A crack like a gunshot pierced the frozen air and the ice broke.
It all happened in a second, one minute he was on the ice, the next plunging into a world colder than he ever imagined.
It was in this precise second that his mind asked if this was a situation in which his life would flash before him.
It was so cold he didn’t have time to think. Survival was first to register.
His ears were ringing from the crack that assaulted him. What had caused it?
There had been nothing to indicate a weakness in the ice, he felt it was sound, at least a foot thick.
He struggled to swim up. His clothes were sodden, his lungs screaming, the fight in him dwindled, he could feel himself losing all strength and beginning to sink.
Just as he felt the hopelessness of his predicament a hand reached in and grabbed his collar and there was enough energy in the hand of Ellie his companion to lift his drenched head above the icy water.
He gasped in his first breath.
He looked up to see Ellie struggling with his weight, calling over her shoulder for help and looking desperate as she clung tenuously to him.
Then more hands reached in and he was slowly lifted from the water.
By now he was incredibly cold and losing consciousness.
He didn’t know how long it was before he awoke, his body wrapped, his head aching, his legs numb.
Ellie stood before him. She said they were going out onto the ice again tomorrow and did he want to come?