Edited: Tuesday 10th December 2013. Edited italics where they should be correctly.
Death by Water
The cold still surrounded her, the ice biting her. Darkness surrounded her as she realized she was alone in the world. Her hand was still welded tightly to Jack's. She was still staring up at the stars in the trance she was in. No more tears came to her eyes. The boat's flashlight still highlighted the area of the water where she was.
"Come Josephine...in my flying machine...up...up she goes…"
Another shooting star flew brightly into the night sky. Smiling slightly, Rose tightened her grip around Jack's hand. She could no longer shiver in the cold. She was used to it. The long white dress had somehow tightly tangled itself around her legs. The star finally disappeared into the distance. That was the longest one she'd ever seen. Rose knew why.
"My father said when you see a shooting star, it's a soul going to heaven."
It was Jack going to heaven. But his body was still next to her, gripping tightly to her hand. Maybe...just maybe she'd made a mistake. Maybe he was unconscious. What if she helped him to the boat? He might survive. Despite all her wishes, Rose knew deep down what the truth was...he'd died for her.
The sudden pain which overcome her body was one she'd never felt before. Tears spilled rapidly from her eyes. Her breathing quickened as she tried to catch her breath.
"Jack!" she called faintly. "Jack!" She burst into yet another heart-wrenching sob.
Turning onto her side, she looked at the person beside her, his body falling into the water.
Gently touching his face, Rose smiled weakly through the tears. His skin was soft but cold. His once lively face was pale and ghostly-looking. He was the same Jack, the same Jack she loved, the same Jack she'd kissed, the same Jack she'd...made love to just hours before all of this had happened.
Lying on her back yet again, Rose watched the sky. Jack's face appeared. He smiled down at her, murmuring something gently. She couldn't hear what he was saying. His lips only moved.
All the memories of herself and Jack came flooding back. So little time together, but so many precious memories to be treasured forever.
"You know, my dream has always been to just chuck it all and become an artist...living in a garret, poor but free!" Rose said, girlishly and excitedly.
"You wouldn't last two days. There's no hot water, and hardly ever any caviar." Jack laughed.
"Listen, buster...I hate caviar! And I'm tired of people dismissing my dreams with a chuckle and a pat on the head." Rose's voice was angry, but she soon softened.
"I'm sorry. Really...I am."
"Well, all right. There's something in me, Jack. I feel it. I don't know what it is, whether I should be an artist, or, I don't know...a dancer. Like Isadora Duncan...a wild, pagan spirit…" Rose smiled yet again, getting carried away with the thought of her dreams. She'd never told anyone about her dreams, but she knew she could trust Jack.
She leaped forward, landed deftly, and whirled like a dervish. Then she saw something ahead and her face lit up.
"...or a moving picture actress!"
She took his hand and ran, pulling him along the deck toward Daniel and Mary Marvin. Daniel was cranking the big wooden movie camera as she posed stiffly at the rail.
"You're sad. Sad, sad, sad. You've left your lover on the shore. You may never see him again. Try to be sadder, darling," Daniel said.
Suddenly, Rose shot into the picture and struck a theatrical pose at the rail next to Mary. Mary burst out laughing. Rose pulled Jack into the picture and made him pose.
Marvin grinned and started yelling and gesturing. Rose posed tragically at the rail, the back of her hand to her forehead. Jack lay on a deck chair, pretending to be a pasha, the two girls pantomiming fanning him like slave girls. Jack, on his knees, pleaded with his hands clasped, while Rose, standing, turned her head in bored disdain.
Rose cranked the camera while Daniel and Jack had a western shoot-out. Jack won and leered into the lens, twirling an air moustache like Snidely Whiplash.
That day seemed so long ago, like forever. The vision of Jack's face in the sky had now gone. She was alone yet again.
"I don't know about you, but I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this." Jack shivered uncontrollably. He laughed weakly, but it sounded like a gasp of fear. Rose found his eyes in the dim light.
"I love you, Jack."
He took her hand.
"No...don't say your good-byes, Rose. Don't you give up. Don't do it." Jack knew what was coming. He just couldn't face leaving her alone in the world. But she'd be all right. He knew it.
"I'm so cold." Rose's teeth chattered vigorously as she shivered more with the biting chill.
"You're going to get out of this...you're going to go on and you're going to make lots of babies and watch them grow, and you're going to die an old, old lady, warm in your bed. Not here. Not this night. Do you understand me?"
Rose didn't want to listen. They'd get out of here. They'd go on and make lots of babies.
"I can't feel my body."
"Rose, listen to me. Listen. Winning that ticket is the best thing that ever happened to me." Tears appeared in Jack's eyes. He was having trouble getting the breath to speak. "It brought me to you. And I'm thankful, Rose. I'm thankful," he continued.
His voice was trembling with the cold, which was working its way to his heart. But his eyes were unwavering.
"You must do me this honour...promise me you will survive...that you will never give up...no matter what happens...no matter how hopeless...promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise."
"Never let go."
"I promise. I will never let go, Jack. I'll never let go." Jack gently kissed Rose's hand as he breathed harder. He was struggling.
She gripped his hand and they lay with their heads together. It was quiet now, except for the lapping of the water.
Why did she make that promise? Knowing now that she would break it. Rose couldn't live without Jack. She couldn't even remember her life without him, though it was just a week ago. Struggling onto her side, Rose laid her head onto the panel of wood keeping her afloat. She closed her eyes, trying to block out all of the pain she was feeling. An almost silent sob escaped her mouth.
Slowing opening her eyes, Rose could hear a voice in the back of her head.
"Don't do it. Don't let go," it whispered at her repeatedly, making Rose's heart ache even more. Her body was weak and cold. The numbness had worked its way up her body until she couldn't feel anything but the heart-wrenching, terrible pain she felt, which tugged at her heart like a puppet on strings.
"Don't do it. Don't let go," the voice continued. But Rose knew that anytime now…she knew what was going to happen. She wanted it to happen, even though Jack didn't. She'd made that promise go on, but they both knew she couldn't.
Burying her head in her heavy black coat, Rose closed her eyes, blocking out everything. Every now and again, a sob could be heard from her, but that soon died down.
"Is there anyone alive out there? Can anyone hear me?"
Officer Lowe continued to shout, and listened as his voice trailed off into the cruel black night.
"Is anyone alive out there?" he shouted once more.
In the boat lay six people who had been rescued from the disaster. Tears spilled from their eyes as only two of them slept, blocking out the surrounding of deep, black water and frozen human beings.
"Louisa!" one of the women cried. "Louisa!" The woman had seen her sister in the water, dead. One of the other survivors placed a comforting arm around the woman, praying hard for something, anything.
The water lay calm and still, the blackness still hovering over the ocean. The only sound was the water gently splashing up again the debris, then becoming calm once more.
Rose and Jack lay where they had been for the past two hours. They lay still. Rose's sobs could no longer be heard. Overhead, a shooting star blazed one last time as it went on, then disappeared into eternity.
Officer Lowe and the few men on his boat continued to row in and out of the bodies, searching for someone, anyone. After a while, there seemed to be no more people alive in the water. A few men lay on pieces of debris, and...Officer Wilde, frozen to death, clung to a deck chair. Tears pricked in Officer Lowe's eyes. Then they came to a man and woman, their skin as pale as ghosts and hands clinging together for life. Their hair was matted and straw-like. It was obvious that they had been in love, or perhaps they still were...in the next life.
"We waited too long," Lowe managed to mutter softly. Lowe looked out onto the ocean. As far as the eye could see, all was calm. As far as the eye could see, bodies bobbed in the water. Just a few hours ago, they had been on board the grandest ship in the world. Now, they were gone. Their bodies would remain forever unfound, but their spirits would live on in the next world.
The whole ocean seemed to light up so brightly, Rose could hardly see. She felt herself floating, floating on air, higher and higher until she reached the clouds. The world was white.
Rose looked down and noticed her sudden change of clothes-a beautiful, white, lacy dress, and her hair hung loosely on her shoulders, no knots, no mats, perfect.
Where on earth was she? Walking straight ahead, she realized where she was...on the Titanic. Walking curiously, Rose saw a man. He held the door open. As she entered the Grand Staircase, she gasped. People looked at her in awe, waving. Then she noticed someone else at the top of the Grand Staircase with his back to her...Jack.
Nervously, she walked up the stairs. Jack seemed to notice her, turning to look. Smiling, he held out his hand. She took it. No words were needed as their lips touched. It was then that Rose knew where she was...in heaven.
Back in the middle of the Atlantic, Jack and Rose's bodies remained in the same place, where they would remain forever, unseen, unfound. Their hollow, empty shells were just there to show how much they loved each other when they were in this world, but now they had each other in the next.
Along with the other fifteen hundred people who went into the water and lost their lives the terrible night, Jack and Rose were finally reunited by tragedy.