Have you ever considered what a watery grave would look like just fifteen feet from the shoreline? How the light would dance on what dwelt below, soft currents brushing loose strands from their proper places? It wouldn’t be long before the gentle tides of the lake lifted the pale corpse to the sandy beach, the gases within helping the form to float and bob along without will.
In an event devoid of all such poetry, an innocent boy could have become such a form. He was young, and he disliked the life jacket his parents had so earnestly enforced. He wished to swim as his sister did, but he lacked the proper control to keep himself afloat while propelling himself forward on his own power. Thus, when it came to be that the boy convinced his parents to let him stay in the shallow, cordoned-off area of the water on a floating raft, he was trusted not to clamber out of it. Then his mother saw his head dip below the water.
The boy no longer remembers anything of what occurred while he was beneath the waves, though there are images in his memory of what might have been a dream of the experience. He looks up, into the green water above his head, spying a couple of bubbles as they drift upward, as if sucked into a great, vibrant void. He sees the sunlight refracted through the water, filtered from harsh beams of summer into the soft, almost caressing particles of a warm day. Time stretches out into infinity, slowing the darkening progression of the blessed light into into the sickening hues of an olive mire. He feels disorienting pulls from currents he doesn’t know how to battle against, tendrils of some watery eldritch abomination—at once urging him toward the sandy shore, toward safety, and then out further into the lake—in a bitter tug-of-war comprised only of gentle inclinations. Yet each pull shares one characteristic with its brethren: downward. I’ll die, he thinks, though this is the limit of his power. Without control over his breathing, alone and afraid, the young boy’s urge is to gasp. And that, he now imagines, is what he attempted.
Luckily, the boy was quickly retrieved and suffered nothing save a mild scare, having not been under long enough to even reflexively breathe in the water. The water was shallow enough that his mother needed only to wade in knee-deep to pick him up and cradle him, making sure there was no water in his lungs. She carried him to the sandy shore, letting the sunlight warm him from the shock, and she sat with him in that way mothers do when their child cannot articulate their need for comfort. All in all, it was a thankfully uneventful moment, thanks to her watchful eyes.