Patrick released Joe and looked into his eyes.
“It’ll be alright Joe....Don’t worry, I’ll look after you, I promise”.
He hugged him once again and then picked up their one suitcase which contained all of their belongings. He held out his hand for Joe to take and the little boy took it in his own small hand.
They started walking and Joe looked around him. He could see men running around everywhere, looking like they were chasing a particularly rogue cow. They looked completely flustered. He looked up at the big forty foot tall mast with its sails unfurled, rippling in the wind. He looked ahead of him again and caught a glimpse of a little girl in a pink dress before she disappeared down some steps.
Patrick took him down these steps and then down several more sets of steps before he turned off into a corridor.
“I think this is where our room is Joe”.
He walked down the corridor and stopped at a door marked with the number 375.
“This is us Joe” he said.
He pushed the door open and went in, Joe following close behind. There were five sets of bunk beds crammed into the small room. Three of these sets were already taken so they took one of the remaining ones. Patrick lifted Joe up onto the top bunk and told him to sleep. Joe closed his eyes and clutched his teddy tighter. After a while fell into slumber.
Patrick looked around the room at the other people. There was a man with his daughter on one of the beds. He had brown hair cut short and was stocky. He was very tall, around six foot six, wearing a black shirt with brown corduroy pants. His daughter was quite small; younger than Joe by the look of her, wearing a white shirt under a red woollen jumper. Her hair was brown and it was tied up in a bun.
On one of the other bunks there was a family of three, a father with his son and daughter. He was short for a man of his age and had black hair with streaks of grey through it, wearing a white shirt with the sleeves torn off it. He also wore shorts which were black. His son was also short and had wavy black hair, wearing similar clothes to his father. The man’s daughter was curled up in a ball on the bed, with her black hair all over the place and her skirt torn. She was shivering.
The bunk nearest the door was occupied by a man who was asleep. He was very heavy and had a huge belly. He was also bald.
The man with the son and daughter came over to Patrick and introduced himself as Eamon.
“I’m Patrick...this is Joe”, Patrick said to him.
“My son’s name is Michael, my daughter is Irene. What age are you Patrick?”
“I’m twelve....Joe is six”.
“That’s quite young to be on your own”.
“My mother was shot as we boarded the ship. We have no one else”.
“I’m sorry to hear that. You must be very sad...... Anyway, my son is thirteen and my daughter is eight. We are here if you need us”.
He went back over to his kids then and Patrick looked over at the other man with his daughter. They were asleep in each other’s arms.
“His name is Seamus” said Eamon, “His daughter’s name is Nora, and they are our friends. They will be your friends too”.
“Ok, what about that man”? Patrick said, pointing to the man on the bed beside the door, “Who is he”?
“I don’t know.... He was there when we got here”.
“Ok... see you later then” said Patrick and he climbed into the bottom bunk of his bed and fell asleep.