Back in the early eighties, I briefly knew a little kid called Anton, who lived a few houses away. Our friendship concluded when my stepfather intercepted Anton just as he was about to smash a house brick down on my head whilst I was playing in the garden with my back turned. Funnily I hadn’t given the boy a moments consideration since our parting of company.
Odd then to encounter him in my frequently vivid otherworld during sleep a couple of nights ago. I’d been running along a grassy path that seemed to run along the edge of a cliff at night. I was sure someone was out to get me, I’m pretty certain that’s why I was running. I paused for a moment by a tree precariously balanced on the cliff edge . Impossible as the situation was, Anton jumped out at me from behind the tree. He was in a state of rage, he was my pursuer, he was still a nine year old boy. Anton was lashing and punching at me, It took a moment to decide a course of remedial action so I used both my hands and picked him up by his head.
“Don’t try that shit on me!” I said “I’ll crush your bloody skull with my bare hands!”
In the heat of the moment, I felt like I meant it. In spite of being held at arms length by his head with his little legs impotently dangling and kicking off the ground, Anton continued to snarl like an animal ,still swiping his clenched fists towards my face. Feeling resentment and frustration, I slung him by his head over the edge of the cliff. His body somersaulted like a discarded rag doll, out of sight. I curiously peered over the edge to see that at the foot of the cliff some 60ft below, was a giant swimming pool with its pale blue water glowing with some form of submerged illumination. It crossed my mind that Anton would probably drown, so I quickly performed a dive towards the area where his body had splashed.
My body shot into the water like an arrow, I plummeted down and down until I reached the bottom of the pool. I noted that my ears had a sharp pain as the water pressure had increased significantly. An idle thought occurred to me in that brief moment; my ears would probably be bleeding and It might be a good idea to swim back up to the surface. I began my watery ascent but seemed aware that I was rising more slowly than I felt I should. I heard a voice say something like *gasp* “He’s going to breathe in!” and it was true, I could feel the urge to inhale building up as I tried desperately to reach the air above me. I swam upwards in desperation, feeling as if my feet were made of concrete.
Again a voice said “He’s going to breathe in!” and it was true, my lungs were clawing at my nostrils which were slowly starting to draw in water.
“He’s going to breathe in!” again. The surface of the pool still ten or so ft away, I took an almighty breath inwards, knowing all the while that It was water filling my lungs.On this rare occasion it was a relief to awaken with an abundantly air filled gasp.