Titanic 2 The Surface
"Hello? Is there anyone alive out there? Can anyone hear me?"
The haunting call seemed to echo over the still waters. The small boat ploughed through the mass of bodies, shifting them gently aside, the oars making a small splash as they hit the water.
Fifth Officer Lowe stared out across the vast expanse of coal black water for any sign of movement, his torch gripped tightly in one hand. The soft light revealed the stiff, frozen bodies in the water, sightless eyes staring forever heavenward. A young woman in a white lifebelt lay floating on her back, her skin a sickening blue, the baby clutched in her arms dead.
Lowe stared at the women, his eyes blinking back hot tears as he remembered the terrifying and shocking events of the past few hours. The greatest, largest and most luxurious cruise liner ever built had just sunk beneath the icy blue depths of the Atlantic Ocean and Lowe was still in shock. Where had it all gone wrong? What had happened? Lowe didn't understand.
The White Star Line chief executives had arrogantly marketed the Titanic as 'unsinkable' and a testament to mans seeming invincibility. Lowe almost snorted in disgust at their arrogance. Did they truly think that man could disregard the harsh reality of nature? That steel would truly protect them from the dangers of the freezing waters of the ocean, should Mother Nature decide man needed reminding of her power? Lowe shook his head in despair and turned back to his task.
"They're all dead sir." The young crewmember manning the tiller murmured, sorrow lacing his voice. Lowe turned to look at the boy, struggling to maintain his composure and reminded himself that he was the most senior officer here on the small craft and in order for the rescue mission to be a success, he could not show too much weakness in front of his crewmembers.
"Keep checking them, keep looking," he ordered harshly. "Move them out of the way. Don't hit them with the oars – there might be some still alive out there."
"Yes sir." The boy nodded to the rest of the boats occupants and together they begin moving bodies out of the way.
"Is there anyone alive out there?" Lowe loudly shouted the question out into the still night air, anxiously scanning the waters, hoping for an answering shout. Silence met their ears. There was no sign of movement from the mass of bodies, not even the slightest ripple. Lowe sighed dejectedly and bowed his head to hide the tears slowly descending down his cheeks. "We waited too long." He at last managed to choke out. The other occupants of the boat watched the officer silently, allowing the man to grieve in private. After a few moments Lowe lifted his head again. Turning to the boy manning the tiller he said, "Keep her steady, we'll keep looking."
The young man nodded gravely. "Sir." The others continued searching for survivors, the only sounds disturbing the night were of Lowe's calls and the gentle splash of the oars.
Suddenly a new sound rent the air, startling the boat's occupants. Lowe cocked his head to one side listening intently. There it came again! Faint at first but then louder in volume, the sound of a whistle. It seemed to be coming from the direction they had just left!
Lowe whipped his head around sharply, pointing the torch aloft. "Come about!" he yelled as the crewmembers sprang quickly into action. They rowed the little craft towards the sound, finally locating the source of the sound. Lowe's torch came upon the image of a young girl holding herself afloat on a deck chair, her long red hair clinging wetly to her forehead, one of the officer's whistles between her lips, blowing for all she was worth. The girl looked up as the light hit her, making her blink at the sudden brightness.
"My God!" One of the crewmembers looked at her in amazement. Lowe quickly moved aft and extended his hands to help her into the craft. The others moved quickly to help. "It's alright now miss, I've got you. You're safe now." Lowe murmured soothingly to the girl when she tried to speak. He gently lifted her into the boat.
"Here." The boy placed a soft woollen blanket around her shoulders. The girl smiled gratefully, her small body shaking with the cold.
"What's your name, love?" Lowe asked the girl kindly. The girl blinked confusedly for a second, then her face cleared. "Rose." She said. "Rose Dewi- I mean Dawson. Rose Dawson." She stared out over the water, her eyes drawn to a beautifully carved piece of wooden door panelling. Only a few moments ago she was led on that same door, her hand clasped in that of a young man. Rose closed her eyes, the image of the young man sinking below the surface, his body frozen eternally in the pose of holding a hand, dancing behind her closed lids, haunting her.
"Jack." She whispered to the still night. "I'll never let go. I promise. I'll never let go."