Then there was a hand on my neck. At first I thought it was struggling against my struggles - trying to push me under. I fought it; my mouth opened and water rushed in, cold, thick, syrupy and tasting vile.
Someone was trying to drown me, but who - and why? Claudine? Albert? Never Albert - he'd always been my friend. I suspected Claudine didn't like me - but to actually want me dead?
I felt my body giving in - giving up the battle to stay alive. It seemed easier to go under. After all, who would miss me much? The sisters had each other and now they had the wonderful Claudine to replace me. Claudine and Albert had each other. Henriette - my favourite sister? She'd miss having someone to share her books with, but she'd soon get over that.
Then something was gripping my chest, squeezing hard enough to hurt. I was coming to the surface. My body decided for me - it wanted to live. I took a massive gasp of air and began to cough and choke.
I was lying on the bank, shivering, alone in the darkness, more dead than alive and with no idea who had rescued me.