“Paraclete’s Promise: The Fantastic Fantasies Of Timothy” has received great feedback from many people who have read through it! Still, I want this story–and the message within–to reach out far and wide. My hope and prayer is, sharing chapters 1,2 and 3 will leave you wanting more. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple, and Xulon Press Bookstore. Enjoy the tale, friends.
The Deep Blue Darkness
“I am with you, Tim. I’ll be right beside you, through and through. I promise,” someone whispered.
The blue light seemed to fade into a hazy, ominous darkness. There was a chill in the air. The open space of the box didn’t feel so confining anymore.
“Tim,” a voice rang in his left ear, startling him. “Is everything okay in there, buddy? My equipment suddenly went dark and I lost my bearings for a second. When I came out, the pod lights were switched off. Did you fall asleep again?”
Tim jerked, dropping a hard-cover book onto the floor. It struck, with a heavy metallic sound. He instinctively reached for and depressed a tiny red button on a device tucked snug inside his ear. As he did so, recollection petrified his movement.
What the heck’s a com-link, and why do I know how to use it? he thought.
“Tim are you there,” said the voice over the com-link speaker.
“Ah, yeah…Jonah. I copy. Everything’s alright up here. I must’ve blinked for a second. Sorry about that.”
Who is Jonah, he wondered, as he released the button. There was a split second of static interference, before Jonah’s voice streamed through the receiver speaker.
“You’d better not be up there sleeping! Keep watch so that you don’t fall into trouble. I’m headed back into the cave to resume the search.”
Pressing the red button again, Tim responded, “Copy that, Jonah; headed back in.”
Tim slowly leaned back in his captain’s chair, allowing his eyes to adjust to the limited blue light of his surroundings. As he listened to the squeak of the soft leather and the hiss of the chair’s hydraulic cylinder, his finger stroked the tiny com-link and marveled at what his eyes began to register. He was no longer inside the box.
An enormous cluster panel of buttons, control switches, knobs and gadgets of all sorts stood before him. His legs seemed to be drawn underneath the panel, as if he were seated at a table. Two leather-clad steering wheels extended out of the control panel: one directly in front of him and another off to his right. Beyond the control panel, and enveloping the area, the space seemed to be made of a see-through glass or metal. He could see through the walls, floor, and ceiling.
“Wow,” he whispered. “That’s not see-through glass. Those are screens; monitors, everywhere. What is this place?”
Tim gently pushed away from the panel, freeing his legs. The chair’s stainless steel wheels whispered as they rolled out from underneath the control deck. He shuffled his boot clad feet across the smooth floor, tracking a slow, 360-degree spin. The apparently seamless monitors provided a crystal clear view of blue darkness around, above, and below the room. Miscellaneous beeps and flashes of multicolored dim strobes resonated from surrounding instrument panels that seemed to float in empty space. The deep blue beyond the panels was scary, but exciting at the same time. There were strange creatures mulling about outside the room.
“No, not flying,” he whispered. “They’re swimming. I’m underwater. Those are fish I see.”
They were indeed. Strange fish, with wobbly stalks pointing out from the tops of their oblong heads, swam around in groups. At the tip of the stalks, he could see small illuminated bulbs dangling in front of huge, dull gray eyes. Tim recalled a Discovery Channel program on deep sea life, remembering that certain species of fish thrived deep in the ocean where normal fish could never survive.
“I’m at the bottom of the ocean. This is amazing!”
Tim flipped a toggle-switch on the control panel, next to the steering wheel. The ocean lit up a bright yellow as overhead lighting attached somewhere to the roof of the pod exploded into a brilliant display. Schools of weird fish scrambled. Glancing into the floor monitors underneath his feet, he watched a huge spotted leopard-shark swim gracefully through the beam of light shining from the pod’s undercarriage lighting. Reaching toward his left ear again, Tim depressed the red button on the com-link.
“Hey Jonah,” he said. “You might want to keep an eye out for the big guy, just south of home base. He’s not too shy of foreigners.”
There was a static crackle in his left ear and then, “Roger that buddy. Soon as he’s out of the area, I’m heading in, Roger?”
That means Okey-dokey, Tim thought. “Roger that.”
As Tim sat, slowly taking in the overwhelming sights and sounds of his immediate surroundings, he barely registered a distance voice somewhere deep within the recesses of his mind. It spoke as a tiny whisper, but quickly exploded into a booming voice resounding in his heart.
“Adventure is everywhere. Yours has just begun.”
Tim doubled over in the chair, gripping his head with both hands. His mind suddenly flooded with images; memories of a life and events he hadn’t seen before this moment. It was as if his brain had begun to download a large cache of information. Tim clamped his eyes shut, and saw a ceremony fast forward in his mind.
Here was Jonah, silhouetted, standing beside him, shaking the hand of the president of the United States of America. The much taller president had to stoop down to one knee, as he pinned a large metal of commendation onto Jonah’s crisp blue uniform. As the president stood, 9-year-old Jonah looked up toward his smiling face and snapped off a professional salute. The president looked down at him and flashed a quick salute of his own, then turned toward Tim to salute him as well.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, I would like to recognize these two young brave explorers as national heroes,” the president said as he spoke into a podium microphone. “Godspeed, young sirs. May your journey to the deepest parts of the Bermuda Triangle prove to be successful in solving the world’s energy crisis.”
Behind his closed eyes, Tim saw a bright flash of white light, as the memory of the ceremony was replaced. He was now standing on the deck of the S.S. Jolly Roger, looking up into the clear blue sky over the ocean. To his right, he heard Jonah running through a last minute checklist of supplies already stored inside the mini pod submarine the two of them were about to board. The same pod he found himself in now.
“Any last requests before we get this expedition started, buddy?” Jonah had asked.
“Nope. I’m as ready as I can be. I’m just taking in one last look at the sun before we go under for a few days.” Tim had replied.
His mind blacked out; the memories vanishing just as quickly as they began. As Tim slowly opened his eyes, he saw the book lying against the floor monitors. It was his old Fire Bible, but the book seemed twice as thick as he remembered and was encased in a protective metal shell. Tim picked the book up, and set it on top of the control panel, off to his left. He focused on the instrument panel of the pod, and remembered where he was and what he was doing here. He punched a few numbers on a key pad cluster, and glanced toward his left. The monitor wall next to him zoomed in 500X normal magnification. Tim could now see subterranean mountains beyond the pod. To the left, he could make out a hole in the side of the underwater mountain that climbed over the pod.
“That’s the cave Jonah’s in. He’s searching for the treasure box of the last pirates of Camoon. That’s what we’re down here looking for. That treasure could be an energy source, and we’re the only team in the whole world able to find it.”
To the right of the pod, Tim could see nothing, but dark blue.
“That’s the open ocean. That leads the way out.”
Looking up through the ceiling monitors, Tim smiled at the darkness above the pod’s roof. There was nothing, but the bright yellow glow of the lights. He could see microscopic things floating in the path of the beams. Static sounded over the com-link.
“Hey Tim, you might want to jump into your suit and come down here. You’re not gonna believe what I just found!”
Tim spun his chair, leaped out and jogged four steps toward the monitor-covered door of the pod’s control room. The door automatically retracted into the wall as he approached. Once through the door, he sprinted toward the back of the pod. He was not surprised to find this section of the mini pod a dull metallic gray, as he ran down the narrow hallway. Storage cabinets, a small two-person sleeping quarter, and a tiny kitchenette lined the left side of the pod. To his right, he ran past an engine compartment that banged and clanked with the inner workings of the pod’s propulsion system. A bank of gauges and smaller television monitors lined the wall, beyond the engine compartment. Mini 60W light bulbs ran the length of the ceiling, every 30 feet. The hallway was damp and cool, but the air was fresh, as he ran toward the pod’s armory in the tail-end of the craft. He pressed the red button on the com-link.
“Talk to me Jonah, whatcha got?”
“The jackpot I think! This thing is…wait…wait a minute.”
Tim stopped in front of a locker, pressing his hand against his ear. He held his breath and waited for Jonah to continue.
“Wait. Something’s down here; something big.”
Static sounded over the com-link. Tim pressed the red button again, as he looked through the monitors and stared off toward the distant mountain side.
“Jonah? J-Man come back, I didn’t catch that last part. You said something’s down there?”
No answer. Tim fought panic, as a few seconds of silence became one minute of dead air space.
“Jonah, are you there, buddy?” A cold shiver began to climb his back as he again waited for some answer from Jonah. Tim stood staring at the monitor. His hand gripped tight around the zoom toggle wheel. A dull ache began to throb in his forearm. Suddenly, static pierced the silence.
“It’s coming your way; Buckle up!” Jonah screamed into the com-link. Tim’s heartbeat kicked into high speed and his body suddenly chilled over. He pressed the red button on the com-link again.
“Jonah, what was that? I didn’t hear your message, Jonah. Please repeat!”
“Tim can you hear me! It must have seen the lights!” More static, and then, “Strap in and shut off the lights! It’s headed your way!”
“Oh no,” Tim whispered. He turned and darted back toward the control room. Suddenly, there was a loud bump from the front end of the pod. Tim lost his footing as the weight of the under-sea vehicle shifted under his feet. His face slammed into a locker and he crumpled to the floor.
Static filled his left ear just as alarms began to wail all around him. Pulsing red lights flashed in unison with the alarms.
“Tim, I repeat: the beast has left the cave, and is headed your way. You have to shut down the pod lights!”
Tim shook the stars from his vision and shot a glance toward the front of the pod. He had to get to the light switch before that…thing…circled back again. He jumped to his feet, still feeling the effects of the blow, and centered himself. Pressing the red button on the com-link, he bolted for the front of the pod and yelled into the com-link’s mini speaker.
“Roger that, Jonah! I’m on my way up front! What is that thing?”
“Thank the Lord, you’re okay. I don’t know what it is. I didn’t get a good look at it, from the cave.”
The crash had strewn equipment all over the pod. Tim jumped and evaded loose boxes on the floor and sparking cables, hanging from the ceiling as he ran. Just as he made it back into the control room, he took a flying leap and landed, chest first, onto the control panel. His right hand thumbed the toggle switch to the off position as he collided with the controls. The lights on the roof and below the belly of the pod died instantly.
At first there was a wave of bubbles and a shove of water as the force of the creature’s abrupt stop shoved the pod back gently. When the bubbles cleared, Tim found himself staring at a thing that looked, oddly enough, like a gigantic Blue crocodile with no appendages. The creature waded slowly and effortlessly in front of the pod as if waiting for something to happen. Its eyes, one on each side of its head, seemed to glow a bright yellow in the darkness of the ocean. Tim saw jagged, horns protruding from the monster’s snout, traveling back and over its head.
He lay still across the control panel, convinced that the monster could somehow see him through the thick quadruple-reinforced steel shell of the pod. Static shrieked in his left ear, sending a chill up his spine.
Jonah whispered, as if he were in hiding. “Don’t touch anything, Tim. It’s staring right at the outer hull of the control room. Are you good?”
“Jonah, I wanna go home right now,” Tim whispered.
“I think it knows you’re in there,” Jonah said.
Tim remained motionless as the crocodile-thing slowly moved toward the right side of the pod. It swam close, almost touching the metal hull with its snakelike body slithering through the ocean. His eyes, trained on the monster, paced the creature as it circled around the back end of the pod. He saw that the horns across its head grew increasingly larger as they drew across its back, until the tail itself was nothing more than a huge sharp horn. Tim slowly inched his way off of the control panel and stood on shaky feet. Watching the floor monitors, he saw the creature swim underneath toward the front end again.
Radio static sounded over the com-link in Tim’s left ear.
“Mother of pearl, that’s a big sucker.” Jonah whispered. “I guess now we know why no one’s ever returned with Camoon’s treasure. Are you okay up there?”
“Fine; I don’t think it sees me, but don’t want to make any sudden moves yet.”
The creature circled the pod again in the same pattern as before, and centered toward the front again. Its mouth opened wide, revealing a double row of sharp points on the top and bottom. Despite the darkness of the deep blue sea, the monster’s teeth seemed to glow a magnificent yellow, just like its eyes. A wave of terror gripped Tim, as he suddenly imagined the monster ripping through the metal walls of the pod with those teeth. The creature’s yellow forked tongue appeared from the black abyss of its open mouth and began jerking fiercely.Tim pressed the com-link button on his ear piece.
“It’s trying to lure me out,” he whispered. “It does know I’m inside.”
The mouth snapped shut, as one of the weird light-bulb stick fish swam too close to the jerking tongue. The creature moved with lightning speed for its size. It made an about-face and disappeared into the darkness of the open ocean.