The IndUS Network e-magazine

elusive Valentine Wish
short story

Mark checked his speed dial on the SUV dash board. The vehicle was cruising at 50 miles per hour on a Florida highway. He wanted to ensure that he is below the speed limit for that road. His vehicle’s radio was blaring with information about the tide level and visibility over the North-Central Florida’s ocean. Mark is heading towards those waters for a scuba diving.

Mark is one of the sought-out scuba diver around the world. What started out as a recreational diving when he was 16 years old has now become his profession! He has dived almost all over the world and is considered to be a top-gun in cave diving.

The vehicle’s radio was picking up disturbances and was annoying. Mark reached out to the radio and switched it off.

It is early in the morning and the sky is very clear. It is his 25th Valentine ’s day trip to the Leon Sinks cave system near Tallahasse, Florida. Leon Sinks is the longest known underwater cave system in USA. It is known for multiple interconnected sinks and springs spanning two counties. It is a dangerous spot to go for any form of dive and it needs proper authorities’ permission to dive.

Mark’s first trip to Leon Sinks was 24 years back. The trip was to support a research for a local non-profit organization. The assignment was to help the organization explore and map the Leon Sinks underwater cave system. Usually many divers would not accept this kind of assignment due to the high risk involved. Cave diving is risky, because, in case of a danger, a diver cannot swim up due to the cave ceilings. The only way to escape is to swim horizontally towards an exit. Such horizontal escape can become fatal if he or she is far away from the exit. Additionally, visibility and underwater currents add complexity in such places. Due to cave ceilings, sun lights are blocked which result in poor visibility inside. It is difficult to see beyond a few feet without an artificial light. As underwater caves are formed due to a spring (out flowing water system) or siphon (in flowing water system) they carry strong water currents. Despite all these risks, Mark accepts these assignments as it is lucrative. But Mark never knew what he was going to encounter in his first dive into the Leon sinks.

Short story continues in next page... 2

The characters, settings and happenings are fiction only.