The first thing Charles was aware of was the sound: a hissing, gushing, sound that pierced the air like a fire alarm as one sits outside, droning on while you wait for it to end so you can return to your work. Then he opened his eyes and, seeing his predicament, leaned back his head in surprise.
He sat in the center of a wire cage that would barely fit him if he stood up. This itself lay in a large, blue tank, which was slowly filling with water from four pipes near the top of the tank. Puddles were already beginning to form on the floor of the tank, and it wouldn’t be much longer before he would be standing in water.
Charles cursed at himself. He knew he shouldn’t have eaten that pastry. The things he did for his clients. Not that it mattered now, what with the rising water and all. He stood.
There had to be a way out of here. After all, he got in, right? First off, there had to be a door large enough to push the cage through; second, there had to be a door in the cage large enough to get a man through. Well, there was the door to the tank, outlined clearly on Charles’s right. That would be easy to get open — probably why Xavier had put him in this cage as well.
Just thinking the name of his nemesis made him shiver in anger, but he had no time for thoughts of vengeance right now: the water already lapped his ankles. He needed to find that latch on the cage.
Ah, there it was. He had been against his back. He pushed against it, only for it to rattle back in place. Locked. He reached through the cage wires, around to where the lock would be. It was pretty standard, just an ordinary, everyday lock. The tricky part would be to get that lock open.
He checked his pockets: nothing. Xavier had been very thorough about this. Charles thought hard, rubbing his temples as his brain worked overtime. Well, at this point there was only one thing he could do.
He pushed the cage toward the door, tipping it over and sending himself plummeting forward. He twisted himself for the impact, though the rising water slightly softened his fall. He quickly managed to turn himself around, and carefully pushed the cage back to its upright position. Now he could reach the tank door.
This door also opened outward, and it too was locked on the outside. However, Charles suspected that it was far flimsier of a lock, and that it should break under enough pressure. Probably his body weight. He sighed, his legs sloshing through water reaching up to his shins.
Slowly, he managed to scoot the cage forward until it made contact with the door. Then, taking a step back, he thrust himself at it, making it shudder with the impact. Boom! Boom!
He pushed the door with his hand — it was beginning to swing open. Not enough to let the water out, but enough to give him hope. He continued applying pressure.
It finally broke as the water reached his waist. Water cascaded out around him as he fell headlong out of the tank, finding himself on the floor of a large, abandoned factory. Probably an old water mill to boot. But there was no time for admiring the scenery, though it did reveal to him where some of Xavier’s henchmen had lazily kept some of their tools that were just the sort of thing Charles needed now to escape.
Now hopefully none of the henchmen would show up with guns.