Surely they are going to come back for me? Someone will realise I’m not there and send out a search party. They cannot just leave me here; I can feel my body prickling and numbing already. The air has fangs of steel, it cuts my skin and leaves deep wounds, and yet when I look, there is nothing there. In fact, I cannot see anything at all. It is as if the world’s light has gone out and the only things left are the stars and I. Turning my head to the left, I spot Orion. It has always been my favourite constellation, but currently brings me no comfort. My teeth are starting to chatter, but not just with cold. I suppose it is a human instinct to fear the unknown, however it is rather unhelpful at present, I must say.
Oh dear, I have just remembered my cufflinks. I hope I haven’t ruined them, or worse, lost them, for they are a family heirloom. Father would be devastated if he found out, and I am pretty frustrated too as I was planning to wear them when I arrived in New York. I certainly won’t be able to now. Jocasta always said they went with my blue eyes wonderfully, but I never understood why I would want to match my clothes with my eyes. What am I thinking? It does not matter if my cufflinks are lost; I assume I only have about five minutes left. When will they come back to find me?
I wish I had worn my thick coat, for my clothes are sticking to my body. Although, that would make it worse, as a heavy coat is an encumbrance and would weigh me down. I am lost for ideas as to what I can do, so I resort to what any man does in this situation. I shout for help. At first, I clearly do not cry loud enough, as even I cannot hear it. Yet, after another few attempts, I realise my voice has gone altogether, and no matter how loud I bellow, there will never be any sound. My heart is pounding in its cage now, desperately trying to keep my blood flowing, but it is no use. My greatest weapon has been taken. I have no shield either. Nevertheless, I will not surrender until my time is up. I have four minutes left.
I need to come up with some way of getting out of here. My mind races through all the books I read as a child and images from ‘Swallows and Amazons’ flicker across my eyes. I need some way of pulling myself up … My eyes fall upon a star, I reach out to grab it and try to hang on, but it slips out of my hand and splashes in front of me. I fall backwards and a blinding light flashes in front of my eyes, followed by images of a tall, slim man, the railings on a cruise ship and then the man falling. They are shown repeatedly until my head begins to pulsate with the pressure and my body shudders violently. I do not know what to do, so I simply let the pictures take over my body, encompass me and push me down, down, down.
The images ripple into a new scene of what appears to be a swimming pool. This time I am in control, and my view shifts as I move my head, revealing my fellow cadets from boarding school. We are practising how to tread water, which I usually find easy, but when I try to kick my legs and circle my arms, I am pushed down by an invisible force. My lungs start to burst under the pressure and I try to call out for help, but my mouth will not open. I begin to cry, at first a few tears, but soon large, salty droplets streak my face and my whole body shakes. I blink furiously to make sure no one can see me, but my eyes happen to focus on the clock on the wall. It reads one minute.
My body jolts back to reality, sending waves emanating outwards as I gasp for air. I realise I was not in a swimming pool at all, but I am stranded in the ocean, and that man I saw on the cruise ship was me. I kick my legs out and thrash with my arms, frantically trying to stay afloat … Wait! I hear something. Is that? No, it can’t be. I must be imagining things. That is highly unlikely. I think I can hear human voices. I can! I am saved; I do not have to drow …