A Night to Remember
It’s at breakfast that we really decide what we’ll do. William and I will go talk to Captain Smith and try to convince him to listen to us. Paige will go talk to the telegraphers with a pocket full of cash to see if they’ll send out a mayday before we strike the iceberg.
I can tell Paige isn’t very hopeful that anything will work, but we have to try.
Paige goes off on her own when breakfast finishes while William and I make our way to the captain’s quarters.
William will make an introduction and then I’ll try to convince him to change course just a little. I’m still not sure yet how to do this.
William and I don’t speak while we walk to the captain’s quarters. I am stressing over what to say.
When we get outside the door, William grabs my shoulders and looks me in the eye. He smiles nervously.
“You can do this,” he reassures me, squeezing my shoulders softly. I take a deep breath and nod, only slightly reassured. William gives me a quick hug before knocking on the door.
We wait for a second in anticipation then the door opens and a man in uniform appears. He has white hair with a white beard and mustache; the tips of which are stained orange.
“Yes, what is it?” Captain Smith asks.
“Good morning, Captain. My name is William McCarthy, and this is Miss Olivia Wells. We are hoping for a second of your time,” William replies cordially.
Captain Smith nods, recognizing William, and opens the door a little wider for us to enter. He motions for us to sit on a small, uncomfortable-looking couch. William and I sit and Captain Smith takes a seat in a single chair across from us.
“What can I do for you, Mr. McCarthy?” he asks. William takes a deep breath and begins.
“We believe the ship will hit an iceberg that your officers won’t see until it’s too late resulting in the ship sinking and thousands of lost lives.” William waits while Captain Smith processes this.
“Why do you believe this? They say this ship is unsinkable,” Captain Smith says. I’m struggling with what to say and end up blurting,
“I have foreseen it.” Captain Smith appraises me.
“You say you’ve seen the future,” he asks.
“The ship will hit the iceberg at eleven forty tonight and will be lost beneath the Atlantic by two in the morning. One thousand five hundred and three people will be dead before the sun rises,” I say.
Captain Smith eyes me longer this time. I hope he won’t think the devil is possessing me and has me locked up.
“Miss Wells, I am not an idiot nor do I believe one can see the future. You must have had a nightmare and thought it a premonition. Mr. McCarthy, please take Miss Wells to her room. She’s probably tired and in need of rest,” Captain Smith says, dismissing us.
My mouth falls open. I am shocked; I have never in my life been spoken to or dismissed the way Captain Smith just did.
William stands up and offers me his hand. He takes my arm in his and leads me to the door. I stop before we walk out and turn around.
“Captain Edward John Smith, I have warned you of the tragedy that lies ahead and you are choosing to dismiss it. The deaths of those fifteen hundred people will be on you. May God have mercy on your soul and your judgment not be too harsh for this will be the last day you live.” I make my voice sound guttural and spooky.
Captain Smith gawks at me as William pulls me out of the room. The door shuts behind us.
William leads me back to my room. I am fuming the whole way.
“That arrogant son of a bitch!” I almost yell. A few people turn in my direction as they pass. William’s eyes bulge.
“That’s not appropriate speech for a young lady,” William says. I stare daggers at him.
“Oh, not you, too,” I complain. I still can’t believe the way the captain dismissed me just because I’m a woman.
“I’m sorry,” William says with his hands raised in defense. I shake my head and sigh.
“It’s okay. It’s not your fault. Just try to remember, where I come from women are pretty much equal to men in every way. They work, make their own money, and own property. They don’t need a man for anything; they choose to have one. Women are usually not dismissed simply because they are a woman. It’s infuriating, but I have to remember I am in a different time. Women don’t even have the right to vote yet for God’s sake.”
William nods as if he understands, but I don’t think he approves of me taking the Lord’s name in vain. He hugs me though and everything feels almost right in the world.
While Olivia and William are talking to the captain, I am off to find the telegraphers. My job is to convince them to send an S.O.S. early enough for a closer ship to get here or for the Carpathia to get here before the ship is finished sinking. It still won’t save everyone, but it can save a lot of the people that end up in the water.
I knock on the door to the telegraph room and try to stand somewhat seductively. Maybe they will listen if they think they will get something out of it; you know besides living. I suppose they won’t know that.
One of them answers. He is young, probably about my age. It saddens me to know that if we aren’t successful, he will probably die.
“Yes?” he asks politely.
“I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute. I have a very important favor to ask,” I reply. He nods and steps out into the hall. He closes the door to the telegraph room and suddenly we are alone.
“What can I do for you, Miss?” he asks.
“I was hoping maybe around, say ten o’clock tonight, you could send a distress signal out,” I reply, knowing what his answer will be.
“I can’t do that without orders, Miss,” he replies looking nervous.
“I understand that, but I’m positive this ship will sink tonight. The only one to hear your call is the Carpathia, but she will be four hours away. By the time she gets here, it will be too late for most of the people on this ship. If you were to send the distress signal sooner, they could save more people,” I reply, trying to sound like I’m not crazy.
“How could you know what will happen tonight?” the telegrapher asks. Valid question. My mind races for a good answer.
“God told me,” I reply bluntly.
“God told you?” he asks skeptically. I nod, making my face look serious.
“Yes. I received a vision from God, telling me what’s to come, so I could save all these people. I need help though,” I say. The telegrapher shakes his head.
“I’m sorry. I really can’t help you,” he says. He’s about to go back into the room. I grab his arm and pull out the wads of cash William gave me.
“What if I make it worth your while?” I ask.
The man eyes the cash. I can tell he wants it. It would probably make all the difference in the world to him. He stands almost transfixed by the money but then shakes his head quickly.
“No, I’m sorry, Miss,” he says before escaping back into the telegraph room. I am left alone in the corridor.
“Shit,” I say to myself. Damn his integrity.
I make my way back to my room. I hope William and Olivia had more luck with the captain. He’s always been our best bet, anyway.
I get back to the room and see Olivia and William in the hallway. They are hugging but break apart when they see me coming.
“Any luck?” Olivia asks hopefully. I shake my head.
“Telegrapher wouldn’t help me. Said he couldn’t do it without an order from the captain or another officer,” I reply glumly handing the money back to William. “How about you?”
Olivia looks dejected, so the news probably isn’t good.
“Captain Smith accused me of having a nightmare and told William to take me to bed because I must be tired,” Olivia replies like she has a bad taste in her mouth.
“Chauvinist asshole,” I mutter.
William takes a deep breath. I don’t know if it’s in response to my language or the situation.
“What do we do now?” I ask. Olivia shrugs.
“I don’t know what else to do to stop it. Maybe when it happens, we just try to save as many as we can. One of the first lifeboats launches with only twenty-three people, even though it has room for sixty-five. We can try to get them filled, but it will only put a small dent in the casualties. I guess something is better than nothing,” Olivia replies.
“All right then. I guess now all we do is wait,” I say, and we walk into our room to wait for our possible death. Lovely.
The ship shutters like a torpedo just hit. Ice breaks off the iceberg and hits the deck breaking into thousands of pieces.
William, Paige, and I stand on the deck and watch as the iceberg scrapes against the ship. We have to hold on to the railing just to keep from falling. A few other people are on deck kicking the larger pieces of ice to each other like this is all a game.
I look back and watch as the iceberg disappears in the darkness. I look over at William and Paige. I see fear and uncertainty on their faces and in their eyes. Ready or not, tonight is only beginning.
Since the captain is an asshole, and the telegraphers are too scared to do anything without orders, our only hope is that they fill the boats up as much as they can.
I will try to get the officers to listen and get as many people up to the deck as possible, but who knows if that will work. It’s the beginning of the end.
I look at Paige and William. I know that soon, Mr. Andrews, the ship’s builder, will tell Captain Smith the ship will sink.
After that, they’ll ready the lifeboats and the telegraphers will finally send an S.O.S. to nearby ships. No ships close enough to help will answer, of course. There’s no one in the telegraph rooms to listen. Four hours away is the closest ship that will hear the call. By then, it’ll be too late for the people who go into the water.
“I must go tell Mother and Breeda what is happening,” William says, reluctant to leave me. I smile at him and nod ever so slightly.
“Go. Paige and I will wait for the officers to ready the lifeboats. Hopefully, we can convince them to fill the boats. Tell your mom and sister to dress as warm as they can. They should be able to stay out of the water if they get on one of the first lifeboats, but the wait will still be long and cold,” I say.
William nods, kissing me quickly before running towards the door. I look at Paige who’s staring behind us. I feel the ship stop and know what’s coming.
“We’ll be okay. Whatever happens,” I say as I grab Paige’s hand. I can’t say who I’m trying to reassure more, her or me. I squeeze Paige’s hand and she smiles at me.
Paige and I stand here a while in silence. There’s nothing to say that will make tonight okay. Nothing to reassure either of us. All we can do is try our best to live through it and figure out what comes after.
Fear slithers down my back as I think about our options. It’s not fear for what is coming, but for the possibility of dying. What’s on the other side? I don’t know if I believe in God the way others do.
Paige and I weren’t raised religiously. I’ve gone to church with friends, but nothing stuck out to me as being absolutely true. I don’t seem to have this undying faith everyone else who believes in God, Allah, or Yahweh seems to have.
There are too many variables and uncertainty and no concrete proof one way or the other. I’m left in a middle ground hoping there’s something more, but I’m just not sure.
I already expressed to William I don’t think prayers help because God only sets things in motion; he doesn’t interfere… if he exists.
I can’t say whether there is a heaven or hell after this life or if our souls just wander around waiting for our next one to begin. I’m afraid to think there might be nothing waiting for me when I die. If there isn’t, then what is the point of living in the first place?
I’ve never had much reason to think about what lies beyond this life, but now, I can think of nothing else. Despite my belief that prayers do nothing and go unanswered, I pray to God, or whoever else might be listening, for… something. I’m not even sure what I’m praying for. Less death? For the deaths to be quick and painless? For less suffering? For William to live? For Paige and I to live? I’m not exactly sure.
It’s another half an hour before I see officers running toward the lifeboats. They work to get them uncovered and onto the pulley system. Paige and I walk back inside. I look up to the glass dome and instead of beauty, I only see the horror of it shattering.
I close my eyes and hold back the tears that are threatening. I see the first-class passengers in their coats and hats. None are wearing life jackets even though the ship employees gave them some. They aren’t taking this seriously yet, but they will.
Paige and I make our way to the other side of the ship to see if those officers are closer to loading passengers. Maggie stops me.
“They got us all dressed up, but no one has told us what’s going on,” she complains. Maggie is putting her life jacket on over her coat as she speaks.
“The ship is sinking. Please get on a lifeboat as fast as you can. Don’t wait. It’s serious,” I say. Maggie nods at me looking solemn.
I make my way outside and I’m relieved to see people are crowding the deck.
“Paige, go to the other side and tell them to fill up these boats. If there aren’t enough women and children on deck, go find some. I’ll do the same. I’ll meet you back by the staircase in an hour,” I say. Paige nods at me with tears in her eyes.
“Be safe,” she whispers as we part. I watch her run in the other direction and silently wish her luck.
An officer is talking to Captain Smith. The captain catches sight of me as I pass. He looks resigned and sad. I glare at him and I have no sympathy. This is his fault. Besides the fact that they had several iceberg warnings, he didn’t listen to me either.
I break off eye contact with him and go on my way.
“Women and children only!” an officer shouts to be heard. I shove my way through and grasp his arm.
“These boats can hold sixty-five people. Make sure you fill them up!” I shout at him. He gives me a weird look but just nods. He helps the women and children into the boat.
“Fill them up. Don’t let them launch if they aren’t full. I’ll find more women and children!” I shout as I run toward the second and third-class entrances.
I run down the stairs and step into the water. The lower decks are already flooding. I pass a woman holding a baby in her hands.
“Please, where I go?” the woman asks. She doesn’t speak English well, but I can’t place the accent.
I look at the baby and wonder how many are going to die. Less, if I have any say in the matter.
“Come with me,” I say, pulling lightly on her elbow. She follows me onto the deck where the lifeboats are filling.
I push to the front of the line where some first-class women are waiting for their turn to board.
“Make sure this woman and her baby get safely onto the boat,” I tell the officer. He nods and helps her before one of the first-class women. The woman who was cut draws in a breath.
“This is a first-class boat, Miss,” she says snootily. It will never cease to amaze me how awful humans can be to each other.
I want nothing more than to turn around and punch her square in the nose, but I don’t. Instead, I finish helping the woman and her child into the boat.
“Keep that baby as warm as you can. It will be a long and cold wait,” I say, smiling at her. She smiles back.
“Tank you, tank you,” she says, grasping my hand for a minute.
I turn my attention toward the woman who spoke.
“There will be no classes on these lifeboats. This ship is sinking and people will die. We will not cause any more death because you want to be a selfish bitch. We are all human. How much money you have or the name you were born with doesn’t make your life any more valuable than hers. It might actually be beneficial to humanity to have people like you die on this ship, but I don’t get to make that call, unfortunately,” I say. The women’s mouth gapes open as I turn away.
“I will say again, make sure these boats are filled as much as they can be. The pulleys will hold the weight; they were tested. Put any woman or child on this boat, not just first-class,” I say to the officer.
The officer probably isn’t much older than me. He doesn’t say anything, he just helps the next woman in line.
The officer is too scared and too young to argue with anyone willing to take control of the situation.
I turn to go down to the next lifeboat and the next to tell the officers the same. I hope they are as receptive to my orders as the first was.
Most of the officers nod at me and I am happy to see the boats that are launched are as full as they can be. Mostly first-class passengers, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers.
I go down to try to get more people up to the decks. People are walking in a few feet of water down in the lower decks. I tell as many people as I can to get up to a lifeboat. Hopefully, I save some.
When I get the last of the people from that corridor to go up to the deck, I turn to go up myself. I am stopped by crying. I turn around and the water is rising steadily.
I plunge into it. Holy shit this water is freezing. I swim a little way and find an open door. A small child is on a top bunk crying and trembling as the water draws near her.
“Hold on honey, I’ll be right there. I will take you down and get you on a boat, okay? The water will be cold, but hold on to me as tight as you can,” I say as I reach the bed. I smile what I hope is a reassuring smile, and she reaches for me. I situate her on my back and she is secured by both arms around my neck and legs around my middle.
“Okay, here we go,” I say as I swim toward the stairs. The little girl gasps as we drop into the water.
Finally, I get up the stairs and set her down on the dry ground. I see a blanket nearby and put it tightly around her shoulders.
“We will find a boat for you to get on now,” I say and take her hand in mine.
“Where’s my mommy?” she asks, sobbing. My heart squeezes. God, that mother must be going crazy looking for her daughter, but I can’t risk leaving her.
“I don’t know, honey. Maybe we will find her. If we don’t, sit with the other mommies. They will take care of you until someone finds your mommy,” I say leading her outside. The girl nods, sniffling as we come upon a lifeboat.
“Okay honey, here we go,” I say as I lift her onto the boat.
Some women already on the boat take her and snuggle her to keep her warm. I wave goodbye and go on my way.
I briefly wonder where William is. I hope he got Eliza and Breeda on a boat.
Mostly, the officers in charge nod when I tell them to fill the boats. They take on any passengers I bring to them without comment. One officer is a royal dick bag though.
“Who are you to tell me what to do? Get on the boat and shut up,” he says about to manhandle me onto the boat.
I step away from him as he’s about to grab me. I give him a look so filled with contempt and everything else I’m feeling about this situation; he backs off without touching me.
“Just fill these boats. Don’t launch them half-full, please. You’ll save a lot more people by filling them with sixty, sixty-five,” I tell him and I walk away to find others to get to the boats.
I’m afraid a lack of people on deck to fill the boats with means launching them prematurely. I run to get down to the third-class decks. They are the ones who need the most help.
As I run, I nearly crash into two women. When I look up to apologize, I see that it’s Eliza and Breeda.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Mrs. McCarthy. Please get on a boat quickly,” I say.
Eliza eyes me up and down. The dress I borrowed from Breeda is dirty, torn, and wet. Breeda gazes at her dress, but this time her eyes are not filled with anger, suspicion, or general dislike. Instead, they’re filled with fear. I can’t blame her for it. I’m scared too, but the adrenaline coursing through my body to keep me going is swallowing that fear.
“What’s going on? William told us to get to a lifeboat,” Breeda asks, her voice small and showing her true age for the first time. She’s only fifteen.
“The ship is sinking. The only way for you to live is to stay warm on a lifeboat. Another ship will come to pick you up, but it will be several hours before that happens. There’s no saving Titanic. Please, just get to a lifeboat. I know William wants you both safe,” I reply.
“What about you? I know he cares for you and your sister.” It’s Eliza who asks the question.
“Ah, Olivia and I will be fine. Please, just stay warm.” I shrug off Eliza’s concern.
“Where is your coat, darling? You will freeze before you can get onto a boat,” Eliza says, sounding oddly maternal.
It made my heart squeeze for my mother. I don’t doubt Eliza’s a decent woman but to me? It’s weird.
I don’t have a coat on since it’s not something William gave to us. It hasn’t been a big deal up to now, but when I stop moving, the chill of the night gets to me.
“I don’t have one. It’s okay, I’ll be fine. Just please go,” I say, getting ready to launch myself back into a run.
“Go back to our rooms and take a few of ours. One for you and your sister,” Eliza says, taking hold of my arm and squeezing. I smile at her sincerely.
“Yes, thank you. I will,” I say and run.
I know Eliza is right. I need to get coats for Liv and me. When we stop moving and the adrenaline leaves us, we will be freezing. Whether we are in the water or on a lifeboat. Two or more hours is a long time to wait.
So I go to Eliza’s room first and find a few coats. I take one and put it on, immediately thankful for its warmth. I hold on to the other one for when I meet up with Olivia.
When I leave Eliza’s room, I make my way to third-class and guide as many as I can to the decks and the surface.
One such trip, I stop when I hear shouting. Upon investigation, I find a ship employee locking a gate to the lower decks. A large group of third-class passengers is on the other side of the gate, unable to get to the surface.
I see at least half a dozen children and something breaks inside me. I run over to the gate.
“Unlock this gate immediately!” I shout at the ship employee. The man has the key to the gate in his hand.
“I can’t do that. They’ll swarm the upper decks,” he replies.
“No shit! They deserve a chance to live like the rest of us. Open this gate at once!”
“I’m not doing that, Miss. Now get to a lifeboat please,” the man repeats.
The employee tries to grab my arm to steer me back up to the main deck. What is it with men trying to manhandle me today? He has a decent hold on my arm.
“Let go,” I tell him calmly. The man attempts to pull me along.
When the man doesn’t follow my instructions, I grind the heel of my shoe into his toe. The man cries out in pain and lets me go. I throw the hardest punch at him that I can.
I feel my knuckles crack open when my fist connects with his nose. The man gives another shout of pain and his nose gushes like a red fountain. I almost cry out too because damn this hurts more than the movies suggest.
My knuckles are bleeding too. I shove them against the coat to wipe away the blood. The connection makes the knuckles sting. I’ll worry about them later.
The employee drops the keys to the gate on the floor as he runs away. Good riddance to that waste of space.
I rush over to the gate and I’m trying to find the right key for the lock.
“Thank you,” a woman with kids says in an Irish accent. I smile at her and the kids.
“Of course. Please don’t run me over, but get to a lifeboat. They’re only letting women and children on right now,” I reply.
When the gate lock clicks open, I am surprised to find that the people don’t swarm me. They calmly walk until they reach the corridor behind me then they run to the higher decks.
I wait until every person has passed me before I head up too. I imagine it’s been about an hour.
As I make my way back to the staircase, I find myself smiling. I can’t believe I actually punched someone. I’ve never done such a thing in all my life.
I wait by the clock, hoping Liv will show up soon. I catch sight of William running. He sees me and changes his direction.
“Where’s Olivia?” he asks sucking in a breath. He’s still in his dinner tux. I laugh. At least he’ll go down looking nice.
“She should be here soon,” I say when I finally stop laughing.
“What are you laughing at?” he asks.
“Nervous laughter.” I wave off his question.
Just then, Olivia stops beside us. She’s breathing deeply trying to catch her breath. I look at her and see she’s soaking wet and has goosebumps over her whole body. She shivers and her teeth chatter as she speaks.
“The bow is almost completely underwater. The ship will start to tilt, and people are going to fall or slide into the water soon. We should get as far to the stern as possible before it’s too late,” Olivia says.
I nod and realize we’ve done all we can. I notice the floor in the dining room already has a few inches of water and I want to be as far away from that dome as I can before it’s smashed by water pressure.
“Here. Eliza told me to go to her room and get some coats for us,” I say, handing her the extra coat. She takes it gratefully and puts it on.
“We have to be careful. When the stern finally goes, it will pull us down from the suction. The weight of the wet coats won‘t help, but we will fare better with them than without,” Olivia says. She glances at my hand.
“What happened to your hand?” she asks. I hold it up. My knuckles are bleeding and my hand looks like a bloody mess, but it’s the least of my worries.
“I punched someone,” I tell her. Olivia nods like she understands as if punching people is something I do regularly.
William and I follow Olivia out onto the deck. Now that we’re outside, I can see the tilt of the ship. It’ll take some work getting to the back of the boat. I take off my shoes and throw them overboard. I’ll be better off without them. Olivia, seeing this, does the same.
I look around and see the musicians who play at dinner every night. They are playing still, just like in the movie. It’s oddly comforting to hear them play even with everything going on around us. I don’t know if anyone else is taking comfort in the sound of their instruments, but I sure do. It makes me long for my cello.
I sit there thinking if I have to die, playing my cello as I go down wouldn’t be such a bad way to go. At least I can say the last thing I did in my life is something I love.
I want to thank the musicians. I need them to know what they are doing matters; that they aren’t losing their lives for nothing, but Olivia pulls me in the opposite direction and we begin the semi-perilous journey to the stern.
Droves of people are heading the same way. I see some jumping into the water. I can’t tell whether it’s on purpose or by accident, but I know we have to stay out of the water as long as possible.
It’s getting more and more difficult to get up there the more the bow sinks beneath the ocean. People and other objects are sliding down into the water, narrowly missing us. Many people desperately hang onto any objects they can just to keep from falling.
Olivia, William, and I are walking single file, hands on the railing. I see a priest saying prayers while people hold on to his hands.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
I catch the end of his prayer and I hope the people holding onto him take comfort in his words.
I say a silent prayer of my own and I can only hope God will hear it.
Finally, we reach the back of the boat and hold on to the railings for dear life.
“When the ship splits in half, the stern will plunge back horizontally! It will then slowly go vertical again and sink! When it goes vertical, get onto the outside of the railings! We will jump off right before it goes into the water! The suction will suck us down! Kick as hard as you can! When you break the surface of the water, find something to float on! Get your whole body out. If half your body is still in the water, you won’t last until the one lifeboat comes back!” Olivia shouts over the noise. William and I can only nod in understanding.
I look down, waiting for the ship to split. Now that I’m not moving, the cold air penetrates me and chills me down to the bone. With my job finished, I have time to process what’s happening. I let myself feel everything.
It has only been a few days since Olivia and I watched Titanic. It’s a difficult movie to watch, to imagine what it could have been like for those who were actually here. You could imagine in a detached sort of way because you’re at home, warm under blankets.
I am here, though. I am living it. The water is so much colder than I could ever have imagined and the frigid air makes it so much worse. And God, the screams. The screams of people who know this is the end are horrible and heart-shattering.
Suddenly, I get so warm I want to rip off this coat and take a plunge into the icy water. My vision goes black around the edges and I can’t breathe. Before I freak out too much, I realize I’m having a panic attack. Honestly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
I take shallow breaths until my tunnel vision clears, and my body regains homeostasis. I feel almost back to normal when I hear glass break. I know the dome by the staircase just burst. The water is destroying that famous staircase and everything and everyone in the dining hall. I know those who stayed behind are drowning, and that sends me over the edge.
I cry for the first time tonight. I know it won’t help anything or anyone and it will just make me colder, but I can’t help it. The weight of everything that’s happening crashes into me like the water crashing into the ship through that glass dome.
Suddenly, the ship snaps and the stern crashes down into the water, crushing all the people who are unlucky enough to be under there. Suddenly, we are vertical again and Olivia yells,
“Now, get over the rail!”
So we do and I look down as the ship gets swallowed up by the ocean below.
I look up and see the millions of stars in the night sky. I have never seen so many in my entire life as I have since I’ve been in 1912. In modern times, there are too many lights to see many stars, but out here in the middle of the ocean with no lights for hundreds of miles, I feel like I can see every star there ever was. It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.
I realize the stars I am seeing probably died thousands of years ago and we are just now seeing their light.
The deaths here tonight won’t be in vain at least. People will see their light in the future and will make sure history does not repeat itself.
I look down toward the waiting water and I don’t know what will happen. I look at William and wonder if maybe he is more beautiful than those stars.
William is, at least, the most beautiful human being I’ve ever laid eyes on. Sure, he’s handsome, but his heart is beautiful too.
There are so many things I want to say to him. The first is ’I love you’, but I can’t bring myself to say it. It sounds too much like a goodbye. I smile at him instead.
“No matter what happens, live. Please, just live. I need to know you are alive. Whatever happens,” I say.
William merely smiles at me. He leans over and kisses me quickly, but thoroughly. I pull back just as we are about to plunge into the water. I grab William’s hand.
“Jump now!” I yell. William, Paige, and I all jump and as we fall, I feel the weight of the bracelet I have worn every day for the past three years leave my wrist.
I shouldn’t be concerned about my bracelet but losing it feels like losing the last bit of me I have to give.
I see it go into the water a millisecond before I crash into it myself. The water hits me like an anvil landing on my chest, pushing all the air out of my lungs.
I am being pulled down by the sinking Titanic, but I still have a hold of William’s hand. The suction is too much though, and I lose my grip. William’s hand pulls free of mine and I panic trying to find him again. I have no choice but to kick to the surface when the burning in my lungs is just too much.
I feel a tugging in my stomach but attribute it to the pull of the sinking ship. My lungs are burning, and I panic again. I am drowning. At least I won’t die of hypothermia before the boats came back. I’ll die easier knowing I did everything in my power to ease the lives lost tonight. I have another twinge of panic at the thought that when everything goes dark, it’ll stay dark forever.
I wonder very briefly where Paige is, simultaneously wishing she were with me and hoping she made it to the surface.
Suddenly, I break through the surface of the water. I look around searching for Paige, for William, for anyone in fact.
I realize then that it’s blindingly sunny out. There’s no screaming or splashing near me and the water isn’t cold at all. It’s quite warm, and it washes the coldness away from my skin and clothes.
I don’t have the slightest clue where I am or what happened, but I am no longer in the North Atlantic.
Someone’s head breaks the surface near me, splashing and coughing. I can’t make out who it is right away because they are splashing water into my eyes.
Once the splashing stops though, I see that it’s Paige and my heart lifts at the sight of her looking like a drowned puppy.
I swim towards her and embrace her tightly while we tread water.
“Do you have any idea where we are?” I ask once Paige has calmed down. She looks around.
“Yeah, we’re in Hawaii. Estimating from the bathing attire, I would guess the 1940s. Before Pearl Harbor is hit. I bet that’s part of why we are here,” Paige replies.