Titanic: Alternate Ending
April 15, 2014: I watched the movie for the first time today, the anniversary of the sinking. I cried my eyes out and wrote this to make myself feel better. It's a one shot. I probably won't edit it. It's not large or deep, but it helps with the feels. Enjoy.
~Here's to those poor souls that did not make it. Rest in Peace.~
The deck was giving way beneath us. Tilting, tilting, people sliding down the splintered boards into the icy maw of the Atlantic. Screams. Oh, the screams. They will forever be seared into my memory. The cries of the innocent asking, where has justice gone? What did we do wrong to deserve such punishment? Why are we being taken in such a way?
So many years left ahead of them…turned to minutes.
The cries were drowned out by the roar of the icy water beneath as it drowned them.
The broken, tattered half of the ship rose higher and higher until it was perpendicular with the sea, its other half already gone below the waves. It seemed to be searching for her, its other half. It was looking down into the waves. And then it started to sink too, because it wasn't going to let go of her.
If the first half jumped, the second half would too.
"This is it," said my other half. "Hang on."
I clung to the railing and to him. His arms were around me, his hands, knuckles white, clutching the railing in front of us.
"Jack," I whispered.
"It's going to be okay. We're going to survive. You are going to survive, Rose. Now, listen carefully," he instructed, his arms squeezing the breath out of me in a vapor. "Hold on to my hand and don't let go. The ship is going to pull us under. Keep kicking. Keep kicking, hold my hand, and we'll rise to the surface."
"I will, Jack," I promised. I promised him many things. I hoped to God I could keep them.
"Take a deep breath when I tell you," he commanded calmly.
Other people were jumping off, or falling, prematurely into the unforgiving, black waters. My heart quickened within my breast. Mere hours before it had been in exhilaration –the realization that I had found true love! But now it was in fear. Our love was to be killed before it had a chance to blossom.
But, I reminded myself, I wouldn't have traded meeting Jack for any amount of years on this old, cruel earth.
The water was rushing up at us, or rather, we were rushing down toward it. We plunged underneath the hypothermic waves, and the Titanic was never again seen above the surface.
I felt myself being pulled down, down, down. The pressure of the water pressed around me, my ears filling with water, popping. My head pounding. A thousand knives pierced me with cold. I tried to propel myself to the surface, my lungs screaming in agony for oxygen.
I tightened my grasp on Jack's hand as I blindly groped for the surface, only to find with the numbing cold and explosive impact of the Atlantic, we had been torn apart.
I broke the surface.
"Jack!" I screeched at the top of my lungs.
It was but harmony in a chorus of desperate cries. So many names being called…Elizabeth, Franklin, James, Edith…were just a few I heard. I added Jack to the list over and over, and strained my ears for his voice calling my name.
There, I heard it! Oh, yes, I heard it!
I swirled in the black sea to find him, but saw only terrified strangers. A man clung desperately to me. I recognized him –I had seen him on deck playing games with his children last afternoon. But now he was a crazed creature, trying to stay afloat. He knew not what he was doing as he plunged me beneath the surface.
I screamed for him to stop, bobbing to the surface as he lost his grasp. Again, he tried to buoy himself on my shoulder, plunging me beneath the darkness without a chance for breath.
"Let her up!" I heard as I bobbed to the surface again.
Suddenly the burdensome man was torn from my frame as Jack punched him away.
"Sorry," I heard Jack mutter, "you don't know what you're doing. I don't even know what I'm doing."
"I do," I sobbed, swimming to him in a few strokes.
Our lips met passionately, and for a moment the world was warm and bright.
As Poseidon commanded a cruel wave to sweep over us, the tragedy came flooding back. The Titanic was gone. Hundreds were already at the bottom of the ocean –each of these people with their own lives, stories, hopes and dreams –never to be fulfilled.
And now there were hundreds more of us, stranded…and no one was coming for us.
"I can't keep swimming," came a shuddering cry from the dark.
"It's too cold," cried another.
The cries soon ceased altogether.
Jack found an elegantly carved piece of detritus and ordered me to get on. I did so, nearly causing it to sink.
"Get on beside me," I urged.
He tried, but it nearly overturned, and he slipped into the water.
"Try again," I pleaded. "If we balance our weight…there is room for us both, come on, Jack!"
He looked at me with a small smile. He was giving up on his own life.
"No, no, Jack! Try to get on again!"
"I'm so tired, Rose. So weak. I'll just float alongside you. I'll be fine," he said through chattering teeth.
"Jack Dawson, I will not allow it! I'll bite your hands until you can't hold on! You're sitting up here with me or not at all!" I said stubbornly.
I reached into the water and grabbed his hand. I pulled and he kicked to propel himself upward. The detritus tilted beneath me, threatening to slide us both back into the water like the deck of the Titanic just moments ago. I shuffled backward to make the other side slap back into the water. It was a treacherous seesaw, but finally, with my help, Jack struggled aboard.
"Don't move a muscle," he whispered tiredly. "If we move we might upset the balance again."
"I don't think I can move anymore," I shivered.
I felt so small aboard our makeshift raft, like a space between the stars. I let my eyes roam the dark waters for signs of life.
"It's so quiet now," I whispered. Jack didn't reply, but made mention that the boats were going to be here in a few minutes. He said it a few minutes later. And again a few minutes after that.
"Jack, I love you," I said, as I felt myself slipping out of consciousness.
"No, don't you dare say your goodbyes, Rose," Jack reprimanded. "You're going to make lots of babies and live to be an old lady and die warm and safe in your bed."
I tried to nod but the cold was overwhelming. I shivered, but could no longer feel myself doing so. I could not feel my fingers, toes, or face…my breathing was shallow. I could hear Jack's. It was shallow too.
"Promise me, Rose," he wheezed. "Don't let go. Live your life, no matter what happens. Survive. Promise me you'll survive."
His trembling fingers intertwined with mine though we couldn't feel each other's grasp.
I didn't want to promise. I didn't want to survive without him.
"Promise me, Rose," he said.
I surrendered to him. As if in a dream I was back in the night of the party where I surrendered to being taken to third class, to dancing, to drinking…it had been wonderful. Jack had never steered me wrong. If this is what he wanted me to promise, then I would promise it. And I would keep that promise. For him.
"I promise," I whispered.
We put our heads down on the slick, wet surface of our little raft and waited for rescue…or death.
I opened my eyes. I couldn't be sure how much time had passed. It was still dark. I could make out debris from the ship protruding like bony fingers from the murderous water. There were human forms too, my eyes realized as they focused, hanging from the waves like Atlantic hunting trophies.
My eyes riveted next to the form in front of me.
My ears suddenly became attuned to more than the crashing, lulling waves. There was a voice…
"Is there anyone out there? Is there anyone alive out there?"
It was a lifeboat! It had come for us! We were saved!
"Jack! Jack! It's a lifeboat!" I shook him. My voice was hoarse.
He moaned, his pale eyes rolling back in his white face.
"No, no," my voice cracked. "Help! I'm here! I'm here!" I called to the rescuers. But they couldn't hear me, and my voice refused to function. It had been petrified by cold.
"Stay here, Jack, I'm going to get them," I said.
He didn't reply.
I slipped off our raft, upsetting the balance, thrusting Jack into the icy water. I prayed to God he would stay afloat.
I swam hard. The stars above me were clear as daylight, watching my plight. They gave such little light, but there…something gleamed in the darkness as I continued to call and tread water.
It was the whistle of a crew member, dangling from his deadened lips.
I took it and put it in my own blue lips. I blew feebly, releasing one shrill note into the night. I blew again and again until the shrill note became a true whistle. I heard shouts. The shouts acknowledged me and I blew harder.
The pulled me into the boat.
"Jack," I muttered. "Jack."
"She's delirious with cold," a crew member said.
"No," I protested weakly. "He's out there. He's still alive."
The crew members looked to one another doubtfully. Finely, with resolve, one asked, "Which way?"
I nodded in the general direction from which I had come before losing consciousness.
When I awoke next I saw the word Carpathia. My world went black again.
I blinked, cracking open my bleary eyes. I was in a quaint bedroom, smothered in blankets. The world rocked beneath me. I was on a ship. The Titanic.
No. It sunk last night.
Screams. Dissonant screams replayed in my head.
Don't let go…promise me…Rose…Rose!
"Jack!" I screamed.
My scream had summoned one of the Carpathia crew members.
"Can I get you something, miss?" he asked. He had kindly, but sad eyes and a full, grey beard. "Would you like for me to send for one of the women attendants?"
"No, I want to know where Jack Dawson is," I said.
"Jack Dawson? I'm not sure if I know the name, miss," he said gently. He was trying to tell me Jack wasn't on the ship.
"If I could just get your name, though, miss, now that you're awake," he requested softly.
"Dawson. Rose Dawson," I replied numbly. It wouldn't have been recognized legally, but spiritually my soul was intertwined with Jack's. I loved him as much as if I had gotten the chance to be his wife.
"I'm sorry, miss," he said, realizing my connection with the man in question. "But, let me check our records. We are still getting names from everyone. Can I get you anything?"
"No, just…search for Jack Dawson, please."
"I will, miss."
I rose from my bed as he shut the door to my compartment. I took the coat that was draped over the bed post. It was the one my fiancé had draped over me the other night. A minute later, a knock came. It was the kindly crewman again, to tell me had checked the list and found it wanting. I tried to call for him to come in, but my throat was choked with grief at the dark thoughts that clouded and strangled my mind.
He entered. And said nothing. Very sarcastically.
"A warm welcome," he shot back dejectedly.
I threw myself into his arms. I kissed him. My chapped lips tingled with the warmth.
"I heard someone named Mrs. Dawson was staying in here. Do I know her?" he asked between kisses.
"She knows you, at any rate," I replied.
His arms had embraced me, and now dropped to my sides, inspecting me as if I were a ghost.
"We made it, I can't believe it," he whispered.
"You said we would," I reminded him with a solemn smile.
He smiled back. It morphed into confusion as his hand passed over a strange bulk in my coat pocket.
"What's this?" he asked, pulling out the blue diamond necklace.
I gasped. I was incredulous. My fiancé hadn't placed the coat on me out of kindness but to save the blasted diamond? I shook my fiery curls.
Jack placed the jewel reverently in my open hands.
"We could sell it, start a life together with the money," he said.
I nodded slowly. I walked to the port window, and held the diamond up in the dim morning light that filtered through. It shone black and blue, glinting like ocean waves upon every facet. A whole ocean was encapsulated in that stone.
"It doesn't belong here. It belongs in the sea," I said quietly.
Jack nodded approvingly.
We made our way to the deck of Carpathia. We stood again on the railings of a ship. I looked at him and he smiled encouragingly.
I dropped the necklace back where it belonged, to be carried by the waves back to the Titanic just a few miles behind and below us.
Jack embraced me as a cloud of mist rained down upon us.
"We'll be going from place to place, never knowing where our next meal will be coming from. Back to your artist days. It will be an adventure," I said, leaning against his chest.
"It will be happiness," he agreed, resting his chin on my head as we surveyed the sunrise.
We'll go from place to place…but never again will we board the Titanic.