Apr. 24th, 2017

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There was a thunderous noise.

Balthazar awoke with a start



“OWOWGoddamnit--!”

and heard a *CRACK* as his head collided with the low ceiling.

Falling back against the pillow, he wondered where the hell he was that he deserved such a rude awakening.

Balthazar rolled over, and, in his still-fatigued clumsiness, tumbled off the top of what was, in fact, a three-level bunk bed.


 

 Fuck me…"

No longer tired, at least, Balthazar shook his head, wiping away a few tears with his jacket sleeve as he groaned in pain. He tried to stand, but the room was shaking far too much; as his head cleared of fog, it was replaced by the oppressive sound of roaring air.

An earthquake?!

No, the tremors were too fast for any earthquake, but Balthazar didn’t know what else it could be. He threw an arm up against the bottom bunk to hold himself steady, waiting for the rumbling to end.


 

 

Even when it did, his brain was left feeling rattled. Trembling slightly, he pushed himself uneasily to his feet and began to examine the thoroughly uninviting room


It was...stark, first and foremost, coloured mainly in the grey and beige tones of faded, peeling paint.

There was a second bunk bed, also three levels, opposite the one Balthazar had fallen off of, but “bed” seemed a generous way to describe what was little more than piping and paper-thin mattresses.

To his left were a small, utilitarian table positioned just underneath a round, glass window, like the porthole of a ship,

and a closet nestled behind an antique stove, complete with rusty kettle.

To his right was little but an imposing metal door, roughly emblazoned, in red paint, with the number 5.

Balthazar stared at it.

There was a box attached to the wall next to it, something like an early 20th century card reader, as if such a thing even existed. The paint was just about the only colour in the room, and it looked fresh.

“What...?”

He stalked over and grabbed the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. Balthazar threw his weight against first it, then the door itself, pounding several times.

“HEY! HE--

His voice cut out when he noticed it.

“What the hell...”

On Balthazar’s left wrist was something that looked like a watch, mainly red in colour, with a large LCD display in the middle. Rather than the time, it showed only a single digit.

Five? That’s the same as the door, but why? What is this?

He flipped his wrist over as though to remove a simple watch, but the bracelet’s steel ring was solid all the way around.

With a grunt, Balthazar slammed his wrist against the door again, once, twice, three times…

Nothing.

He clicked the rivets on the sides, clacking like rapid typing on a keyboard.

Still nothing.

Once more he slammed his fist into the door, fury momentarily masking the pain. Balthazar rubbed his slightly achy wrist and snarled.

As he did, a low groan, like angry metal waking from a deep sleep, sounded from somewhere far away. It took Balthazar a moment to place the sound, then he frowned, taking another good look at his surroundings.

Is this--

Is this a ship?

He stalked over to the porthole and peered through. There was only deep, inky blackness, and Balthazar was about to hit the damn thing when he heard the first crackle. He pulled back, shaking his head in disbelief..

“Oh, you must be joking-”


The porthole burst open, releasing a torrent of water into the room that hammered down onto the table, submerging the benches on either side as it washed over the floor, rapidly gaining on his ankles.

Balthazar laughed, dry, bitter huffs of air. Then he tore across the room and pounded frantically on the door.

“HEY! Your fucking trap’s broken! The whole place is fucking flooding! OPEN THE GODDAMN DOOR!

He whirled around, leaning heavily against the door and panting as panic gripped his chest. Icy seawater lapped tauntingly at his shins.

Maybe…

Maybe he had to get out.

But... how?


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