The RMS Titanic sank in 1912, taking the lives of over one thousand and five hundred people. The story of what happened that night is timeless and will be told by many people in many different ways forever. The story of the damned ship surrounded by ice and darkness, where class and money could not change fate. Many people die with regrets.
A Second Chance
The fifteenth of April 1912, the night I died in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Since then a lot of people blamed me for what happened that night. I was senior Marconi officer, which meant that I had to operate the wireless telegraph, the only way of communicating with other ships, so any news to be had from the world outside of 'Titanic' had to go through me or Harold first, Harry Bride, my second in command, he only knew me for twelve days, but he named his son after me.
"Learned to love me," he said afterwards, my apparent bravery had made him care for me. I never asked anyone to feel that way about me, I felt as though I was just doing my duty, even if that meant not leaving my post and remaining on the ship to the very end.
People also blamed me for not paying more attention to the ice warnings that we received, but I was in a truly terrible position that night, I hadn't slept in more than twenty-four hours, Bride and I had been up the whole night trying to fix the wireless which had broken down, we had to take the whole thing apart. Of course by morning there was a ton of messages that passengers wanted sent,
"I'm on the Titanic!"
Things in that vein, we didn't get paid for sending or receiving ice warnings, but we did get paid for the passenger messages, it was the only way that we could make our money.
On 14th April, I was tired and stressed, my eyes threatening to close despite all the work I had to do, trying to get these messages sent so that I could earn some money, when some ship nearby messages through to say something about ice. I'm busy so I tell him to shut up. At the time I thought that it was perfectly alright to say that to him, but as it turned out, I had made a very big mistake, as the man I told to shut had went to bed and switched the wireless off because I had been so rude to him, meaning that we could no longer communicate with them. His ship, the 'Californian', was closer than any other ship, they could have saved everyone, if only I could have told them that we needed help, but I told him to shut up, I killed one thousand and five hundred people by telling someone to shut up.
I remember Bride telling me that we should go and Captain Smith telling us our lives were our own, but I stayed, willing the 'Californian' to switch the wireless on for just one minute, to save everyone. I had got through to the 'Carpathia', but she would never be fast enough to save everyone. I sat in the wireless room, feeling both the sinking of the ship and a horrible longing to change what had happened. Most people would think that dying would remove the guilt I felt, but I couldn't stop thinking as I lay in the water slowly dying, my mind still sharp despite the cold, it was my fault, the people I could hear screaming, children, women, men, all dying because of me…
My blue eyes flickered open, then I had to close them again, it was too bright. I squinted, forcing my eyes open, a lady dressed in a plain white dress stood before me, I was disorientated, I was standing too, confused as to how I had got to this place. The walls and floor blended seamlessly into each other, endless whiteness, I could not tell the size of the room, yet it felt claustrophobic, like the invisible walls were pressing in on me.
"Jack," she smiled, white teeth showing,
I nodded, unsure of what I was meant to do, I had no idea where I was or who this woman was.
"Jack Phillips," she purred, her blonde hair a halo around her milky skin, "you can't leave yet, can you, Jack? You can't just yet."
"Leave where?" my voice loud and awkward in the silent, white room.
Then it struck me, I stepped back and shook my head, wanting to tell her that she was wrong, that I was only twenty-five, I glanced down, I was still wearing my uniform, I felt so normal and full of life, I didn't feel dead. Tears pricked at my eyes. I knew it would happen, I'm not sure what I had expected, but I suppose it was nothing like what I had wanted, it was difficult to accept, I didn't want to know at all. Everyone knows that they will die, but no one wants to accept it.
"You are dead, Jack." She told me, abrupt, yet kind, smiling at me,
"I feel…" I paused, believing that I may cry, "so guilty."
"It's alright," she said, "everyone that died with you is just through that door, everyone that died on the Titanic."
She gestured to a huge white door behind her, I hadn't noticed it, a golden handle beckoned to me, attracting me to it, I wanted to reach out and turn it, just to see.
"But know that is you go through that door," she said, looking at me with a concerned expression, "you can never go back."
I wanted to know what had happened to everyone, I wanted to know if Harry had survived, he had waited for me, not wanting to leave me by myself. I wanted to know how many people had died because of me, I looked at the door and then down again, knowing that I couldn't go just yet.
"You want to redeem yourself?" the lady asked, she nearly sounded hopeful,
"Yes," I said quietly, glancing down,
She smiled at me, "I thought you would say that, Jack. I will give you a task; you first must wait eighty-two years…"