took a deep breath and climbed the ladders to go out onto the deck. He needed to fill his lungs with fresh air.

At seven in the morning, Martín Rivadavia, in a T-shirt and flip-flops, prepared the diving equipment. The Argentine from Río Grande—province of Tierra del Fuego—had a powerful physique at fifty years old, with a gray beard and jet-black eyes. Sandra, dressed in a black top and shorts that highlighted her splendid figure, attentively watched her partner's movements while she took a bite out of an energy bar.

"I know what you're thinking, but we're going to do what we agreed to: I'll go down," Martín said.

-As you say.

-Oh really? Aren't you going to start arguing?

-Not at all. Enjoy.

-Are you okay? —Martín looked at her strangely.

—I have hardly slept, I have a headache.

—I know you, there is something else: let it go.

—I don't like that man.

—Come on, Sandra, that guy paid your brother a fortune.

—He's already explained to you what he's looking for, right?

—Yes, before, while you were sleeping or trying. What's the matter? I'll go down, grab the damn chest if it's inside the wreck, and come back. We'll go back to Barcelona, the pale guy will give us a huge tip and we'll have a good time. I'll be damned if it's not a fucking plan.

Martín, a technical diver who was capable of descending to more than forty meters deep, put on his neoprene suit and mittens and carried the expensive equipment weighing more than sixty kilos on his back. A closed-circuit recirculator would allow it to go down to seventy-five meters. He made an “ok” gesture and submerged. He knew that in just five minutes he would reach the wreck, but the ascent would take forever: two hours so that the pressure compensation would be gradual. His first thirty-minute dive in the Red Sea came to mind. He remembered the totally new sensation of breathing through the regulator, the sound of the bubbles. And the peace, the feeling of calm. He saw himself descending to twenty meters, observing fish of incredible colors, spotted manta rays and a great variety of corals. Thirty-two years later, he was an expert, a renowned professional, but he still enjoyed diving like he did on his first day.

Submerged at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea lay the Tiberius, sixty meters long. The stern was intact; the bow was gone. The cannons stuck out from between the wooden planks. Martín believed he was going back five hundred years in time. With goosebumps, and not exactly because of the cold, he took the knife he had on his belt to cut his way through the rolled up fishing nets.

Meanwhile, in the Underwater World, a monitor showed Martin's exact position. In the greenish image you could see the interior of the ship.

-What's that? —Sandra shouted, getting up from her seat to get even closer to the screen. They were two skeletons, hugging each other, trapped in an amalgam of seaweed and other bone remains.

—Is your partner in trouble? Laverton asked evenly, smoking a cigarette listlessly. He had yellow nicotine stains on his nails and fingers.

—Would you please stop smoking? It's not allowed on the ship, you should know that by now!

Laverton blew out a cloud of smoke and laughed.

-I'm sorry lady. —He put out his cigarette and approached. He looked with his rat eyes at the monitor. Tell him to grab the chest and go up quickly.

—You still have twenty-five minutes.

-Will you please. If you appreciate your colleague, tell him to hurry up.

The man's breath smelled foul, like rotten fruit. Sandra made a disgusted face and activated the underwater communicator.

-Martin! Hurry up!

Sandra's voice sounded thunderous in the mask. Martín did not answer, he had enough to dodge the skeletons that swayed gloomily around him. A fish with sharp fangs that he had never seen in his life brushed past him. "The chest... where is the chest?" he asked himself, shining the flashlight attached to the mask on one of the covers to penetrate it. He had the sensation of entering the belly of an underwater monster.

-There! It's right under your nose! The book! Laverton howled, digging the sharp nail of his pinky finger into the screen.

—Besides, I don't see anything.

—Tell me to take it! Already!

—Step aside, for whatever you want most!

Laverton obeyed and nervously looked for the gold cigarette case that he was hiding in the inside pocket of his jacket. He took out a cigarette and lit it.

-Martin! Do you hear me? Martin!

The screen flashed black; then the image signal from the monitor was lost. Sandra, desperate, thought about putting on her diving suit and submerging, but it was crazy: without the proper equipment she would not be able to descend further than forty meters. It was time to wait. Two hours, two endless hours.

—Martin, I can't see you. If you hear me, go up as fast as you can. Luck.

"You're going to need it," Laverton said with the cigarette in his mouth. A string of yellow slime ran down his chin.

Sandra grimaced, disgusted.

Seventy meters deep, Martín, risking his life, carried the heavy chest. He repeated to himself, as if in a mantra, that he must come to the surface. "Up!" he said to himself over and over again, fighting against an invisible force that seemed to slow him down.

On the research vessel, Sandra looked worriedly at the coal-black clouds that had closed the sky in a matter of minutes. A gale was blowing. The sea was raging.

"I was already counting on this," Laverton spoke in a cavernous voice.

—What do you mean? —Sandra asked.

—You wouldn't understand it even if I explained it to you, but this change in time is not a coincidence.

The ship began to pitch, moving more and more. Lightning tore through the clouds and a deafening noise of thunder exploded overhead. The Underwater World was listing dangerously as it faced the storm.

—We won't last! —Sandra blurted out, walking from one end of the command post to the other.

"We will, miss." I'm not leaving here without the grimoire.

—You and that damn book! It's going to cost us all our lives!

—Whoever tries to prevent the Black Book from coming to the surface is powerful, but he faces an enemy equal to his powers. And Evil always wins. — Laverton's thin lips drew a macabre smile.

“I think he's completely crazy,” Sandra added, putting on a windproof fleece poncho with a hood.

—Where are you going?

—I prefer to be outside, enduring the storm, than to have him close.

An hour and a half later, Martín appeared in the strong waves. Sandra, attentive, helped him bring the equipment on board and he climbed out of the water via the ladder on the stern platform.

-The chest! —Laverton shouted, making himself heard above the thunder and the impressive waves.

Martín extended his arms to give it to her, but a giant wave hit the boat hard. Martín lost his balance and fell onto the deck. The chest fell into the sea.

-No! Laverton roared, his eyes red and bulging, almost bursting out of their sockets.

Before Sandra could stop him, the man dove headlong into the sea, immediately disappearing from her sight. Martin sat up; He was bleeding, he had a split eyebrow.

"We must go after him," he said in search of the rescue inflatable boat.

—Have you lost your mind? —Sandra held him—. We can't do anything, it's already dead with this wave! The waves reach seven meters high!

Martín, his eyes feverish, tried to break the hug, but she stopped him.

"Damn it, listen to me for once!"

—That man…, the book… —Martín felt a sudden pressure in his chest. His vision was blurred. "Let's go inside," he finally said. Your brother will hear me as soon as we get to Barcelona. How did it occur to you to get us into this, accompanying such a crazy person on his crazy adventure?

"I'll also tell you a couple of things that you're not going to like," Sandra concluded.

The storm disappeared as if by magic. While Martín rested in the cabin, Sandra, sitting in the command post, contemplated the cloud-free horizon. The erratic flight of a seagull, so far from the coast, caught his attention; The bird was flying low, almost skimming the waters. He grabbed the binoculars and followed her until she fell onto something that was still afloat.

-What the hell is that? —he wondered aloud.

He glimpsed a body floating face up, with its belly grotesquely swollen, its hands holding an intensely glowing chest on its chest.

—It can't be, it's impossible. —He lowered the binoculars for a few seconds to look away. When he looked back at the same point, the body and the chest had disappeared.

Just then, the seagull flew over the Underwater World emitting a crazy laugh.

Jaume Ballester. 2020.

Brief review of the author:

Jaume Ballester (Badalona, 1971) began writing as a child, and by the time he was twenty he had already written more than ten books, all of them still unpublished. He began his literary career in 2015 with Paro, a novel based on testimonies of unemployed people. In 2019 he published the anthology of short stories The Rat Boy and Other Macabre Tales.



Feedback from our users.
Manel 01 November 2020

I liked it, but it's too short... I think it would be a good starting point for a good book!

Raquel 31 October 2020


Ramon 30 October 2020

Very good. Hooked from the start

ANNA 30 October 2020

There will be more?

ANNA 30 October 2020

I liked it a lot. Very Halloween!

Yuliia 30 October 2020

I loved! Mystery, adventure and a hint of terror.

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