Harvesting the DeadMature

"Turn back. Go back now"

The fear in the sailor's eyes was stronger than most. 

"Turn back now." I said harshly.

A voice came from the end of the boat. "No," She commanded. "We need to stay here, and wait for a boat."

For a moment I was breathless with disbelief. It was Annabel. I thought I was going to scream.

"You can't serious." I said, my tone bard as nails. "Please tell me that was a joke."

Her face was tearstained but she held a power-thirsty expression. "We need to wait. We'll be rescued, and they'll send lifeboats for the others." 

"No they won't!" I shouted. Every woman onboard was staring at me. "If we don't go back, no one will!" My voice began to crackle, and I paused to collect myself. "Those men are dying. Our brothers and uncles and husbands. Your husband, Annabel, is out there freezing to death. And you're happy to sit here and let them die?" I felt sick as the words left my mouth. Lucian is out there! Lucian... His name had a sweet ring to it, like the ring he gave to my name. "We need to go."

I went with the boat. Only one was emptied, but is was better than nothing. Three sailor's rowed through the dead bodies, while I called to to survivors. 

God, what did we do to deserve this? What did we do that caused this suffering? I hoped someone knew the answer. Why did I get on this stupid boat?

My heart stopped. The father held his daughter tight, shivering around her corpse. It took a moment to recognise the blue figure. It was Iona's father. 

I gestured for the rowing to cease. Holding my arms out I muttered, "Sir, give me your hand." 

He shook his head and knocked my hands away. "Sir please!" I insisted. 

"Leave us be." He said in a frozen shout. 

I couldn't see what else to do. "She gone, sir. Please, come with me." He looked at me with teary eyes. "Iona needs you, now more than ever. She needs her father alive."  

For the first time in my life, I saw a grown man cry, as we slowly left the body of his daughter to float among the other corpses. 

They were all gone. Most of them anyway. We only found one more before we retired. Sitting, frosty, on an upturned boat, sat Mr Lightroller. His White Star Line uniform was soaked through and his cap lay unevenly on his head. He had no lifejacket, though he probably started off with one. He stared at his knees, to avoid the several dead men around him. 

"Beautiful evening, Miss." He smiled as he looked at me. I tried my hardest to smile back. "Not a cloud in the sky." I hadn't noticed, but I glanced up to see millions of dazzling stars watching us. 

Stiff bones crunched as he stood unbalanced, and stepped in. He sat opposite Iona's father. The eldest of the sailors, Alaister, seemed most pleased, as if we'd rescued an old friend. He asked, "Is it just you, sir?"

Mr Lightroller nodded. "Might be someone if we're lucky, but most of them passed a while ago." I jumped to the boat and checked each man pulse at his neck. I wasn't because I didn't believe that they were dead, or to prove him wrong. I just needed to know that Lucian and Mr Thompson weren't here, and could be alive.

As our search can to an end, all hope disappeared. Lucian and I would never be together. We'd never be able to go home, or have a family, or a dog. And I'd never be able to tell him that I love him too.

The End

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