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Chapter 1: Drowning

The brighness of the light above slowly faded into the blueness. Bluer and bluer, colder and colder, until he seemed to stop sinking and just float in the pale depth.

For the only time in his life he gave in. Salty water spilled into his lungs as the sharp pain around his ankle faded. The light began to brighten again, but instead of the warm reviving sun there came a great rush out of the past. Cold, sad, empty, it fled towards him, enveloping and drawing the last breath from him. Dreaming became ending.

A few days later the local newspaper carried a brief report on the incident:

A man was found dead on tuesday last, drowned when his foot was caught in the rope of a craypot being dropped into the water off Freshing Reef. The man was dragged out of his dinghy and into the calm seas, with the weight of the craypot preventing him from returning to the surface. The body was found by three boys out surfing, who noticed the unoccupied dinghy near the reef edge and upon swimming over to it could see the body about a fathom below. The niece of the man, a New Australian, identified him yesterday as Peter Hunserman, one-time manager of the One Tree Mission, and originally from Germany. A funeral will be held in the Mount King cemetery on Friday next.