Desolation Prologue by Daniel Gilliam

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Lowering himself to a half crouch, Ethan stepped cautiously to the unseen floor below. As soon as his wet toes touched the cold metal surface beneath the puddles of oxygen-fluid four bright fluorescent lights above his head flickered on with a low hum. Ethan's eyes immediately began to water due to the harsh sudden exposure to the glaring lights. He turned slowly, still in a half crouch, and examined with watery vision his newly illuminated situation.

What Ethan realized first was that he was naked save for some small soaked briefs that merely covered his waistline and crotch. His body was pale and his skin prunie, which left him wondering how much time had past while he had been in the oxygen-liquid vat. Next, Ethan saw that he was currently standing in a small, square room. The walls, ceiling and floor were apparently made of thickly plated metal that had seen better days. Finally Ethan rested his gaze on the only object of interest left in the room. Next to the shattered remains of the glass chamber he had moments ago emerged from was another similar chamber, still fully intact. With a start Ethan realized that the person floating peacefully inside was a girl, and her pale, beautiful face was one that he knew, though he couldn't remember from where or even from when. For the first time since waking up in the strange containment tube Ethan felt something other than shock. He felt a small, brief glimmer of hope. The feeling passed quickly though and was replaced just as swiftly by a strong curiosity.

Ethan approached the glass surface of the girl's tank and peered inward to get a closer look. Through the murky oxygen-fluid he could see that the girl wore a one-piece wet suit that covered an area from her chest down to her thighs. Her short chestnut hair floated freely in the oxygen-fluid and drifted chaotically about her head. He could tell that she was a young woman, probably in her early twenties. The ground shook slightly and Ethan became aware once again of his situation. He had to get out of this place, but first he needed to find a way to get the girl out as well. He couldn't leave her behind as she was the only connection he had to a fuzzy past he couldn't remember. As if to spite him the lights above flickered and then sputtered out in a shower of sparks. Ethan found himself once again surrounded by velvety blackness. After a long pause there was suddenly a muffled murmur from nearby that held a familiar tone. Ethan stood stock-still and listened intently. Silence. And then there it was again...voices.