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161 Meters Down

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Kristina Miller witnessed a Russian mafia execution right after her diving rounds as one of the Poseidon Hotel’s staff. This event leads her into meeting the Russian godfather, Lucas Romano. The next thing she knew, a gun is about to blow her head off – or so she thought. A tsunami hit a coastal city, trapping a group of people inside the newly opened Poseidon Hotel situated 50 meters down the surface. Kristina along with Lucas and his men are swept off inside the hotel together with three tourists and four hotel staff, but it turns out that they have room for one more guest. What was once a hotel for the elite becomes an inescapable death trap along with a 12-foot great white shark. Will they be able to find their way out when they are 161 meters submerged in water together with an apex predator? What will Kristina think of the ruthless mafia godfather when his foul words contradict his action every time he helps her?

Kristina Miller

The splash of the water was like a melody for Kristina Miller who was tucking the oxygen meter in her suit’s belt, the number 99 percentile flashing in glowing green encrypted in her mind. Lulled by the water surrounding her like a second skin, Kristina shut all of her problems and focused on the task at hand like she always did – letting the abyss cloak her earthly problems.

‘It has always been like this.’ Kristina thought, her focus fixated on her job. At the moment, nothing else mattered. It was only her and the big sea.

The moment she submerged in the water, she was one with the sea – her second home ever since she was drilled by her father at the tender age of twelve to be the best swimmer in Arizona. It turned out that he would not be there the moment the medal was placed around her.

Gone was the weight of losing her little sister. Gone was the ultimatum of her new boss about her close-off attitude which the tourist found unnerving for someone who was supposed to be approachable and jolly like a tourist guide should be.

But she was not a tourist guide. No. She was a professional diver. One of the very few divers who discovered an ancient Mayan burial city fifty meters below sea level at the very coast of Yucatan, Mexico – this discovery was sponsored by a British big shot who was also the owner of Poseidon Hotel, the place she was now working at ever since she flew away from Arizona.

Turning on the overhead light of her diving gear, bubbles swirled around her as she drew breath from the tank.

Nice and slow. Her movement in the water was calm as the marine species glided together with her.

On her right side, the lights surrounding the Poseidon Hotel’s underwater facilities guided Kristina as she swam towards the tourist attraction of the hotel which made this hotel an elite tourist destination for the rich and the royalties. At her left side, sixty meters away from her, there was a surrounding underwater gate made of cable wires which encircled the Poseidon Hotel’s watershed.

CCTV cameras littered every five meters of the gate for the security team. This was to make the tourist feel their safety during their diving experience. After all, rich folks were afraid of one thing and one thing alone, the concept of death.

The very last ray of light from the setting sun was finally chased by the darkness.

The darkened sky and the darkened waters were not an issue for Kristina. Upon entering the first ten meters, her eyes glanced at the oxygen meter and found out that she still had a ninety-two percentile remaining percentage before she would run out of air. Completely at ease, she glided deeper.

The first ten meters belonged to the parking lot of Poseidon Hotel. Since the fifty-meter submerged lower half of Poseidon Hotel was made off of the thickest glass on earth, UL-752 Level 8 bullet-resistant glass, the divers could see the two-story parking lot beyond the glass wall. As Kristina dived deeper than ten meters, she could see in her peripheral vision that tourists and hotel staff came and went into the parking lot.

One redhead wearing a black and white suit along with a gun holster and a black earpiece saw Kristina lurking beyond the glass wall. Though Kristina could not hear what Rosalie was talking about, she gave her a small wave and some thumbs up.

‘I have to return the taser to Rosalie.’ Kristina thought before she dived deep. Her diving wins fluttered smoothly along the dark sea. She was now entering the 18-meter distance from sea level.

To her right, what was once a room full of cars was replaced by a mart with a few buzzing shoppers and some hotel staff. Beyond the thick glass wall, a one-storey hypermart complete with groceries and hardware tools.

It was at this moment that Kristina heard the squeaking sound of dolphins which made her stop swimming down further.

Turning around, she was met by Sandy and Cindy. Sandy and Cindy were both raced in captivity. They were both bottlenose dolphins and since half of the Poseidon Hotel was submerged in water, the management raced the two dolphins for tourism purposes. Ever since she started working at the hotel, she would do some rounds and play with them after.

Kristina spoke under her diving mask. “Sandy, Cindy, what are you doing here?” A knot lodged between Kristina’s perfectly carved brows, for the dolphins kept on squeaking and swimming around her in a frantic state. They nudged their bottle-like noses around her wet suit. Kristina continued.

“Something the matter, girls?”

Kristina reached her hand out to soothe them, but Cindy and Sandy only squeaked before they swam deeper – refusing to be soothed by her. It was as if they were running from something.

Kristina’s linger gaze followed the retreating form of the two mammals, only to be snapped from her reverie when a four-foot whitetip shark nudged her waist, making her gasp on instinct. Upon recognizing the scarred left eye of the shark, her gasp turned into a full-blown grin.

“Rudolph, boy. What is wrong with you, boy?”

Kristina stopped herself from raising her voice from the excitement she was feeling. To avoid scaring Rudolph, she lowered her voice and slowed her kicks against the water. Contrary to everyone’s belief, most sharks were afraid of humans. In fact, it took Kristina a lot of attempts to coax Rudolph into diving with her. It took her two months to let Rudolph see that she was indeed not a threat to him.

Like what she did to Sandy and Cindy, Kristina reached out her right palm slowly. Her aim was to touch the tip of their heads. But like what happened to Sandy and Cindy, Rudolph recoiled from her touch by swimming around her one more time before he swam deep down.

‘Something is definitely wrong.’ Kristina pondered over Cindy, Sandy, and Rudolph’s actions. Though she could not know what was wrong, her instincts as a diver who loved and understood the sea were screaming at her that something was going to happen.

Kristina took her oxygen meter and saw that she still had seventy percent. She knew she could dive to the bottom. Though her standard time diving fifty meters from sea level was only ten minutes, she knew that she needed to ask Mia about it – thinking that maybe, she got some idea of what was happening since Mia was a frustrated marine biologist before she became Poseidon Hotel’s chambermaid.

‘I have to go back to the surface.’ Thinking so, Kristina kicked her fins as she used her arms to fasten her speed toward the surface. She planned to take a shortcut through the hotel’s docks.

- - -

KRISTINA SAW THE BLOOD dyeing the waters with crimson ink before she heard the gunshot, widening her gray cat eyes for a fraction of a moment before her shock turned into a full-blown frown. Taking off the diving mask, her sharp features were barely hidden by a yacht’s shadow looming over her.

The pristine waters turned into a murky maroon one as the blood spread around Kristina. On cue, she resurfaced with only her head above sea level, her hands, and her feet were still keeping her adrift. The light from the lamps of the docks and the dozens of yachts made her see a kneeling silhouette fall from the wooden floor of the docks. Four men clad in a ghastly black suits hovered over the dead man as they exchanged incoherent words. She reckoned that the one who fell face flat onto the wooden floor was the receptor of the gunshot.

‘But where are the guards? Where are the people?’

Kristina’s questions were answered by the flash of a lightning bolt followed by the roars of the thunderclaps, illuminating her supposed secret spot.

For a fraction of a minute, a pair of gray eyes and black eyes met.

Taken

The three underlings clad in black suits with unbelievably thick goatees followed the line of vision of the man who was now staring at Kristina as if he would eat her alive, no innuendo intended.

“Boss, what’s the matter?” One of the underlings kicked the unmoving body on the wooden docks to the water, eliciting a splashing sound as the other two underlings crouched to make sure that the body would tilt. After making sure that the dead stayed dead, the three underlings finally caught sight of Kristina, who was hiding from the shadows of the yachts littering around the docks.

“A rat saw us disposed of Alberto, Sebastian.” The man, whose eyes were as dark as the bottom of the ocean, did not avert his gaze from hers. Thick accent and gruff voice, his eyes held a warning that should she choose to do something, he would execute her like what they did to the corpse now lying at the bottom of the sea as fish food.

‘This is bad, so bad!’ Kristina thought as she gulped audi

Heroes

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