Sinking Feelings

“Are you getting this,” Gaspard whispered as the submersible spotlights cut through the gloom.

“Oui,” grinned Manon as she focused the cameras on ruins.

This spot of ocean, roughly two thousand miles due south of Galle, had been unremarkable a few weeks ago. Then the quake happened. Early warning systems detected an event that would eventually be confirmed as having measured 8.5 on the richter scale. The Indian ocean braced for a Tsunami that never came.

At the epicenter the destructive boundary of the quake had pushed a section of the Mid-Indian Basin up almost four miles, leaving it only a few hundred feet below the surface. Gaspard Martin and Manon “Mani” Martinez were hoping to get some of the first images of the newly elevated ocean floor. They were not expecting this.

Even weeks later the water was dense with particulate, bits of displaced sand and grit drifted through the water and danced in the sub’s lights. But beyond that stood tall columns and massive stone figures. Human in shape but with deformed necks and too long limbs. Most striking was that despite the detail of the bodies, near life like details of robes and jewelry, all the faces were perfectly smooth.

“Looks like sanskrit,” Mani said, pointing at the base of a column, “I can’t read it but it… looks like it.”

Gaspard said nothing. He didn’t even turn his head, eyes fixed on another monitor. On it, in the hazy water a school of fish swirled around a basalt pillar. He’d seen similar behavior, a defensive maneuver when sharks were around or what happened when a school was forced into a whale’s bubble net.

Bait ball, he thought.

He checked the other monitors for movement but saw nothing. The sonar was quiet, nothing in the water making more noise than their little ship.

“Zoom in,” he requested.

The image become slightly fuzzier, but much larger. There was the pillar, there were the fish. A swirling mass, making it impossible to keep track of any one individual. Organized entropy as a survival plan.

Each time the school parted enough to show the pillar it had changed. A time lapse sculpture with no chisel. Gaspard recognized the jeans and flannel he was wearing, becoming more and more distinct in the stone with each pass.

By the time the school dissipated he saw, on the screen in the weak light cast by the spotlights, a forty foot tall statue of himself. Every detail from the missing laces on his shoes, to the two day beard on his face.

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