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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)

TITLE: A Taste of Hell From a Deep Water Well
By stanley Bednarz


"Know the signs and warnings,
sometimes a flash before the burning."

BP had drilled one of the deepest wells in history on a platform in the Gulf 3.5 miles thru water and earth. The U.S. space program had only rivaled this enterprise of technology and risk.

The first explosion rocked Mike Williams to his core.

As the chief electrical engineer, he knew the warning signs. The lights in his office glowed orange, and the whining of the turbine engines grew, all signs that a surge of oil with explosive methane gas would soon destroy the platform. Death was riding on a surge of oil from hell!

As he pushed back from his chair the computer exploded. He felt his reddish goatee nervously to make sure his face was still there. The alarms sounded a steady beep beep, but the whining engines grew with intensity, drowning out the warning system.

His nostrils widened: the unmistakable odor of methane gas. The air grew dense. A growing fire stole his breath. The walls groaned under the stress of heat.

There was nothing left to do but run!

He bolted for the first fireproof door. It exploded on contact sending him across the room like a stuffed mount. He threw off the door and tried again.

When he got to the exterior door, it erupted too and catapulted him down the hall.

Eyes burning with his own blood, gasping for air, he said, “If I’m gonna die, I die where I can breathe; I die where the air is clean.”

He got angry. He cursed. He crawled. He pulled up by the doorway and stumbled to the edge of the platform looking for a lifeboat. The lifeboat pulled out from below, not even the captain on board. This was indeed every man for himself. Until…

As he turned from the edge of the water and the flames licked the blackened sky, out from the fire came this one girl, Adriane who worked on the rig, and the captain with her. Both were covered in oil. They looked basted, ready to be barbecued.

I’m scared,” she said, her watery eyes darted in fear.

Mike tried his best to calm her. “You’re not alone I’m scared too.”

“What do we do?” she cried.

Mike looked over the edge into the dark waters ten stories below. “We jump! If you want to live--JUMP!”

Before Mike lifted from the edge, he forged a private prayer. “Lord if I live it’s for a reason. Please let me live to see my wife and kids. I beg you.” He jumped.

It seemed he fell for miles, until his feet speared the water. He dropped to such a depth, that when he finally broke the surface of the water he gasped for air. He felt a burning sensation on his face and neck. He jumped into a lake of fire!!

He kicked and screamed. He kicked and swam, until he couldn’t feel anything, and thought he might just be dead.

Someone yelled. “Hey you!!” The lifeboat drew near! They pulled him in and he finally breathed fresh clean air beneath a starry night. Saved.

Adriane and the captain were pulled safely inside too.

Mike knew what caused the explosion and soon the whole world would know. The world would know about the safety violations, about the blow out valve plug that had never been repaired. Because Mike lived to tell his story, the whole world would know who was responsible for the greatest oil disaster in history. And they would hear about this one man’s desperate prayer, and how God had a reason to spare, his life.

Proverbs 4:26 (KJV)
For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

***Dedicated the families who lost loved ones on the Deep Water Horizon

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This article has been read 427 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 08/26/10
This one caught my attention in a shocking and riveting way.

I'm assumed this is fiction, but you've nailed the details down so accurately, that I have doubts.

If it is fiction it is a masterful piece of historical fiction.

And a glorious dedication to the families affected.

Anthony David08/27/10
Excellent title and gripping writing! It must be real is what I felt. Please continue to write!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/27/10
This piece was filled with suspense. The details created a vivid picture in my mind. The only argument I might have is that Mike smelled the methane. I always thought methane was odorless, which makes it so deadly, until it is mixed with Mercaptan so that people can smell it if there's a leak in their house. But other than that little detail you did a great job describing the disaster that cost us and the planet dearly.
Sarah Heywood08/28/10
You did a masterful job with this. Of course, on the news, I heard that 11 oil rig workers had died but that was all I ever heard and the focus was then on the environmental concerns. Your story made the horror of what happened to the workers real for me, and for the first time, I have a picture of what it may have been like for these people. Good, good writing!