|Their eyes roll back in their sockets
||[Jan. 9th, 2013|11:26 pm]
The glass is so thick you really can't hear anything. They move over you like ghosts; so separate, but still there. If you have your back to one wall of the tunnel, you can't even see them, have no hint that they're behind you. It's very convenient.
"So what did Josh think of your latest prank?"
"I dunno, seemed pretty pissed. I thought it was funny."
"Think he'll do something about it?"
"Maybe, probably." Zach took a drink from his water bottle. "He has no sense of humor." He mused letting out a snort.
"You did let out the tiger sharks while he was trying to clean their pool. That was kinda fucked up." Amanda yawned and got out her thermos, unscrewing the cap.
"Whatever, they're just babies, like they could've done anything." Zach snorted again, rolling his shoulders back as they headed across the walkway on the second floor of the aquarium.
Their voices echoed off the glass walls of the tanks, but were strangely muted by the deep blue carpet. It was an hour an a half until the aquarium opened and the two employees had their wet suits on, headed towards the main tank. Now and again they acknowledged a janitor cleaning the glass or vacuuming some branch of the hallway, but mostly they went on their way in peace.
"I just think maybe you should lay off him for a while, he's noticed you barely ever pick on anyone else."
"Oh wah, baby can't take a little hazing." Zach chuckled to himself.
Amanda's expression grew slightly concerned, but Zach didn't notice, he was looking straight forward with a blank, confident smirk. "Maybe I'll feed Roy today." She offered.
"What? No! Roy's my guy!" His voice vibrated off glass and tile as the approached the top of the view window of the main tank.
There was a small side panel in the hallway that stretched directly off to the left of the two story viewing window of the main tank that faced the front of the aquarium from all the way at the back of the building. The panel was hidden in shadows cast by the dim lighting meant to keep visitors focused on the exhibits rather than all the sound baffles and air vents.
Zach and Amanda stopped just in front of the panel and Zach tugged at a small cell phone pocket on the arm of his back pack. He pulled a set of keys from it and picked out the right one, unlocking the almost invisible deadbolt on the left side of the panel. It opened into a small, well-lit space about the size of your average broom closet, save at the back there was a ladder leading just a few short feet up onto a ledge. The ledge opened up to a far more cavernous opening, like a sound stage, the front half of which was the open top of the main tank, about fifteen square feet wide. The rest was black flooring with air ducts and plumbing snaking robotically through and above it.
"You always feed Roy." The whining tinge in Amanda's voice pinged off the water and metal pipes in an oddly false way.
"Yeah, I do." Zach snorted, sitting down at the edge of the tank opening, dropping the back pack off his shoulders.
Amanda followed suit as they both opened their bags, pulling out similar scuba tanks and flippers. "I'm just saying, maybe I could do it just this once."
"And I'm saying no, I've been feeding Roy for six years, he's mine." Zach checked the levels in his oxygen tank. "Now stop whining."
Amanda sat quietly, watching as her coworker adjusted his equipment and slipped down into the clear waters. Josh's voice seeped through her thoughts until it was all she could hear.
"I'll feed him to the sharks."
It was quiet enough that she could hear it bouncing off the walls the same as her own voice. She pulled her knees up to her chin, looking down into the never still waters.
Zach smashed through the surface not two minutes later bringing all the noise with him, causing Amanda to give a surprised shout.
"Jesus! What happened?!" She rushed over to him awkwardly in her flippers as he hauled himself out of the tank, pulling off his mask.
"He's in the fucking tank!" Zach gasped.
"He's...he's in the...oh fuck..." The splattering sound of some half digested granola and coffee didn't play so much with the acoustics of the room, but the heaving and gasping that accompanied it just filled the space.
"Shit, are you OK? Who's in the tank, what happened?" Amanda instinctively began to pat Zach on the back.
He spit a few times, still breathing heavy and losing color. "He's in the fucking tank Josh is in the fucking tank he's..." Another round of heaving and Amanda's hand left him.
"We need to get help." Zach's voice shook audibly, he looked about to pass out.
"Oh god, is he...?" Amanda couldn't stop looking at the puddle of sick, her eyes wouldn't blink.
"We need to get help." He repeated, starting for the ladder.
She was alone, the panel didn't make much noise when it closed but it let the sound of Josh's voice fill up the room again once it shut.
"I'll feed him to the sharks."
"I don't get it." Amanda whispered, staring blankly at the waters, the shock cottoning up every sense.
She stood up after some time, figuring a team would be in shortly to see what had happened.
From her new perspective an unfamiliar white line caught her eye at the other side of the room. Focusing on it, she saw it was a piece of paper with print on it. She was holding it when the other divers came in.
They said the usual things in the usual steady, deep tone of seriousness, they asked questions that had answers, they made the obvious calls, they declared the opening of the aquarium postponed. They took the letter from Amanda and lead her to the offices downstairs and gave her a blanket and some coffee. They handed the letter to the person sitting on the other side of the desk in the office that wasn't the tank room but it had the blanket and coffee. He asked where Zach was, he told them to go find Zach. Then he told Amanda to go home. She cried in her coffee instead.
It was so bright in the conference room. Zach had forgotten what it was like to wear a suit an tie. He'd never known what it was like to be on trial. Listing all of his pranks chronologically made him think maybe they weren't so funny after all. Had Josh really been there three years? Had he really made fun of the guy all that time? Somehow 'hazing' didn't seem like an appropriate term to use in front of the board. Whenever Josh looked up at the board members, the people that employed him, he saw things like men who were oddly neckless. They wouldn't look him in the eye. After several hours of answering simple questions he was distinctly aware of how defenseless he was.
Then they devoured him, career and all.