He walked down the grand staircase, his steps slow and precise on the narrow steps. He reached out and placed his hand on the smooth balustrade. He paused to observe his surroundings with keen indigo eyes.
The pillars and wood panelled walls in rich chocolate and deep caramel shades were beautiful in contrast with the rather bland white flooring. He studied the clock at the head of the staircase for a moment; the intricate wood engravings of cherubs holding the clock with chubby fingers, haloed by a delicate arch of ribbons, reminded him of a similar feature in the Olympic. The time read thirty minutes to midnight. He tilted his head back and gazed at the glass dome above him, the night sky outside scattered with billions of sparkling dots.
He stepped aside with a graceful movement as several couples came wafting down the stairs behind him. The women clung daintily to the arms of their men whilst casting intriguing glances toward him though quickly diverting their flushed faces when he returned their gaze. Their dresses brushed against his legs as they descended the stairs.
He watched the couples glide across the floor and disappear through the doors leading to the ballroom. A coy smile tugged at his lips. Tonight there would be a death-feast in both worlds.
It wasn't much of a challenge to deceive more than half the passengers onboard. A good quarter of the third class had been desperate to start off with wealthy lives at their final destination in America. All he'd done was unveiled the small secret that he could give them whatever they desired. Of course he had to prove to them that he could deliver. With a mere glance, he turned the ragged dresses of several poor women into stunning gowns of shimmering colours that would make even the wealthiest woman green with envy. With a snap of his fingers, he filled empty barrels to the brim with aromatic gins and sweet wines that intoxicated men with its spicy odours. He had convinced some to unknowingly promise their souls to him, though most heeded their primal instincts to be weary of the strange man that resembled a fallen angel.
He didn't need to coax the second class passengers. Their greed for more wealth and higher status blinded them to the voice of reason. It was the first class passengers, however, that had intrigued him and amused him to no end.
The impression of prim and proper ladies was no more than a facade; he had more than several women make advances on him at their own accord after which they enthusiastically escorted him to their rooms. In the heated moments of human lust and passion entwined, he had each lady declare their undying devotion to him. A gentle caress from his fingers; a teasing touch of his lips – and they melted, succumbed to him without hesitation, yielded to him - body and soul.
The men were equally corrupt. The flash of green alone sparked their greedy desire and plenty had traded their souls to him in return for a wealthier life; some appeared troubled by the bargain but he persuaded them with ease. Money could buy the world; money bought him souls.
He continued his slow descent, slender fingers tracing the delicate decorations of blooms and ferns carved into the dark banister; a thin layer of ice followed in the wake of his touch.
He entered the ballroom a moment later. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the room itself was like a dome of gold. Rich in layout and breath-taking in decor. People waltzed to cheerful music. Smiles, bright eyes, hearty laughter. Appetizing aromas and mouth-watering dishes spread throughout the room. He drank in the splendour. Clucking his tongue and with a slight shake of his head, he slowly made his way from the ballroom. It really was a magnificent ship. Pity that it would be at the bottom of the Atlantic before sunrise.
He wandered through the corridors and stepped out onto the deck. The cold was a refreshing breath of air that settled snugly around him. Sliding his hands into his pockets and striking up a casual pose, he sauntered over to a nearby couple.
"Pardon me, sir."
The man turned, dark moustache crunching up and gaze annoyed. The woman on his side didn't appear as annoyed as her partner by his intrusion.
"Do you know what the time is?" He asked, gazing into the thick night.
"Eleven... nearly twenty minutes to twelve." The man responded, slightly baffled by the exotic looking man before him. He inclined his head in a silent gesture of acknowledgement. He leaned elegantly against a wall, his arms folded across his chest as he waited.
Five hundred yards ahead the structure looked like a mystical apparition, resembling the Rock of Gibraltar in an off-beat kind of way. He heard the alarmed shouts of cold fear as the crew recognized the sudden peril they were faced with. He felt the steamers halt far below deck as orders were shouted. At the speed of twenty two point five knots and having a good 882.5 feet of metal to manoeuvre around the intimidating mount of floating ice, he knew as well as the crew did that no miracle would let the ship pass by unscathed.
The starboard changed direction too late. Thirty seven seconds later metal collided with ice, cascading in a symphony of groans and shrieks for a good minute. The ship shuddered. Momentary confusion inside the metal walls, quickly replaced by curiosity as passengers challenged the crisp air to inspect the source.
He watched, vaguely amused, as several youths picked up a game of foot ball with the large chunks of ice that had broken off the iceberg and lay scattered on the deck before him. It was entertaining to watch the passengers continue on as though nothing had happened. There was the undeniable air of pending doom that lingered over every head. Most took the foreboding sensation to bed with them and drifted off into ignorant slumber.
He was seated upon the stern of the enormous vessel, reflecting in malicious enjoyment at what would soon come. "God Himself could not sink this ship." Some poor fool had uttered these words; had them printed black on white for the world to see and deceive.
Not even he, a devil, had the nerve to challenge God. The Trinity was fickle at the worst of times; there was no question that They would proceed to make it quite clear that They were not to be challenged with such disregard. He was only here to drink in the chaos of the Wrath that would unfurl and gather the crumbs that fell.
He was calm on the exterior; he was howling with morbid laughter on the inside. He restrained himself from wringing his hands in anticipation. Passengers were being lined up and instructed into lifeboats. Most were ignorant and returned to the warmth of their rooms, others were in denial and stood with warm cups of tea and flasks of gin watching their fellow passengers boarding the lifeboats.
Two hours and thirty five minutes later the quiet of the storm ceased. All hell broke loose as the bow disappeared beneath the black arctic waters and the breath of certain death swirled through human denial. The lights flickered and a minute later the ship was plunged into complete darkness.
His smile deepened as he gazed up at the night sky. The moon had cast its eye away from the massacre occurring upon the Atlantic Ocean. The stars did not give enough light to the human eye, but to him no light was necessary to view the scene.
Petrified screams and wretched weeping created a hauntingly beautiful melody to his ears as the horrors of the night unfolded around him. He closed his eyes and drew in a deep steady breath. The tantalizing stench of human fear tickled his appetite. He bathed in the glory of death's shadow. A ripple of gleeful laughter rolled forth from his lips as the stern of the ship rose higher into the air, the screams increasing with intensity around him. It stood vertically for thirty seconds before the weight anchoring it upright gave way when the bow broke free beneath the dark surface and tumbled to the bottom of the ocean.
The stern flopped down, crushing and drowning a considerate amount of humans that were caught beneath its deadly landing. Horrified silence reigned for a good five minutes, only disturbed by the elemental rush of his voice as he laughed maliciously at the dazed and hopeful expressions around him. His laughter carried across the water, reaching the ears of those plunged in the freezing cold of the water and fighting for survival.
The stern began to fill up with water and again began to rise into the air. It started out like a slow ride at a theme park, turning in a full circle. The screams had taken on a higher note of fear and his laughter drowned them out as the stern spun once – a violent and swift movement.
His hands released the rail he'd been holding onto as the dark water came gushing up at him. He stepped onto the bubbling black surface and turned to watch the terrified faces; some wrapped up in facing their pending demise, others staring at him in blind terror before disappearing beneath the surface of the water.
The surface became still once more. The only remnants of a ship having gone under were the obscure and random objects floating on the surface; a door, a mattress, plates. He was more interested in the splashing creatures bobbing helplessly about. Some of his prizes were already deceased by the time he reached them. He gathered together his surviving victims, gloating at their hopeful faces as they clung to him.
"Save us. Please, save us!" Their pleas were humorous.
"I am no saviour." He responded, leering down at them dangerously. Some backed away, others gripped his legs tighter. "But I will take you away from here."
There was a whisper of relief through the impressive crowd of half-frozen, bobbing humans that had sold their souls to him without considering the consequence. Relief that was abruptly replaced by ear-shattering shrieks of excruciating pain.
The black water boiled; steam curled up from the surface. The sweetish odour of meat being fried filled his nostrils and he watched his prey with hungry eyes. The stars had blanked out, the world nothing but a black hole around them. Human flesh boiled tender; skin turning a fierce pink before dispersing from muscle. He licked his lips in wicked malice.
"Welcome to my world."