"UNDERWATER ESCAPE ", A short-story by Pat Powers.

A relentless summer heat wave was gripping The Village. The long range forecast called for temperatures above 33 degrees celsius for over a week. It was the kind of weather that found many of the residents near the beach or at the free sea in the heart of The Village. But as for number 18, he didn't seem to care. For you see Number 18 is The Village's underwater policeman. From late May to mid September you would find Number 18 scuba diving under the village sea to keep a close eye on any thing unusual. Number 18 dives under the water at least three times a day seven days a week to make sure there were no attempts for anyone to escape. He would wear his diving mask, tank, swim trunks and fins to patrol the underwater. Number 18 was also the Lifeguard for the Village. He made a daily report to Number 2 and the Supervisor to report back his findings. As for making sure he would not dive too far from the southern perimeter he would wear a beeper to warn him to turn back and swim back to The Village so not to fall into the clutches of Rover. There were only a few times that Rover would accidentally suffocate Number 18 during his underwater work but it turns out that they have become the best of friends in preventing those wishing to escape.
Number 18 would return back to his cottage early each evening after making his daily underwater rounds. A little bit tired and sunburned at the end of the day, he enjoyed his role in defending The Village.

As for our hero Number 6, he was thinking about his next attempt to escape. He tried everything...a helicopter, a boat and by jeep. The weather was great for a swim. He thought to himself about making the next bold venture, a dive under the Village Sea to freedom. Could it be done? To Number 6 anything is possible.

It is late one night during the Village hot spell. Number 6 decides to walk out of his cottage and make a walk towards the small jeep of Number 18,the defender of the Village's sea. He learned that Number 18 was quite the swimmer and underwater diver. Number 6 steals the underwater gear of Number 18 and makes a run for it. He reaches a cave near the beach. With Number 18's diving gear in hand, Number 6 spends the rest of the night sleeping in the cave. It felt relaxing due to the fact there was no air conditioning inside his cottage.
The day was dawning on The Village. The heat and humidity was evident for another day as the sun was rising. Number 6 was preparing to strip off his clothes and preparing to put on his trunks and the rest of Number 18's diving gear to make his escape. Number 18 was waking up at his cottage when he went outside and made his discovery. He then notified Number 2 and the Supervisor about what had happend. A search was on to find the missing articles.

For a few hours Number 6 made a run to another nearby cave not to be noticed. He wanted to wait until the middle of the morning to make his underwater dive to freedom and the weather conditions to be appropriate.
All of a sudden, the camera from the Supervisors Room went to Number 6's cottage and there he was gone.
Number 18 was with the Supervisor to monitor the latest developments via camera and underwater radar. For Number 6 he did not know there was an underwater radar. The sun was out, a beastly 34 degrees celsius and now Number 6 was prepared to make his escape. Number 6 plummeted into the water with Number 18's skin diving gear. The one thing missing was the beeper. Number 18 kept it at all times.

Meanwhile Number 18 asked The Supervisor, "Do you think Number 6 would do this?". The Supervisor replied, 'It doesn't surprise me". Number 18 went back to the beach and to one of the nearby caves. He made his discovery of Number 6's clothing strewn about. He alerted the Supervisor of what he had found. Number 6 continued his underwater adventure. He was swimming at such a fast pace it made him feel young. However back at the control room, the alert signal had gone off. It meant something was happening under the Village Sea. Number 18 watched the Supervisor make the annoucement..."ORANGE ALERT! ORANGE ALERT!"

Number 6 was already beyond the southern perimeter not knowing the fate that he was about to meet.
It was time... Rover began it's underwater metamorphis from the sea bed. Rover could track down anything under the sea. Number 6 was continuing his underwater dive for freedom not knowing what was coming his way. He knew of the risks but it didn't stop him.

A few moments later Number 6 noticed something big and white coming right at him. His eyes were wide open as he wore Number 18's diving mask. He knew his moment of defeat was at hand. Rover caught up with our hero. Number 6 tried to fight off Rover under the sea but in the end the King of the Village Sea consumed him with a roar and bubbles all over. Number 18 and the Supervisor watched with glee of what happend underwater. Two of Rover's assistants responded to the scene. The three Rover balls rose from under the sea dragging a defeated number 6 to the Village shore. He was unconscious. The mask on top his head, the air tanks on his back and swim fins on his feet could be seen along with the Rover balls. As for Number 18 he headed to the shore to welcome back Number 6 from his escape attempt. As the Rover balls reached the shore, Number 18 grabbed Number 6 with his air hose and belted him in the face for what he had done. Number 6 looked tired, and sunburned after this effort. Rover returned to his underwater sea bed after Number 6 tried again unsuccessfully to be a free man. Number 6 watched Rover heading back to the water.

The next day Number 18 resumed his underwater work protecting the sea of the Village from any further escape by its citizens. The weather was still hot and sultry. Number 6 returned to the beach in his bathing trunks and towel in hand. After his swim to shore Number 18 spotted Number 6 and confronted him. With his hands around his hips Number 18 told Number 6, "DO YOU WANT TO TRY IT AGAIN???". Number 6 had his mouth open not saying a word. Number 18 gave 6 a mean stare as if 6 was planning to try another escape by sea. Just a few feet away behind Number 18 on the shore was the enemy of Number 6...Rover. Number 18 told Number 6.."DON'T PLAY GAMES WITH ME!" Rover did spot Number 6. Number 6 had his mouth still open. Rover slowly made its way towards 6. Number 18 watched Rover with a smile on his face.Number 6 walked away in the sand as Rover was heading towards him. Rover continued to follow, roaring and bouncing at times on the beach behind Number 6. Knowing that his escape chances were slim, Rover followed 6 back to his cottage not far from the beach. The door opened up to the cottage. Rover slithered back to its home on the shore for the time being. Number 6 returned to his real prison after a day at the beach. The only good thing was that Rover did not smother 6 in this attempt. Number 6 sat in his cottage, in his swim trunks thankful he did not let Rover attack him but he learned his lesson. He knows one day he will be a free man.