The Acquabox Incident
By Carolyn and Riwa
Carolyn looked up from the knock at the door. “Enter?” Her young assistant Derek came into the room.
“They’re here, Miss Fields. They’re ready to begin work.”
“Did you show them where it’s supposed to be displayed?”
“Thank you, Derek. That will be all.”
“Yes, Miss Fields.” He stepped back through the door and quietly closed it.
Carolyn Fields sat back in her office chair. It was finally here. The museum was getting a new display. If it worked as she anticipated it promised to be the talk of the city.
She tried to go back to her paperwork. But the excitement of the new exhibit was just too much for her. She stood up at her desk and brushed the wrinkles out of her skirt. Then she headed for the door.
She went round the curve and down the hall to the circular steps leading up the next two floors. Already she could hear what sounded like some sort of machinery in use. She took the steps calmly, going up to the next floor and heading toward the back of the building until she saw several workmen in denim coveralls bringing in material from the freight elevator.
The sound of the machinery came from the floor above. She looked up to see a circular hole being cut into the ceiling. Apparently that would be where the individual would enter the display.
She watched for several minutes. But it was too early to see anything interesting. The workers paid her no mind. They had a job to do, a job they could be fired from were they to allow themselves to be distracted.
She went back down to the floor below. Derek was signing some paperwork on another workman’s clipboard. She walked up to him and waited patiently.
“Yes, Miss Fields?” he asked when he turned to see she was there.
“I assume we won’t have unauthorized visitors wandering around this section of the museum?”
“Everything’s been sealed off, Miss Fields. There shouldn’t be anyone around here unless they’re working on the exhibit.”
“Very good, Derek. I’ll be in my office.”
“Yes, Miss Fields.” She turned and left without a word as Derek watched her go.
Carolyn went back to her office and thought about the new acquabox. She still hadn’t decided if she was going to charge admission for whomever wanted to try it, or just hire a few men and women to take turns in it and use them as part of the display. She went back to her work, but before long six o’clock had rolled around. The museum closed at five and she always stayed an extra hour just to make sure that there were no closing issues.
She got up and locked her office door behind her. On the way out she stopped and went to look at the acquabox. It was in place but she could tell at a glance that the workmen hadn’t finished with the final seals and other hookups, not the least of which was the hose and mask.
It looked gloomy too since it was supposed to be fully exposed on all sides to sunlight as part of its allure. But the shades had already been lowered for the night. Still, she knew that the workmen told her that it would be a two day job and it looked like they were on schedule. Satisfied, she readjusted her Prada purse over her shoulder and walked out, locking the museum door behind her. Then she went into her new Mercedes and headed home towards her condo.
Carolyn was, if nothing else, a creature of habit. She always left her house at the same time, left the museum at the same time, and usually did the same things at home. As usual, the first thing she did at home was go into her spacious master bathroom and change out of her work clothes. They went into the dry cleaning bin and then she put on her new bathrobe.
Before tying it up she took a long look at herself in the full size bathroom mirror. Not bad, she thought, admiring her reflection. The shoulder length black hair complimented her fair skin. She stood at a petite 5’2″ and had the natural breasts that came with it. If she was ever asked though, she would have told others that she thought that her best feature was her legs. They were shapely and perfect for her frame. All and all she thought, correctly, that she was a nice thing to look at.
Before bed, also part of her routine, was for her to stretch out on the living room sofa with a small plate of ice cream and be proud of herself. Carolyn was quite sure that there wasn’t a single person at the museum that lived as well as she did. New house, new furniture, a designer wardrobe, and all going to work in a Mercedes on less than a six figure salary.
Then again, nobody but Carolyn had been able to so thoroughly stick it to someone like she had. Looking back, she never thought that she would have been able to do such a thing. But with not all that much going for her, less than two years ago she needed to do something.
It would have been nice to have a wealthy husband, but Carolyn never did get one. Although she would never admit it to herself, she was just to self-absorbed with herself to attract any man. So one night she decided to go onto Ashley Madison, the website for people who wanted to have an affair.
She had started stalking the men there, looking for a wealthy one. It had taken some time but she had eventually found one, a wealthy one with a wife and family. Two dates and 50 pictures later, all taken with hidden webcams in the cheap hotel where she and Richard, her lover, met, she nailed him with her blackmail.
It had gone perfectly and the money that went into her off-shore bank account every month paid for her large house filled with designer clothes and a luxury car. Her last thought of the evening was how, with a little more time, she’d begin to start a stock portfolio.
After a good night’s sleep Carolyn went to work the next day. The tank was just as it had been the night before. But all throughout the day she could hear it being completed.
When her assistant brought her the completion papers she gave it a final look and signed off on the project. It was quite different. The glass was clean and the water inside was clear. The mask inside had bubbles coming out so as to test the pipes. She opened and closed the shades to make sure they worked. It actually looked pretty cool and she congratulated herself for green lighting the project.
That night, alone in the museum, she made it halfway to the door to close up when she decided to give the tank a try for herself. The blinds were down since it was after hours and the area dark. But with a flip of a switch the room came alit, but she kept the shades down.
She circled it, then went upstairs that had been put in place and went through a second hole that had been drilled so that people could go up and then enter it. She stripped naked, revealing her modest figure, and sat on the edge. With her feet dangling in the water she quickly read the instructions on how to turn on her air and fit the mask. Doing as it said, Carolyn set herself up and lowered herself into the tank.
The water felt cool against her skin. She didn’t worry about being seen since the museum was closed and the shades were down. She half expected to start drowning and got ready to shoot out of the tank because of some installation mistake. But everything worked just fine.
Carolyn extended her arms and just let herself float, naked and alone. She had taken off her Rolex, another expensive item nobody else there had. She didn’t know how much time was elapsing but it was so soothing and calming just floating there that she lost track of time. What brought her back in the end was the prune feeling that she got from her fingertips.
Without any trouble, Carolyn got out of the tank and realized that she had to put on her clothes while she was still soaking wet. My mistake, she thought. There was a simple remedy though.
Getting dressed, not caring about how soaked her clothes were getting, she’d just bring in a few towels from home and keep it in her office closet. Carolyn had the museum to herself so there was nobody to notice that she was unkempt and her clothes were soaked as she got into her car and drove home.
Back in her huge place, Carolyn admired her figure, as usual. Then she had her time on the couch, as usual. Just before falling asleep she decided to add some time in the tank to her daily routine.
The next day at work Carolyn had Derek set up some interviews. She needed to know who could perform in the tank and who could not. She had not had any problems herself the night before. But she was certainly aware of a feeling of claustrophobia. Some folks might not be able to handle that.
The afternoon was spent discussing ways the individual could be displayed inside the tank. At first Carolyn considered some sort of apparel. But as the afternoon wore on and the interviews continued she wondered if perhaps it might not be a bad idea to consider nudity as a part of the display.
The workday ended and everyone went home. Carolyn made sure the doors were locked before she headed back to the tank. Imagining some of the males and females drifting nude in the tank had gotten her a little hot and bothered.
She checked the equipment to make sure it was working before stripping out of her attire. She fitted the mask over her face and then slipped into the water. It felt wonderful.
She used the small belt around her waist for neutral buoyancy. By exhaling she found herself gently descending toward the bottom of the tank. Filling her lungs made her drift up a little. Carolyn learned to regulate her ability to drift up and down in the water.
She reached back to hold her ankles, arching her back. She released a little air until she was drifting in position. With a little more of a release she found herself descending toward the bottom.
As she experimented in the tank with different positions she began making mental calculations as to how to instruct those who would be using it. She could engage them in performance art as they bent, twisted and curled into positions. Perhaps later she might be able to pay a male and female enough money to copulate in the tank together to a high paying audience.
She became aware of a sound coming from somewhere above her. She looked up in horror to see the metal cover closing. She rushed up in a panic, wondering how it could possibly close all by itself. But it was too late.
She reached the cover and started banging against it. Then she tried pushing upward. But it was hopeless. She had no leverage.
A half minute later she became aware of a figure looking in on her from outside the tank. She recognized him immediately. “How the hell did you get in in here?” she said into the regulator. “You’re not supposed to be here!”
He gave no indication whether he understood her words or not. He simply smiled at her. “How nice of you to set up your demise for me, Carolyn.”
“Richard, you open this back up this instant!”
“I’m afraid I’m tired of paying your blackmail, honey. You’re bleeding me dry. I happened to be over here the other day when I saw them setting this up. And I managed to catch your little performance in the tank last night. Leave it to you to be a creature of habit.”
“Damn you, Richard!” Now she was truly frightened. Had she overplayed her hand?
Richard looked at his watch. “Got to be going now,” he told her. “Don’t mind me. You just go on enjoying yourself. I’ll be back later to tidy things up.” Then he turned around and left.
Carolyn pounded on the glass, trying to get him to return. But he disappeared out of sight. Damn him!
She panted heavily for breath, looking all around. What was he going to do? He wouldn’t really kill her, would he? He wasn’t that kind of a man was he? A moment later the lights all around her went out. At the same time she felt the hose feeding her air die off.
Panic set in from all directions as she began to feel lightheaded. Then, still semi-conscious, she saw the lights go on all around her and started to draw deeper and deeper breathes as the air supply went back to normal. Her head clearing, she turned in the tank until she saw her assistant Derek enter the room. He looked at her and she turned to face him as she pulled the regulator out of her mouth.
“Help me!!” she screamed at him. Her words were muffled by the water but the sound was there. That, and her banging on the glass, should have easily conveyed her message. Couldn’t he see her predicament?
Derek approached, looked at her in the tank and taking it in. He thought about how you’d never be able to get himself into the tank but everyone has their own tastes. He left the shades down but the lights totally illuminated the room.
What the hell is he doing? That thought went around her head over and over as she kept alternating between taking breathes and yelling out at him, never stopping her banging against the Plexiglas walls of the tanks. Then Derek left and came back with some sort of contraption, but she couldn’t tell what. After a few moments she saw that he was setting up a tri-pod and mounting a camera onto it. Her eyes widened as she realized that he was in on the plot.
“Your friend changed his mind and decided that he wanted to keep a token to remember you by. Who do you think let him in through the back door anyway?”
Carolyn’s eyes widened, understanding his words through the glass but still unable to believe in his betrayal. She kept banging on the glass but he just went about his business. “Your friend told me about that little stunt that you pulled and gave me a month’s worth of your blackmail to help set this up. Frankly, I’m just going to take it this one time instead of milking him like you’ve been doing.”
Her eyes widened and she decided to go back to pushing against the hatch and the glass. But her efforts were useless. Damn those workmen for doing such a good job!
She watched as Derek stood behind the camera, making sure that the angle for the shot was perfect. Then he started out. Carolyn was in a total panic when he doubled back. Resetting the recording to the beginning he paused it and looked at her. “You know, how often does someone get a chance to watch something like this?”
“Please help me!!!” Carolyn screamed. But she only heard her own cries echo within the tank.
“You know, I’m just going to watch and wait myself. You’re fine for now but the air in that tank won’t last forever.” Then he turned on the camera and hit the record button. Without a word he walked away and sat down against the far wall and watched Carolyn struggle.
It was an interesting thing to watch, he thought.
From the inside Carolyn watched as Derek took his place. She turned in every direction, trying to free herself. She was breathing heavily, but easily, as she twisted and turned and kicked. Every once in a while she’d move to far, to fast, and the regulator would pop out of her mouth. She was quick to replace it every time but realized that time was running out.
Still fighting to escape, Carolyn thought that her last breath of air wasn’t quite enough. She pulled again and got enough air…but had to really work on it. She realized that the tank was emptying, the air inside losing pressure.
“Please help me Derek!!” she cried out one last time. But with widening eyes she saw that he was still sitting where he was.
Carolyn kept fighting but with her next breath she came up short and didn’t get enough air. She did it again and panic consumed her when she realized that she didn’t get any air at all! Her eyes growing wide, one hand instinctively came up to her throat as if she was choking while the other kept pushing against anything it could find.
Derek just stayed where he was, watching Carolyn as she became more desperate. It was obvious to him that the tank had run dry and she was desperate. He was a bit too far away to see her cheeks expand as she tried to keep her air inside her body.
Still fighting, Carolyn felt the pain in her chest as her lungs demanded air. Her hair was swishing all around her, occasionally blocking her view. But for a moment it cleared long enough for her to see Dereck.
He had his hand down his pants and was enjoying himself and her struggles. A moment later her lungs gave up and she saw all her air leave her body with a huge whoosh, bubbles going into her face and disappearing. Her last desperate cry went with it.
Derek kept rubbing himself as Carolyn’s struggles began to fade. He got up and moved closer, careful not to get in front of the camera, and watched.
Carolyn kept trying to bang against the walls and cover. But her movements were slowing down, her body obviously getting weaker. He sensed the end coming and watched as she grew still. With only Derek for company, Carolyn felt things grey out until a last touch of the water on her body was all that she could sense and then everything went black.
Derek stayed where he was, knowing what was happening. He watched as Carolyn floated prone and lifeless, her hair softly moving in the current that her struggles had created. He knew that her heart was still beating and just stood there, watching, for about five minutes until he was sure that her heart had finally stopped.
Careful not to be seen, he clicked off the record button of the camera and then approached his former boss. Her eyes had rolled back and her mouth was open…still showing a look of total surprise. With a last look at her he got up and left the museum. He had been told that cleaning up the mess would be done by somebody else. Once home, he went through the whole struggle in his mind while he kept his hand on himself until he finished.
Her staff wondered why she didn’t come into work the next day, and the next. Carolyn was never seen again.
© 2016 (Written by Carolyn and Riwa Jun 26 ‘16)