Peter awoke. He was lying, slightly squashed, on his back, with his knees together and his feet marginally higher than the rest of his body. The hard surface beneath him was uncomfortable, but he didn’t feel like moving just yet. Maybe because he was too tired, or because he was enjoying looking at the stars. The sky, however, was not black and Peter thought to himself, ‘dawn’s coming’.
He continued to lie where he was, in
peaceful surrender. There was barely a sound and it seemed to him that the place
where he lay rocked slowly from side to side. His ears picked up the gentle
lapping of waves, and, despite his position, Peter soon fell asleep once more.
When he opened his eyes for a second
time, the grey, half-light, that comes in the moment before the dawn, was still
there. The fading stars hung above him as before and Peter wondered if he had
been asleep for a whole day. This didn’t worry him, indeed he had no cares at
all. His only thought was, ‘I’m here,’ but his brain didn’t register what that
After a while, when he decided he
wasn’t going to fall asleep again Peter thought he would sit up, so he did.
That was his first surprise and led to his first serious question. “Where am
I?” he asked aloud. A sensible question given what he saw; and what he saw was
water. Lots of it. On every side the ripples stretched out into the darkness.
Unfortunately his star-gazing skills had never been taken beyond finding the
‘Plough’ and ‘Orion’s belt’, so while the answer to his question might have
been found in the skies Peter wasn’t going to get it.
He looked a
little distrustfully at the water, but he wasn’t afraid, more intrigued. He
reached out a finger and dipped it in the water, but drew it back quickly
because of the cold. Watching the drops fall from his finger onto the bottom of
the boat, for if you are at sea then you must have a boat, a second thought
struck him. Why wasn’t he cold all over? All he had on was a light top and loose,
three-quarter length trousers. He didn’t even have anything on his feet.
Finding no obvious explanation for
this either Peter looked about some more and then at the little boat. A plain,
wooden vessel that you might find on a small lake, but not at sea. Peter was
glad that the water was so calm.
Feeling about, he found the only
other thing, besides himself, in the boat – a pair of oars. While the situation
still made no sense, Peter did the only logical thing. Fitting the oars into
the rowlocks, he dipped and pulled and the little boat glided smoothly across