Friday, 1 March 2013

305: Under Pressure

Karel thought this must be what it is like to be in an iron lung.  His recompression would be relatively short and hopefully completely curative, but the thought of spending weeks or months, even years in one of those freaked him out.  At least this was like a little room and he could control his body, stretch when he wanted, breathe faster or slower or deeper or very, very shallow.  He imagined having his head peek out of a non-robotic metal man body but just lying still, forever.

He didn’t have symptoms and they hoped he wouldn’t if he spent time moving back through the decompression stops in the chamber.  His straps failed and with no air at all, chancing a rapid resurface was the best option he had.  Shame it gave Maria that bit of extra ammunition.

Karel suspected it was the money and the time and the bonding with the other divers she really despised, not the safety risks.  She vetoed the Red Sea trip completely, when she could have just come along and spent the time holidaying whilst he dived.  She wanted them “to do something together” but refused to even try a shallow dive.  Karel would have loved to include her in his world, to share his wonder of the silty depths of the Channel with her.  And it wasn’t as if she even had any suggestions of togetherness to offer.

Perhaps a bit of alone time in a chamber wasn’t so bad, he thought.  If he could have stayed a few weeks, she might have forgotten all about it.  It began to feel like he’d retracted his head into an iron lung to find inside transformed into an iron womb.  The curved sides were comforting, making sure nothing got inside to harm him.

With a soft fsshhhh the chamber door released and opened, signalling the end of his session.  The operator popped his head in and said, “That’s it.  You’re all done.”  Karel went home to his iron lung life, the duration of the journey all he had to decide if he would have his head inside it or peeking out.

1 comment:

  1. Nice conceit! The protagonist has nerves of steel -- I'd spend the whole time analysing what went wrong and how to avoid it next time!