Rose opened her eyes tiredly. The air was cool and crisp as it blew gently across her hair and face. The sky was pale shades of pink and orange, with wispy yellow clouds that shone brightly with the early morning sun. All around was the endless blue ocean, filled with intimidating mountains of white ice. It was hard to believe that one of these chunks of frozen water could sink a ship as big as the Titanic. Rose didn't want to think about the Titanic. It frightened her to think back on the previous nights events; because the conclusion was always the pain that she felt when she remembered that Jack was dead. Suddenly, something caught Rose's eye. She glanced upwards to see a black silhouette in the distance, with one tall funnel billowing smoke into the bitter sea air. It was a ship!
Rose tried to sit up, but she was so weak. She managed to raise her head, but no more. Ahead of this lifeboat was a colony of other lifeboats, all from the decks of the Titanic herself. Each one filled (or at least half filled) with the 700 survivors of the tragedy. 700, out of 2200? Rose felt sick when she did the sum in her head. She knew that there wasn't enough room on the boats for everyone aboard, but when she first realized this the evening before, she didn't think that the ship would happen to sink that night. Rose fixed her sights on the ship in the distance. She had to take everything one step at a time right now, and her first step was to get off of this boat.
She closed her eyes and tried to rest before they got to the ship. But just as she could feel herself slipping into unconsciousness, she saw a blinding green light. She opened her eyes to see a sailor waving a glowing green stick in his hand. Rose had no idea what it was, or what he was shouting. Her hearing was impaired along with her speech and movement. It was amazing how cold water could affect you, if not kill you. Rose rolled over, wrapping the blanket tightly around her. Lying next to her was a young woman and a little baby. The child was pale, very much like his mother, and there lips were blue. Rose gazed at the mothers hands, gripping the child lovingly. Her face was sad looking, her eyes shut. The baby looked frozen in a second of pain, its eyes tightly shut and its mouth agape. At least they had been rescued by this lifeboat. They could go on with their life soon enough.
Rose looked around the boat. It had many wooden seats, but they all looked empty. Rose could only see about 6 people, 9 including the sailors. Is that really how many people had been picked up from the water? Rose shuddered with this thought. What would all the families think? What would Rose's family think? She thought of her mother, Ruth, and the last time she had seen her face. Rose was just about to get onto a lifeboat with her mother, but she said goodbye and ran. She had to be with Jack, who had been handcuffed in the lower decks of a sinking ship. But Ruth's face; she looked devastated, and terrified. Her little girl had just run off into a foundering ship to be with a complete stranger. Rose did feel sorry for her mother. The heartache she must be feeling right now, to think that her daughter of just 17 years was dead, in the most awful way imaginable. But her father had always said, "Do what YOU feel is right Rosy, not what your motherTHINKS is right." And Rose had never really followed this advice . . . until now.
After about half an hour, Rose's lifeboat reached the ship in the glow of the sunrise. On its hull were huge gold letters which read CARPATHIA. Over the side railing of the Carpathia, people looked down in curiosity at the masses of sorrowful faces which rowed up to the side of the towering vessel. They all looked so normal. Like they hadn't experienced and lived through what these 700 people have dealt with the previous night. All their faces, they weren't sympathetic, they just looked nosy. Then again, maybe they didn't even know what had happened. Rose thought that, if she had the strength, she would stand up from her seat and scream to them "The unsinkable Titanic has sunk and hundreds have died!" Celebrities, families, men, women, children. Death doesn't pick and choose who it will spare, but 1st class can, and 1st class did.
A rope ladder dropped down the side of the ship and dangled above the lifeboat. One after one, tired and aching survivors ascended up the steps. Sailors had to help them halfway up before they collapsed of exhaustion. At last, it was Rose's turn. She stood, the blanket still draped around her shoulders. She finally felt something, the weight of her body that her trembling legs were trying to support. She was still wearing a grey pear of shiny high heels, adorned with silver and pale pink jewels, but she had run around a sinking ship wearing them, so why shouldn't she be able to climb a ladder? She walked forward through the empty lifeboat, a ship's officer guiding her, as if she were blind. But she suddenly realized that if he walked away then she would fall. She felt so old and frail, as if she had lived her whole life in just a matter of days. She reached the ladder, grabbing the wooden poles with both of her white hands. Step by rickety step, she worked her way up, a sailor at her feet also coming up. When she got to the gangway door she saw a crowd of people with blankets and cups of tea. She felt the sudden warmth of the hallway and felt solid ground. She fell forward into someone's arms. Then there was nothing.
A servant that worked on the Carpathia held Rose in her arms and cradled her. She brushed her icy red hair from her eyes and wrapped another blanket around her. A ship's officer walked forward and knelt down, looking into the maid's eyes like she was filth and said, "Just let her die. She's 3rd class like you. Poor rat. Shame she never drowned like one."
He walked off, ignoring all the sobbing faces around him, and walked into his cabin, locking the door behind him. The maid brushed off his insult. She was used to it. It should have been in her job description. The fiery headed girl's eyes opened slowly, looking around the foreign environment. Rose murmured something. The maid put her ear close to her mouth.
"Is, tha-that you, T-Trudy?" She asked weakly, her voice shaking.
"No sweetheart, my name's Margaret."
Rose looked at the black and white maid's outfit and thought about Miss Trudy, her personal maid on the Titanic. She was the closest thing Rose had to a big sister, or a close auntie. She was such a kind and generous person. But did she make it off the ship alright?
"Can I get a cup of tea over here please!" yelled Margaret.
A man ran over with a steaming mug and handed it to the maid. "Is she alright?" he asked.
"She'll live if that's what you're asking." She took the tea and poured a smooth river of the brown liquid into the teenager's mouth. Rose welcomed it whole heartedly. It was the most warmth she had felt for hours.
"There you go, that's better. My mum always said to have a cup of tea when I was feeling down."
Rose took in what she had just said and smiled. It was the kind of normal statement that she always heard down in 3rd class. When you're a teenage girl growing up in 1st class, there really are no problems, or so say the parents, so when you have a problem you're told to take the horse and carriage for a ride around the grounds and count your money. That always put a smile on Ruth's face, but to Rose, money was just dirty paper that people valued far too highly.
"We'll need to get you to a bench, let you have a little sleep." Said Margaret, looking out onto the deck to see if there was an empty seat.
"Margaret, being on that lifeboat, I feel as if I've slept for a lifetime. I need to stay awake. I can't go to sleep . . . I keep seeing…" She closed her eyes, feeling a sudden rush of pain racing through her heart. Margaret couldn't begin to understand what this poor girl must have seen last night. Just then, she caught a glimpse of the sparkling heels on Rose's feet.
"Oh, we need to get you up to the first class area of the ship! We can't have you down here miss!"
"I'm not 1st class! Not anymore…" She remembered Cal and Ruth. "Keep me away from those pompous idiots!"
Several people looked down at Rose in confusion, wondering what the matter was. The maid pulled down Rose's blanket and covered the shoes. "I have a spare pair of shoes. I'll give you them." She whispered to the girl secretly. Rose nodded, thanking her silently for understanding and not questioning.
Rose sat on a bench in the open air of the 3rd class deck. The ship was sailing again, the new morning sky bright blue. A stark contrast to the black, star studded sky several hours before. All the lifeboats of the Titanic had been retrieved or almost all of them. Rose didn't quite know. She had seen many of them leave the sinking ship earlier that morning, but she also saw one nearly crushed by the foremost funnel of the ship. It was amazing how violently the ship sank now that Rose thought of it. It didn't just sink. It rose upwards into the sky, her funnels collapsing and crushing unsuspecting swimmers, then her lights went out and the ship broke in half causing her stern to fall back to the ocean, and then it rose up vertical and disappeared beneath the waves. All in only under 3 hours! It amazed Rose immensely, yet terrified her still, and she had experienced the sinking inside the vessel within her flooding hallways, and up on her sloping promenade decks. She knew that this would be the news of the century, and that once the Carpathia got to New York, all the survivors, 1st and 3rd class, would be swarmed by paparazzi. Rose had a story to tell, everyone had a story to tell, but Rose didn't want to share her story. It hurt too much. She decided then and there tha her heart would remain a deep ocean of secrets, and that her tale would only be told when the time was right.
Margaret ran past the sobbing and shocked faces of the few steerage passengers that lived to tell their tale. She was carrying a pair of brown leather shoes with white laces. She made her way over to Rose and knelt down.
"I know there probably nothing compared to your shoes, but they'll help you blend in. The last thing we want is for you to get dragged up to 1st class, or worse, be called a looter! It's terribly easy to steal from all those posh cabins when they're empty and the boats sinking!"
Rose watched her lace the shoes onto her cold feet, her own shows sitting on her lap. When Margaret was finished, Rose stood up, slowly but surely, and walked over to the edge of the moving ship. She looked down at the white waves that galloped alongside the ship and splashed up the side of the hull, spraying her face gently. The ship raced past patches of white rock in the sparkling blue water. Rose lifted her arm and put it out over the side of the ship, her expensive high heels dangling in her fist, and then she loosened her hold and watched the jewelled shoes drop down the side of the ship, soaring towards the deep blue. And then they were gone. Rose sighed, and felt a great weight come off of her shoulders. Margaret opened her mouth in shock. "Were you right to have done that miss? You may regret that. They looked pricey."
"Yes, they were expensive, but it's just a pair of shoes." Rose turned and glared into the maid's eyes. It wasn't an angry look, but more of a strong, independent look. "People lost their lives last night. Wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, so I shall not miss an item of clothing."
Margaret nodded. "Of course, how stupid of me to ask. I'll let you rest miss. Shout if you need me." And she walked off to help with more recovering souls.
Rose smiled softly and turned her back, gazing out into the endless horizon. She turned her head and saw the mother and baby lying on the floor by the side of the ship. They were sleeping still. It didn't surprise Rose after the night they must have had. Just then, an officer placed a blanket over the two of them and was helped by another man to lift them up and toss them over the side of the speeding ship. Rose looked away and closed her eyes. They looked so peaceful. They couldn't be dead . . . It was only a baby…
Rose spent the rest of the morning sitting on that lonely bench, staring sadly out to sea, the sea that took so many lives, including the one she valued most. She couldn't understand why it had to happen, but it happened, and Rose had to understand that at least. She knew that if she kept thinking back on the horror of the sinking that she would eventually go insane. She had seen women down here among the 3rd class "rats" ripping their hair out and screaming hysterically for their lost ones. One woman had only just woken up and screamed her heart out when she heard that the mighty Titanic had in fact sank with her husband onboard still. She must have fallen asleep as soon as she was on the lifeboat, unaware of the severity from the damage done by the iceberg. Rose could only watch as the woman curled up on the floor and held the handkerchief in her shaking hands, soaking it with her tears. The tears that all these survivors had cried could sink a ship in 3 hours without a doubt.
Suddenly, Rose saw a figure walking down the stairs that separated the upper classes from 3rd class. The man walked down, glancing at the enormous pile of used life jackets that had been heaped up like trash with the steerage passengers. He looked around and listened to the still silent air and puzzled gazes that seemed to follow him in his wet tuxedo. Just then, a woman with burning red hair stepped out of a crowd of people, a blanket draped around her shoulders. The delicate female stood with her back to the man behind her.
"Rose!" Cal yelled, lunging forward to grab the woman. He turned her round violently to glare into her eyes. She turned in fright, to look into the mad man's eyes. Cal glared back at the stranger. It wasn't Rose. Instead of apologising, he turned round and went on his way, taking one last glance around him to look for his wife-to-be. He couldn't see her. Rose watched him walk off, wrapping her tartan cover around her head to cover her hair. He turned abruptly, as if he felt her gaze scorching him in the back. She whipped her head back round, to avoid being seen by the man who would ruin her life even more than it was. He walked back up to 1st class, and she lost sight of him.
Cal walked into the crowds of 1st class passengers, enjoying a cup of tea and chatting about the night's events as if it were a polo match. Ruth ran out towards him, her neatly tied up hair now hanging wildly over her face, her eyes and nose red with cold and sore with crying.
"Was she there?" She asked him, her eyes hopeful, her lips trembling with fear.
Cal shook his head and took her hands. "I'm sorry Ruth . . . Rose is dead."
She looked into his eyes, tears building up more than ever, already rolling down her pale cheeks. Ruth fell to her knees and wailed sorrowfully, her fists pounding the floor. "My baby!" She screamed over and over again. Cal couldn't watch her. He knew it was his fault. He had chased her into the bowels of the flooding ship whilst shooting at her and Jack. He couldn't bare to feel the guilt, and left the mother to mourn the loss of her only child. Her baby was dead…
Rose had to be recovering. She felt that she must be, because she cold hear the screams of her mother and she still didn't run to be with her. Her heart was cold, but not out of her own decision. The Atlantic had made it that way.