There was absolutely nothing to see but the grey sky overhead and the grey sea around him. The gentle swells, invisible from the air and insignificant even from the deck of a ship, nevertheless blocked out all vision when he sank between them. Even when he rose up on them, the view was the same – endless sea and sky. He couldn’t see the coast at all. He didn’t understand that at first – until he worked out that there must be a very thin low-level haze over the water. Or maybe it was just “patchy fog.” Whatever it was called, the visibility was much reduced in this spot of water. That made the sense of isolation – and his chances of rescue – worse than ever.
Ginger had always liked being alone. Walking alone on the moors was his favourite pastime. Though he wasn’t alone on the moors, of course. Usually he had Bessie with him. And there were always rabbits and hares, birds of all kinds, mice and foxes…. Ginger had never felt alone on the moors or in the sky.
Flying had always been like communion with God. But the sea had nothing divine about it. The sea was cold, contemptuous, and dark. It wanted to swallow him, to drag him down to the dark depths where only sea-monsters lurked.
For Ginger it was very simple. God was in Heaven – and that was the sky above him, which, just a few minutes ago he had been able to touch with the wings of his Hurricane. The sea, on the other hand, was worse than the earth: it was the Devil’s territory. The thought chilled him even more than the cold water. The fog cut Ginger off from God as well as from observation.
Ginger tried not to think about where he was, but what else was there to think about? What would they tell his Dad? Missing in action. How long would his Dad hope for good news? How long before his Dad realised there was no hope? And what would he do then? Ginger could picture his Dad crumpled up in his old chair with Bessie whimpering in sympathy and distress at his knees. He could picture Bessie pawing helplessly at his Dad’s knee with her soft white paw. He could picture his Dad clutching the old dog to him and crying until he’d soaked her silky head with his tears. His Dad didn’t have anyone else in the whole world. It wasn’t fair for him to be left alone….
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