A/N: This is a story I started writing about 3 years ago. This version hasn't been re-worked on much and it needs a lot of fleshing out.. It got going again when I tried to get it finished for NaNoWriMo, but … that came to an end when I found myself without a computer. Excuses you say?! Well, yes, but I hate writing by hand … I'm just too slow. Anyway, with a little encouragement, and some reviews hint hint, it might just progress a little further.

Chapter 1



Setember 22rd. It was my 40th birthday.

Disembodied, about 90 ft down … floating effortlessly in that deepest blue that only divers can know, I had been doing a routine check of the cable pipeline. A couple of large sharks glided by. They ignored me, but I still watched them until they were quite far away. However many times I dived, I never quite felt easy with them. They were just too big, primaeval, otherworldly, mysterious … compelling and frightening at the same time.

I looked at my watch – only 7 minutes until my air ran out. Damn, I'd have to be really careful not to come up too fast and the guys in the support boat up above would be getting twitchy. I'd been daydreaming about my life and thinking about what I'd achieved in 40 years – it wasn't like me to be like this, dwelling on my life I mean. I usually pushed thoughts like that away – and too often with the contents of bottles lately. I was always so meticulous about watching the time, but this time…………..

Unbidden, the thoughts that I'd been pushing to the back of my mind flooded back. A seductive, honeyed voice said in my ear,

"Tom, you're 40. You've really fucked up. Your life's a mess. Why don't you end it all? It would be so easy. Just take the mouthpiece out and just float away. You won't feel a thing and all that pain will be gone, be gone, be gone………."

Jesus! I had found myself actually doing it. Was I going crazy or what!

Suddenly, I'd had a vision of a bleak churchyard with my family in black standing round my coffin., white chrysanthemums, which I really hated, everywhere. My kids, pale-faced and crying, "Why did Daddy leave us? Was it our fault? What did we do?"

And my wife, (sorry, ex-wife now), with her new boyfriend (well, hardly a boy, he was a balding 45), feeling emotional as she remembered the good times, but feeling awkward about this unwanted intrusion into her new life. Trying to comfort Hannah and Matt and not succeeding. My mother and father looking old, grey and worn out. It was a gloomy picture. I didn't like it or the feeling of it.

In that split second before it was too late, I made myself go up… as fast as I could without giving myself the bends. I was going to run out of air now. Could I hold my breath long enough to reach the surface? I doubted it, but I knew now I wanted to live. I didn't know why, but I just knew it would have been wrong to let go down there. A coward's way out.

I sucked on the mouthpiece and took the last breath left in the tank. God, if you exist – please, let me live.

Everything was screaming, my lungs, my eyes, my ears, bursting with the strain – not far to go now, I could see the sunlight streaming down from the surface. God, let me make it…………

I broke the surface, gasping, gulping, I couldn't get enough air…..

"Fuck it Tom! What the hell d'you think you're playing at!" A cacophony of angry, concerned voices swirled around me. I couldn't answer. I tried to hold onto the end of the dive platform but nothing seemed to grip. Arms grabbed me and pulled me onto the boat.

"I think we'd better get him to a decompression chamber. Fast!"

I don't remember what happened after that. My last thought was: This is what a fish feels like, left on the deck to die.