They lowered him to the ocean floor slowly and with great deliberation. The rope twisted and swayed in the cold and the current, but held firm.
Down, down, down the man fell, encased in iron and brass. He couldn’t hear anything but the silence raging in his ears, or see anything but the fog of his own breath on the glass. His helmet was heavy and confining like a prison, and his diving suit kept his limbs locked in position. He wasn’t truly a man anymore so much as the flesh component in a heart of metal. A blind and deaf witness to the miracles of the deep,
It took nearly an hour to each the bottom, or as close as geography and rope would allow. In this part of the sea, the ocean floor was not a plain or a field but a series of slopes and ridges, like the foothills at the base of a mountain range, but these peaks delved deep in to the watery depths rather than upward towards the sky. More than once, the man thought he had reached bottom, only to stumble forward and tumble further into the abyss.
The fish abandoned him first, followed by the light. Darkness rose to meet him swallowing him whole in his stiff, soundless blindness. And that was when the ocean spoke to him. There were no words, no sensations, but he understood the message clearly. He felt it in the the creaking and cracking of his diving suit and in the chill that burrowed deep into his bones.
You do not belong here. Take your metal and your horded breaths and leave.
The man wanted to obey, but it was out of his hands. The men on the surface would lower him until there was no more rope and only then would they haul him out from what might prove his watery grave.
A thousand fathoms down.