*Warning: has mild language.
Ben was resting in bed, perusing a Road & Track magazine, when the first blast shook his quarter.
Damn crane must have dropped another casing, he thought casually and went back to the article.
But, when the second blast reverberated through the rig, he knew something was wrong.
As he pulled on his sneakers and life-jacket, an enormous explosion blew the heavy-duty door off its hinges like it was just a piece of cardboard; only it didn’t feel like cardboard when it smashed against his stocky body instantly knocking him unconscious.
Somewhere in the murkiness, a familiar voice floated to his ears.
“Do you love me?” It was Mia’s, his high school sweetheart. She leaned her petite body against the blue sports car.
He was bent over the 8-cylinder engine, his hands fingering the spark plugs, “Course I do,” he said.
Mia let out a chuckle, “Liar. You love your car way more than me. ‘Sides, my Daddy won’t let me marry you anyway.”
She let out a squeal which strangely morphed into a high pitch ringing.
“Warning,” echoed a female computerize voice, “proceed immediately to the lifeboats. This is not a drill.”
When Ben opened his eyes, at first he thought he’d gone blind but realized the lights were knocked out. Back up on his feet, he steadied his shaking body and assessed the situation.
The white strobe lights faintly flickered through the thick, black mass pouring into his sleeping area. His head throbbed as something warm trickled through his lips.
He could feel the entire rig rattling and groaning as one word penetrated the deep fog within his mind.
“Oh, god,” he said.
When he stepped out in the dark corridor, the scent of burning oil nearly overwhelmed him as he bent over to gag and cough.
Got to get to the lifeboat.
The trek to topside was met with twisted steel and thick smoke. Twice he had to seek out a new direction. On his last attempt, the heat was so intense he could hear the soles of his sneakers sizzle with each step.
Sweat streamed down his smoke-grimed face as he quickened his pace up the warped metal stairway. Another voice wormed its way into his head. His father’s. They’d gone fishing at Pilot Pond that last time–just before the fatal heart attack.
“Son, every man needs to decide the kind of road he’ll travel. Whichever one you surrender to will rule you for the rest of your life.”
It was an odd conversation as Dad was never one for offering advice of any kind, it was as if he knew his time was nearly up. Ben hadn’t grasped what the elder meant…until now.
The closer he moved to the surface, the louder the roar and screams grew until he broke through, and entered hell.
Surrounded by towering flames and billowing black smokes. he sought out familiar shapes or bodies. Nothing appeared like it normally should only melting steel structures and burning debris falling from above creating blockades everywhere he turned.
Where’s the damn lifeboat?
His tearing cobalt eyes searched through the hellish scene for the section where a lifeboat should have been. He saw nothing.
As he stood near the edge of the platform, the realization that he’d been left behind coursed through his body as his eyes surveyed what lied below.
“Oh, sweet Mary!” He croaked.
The water was on fire.
Mia’s face filled his mind. Her mesmerizing chocolate eyes, the ones he always lost himself in.
“Why wouldn’t your daddy let you marry me?” He’d asked.
Those eyes narrowed and seemed sad, “He said you’re too much into the things of the world, and that you’d value them over me.”
“He’s wrong,” he replied.
“Liar,” she laughed softly, ” and you know it.”
Another explosion ripped through the rig as the heated blast slammed into his body, and sent him flying in the air. As he landed on the steel landing, he felt all the oxygen whooshed out of his lungs.
Was this how he was going to die? Here, on this fiery rig? In all of his twenty-four years, he’d never truly done anything worthwhile except work on that worthless piece of metal on wheels. His father was right, and so was Mia’s.
Ben wanted to change that.
Grunting loudly, he pulled himself up off the hot steel surface and looked out over the blazing sea.
*Inspired by the true events that took place on the Deepwater Horizon