Crawlway Sink

Hold tight.

The Hunter kept her breathing steady as she pushed one arm above her head to grab the next handhold. Her grip found purchase on a rough piece of the narrow cave wall, and she strained to heave herself forward through the crevice. Her flashlight hotly illuminated the stone that nearly encased her, but she could see where the cleft in the rock opened up into darkness, and that darkness meant freedom from the cave's grip.

She'd been clawing at the stone face for hours. Pulling herself forward, dragging her body inch by inch with one hand, squeezing through the cleft in the rock. Every time she moved, she wondered if it would become a little narrower, a little tighter around her arm until she couldn't move at all.

She did the movement again. Her fingers flexed, and she pressed her palm down to drag herself forward another inch. Her left arm was pinned to her side, caught in the narrow passage, but she could still move her right arm. For now. She took a breath, then another. Her oxygen levels were good. She did not, for the moment, have to worry about drowning.

Only about being trapped, and then drowning.

The Hunter had descended into the flooded cave beneath Nessus two days before, following a strange signal that Failsafe could not interpret. The planet's tectonic plates had shifted, and new passageways had opened, some flooded by Vex milk, and some by the planet's natural water source. This cave was filled with the latter. When she first dove into its depths, she couldn't see the bottom. Then the connection to Failsafe was lost. But she kept moving, and soon found the rush of a current moving through a crevice in the underwater cave wall.

She had squeezed into it without a second thought. It was big enough. She could pull herself through.

That had been hours ago.

Again, she heaved herself forward. Every time she pushed her arm up above her head and pulled herself closer to the gap, she felt the split rock gripping her body. It wanted her to die there, trapped forever, her Ghost reviving her endlessly only for her to die again each time. A stone coffin.

She raised her arm and grabbed the edge of the crevice. She slid herself sideways, pulling her left arm forward. Now with both hands free, she dragged herself from the rock's tight embrace and moved into open water.

Darkness again. Her flashlight could only penetrate the water so far. She floated, unsure, then looked up; she saw a play of white light. The surface. Another cave. Air. She kicked her way up and broke the surface of the water. A ledge. She reached for it, pulling herself out of the underground lake.

She looked up into a singular red eye and the touch of a metal hand grabbing at her throat.