The Christmas Tree Ships (part one)

The diver sinks deep into the darkening lake. The lead around her waist is balanced against her mass so that her decent is slow and calm. She can feel the cold waters of this vast lake undulate around her, she can judge it's movement through the dance of algae in front of her face. The cage of glass and bronze around her head feels hard but vulnerable against mounting pressure from water above and around.
The light at her breast does little to piece the gloom, but she is fascinated by the playful swirl microscopic life, that her presence has woken. Like dust in the morning light, these thousands of lives wheel and pirouette in an impossibly complex dance. The diver plays with their tempo with her leather gloved hands.
And then suddenly she stops. Her feet touch the lake bottom in a cloud of churned up detritus that has been untouched for thousands of years. Her vision is filled with ancient waste, yellow mud from an age of decay. And then it clears, and the diver continues her journey.
She strides in slow motion through this new land, small crustaceans scuttle with infinite ease around her monstrously heavy metal boots. At times she has to clamber over rocky outcrops and through swaying weeds hiding unholy creatures of the deep. She thinks she sees the fangs of a giant eel, her mind plays tricks in the heavy murk.
She finds herself in further dark, and a force more solid than the pressurised lake blocks her path. She reaches forward and brushes her hand against a stiff, prickly tendril, which seems to be attached to more just like it. As she edges further towards this new obstacle her chest light reveals an unlikely underwater form; a fir tree, no, a coppice of fir trees stands in his path.
She is delighted.
Her thoughts and dreams of the last 20 years have been realised, she has reached her lifelong goal, she has found the wreck of her Fathers ship.
She franticly pushes the branches aside and delves into the mass of trees infront of her, spines and needles threaten to tear her precious suit to shreds, but she cares not, she is focused and excited, like an anxious school girl, desperate to get home...
The terrain beneath her steepens and she has to catch hold of a branch to stop herself from falling off a great ridge carved into the sea floor. But when she steadies herself she sees a vista so beautiful she almost lets go again. The wrecks of four ships lay peacefully on the lake floor, surrounded by a forest of fir trees, all lit with a thousand tiny lights of every conceivable colour. She notices now on the trees near her, beautiful ornaments and baubles and electric light bulbs powered by some unseen underwater power. The diver bounds down the edge of this magical vale towards the central ship, The Rouse Simmons.
To her alarm and delight she finds a table in the middle of the carcass of the ship, it bears a freshly laid feast of turkeys and roast potatoes and squash and cranberries and she turns around to see several figures approaching from cabins of the ships.
Her initial reaction is abject fear; the men in torn wax overcoats and battered hats have grey, decaying faces, and they move through the waters with a sedate ease. They are all around from every angle except above so she tries to loosen the straps on her weighted belt, but fumbles in the panic and they surround her.
But now they are close, she can see though her steamed-up porthole that the men have a sad kindness in their eyes, and they are offering clumsily wrapped gifts to her. As one is thrust into her hands the paper disintegrates in the water to reveal a roughly carved wooden pony, another gift is offered this time, an approximation of a mermaid, clumsily, but lovingly bent into form from pieces of rusted tin.
Through the commotion the diver sees that one of these decrepit sailors has held back from the throng, he stands watching, trembling, with a parcel in his hands...