I was awakened by three urgent tolls. Quickly I checked my watch: 11:40 p.m. That was when it began. The boat groaned and rocked. The sound that accompanied the motion made me throw my hands over my ears in panic. The shrill screech of metal being shredded. I watched as a long thin line was carved into our cabin wall. Then, the water gushed in.
Going to America was top on my list of things I wanted to do. So, naturally I was elated when my parents got tickets for my brother and I to board a ship to New York. The only downside was that my parents wouldn’t be accompanying us. They had to stay behind. It was tough saying good-bye. Jack had the hardest time. I assured him that we wouldn’t be gone forever. “We’ll see them again.”
“Promise?” Jack’s 8-year-old, big, kitten like eyes asked.
“I promise.” I replied, ruffling his hair.
On April 10, 1912 Jack and I boarded the 882 foot ship with 2,226 other passengers. Captain Edward John Smith shook hands with all the first class passengers. I tried to look at each person, it was hard because their were so many. Slowly we got shuffled on the deck and were thrust into the ship’s belly. Third class cabins are below deck. Our cabin was small, too small in my opinion.
Jack greeted the close to empty room with a tart, “This is it?”
“Yes,” I answered truthfully, “Our home for the next week.”
Cabin life was hardly a luxury. Jack and I spent many hours playing catch and 20 questions. Boredom became my best friend; uneventful could describe our entire journey. Well, until the fourth night. April 14th, our last night.
I was awakened by three urgent tolls. Normally I wouldn’t have woken, but something in me told me this was important. I looked across the room to see Jack hadn’t woken. He was sleeping peacefully, his chest rising and falling in even breaths. Quickly I checked my watch: 11:40 p.m. I laid back on my pillow, intent on going back to sleep. That was when it began. The boat groaned and rocked. The sound that accompanied the motion made me through my hands over my ears in panic. The shrill screech of metal being shredded. Jack sat up in alarm. I watched as a long thin line was carved into our cabin wall. Then, the water gushed in.
My first thought was, JACK! I jumped out of my hammock, grabbed his hand, forced the cabin door open and scrambled out into the hall, which now teemed with screaming, panicked people. I tried to force through the mass to get to the stair well. Too many people on the stairs. It looked like a bucket of monkeys had been dumped in a maze built for a mouse. Jack and I wormed through the hot bodies, adrenaline coursing through my veins. Though I had been asleep not five minutes ago, I was fully aware now.
I stumbled onto the deck, dragging poor Jack with me. I struggled to get to the rail, nausea over came my system as the boat lurched. I barely got to the rail before I vomited. I wiped my mouth and looked out over the starboard side. A huge iceberg was floating away from us– or were we sinking away from it? The water below churned and bubbled as it raved into the lower cabins. The cabins where we had just been. If we had gotten stuck in the cabins we would be. . . I vomited again.
“I’m scared!” Jack screamed.
“It’s okay,” I attempted to comfort him, and myself, “We are going to be okay.”
“First class into the life boats!” I heard someone shout. I whipped my head around searching for the voice. My brother and I needed a life boat.
“Women and children first.” The voice spoke again. I searched frantically but couldn’t find the speaker. Jack clutched my hand as I scanned the desk. Many people were panicking. I saw a majority of people swarming around a –I struggled to get a better look– a life raft! I started to steer Jack towards it. Before I could reach it, it was packed with people and lowered into the water. My stomach sank as the realization hit me. There were no more life boats. There was no more hope.
A man jabbed two life jackets at me. “For you and your companion!” He and his explanation were quickly swept away. I strapped Jack into his, then wiggled into mine.
“I’m gonna be sick,” Jack moaned.
“Okay, go to the rail.” I said as I pushed him toward the rail. He leaned over the edge and retched. He coughed and sputtered a bit, and the boat lurched again.
My heart constricted as I watched my little brother tumble over the edge, screaming as he fell. I ran to the edge and watched him splash in the frigid water. Without thinking I jumped in after him.
I could hear the wind whistle past my ears as I dropped. The 30 degree water was shocking. I felt my toes go numb on impact. I came up and immediately looked for Jack. He was just a short distance from me. I struggled over to him and grabbed his hand.
“I’m-m-m c-c-c-c-c-old-d-d.” He chattered.
“I kn-n-n-n-now.” I whispered back. I couldn’t feel my legs, and I knew soon the water would freeze my lungs and heart. I knew if I was scared Jack would be twice as afraid, I squeezed his hand with all the strength I had left in me, hoping to comfort him.
But he didn’t squeeze back. My heart skipped a beat as I realized what this meant. Slowly, I turned, looked at my baby brother and stifled a sob. I was gripping a corpse.
I started sobbing, blubbering out words every few breaths, “I’m so, sorry. . . Jack. . . I lied to you. . . I– I said we would. . . see–see them again. . . but we won’t. . . and now. . . your–your. . . Jack!” I started screaming his name as hysteria gripped me. “Jack! Jack! I’m so, sorry, Jack!” My sobs weakened as I floated limply in the water. “Jack. Jack. . .Ja–” Panic gripped me as I struggled to breath. Each breath was harder to take.
Then, the scariest thing happened. The boat’s bow slowly dipped into the water and the boat tilted at a 45 degree angle. I watched in horror as the people on deck screamed and began to slide towards the water. Surely, to their deaths
My last tear slipped down my cheek as I watched the huge boat sink. The sleek sides slid into the water and the Titanic disappeared into the depths. Not letting go of Jack, I closed my eyes, and was sucked down into the cold, endless, blackness with it.