Fiction by Susan Stiltner
On board the Titanic I feel like the luckiest boy alive! I never imagined I'd see such an amazing sight in all my eight years of life. That is, until tonight...
We went to our room shortly after dinner, my mommy, my little sister Sarah, and me.
My daddy isn't here. Mommy says he's in heaven. All I know is that he went to work in the morning, and that evening instead of daddy coming home, it was his boss, and a policeman. I heard mommy crying and that's when she told me that he got hurt real bad, and now he's in heaven. That's what I was thinking about when I went to sleep. Suddenly "Jessup, Jessup! Wake up!" Mommy sounded so scared! I jumped up out of my bed and she grabbed my hand. I didn't even have time to properly wake myself up before we started running down the hallway. Mommy was yelling Sarah's name. I hadn't even noticed she wasn't with us before then. Mommy tried to explain what was going on as we ran through the halls. She would pause between sentences to yell for Sarah again. All I could make out of her screaming was that Sarah had gotten scared and ran out of our cabin, and something about the ship hitting something.
I asked "Mommy, how can we hit something? We're in the middle of the ocean!" "I don't know son” she answered. It was then that I noticed everyone else was yelling too. I didn't know there were so many people on this ship.
Even though I was still holding my mommy's hand I started to feel scared. I helped her call out for Sarah. I can remember the day she was born. Mommy and Daddy told me I have a new sister. I was four years old and all I could think about was how much I wanted a brother, not some dumb girl. I don't think about her like that now though. She's not just some dumb girl, she's my sister, and she's MISSING! I have to help mommy find her. Out of nowhere comes a big man into the hall, right in front of us. He keeps saying we can’t go any further. "The water is coming in" he says. I look toward the end of the corridor, and there she is! "SARAH!" mommy and me both yell out at the same time as we ran on past the man. Mommy's still holding my hand tight when she hugs Sarah. Her smile only lasts a moment though when all of a sudden we hear it. Water. It's coming right at us. We turn and run in the other direction. I didn't even remember coming down all these steps, but now here we are, running back up them. The second hallway looked empty, so did the third, which I guess is the top. Our room is up here. Our tickets said first class. I remember because mommy had let me hold mine and give it to the man that was walking around asking for them.
We pass on by our room though and go outside. It's so cold! "Mommy why are we outside?" Sarah asked in her tiny little voice. Mommy turns to her and says "we're in trouble." "Excuse me sir?" she called to the man standing at the edge of the deck. I couldn't help but giggle at the way he looked. He was waving his arms up and down like some kind of weird bird. He turns around and looks at us. He looks like he's about to cry. He says "I'm so sorry mum, but we've just set the last boat off, if only you'd gotten here sooner." Mommy starts to cry and she's hugging me and Sarah so tight. After a minute she pulls herself together and says "Alright children, let's get you two to bed then."
We walk back inside the ship to our room. When we get there we get another surprise, instead of us just crawling back into bed wearing our pajamas, which we already had on, mommy tells us to change our clothes. She told us to put on our best outfits, the ones we wore to dinner the night we boarded the ship. Sarah put on her favorite dress. Mommy fixed her curly blonde hair up in pigtails and pink ribbons to match. She looked like one of those dolls I had seen in the shop window the day we left London. I got dressed in my best suit. It was navy colored and had little grey pinstripes down the legs of my trousers and mommy pinned a little white flower to my jacket. I let her help me with the bow tie too. She calls it my big boy tie. I always smile when I hear her say it, even tonight. When I asked why we are getting so dressed up just so we can go to sleep she told me the best news ever! She says we are going to go see daddy! All three of us! That's why we have to look our very best, mommy says. Well, after hearing such great news I can't wait to lay down in that huge bed. Mommy has her arms around us. She tells us to just relax and go to sleep, and when we wake up we will be with daddy. I laid there in the dark, just listening to all the strange sounds. There were people screaming for some reason, but they were pretty far away from our door. I whisper to mommy and Sarah "I love you" Mommy answered back with the same, but Sarah was already asleep. Then, Bang! I jump, mommy holds me tighter. I can feel water all around me. Such cold water, like ice, and the pain it causes, it's like a million knives sticking me all at once. Lucky for me it only hurt for a minute. I must have fallen asleep after that. All I remember is waking up with the warm sun hitting my face. I can hear laughter and singing. I'm holding hands with my mommy and she's carrying Sarah. "All aboard!" a man yells as we step closer to the ship.