's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Deeper, Darker

Submitted by Wendy Wilds (email)

I always liked scuba diving.

As a native Hawaiian kid living near the coast of Maui, I was basically raised by the sea. I mean, I had parents, they were really nice, great guys, but the ocean taught me a lot of lessons too. Mundane stuff - don't turn your back on a wave, dive into a big wave. But it also taught me life lessons too. Don't go out there without someone to watch your back. Be careful of things you can't see. There's always something deeper.

There's always a bigger fish.

It was no big surprise then that I kind of fell in love with scuba diving. I did it all the time, as much as my budget would allow, anyways. When I moved out and got an apartment, I actually budgeted scuba diving fees alongside food and rent. I had other hobbies, like video games and stuff, but scuba diving was like a passion for me. I know a lot of people are afraid of the deep sea, but to me, that stuff has always been fascinating. There's so much down there we haven't seen yet.

Maybe that's for the best.

I shopped around for the best places to dive, until I eventually found this great place that did dives around Maui, checking out the shipwrecks there, and it wrapped up with a quick trip into the Molokini Crater. I couldn't get enough of this one. I went there for years until I became a regular, and well, the head guy...Mark? Mark. Anyways, he offered me a job.

Of course I accepted. I used to pay to do this stuff and now I got paid to do it, what's not to love?

You would think since this became my day job, I'd do less of it as a hobby. On the contrary, I doubled down. Since I was now making a decent income, (I worked fast food before, at at- it doesn't matter) I could afford more fancy scuba gear. Plus I got to write some of it off as business expenses.

On a leisurely dive about an hour's boat ride away from the coast of Maui, not too far from that crater I mentioned before, I found something. It seemed like a crack, or a volcanic vent or something, but it was only about a few hundred feet down, way too high up for that to even be a possibility. I spent some time prodding around it, but I had to leave it since I was running a little low on oxygen. The next day, I decided to check it out again. This time I grabbed a little shell next to the crack and wedged it in there. I don't really know why, maybe I thought I could get the thing open or something. The shell went in a few inches, then got stuck. I tried to pry it back out, but it was in there. As I got up to swim away, I saw the shell rattle, then get sucked in.

I have to emphasize here, the thing was totally stuck. Outside of maybe getting a mallet and shoving it further in, there would be almost no way to get the thing out. But it just got sucked in there.

I came back over the next few weeks and experimented with more and more things. Rocks, sticks, anything I could wedge in there. And as I shoved more things into the crack, it got bigger. Eventually I stopped getting a response. I got worried I had broken something, like I had filled up some underwater cave with junk. At this point, the crack was big enough I could wedge a finger in there, though I never did.

I want you to understand, before I go any further, I love animals. All animals. Like I said, people think angler fish and stuff are scary, but I think they're big sweethearts. So I don't know why I did this.


grabbed a sea cucumber. It's not easy to do that, by the way. I had to pull it off a rock it was stuck on. I laid it over the crack and

it got sucked in.

Slowly, agonizingly, this boneless thing got sucked into this crack like something was pulling on it as hard as it could.

When I came back the next day, the crack had doubled in size.

At this point, I could shove my whole arm in there, but seeing what happened to that sea cucumber, I knew it would be a bad idea. But I wanted to know what the hell was going on. This time I bought bait fish, already dead, and dropped them into the crack. The second they landed, they got sucked in.

The next day, I came with a shovel.

It was hard to get the thing underwater with me, but I persevered. I crammed the thing into the crack, and immediately felt a tug. The shovel sunk in another ten inches as whatever took those fish yanked it down, but it lost interest quickly.

i pulled.

I pulled. I pulled and pried. It was agonizingly slow work, but the crack opened more and more, until I snapped the shovel in half trying to get it open. Now I could see into it, and it was pitch black. It was like the sun from above just didn't penetrate it. Possessed by some kind of sense of adventure, I crawled in. And I couldn't see a damn thing. It was pitch dark in there. I fumbled for the light I keep with me, but it only cast a thin shaft of illumination into the hole. I swam for a few minutes, looking for walls. I figured this had to be some underwater cave, and whatever was pulling things in lived down here. I never got my hands on anything. But I felt something brush against me.

I swam back out, and even though I felt like I had only been in there a few minutes, it was the middle of the night when I resurfaced.

I decided to call in sick from work. I wanted to see what was in there. This could be something totally new, some undiscovered underwater cove, maybe with its own wildlife.

I got an industrial grade light, an enormous fuel tank, and a knife. Just in case.

This time, I felt off the second I got in. I froze up for a second, but relaxed as I realized nothing was there. So I swam down. And I kept on swimming. Even with the light, I could barely see anything. Every once in awhile I thought I would catch something, but when I spun to look at it with the light, it ran off.

As I got deeper, the light started malfunctioning. It seemed like it was running out of batteries, but I bought the thing that day. Eventually, it cut out. and i kept going.

Without the light, it didn't feel like swimming. It felt like I was floating through an empty black abyss, alone. After a while, I noticed a significant lack of weight, and I realized my oxygen tank was empty.

I don't know how long it had been that way, but I could still breathe. Experimentally, I

took off my mask.

It was


It didn't even feel like water any more. I don't think it is water. I don't know what it is.

As I went deeper, and it got darker, I saw things. I don't know how I saw them, or if they're even real, but I can see them.

They're bigger than any fish I've ever seen. I swear I saw something that looked like a fetal whale with the face of a human, and it ate some kind of anglerfish that was all jagged edges and rotting meat. I tried to swim up, but no matter how far i went, no matter how far i swam it got darker and darker and darker and darker and

Something tackled me. It was some kind of sleek, horrible thing, featureless in every way, and somehow more ugly for it. It was shaped like a dolphin, but not a real one. A fake dolphin. An abominable thing that only vaguely resembled anything I had seen before.

I fumbled for the knife as the thing swam away, then turned around. I couldn't tell its front from its back until it opened its mouth, lined with thousands of teeth. I panicked and honestly it was all a blur

it got me.

But I got it. Injured, I looked for somewhere to rest. I found this.

this big. thing. this big lump of stone. i dont know why i bothered to carve this. if youre reading this, youre fucked. youre fucked.

im fucked. what do you see? a corpse? has something eaten me

please tell me it didnt

if you can find a way out tell my mom

tell her

no not my mom my girlfriend no my boyfriend no my wife no no no

his name isnt mike his named isnt mike what is it whats my name

how did i

what does this say i cant

what is that what is that WHAT IS THAT WHAT IS TH