The darkness was encroaching, soon it would swallow the light and there would be nothing; nothing except oblivion.
Looking up toward the shimmering rays of light that danced above him just outside the dome of the void he now sank further down into; teasing him, the heavenly beams seemed to pull away from him as he swung out a flailing arm to somehow grab hold and pull himself out of the blackness that threatened to suck him down below.
For a moment he let himself float in between the darkness and the light, the calm of the muffled silence washing over him even as the burning within his chest intensified. It was peaceful down here, all the troubles and stresses of the world above slowly fading as he began to drift downward.
He looked away from the mocking light and down into the dark; down into the vast blackness of the void, and felt it calling out to him to let go and let it enfold him within its icy arms.
However, his glance happened upon what he held in his left hand, the object that had brought him down into the deep in the first place, and the vividness of life above came back to him and he once again found himself filled with the desire to be in the light.
A surge of energy run through his body and he kicked and clawed his way out of the suffocating dark up into the dancing beams of light that played near the surface.
With a final, agonizing push of his exhausted arms he felt himself break through and out into the open air above.
Holding his treasure high in his left hand, he gave a triumphant shout as he gasped for air to fill his almost depleted lungs.
Blinking as the water dripped down his brow into his eyes he orientated himself so he faced his family who were gathered on the dock of their cabin on the sunny lake.
Wearily, he started to swim toward them as the shouted encouragingly for him to come back out of the water, all the while, holding his left arm in the air, not wanting his trophy to touch the inky waters ever again.
"I found it!" He tried to shout as water sloshed into his mouth and he sputtered and coughed. "I found Jimmy's shoe!"
He clutched tiny child's Velcro running shoe in his hand as if it were the most precious treasure the world had ever known.
"Good job, honey!" his wife said somewhat proudly. "But you didn't have to jump in after it, we have another three pair. They were on sale."
Her words could not tarnish his triumph as he swam close to where his son sat on the dock's edge, wearing his little, yellow life jacket, swinging his legs out over the water; one bare-footed, the other still wearing the matching shoe to the one he had dove down into the deep for.
Swinging his legs happily as his father came splashing toward him, Jimmy laughed; laughing and swinging; swinging and laughing.
Until, as he watched, Jimmy's other shoe was flung off his chubby little foot, arced into the sun-filled air, and then landed with a plunk into the deep, blue waters of the lake and began immediately to sink.