"The 5th Passenger"

Story Summary: The tragic night on the Seine in the opening prolouge, only this is the story of the only passenger who escapes.

Chapter 1

The little gypsy stared at the gondela. This was the ship that would carry her and her adoptive family to Paris.
Paris. It was a new word for her. The little gypsy had been told that it was the name of a wonderful city full of grand buildings and opportunities for a better life. Exactly why they were going to Paris was beyond the gypsy's knowledge, but then, there were a lot of things she didn't know. Such as why people were so mean to gypsies, why they were always on the run, and why she didn't have birth parents. Why Rossetta and Roberto, her adoptive parents, would have to pay such a large sum to get into Paris. And why Rossetta had given birth to such a hideous baby.
It had been only a few months before when her little brother was born. She remembered how she had run away when she first saw the baby; it seemed so silly now. Rossetta had been able to gradually coax her into loving the baby. Her five-year-old heart was open and pure, thus she was able to welcome her brother in.
Other gypsies weren't so open. Perhaps their constant ridicluling of the baby was one of the reasons why they never stayed in one place for long. The little gypsy didn't think she'd ever understand why, but so long as she was with her family, she would follow them wherever they needed to be.
And now, whatever the reason, here she was, moments from another journey. After staring at the gondela for a few more moments, she carefully stepped inside.
"Hey, what do you think you're doing???" yelled a gruff voice.
She turned to find Gerald, the man who was escorting them to Paris, standing on the bank with her parents and another man she didn't recognize.

"Get out of there!!" Gerald yelled.
"Please, don't yell at her," pleaded Roberto, "She's only a child!"
"Child or not, she still entered the boat without permission!" scolded Gerald. "Do you realize what she could have done?? She could have made the boat float away, leaving all of us stranded! I'm warning you, that girl had better behave, or she could lead to all of us being discovered!!"
"All right," sighed Rossetta. She turned to the little gypsy. "Come on out, honey. You heard what he said."
"I didn't mean anything bad!" the little gypsy protested.
"I know, but come on out anyway," said Rossetta, "We're leaving soon."
The little gypsy frowned, but did as she was told. She climbed out of the gondela and joined her parents on the snowy bank.
"That's a good girl," said Rossetta. She wrapped her arm around her little daughter, with her other arm tightly clutching her baby.
The little gypsy tickled her baby brother's cheek, making him giggle. "Mother," she asked, "will the people in Paris like us?"
Rossetta smiled. "Some people will always dislike you for no reason, but you can't let it get the best of you. Don't worry about people liking you. Think instead about the adventure we're about to have!"
"A brand new place to explore," said the little gypsy.
"Yes," said Rossetta, "Now, do you have your amulet safely hidden?"
The little gypsy nodded as she touched the necklace she wore under her dress. "When you wear this woven band, you hold the city in your hand," she murmered, "Right, Mother?"
"Right," said Rossetta, "Remember that if you ever become seperated from us."
"But we won't get separated!" said the girl, "You won't ever leave me!"
"No," said Rossetta, "I won't ever leave you. We'll be together, all of us. Don't worry, we're a family. I won't ever leave you."
The little girl smiled and nodded. She continued tickling the baby's cheek as Rossetta carressed her hair.
"Stay close, my little Esmeralda," she whispered.