Rock Bottom

Short Story

 

In the blink of an eye a mammoth sinkhole swallows up the entire town of Carlsburg, twenty-seven thousand souls vanish into the Earth. Leaving highway 401 eerily leading into a fifty mile wide black hole.

Rescuers had yet to reach the bottom of the massive pit after weeks of trying to search for any signs of survivors. Oddly, search and rescue drones began to malfunction at such a staggering, never before recorded depth of three hundred miles below the surface, they just suddenly disappeared into the abyss. It’s said, that the rock at such a distance seems to absorb all radio communications. Then Jonny Pearson came along, a heavy crane operator and owner of Long Arm Crane Service. He proclaimed God had hand delivered to him a command straight from the heavens on the very eve of the tragedy, “Oooooh Jonny—“ the Lord thundered, he said. “Use your crane. Get my people out!

The media instantly began frothing at the mouth for this blond haired, blue eyed, God fearing man with a strong southern accent, and muscles in just about all the right places. Jonny was branded more as an explorer before a rescuer and every moment leading up to the fiasco was broadcast live to the world. His carefully designed cage was shown to be well wired with fourteen high powered spotlights, multiple video recorders and an array of audio devices, along with some obvious religious supplies, that he excitedly showed off to the cameras. Ultimately, the media fiends spun it into some kind of reality show. Even Jonny’s specialized heat resistant suit looked better situated for a NASCAR race, then that of a rescuer descending into one of the deepest and deadliest sinkholes in the world. The blatant advertisements of image hungry corporations striving to appear to have some form of empathy were sickening, everything about the rescue was branded for making money. Jonny was even reported to have been given a cheque for $3 million dollars by corporate executives just three days before making the journey into the hole.

When asked about the allegations Jonny’s response was, “I have spoken to the almighty upon the decision to take the money and the Lord has given me his wonderful blessings.

Despite the swirling controversy, it wasn’t long before Jonny Pearson and the world, for that matter, soon found themselves on a sensational elevator ride to the centre of the Earth and beyond anything we could’ve even imagined. The video imagery captured was absolutely historic in nature. Jonny was calmly heard reciting the bible as he was lowered. The mighty cliff of rock that loomed before him was painted in the most fantastic colours, some whole miles of Earth held spectacular, glittering sections of nothing but diamond. The world stood in awe witnessing such an alien crag as Jonny ventured deeper and deeper and deeper into the hole. At three hundred miles and almost sixteen hours later communications went dark— as expected— and all audio was almost all but lost if it wasn’t for a smart minded farmer, installing a rather primitive device requiring a few phone receivers, miles of electrical cable and a couple of car batteries. Jonny’s dialogue to the surface with the reality shows host Mike Bartlett, and the world was broadcast using this method. This was Jonny Pearson’s last recorded fifteen minutes of fame, as he ventured into the very depths of hell.

I see something… Hallelujah, praise the lord!” Jonny’s thick Southern tone crackles through the receiver.

A video drone hovers high above the sinkhole to give the television viewers a birds eye view of the disaster and the large herd of people huddling around the stage, adjacent to a yellow crane stretching out over the hole. The host is a portly looking man seen sitting on the platform encompassed by journalists, television cameras and brightly coloured advertisements. He’s wearing a black tuxedo —which doesn’t seem sane for a mid-summer afternoon, let alone a rescue operation— and the smug smile that hangs on his face causes his cheeks to redden and puff out like a greedy little chipmunk.

Can you please describe everything you’re seeing for us Jonny? So our viewers can have a better picture.” Asked Mike, gazing directly into the camera with a plastic smile.

The wall is an incredible deep blue. I can see below what I suspect to be water… I’ll call for a full stop just above its surface… Praise the lord,” Jonny replied.

We’ll wait for your command Jonny,” said Mike “Do you see anything left of Carlsberg down there?

May the lord be my light… There is nothing down here that I recognize.

Roger—we’ll wait on your word for a full stop,” Mike exclaims, again staring straight into the camera, this time with a big shrug and a curled lower lip.

Two hundred feet… One hundred feet, Jesus is my saviour… Slower down now… Sixty feet… Thirty feet… Slowly… FULL STOP MY BROTHER! FULL STOP!

FULL STOP!” Shouted Mike towards the cranes operator. His face beamed a beat red as if his head was about to burst from his shoulders.

The television cameras zoom in on the cranes massive winch and the greasy cable that is Jonny’s only lifeline to the surface.

I’m about twelve feet from the surface of what appears to be a gigantic crystal clear ocean of water.

Can he see anything floating on the water?” Blasts a journalist from the crowd, up towards Mike.

The people up here want to know is anything floating on the surface? Are there any signs of life Jonny?” Mike asks, rolling his eyes at the journalist and holding a fat sausage finger to his lips.

I may have— God is great! I can hear something splashing in the distance. I have to admit it’s very unsettling down here, nothing but blackness and echoes, feels like the devils breathing down the back of my neck. I’m going to try and attempt to call out to the splashing… Praise the Lord, we may have a miracle.

God bless you, be careful Jonny.

Slowly lower me another ten feet or so… I can hear it’s coming closer…

The television camera focuses on the cranes operator as he feathers the cable out another ten feet, Jonny’s voice is heard yelling “WHOA!” over the video images.

Do you see anything Jonny?

The receiver holds a long uneasy silence and the crowd raises their palms skyward in mass prayer, the television camera centres in on an advertisers flag blowing in the wind at the tip of the crane, then it slowly pans out to zoom in on Mike’s beat red face and the sweat now beading down from his brow.

IT’S A DOG! Praise Jesus it’s a German Shepard… I’ve gottem!

Ha Ha Ha,” Mike chuckles. “God is great!” He yells to the crowd raising his arms to the sky, as everyone roars with cheers. “We have a survivor!

Wait…!” Squeals Jonny over the cheers.

What is it Jonny?

Violent, ear piercing whines blast through the receiver as Mike thrusts it away from his ear. The crowd gasps and a woman in the front row faints.

Jonny come-in! Is everything okay?” Mike cries, raising to his feet and knocking over his chair behind him, his eyes as wide as flying saucers.

The dogs with our Lord… It just dissolved like acid at my feet!

Repeat that Jonny, we don’t understand? Please repeat!

The FUCKEN dog just melted at my feet! Raise me up… This is the very pits of hell, I hear Lucifer splashing… Oh Jesus—it sounds like something huge!

RAISE HIM UP!” Screams Mike towards the cranes operator.

The camera pans out and zooms in on the cranes operator now hunched over and into the windshield of his perch.

RAISE ME UP NOW GODDAMN IT! PLEASE RAISE ME UP!” Cries Jonny.

A burly firefighter takes immediate action and leaps up and wrenches the unconscious crane operator from the controls, tossing him into the ground with a bone crunching thud.

I see something… The devil is sizing me up! Raise me up now Lo…

Those were Jonny Pearson’s frantic final words to the world.

Rescuers finally raised Jonny’s cage, after many hours of desperate attempts to get a response. What they found was a bloodied, twisted chunk of steel that hardly resembled anything, it held only one clue as to what really lives three hundred miles below our feet. A tooth, a razor sharp tooth larger than any elephants tusk had lodged itself into one of the lights still mounted onto the cage. From what we know, it belongs to something absolutely ferocious, and thankfully this beast is only found after we’ve hit rock bottom.

And now a special word from our sponsors.

 

 

more by ROACH ADAMS

visit Roach Adam’s blog Animals of Progress

photograph by Anton Repponen

 

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Roach Adams

Roach Adams, made of twisted steel and raw sex appeal. He resides in The Great White North. Often, he can be found wrestling wily eyed beavers just to maintain optimum muscle strength and sustain good mobility. To sooth his demented mindset this man simply writes. Look out for his debut short story collection coming soon. www.animalsofprogress.blogspot.ca

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