Titanic: The Unsinkable

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Margaret Hunt never dreamed she would be able to leave her poor home in England behind. The titanic is a miracle. but when she finally sets sail for America, it takes a dark turn.

Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Titanic: The Unsinkable

¨So this is what the ocean is like.¨ The small girl next to me stared over the shore at the Atlantic, just feet away. I smiled at her.

¨Yes, Caroline. This is the ocean. Do you like it?¨ I asked her. I saw the grin slowly spread across her face.

Caroline was the daughter of Mr. Birmingham, my boss. I was his family's cook, and their only servant making the journey across the sea with them on the great Titanic. My friend Elliott was waiting for me in New York city, where I could make a new life for myself and forget my poor past in Oxford. Although I felt bad for wanting to leave my large family, I needed to start over, make a new path.

As we walked up the gangplank onto the great ship, I remembered a newspaper headline I had seen a few weeks ago. ¨UNSINKABLE SHIP READY TO SAIL¨ I had always wondered if the ship really was ´unsinkable´, as the journalists called it, or if it was just a hoax to sell tickets.

While we walked up, people crowded around the rails of the dock, marveling about how beautiful the outside was. It was nothing compared to the interior. Rich velvet carpets covered the floors, elegant furniture was sitting all around. People were running this way and that, signing in, collecting luggage, finding their rooms. The place was a mess of humans.

After we checked in, I said goodbye to the Birminghams. I was in a separate room, in third class. Caroline and her family were in first class. This would be an issue, but I wasn't about to complain. It was a great kindness to even have me in third class. They paid a whole three pounds for my passage.

After a fair amount of searching, I finally found my room. The room was beautiful, with thick blankets on the bed, and beautiful wooden furniture. As I settled in, more and more people flooded the ship. If I can remember correctly, there were over two thousand. None of them paid any attention to me. Why would they? I am only a servant girl traveling with her master. I don't mean anything to them.

A few minutes into my journey, I was already very confused. There were so many decks, with so many rooms on each deck, that it was impossible not to get lost. The halls were still a blur of people running this way and that. Their yelling hurt my ears, so I retreated up to the dining hall.

We stopped a few hours later to pick up folks in France. After a lavish meal for dinner, I settled in for the first night on Titanic. The next day, we picked up even more passengers in Ireland.

While I was walking to the dining hall one day, I thought about my time on Titanic. The few days I spent on the ship were easily the best of my life thus far. I spent my days eating wonderful food, spending plenty of time with the Birminghams, and exploring the ship’s many beautiful features. I didn’t spend a lot of time in my room, for there were so many thing to see that I didn’t relax a lot. Often, I couldn’t even find my room if I tried.

On the morning of April fourteenth, after church, we were all supposed to do some lifeboat drills before we went our separate ways. But the quite a few of the passengers thought this to be a waste of time, and wanted to go off right away. None of the officials seemed to think it was necessary either, seeing as it was an ‘unsinkable’ ship. Was there really any danger of needing the lifeboats? They didn’t pack enough boats for all of us, anyways. Even if  we wanted to do the drills, there would not be enough room.

 

The rest of the day continued just the same as the others, with the added discovery of the pool room. It was great to be on the ship, happy and cared-for as I had never been in my simple life. I never wanted to leave, I just wanted to stay on the ship forever. I was quite pleased that we still had several days to go before we reached New York. I had a good day with Caroline, wandering about the halls. She made several new friends, and the three of them would follow me around, laughing and giggling as we went along. Although Caroline was a spoiled child, her father hadn’t really let her make friends, and I hadn't her that happy in the longest time. Those girls just put a smile on her face.

When I went to bed that night, joyous thoughts filled my mind. Elliott’s face when I arrived, getting letters from my family once more, living happily in America. I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Though I had gone to sleep peacefully, my night was plagued with nightmares. I don’t even think the majority of them were realistic. Giant demon monsters, skeletons with dead eyes. I woke with cold sweat on my face, my breathing quick and deep. The monsters crawled in and out of my mind like shadows creeping around city alleys Hard though I tried, I could not fall asleep again. Though I was surely not permitted to, I wandered the ship by night, taking in the rare silence. It was around 11:45 when I first noticed the ship was leaning.

After a while, I realized that I was not the only one awake. A girl about my age was peeking out of her room down the hall, with a worried look on her pale face. I walked up to her, intending to ask her about the situation. Maybe she knew what was happening.

“Excuse me miss, do you know if we hit anything, or…” My voice trailed off, for I had just realized that if the ship was leaning, there was either a hole in the hull or stern, or we had hit something. But it was unsinkable, I thought nothing could go wrong. But I could not deny the cold creeping through the halls

“I’m not sure, should we find somebody?” Her voice quivered the slightest bit. I nodded my head, and we raced off down the halls of third class, my long blonde hair whipping behind me. While we ran along, I learned that her name was Liz, and I introduced myself as Margaret Hunt. She had grown up in Ireland, and was traveling to America to visit family there.

A few minutes later, we were still searching. We found no one for the longest time, but we didn’t stop looking until we reached the first-class rooms. Nearly everyone was up, putting on lifejackets and pulling their children along the long velvet carpets. I heard one steward saying to a stiff woman that it was just a minor incident, and she could go back to bed in an hour or so. This somewhat reassured me, though I didn’t know how a ‘minor incident’ could make the whole ship lean. Liz, if anything, seemed more tense at his words.

We ventured back to third-class to get lifejackets, where people finally realized something was wrong. The ship was leaning severely, and I had started to take everything the stewards said with a grain of salt. The halls were jammed with people, and we could hardly get through to the stairs. A guard blocked them off just after we left. By then it was around 12:15, and we still had no clue how serious the accident was.

When we found the top deck, it was filled with all the first-class passengers. I couldn't see the Birminghams anywhere. I think Liz noticed I was nervous, for she suggested we ask around to find out what was going on. The ship was seriously tilting now, and this was certainly no ‘minor incident’.

While we searched, people stared at us. I don’t think they were expecting two 21-year-old third-class girls to be some of the first ones on deck. Half an hour had passed since we had last left the third-class halls. They were lowering the first lifeboat, though it had hardly anyone in it. At this rate, we would be as dead as door knobs in only a few hours. Little by little, more of the first-class folks climbed into the lifeboats.

“Maybe we should try to get on one! Then we could escape! ” Liz recommended. I nodded my head in agreement. We headed over to where the boats were being boarded.

When we got there, we saw a burly-looking man helping people on. I asked him if we could get on board, but before I finished my sentence, he shook his head and shooed us away.

“First class only. Come back later.” He stated in a deep voice. We wandered off, unsure of what to do next. We did this for quite some time, putting the pieces together to make somewhat of a story. As far as we could tell, the ship had skidded by an iceberg, damaging the hull and starting the flow of water into the boiler rooms. This did not help the nerves that were overtaking my body.

As we continued to wander about, the ship leaned more and more. After a while, people started to slip down the deck, as the second-class passengers began to come up. Many of them looked groggy and sleepy. I think they had all been woken by stewards and maids walking about. Every single one of them looked extremely worried, and they constantly called for family or friends. Liz and I looked at each other, then went back to our searching for nothing in particular.

Another half an hour had gone by, and the bow was sinking deeper into the icy  north Atlantic. Third-class was finally allowed on deck, and I was sure it was only because the rooms had started flooding. The deck was so crammed, it was surely impossible to navigate. I noticed that some people´s feet were pale and wet. Even I was starting to shiver in the frigid night air.

A few minutes later, I heard the first scream. It pierced the freezing air like a dagger, sending shivers down my spine. Liz looked as though she was about to faint. Everyone was searching for the source of the noise, until we heard another one, and a body flew from a higher deck. People had started slipping or jumping off the boat, into the icy water below.

After that, we stayed away from the rails, not eager to see more people fall. I was afraid that maybe the Birminghams were already dead, or lost at sea on a little lifeboat like specks of dust on some great carpet of blue. Not one person on the ship was calm. They were all running and screaming, holding onto others and cramming into lifeboats. That's when I saw her.

When I got to the corner of the deck, I saw Caroline huddled there, alone. She ran towards me when she saw me. ¨Margaret!¨ She called. When I grabbed her, her skin was freezing. She had been out there for a while.

¨Caroline! Where is your family? How long have you been alone?¨ I asked, worried.

¨When mum had started to get cold, father went to grab blankets. He hasn´t come back. Mother and Jason went looking, and I was left alone.¨ She explained, shivering. I hugged her. Both of her parents and her older brother had just left her. I felt horrible for not looking for her more.

Just then, Jason ran towards us, tears streaming down his face in a rainstorm of emotions. ¨Caroline, thank goodness! What would have happened if you hadn't found her, Margaret! Look, there´s a few more lifeboats open, let's get one.¨

As we walked over, more people jumped. There were dozens of people struggling in the waves. We got over to where the lifeboats were being boarded, hundreds of folks trying to get on at all costs. As I looked around, all I could think was, Do these people have no decency?

As I climbed on board boat #16, Caroline clutched my arm even tighter. Jason trailed behind us, holding a few blankets he found along the way. We were lowered into the water, about 60 of us on board.  

The icy wind struck my face with a blast that numbed me down to the bone. The waves bounced our small boat up and down, water occasionally sloshing over the sides and sending shivers up my spine. I wanted to get out as soon as possible, but the only way out was into the freezing water below us.

We had been in the boat for a whole of ten minutes when Caroline pulled the sleeve of my dress. I turned to face her, only to see that parts of the ship were splitting behind us. In seconds, there was an ear-splitting, sickening crack, and the ship split in two. Jason´s eyes grew wide, Caroline turned her head to the crook of my arm, but that couldn't block out the shrieks growing louder on our sides like some horrible virus. The time was 2:20 AM on April 51th, 1912 when the last of the great ocean liner Titanic sank beneath the waves.

After I had been in the boat for a few hours, a white dot appeared in the distance. At once, everyone began screaming and waving. The people in the boats in front of us were doing the same. There was no one behind us, all of the other boats had been sucked in by the ship. We were the last ones to escape safely.

When the ship reached us, it was 4:10. Almost two hours had passed since the ship sank. My heart fell at the thought of all of those people we had left struggling in the water, all those lives lost. As I climbed on board our rescue ship,  I hoped we could go back and try to save anyone still there.

After hours on the Carpathia, it was clear we would not be going back to the ship, if we could even find it. I felt horrible seeing how few people we had now compared with the masses we had started with. Everyone was saying it would be another three day´s travel to get to New York. I just hoped we wouldn't see any more icebergs. Liz seemed to be frightened to death. It took constant reassurance from me alone to keep the cold sweat from running down her forehead. We searched and searched and searched, but it was clear to us that the rest of Caroline and Jason´s family had not made it onto the Carpathia.

After what seemed like years, the New York shore was in sight. I couldn't help but scream and shout with the others. People had gathered on the docks, probably expecting the great Titanic to pull in. I could see the frightened look on their faces as the few survivors stepped off the Carpathia. As workers went around explaining what happened, some realized their family wouldn't come home.

After a fair amount of searching, I found Elliott at last. His face broke out in a huge smile when he saw me. I grinned back. Caroline stayed close behind me, for as far as we knew, her parents had not made the trip.

Days and weeks passed. I found an apartment in the city, big enough for me, Caroline, and Jason. The rest of their family was in England, so I was now their legal guardian. I lived happily in New York, and I never had to speak about my experience until I had an interview. The government of the United States wanted to find out what really happened that night. And so I told them.

I felt different. I felt darker and sadder, though I tried not to show it. I felt relieved to have survived, and so did everyone else. The ship truly changed us all, in more ways than just our emotions. I thought about the man who refused to give us seats on the boat, and how I hadn't seen him since. I thought of the little girls Caroline had played with, and I wondered if they survived. I have written this of my own accord, so my story would not be forgotten.


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