There were mixed emotions amongst the group of children about the mountain pool.
Deep and still it lay there in the valley, inviting for some but daunting for others, especially the smaller ones.
Especially Vincent, who had a head filled to the brim with imaginings.
Thoughts and fears (although he is loathe to admit to them being fears) of dark creatures lurking in the fathomless waters. Creatures he has seen on youtube, with evil eyes and searching suckers. Silent fish that lie in wait to take a bite out of an unsuspecting water lover.
Tickling tentacles of sea-urchins.
Although this is a mountain pool, he reminds himself.
He consciously tries to push these dark fears away as he watches his mates enter the water one by one.
Some slowly and tentatively, starting with a quickly withdrawn big toe, and then a body part of fuller proportion.
Others, who have been there before, quickly choose the highest rock that calls to their daring. Some jump in ahead of the fear that they know will grab them if they wait.
Others clown around and pretend to hold back.
One swimmer soars into a graceful dive.
The dark monsters win, and just as he is about to pull away from the water's edge to the solitude of a bush from where he can watch the fun, someone hooks him from behind, and before he knows it the cold punch of the water grabs his breath away.
A good thing, that, because his head is under water, and he would drown if he tries to breathe now, his mind screams at him. In the tangle of bodies he reaches for the surface that he knows must be up there, and breaks it gasping and flaying.
A red tide of anger washes over him, momentarily blinding him and causing him to miss his friend's laughing face as he hits out.
Edzard, undaunted by Vincent's anger, spins him around and splashes him from behind, calling out some of the silly names they shout at each other in safer zones of togetherness.
Suddenly, as if from far away, he finds his own voice shouting too, and he is drawn back into his own body, which he momentarily left at his surprise at himself.
Like mist fleeing before the sun, the dark monsters ran from the communal exultation that rises from the pool, vanishing behind the cliffs and leaving behind pure joy.