It must have been about 11:15 P.M. As my sister was still dancing in the dining room, I sat on a chair on the deck, swaddled in thick blankets, for it is a cold night, and thought about how lucky I was that I had the privilege of being on one of the biggest, most superior ships in the world, the R.M.S Titanic.

Actually, it was not luck that got me on the Titanic, but a celebration. I was traveling with my beautiful, black-haired sister Mica, and her red-headed Irish fiancé, George, to New York, where they were to be married. I was to be Mica's bridesmaid and for the first time in my life, I was glad to be on a ship. I had always had a tremendous fear of ships or boats of any kind ever since a small ferry I was riding with my mother and father capsized in a horrendous storm and killed both of them. But the Titanic was like no ship I had ever seen. In fact, it hardly even seemed like a ship! If it wasn't for the monotonous humming of the engines and the occasional rocking of the waves, I would have thought that I had entered a very fancy hotel. The ship was amazing! It had Turkish baths, a squash court, a gym, and a huge dining room that ran the length of the ship. It also had a hundred other amazing places, but being timid, I had not yet explored them all. I spent most of my time in the bedroom that I shared with Mica, but even the bedrooms were amazing! They were all done in different styles. Our room was done in Italian Renaissance, with a lovely, soft bed and pictures and mirrors hanging from the walls.

I would have been in my bedroom now, had not it been such a beautiful, starry evening. I had bundled up, packing Cocoa, Jenny, and all of her kittens into a huge tote bag, and braved the cold wind to come up to the deck to wait for Mica. Cocoa was my dog, a small, fuzzy brown Pekingese. With her long, thick hair, I always thought that she looked like a little, walking rug! Apparently other people did too. I smiled, remembering how one of the plump, bossy maids had almost had a heart attack the first morning when she had tried to sweep Cocoa, only to find out that my little rug was actually a dog! It was handy having a small dog like Cocoa, for she fit perfectly into my bag and I could take her with me everywhere.

However, I had to get a bigger bag when Jenny came along. Jenny was the ship's cat. She was a pretty little calico with big green eyes and a sweet disposition. I had found her on my second day aboard, when I had gotten lost trying to find my way back to my cabin. I think I had wandered into the servant's quarters when I heard a soft, mewing sound. Cocoa, a very motherly dog who had had two litters and cared for all babies, dragged me towards a low shelf on which I found a mother cat with seven kittens. The kittens were very tiny, just covered with fuzz and their tiny eyes were barely open. They couldn't have been more than 2 or 3 weeks old. After some initial hissing and spitting, Jenny allowed Cocoa and I to pet her and her kittens. Cocoa and Jenny hit it off almost immediately and Cocoa let the tiny kittens crawl all over her. She looked so cute with two kittens clinging onto her back, several pouncing on her tail and one hanging from her ear! I gave the cat, who I soon found out was called Jenny, some of Cocoa's dog treats and promised to come and see them again.

I was very surprised the next day when I was woken early by a scratching sound at my door, which I opened to find Jenny and all of her kittens sitting there! Not even looking up at me, Jenny began moving her kittens, one by one, across the room and into Cocoa's basket. Cocoa was thrilled, of course, and as the days went by, she became the kitten's nanny, looking after them while Jenny went on the prowl. Jenny soon started to want to come along with Cocoa when I took her out in my tote bag, climbing into the bag while I wasn't looking. Most of the time I left her to take care of her kittens, but when I was only going up on the deck, like tonight, I took them all along.

Cocoa was under my deck chair on a blanket with all of the kittens, while Jenny was sitting contentedly on my knee, purring as I stroked her silky fur. I was sitting there, gazing out at the deep, dark North Atlantic Ocean, a sea that seemed to continue on infinitely until it met at the horizon with the dark sky drenched with diamond stars. As I was gazing at the sea, one of the young stewards appeared to ask me if I wanted anything. The stewards were very nice, always polite and ready to get anything you wanted. I thought maybe I had met this one before, but by the light of the many bright stars, his black hair and slender build didn't seem familiar.

"Would you like a mug of hot chocolate, miss, or would you prefer a tea? We have several different flavors in the kitchen."

"A hot chocolate, please," I replied. 'And another blanket, if you would. It's getting cold out here." He nodded and disappeared into the ship. A few minutes later he returned with my drink and blanket, and then left to help some other passengers.

I draped the blanket over Cocoa and the kittens under my chair and sipped at my hot chocolate. I glanced over at where the dining room was. Bright lights were still shining out of the portholes and I could hear festive music playing, along with the talking and laughter of the couples dancing. I wondered when the dance would end. It must be at least 11:30 by now. Would my crazy sister ever stop dancing? I laughed. Mica loved dancing, and I was sure that she wouldn't stop until the musicians were exhausted. I didn't mind waiting for her, although I didn't have to.

I went back to gazing at the ocean. There was a large black hump on the horizon. Could it be a whale? I wondered. Or was it too big? I wasn't sure. I had never seen a whale. It could be anything. A rock or some ice, and although it didn't seem big enough to be anything like that, I wasn't quite sure of its size. I loved animals, and it would be wonderful if it actually was a whale. I looked again at the horizon, but I couldn't see the bump. Never mind, I thought, settling back into my chair. There are still a couple more days of the voyage. I might see another whale. As I was thinking this, Jenny sat up and began to act strangely. She looked at me with troubled eyes and jumped off my lap to pace nervously on the deck. "What's wrong, Sweetie?" I asked her, wishing that she could reply. I looked down at Cocoa. She had shaken off the clinging kittens and was pacing too. Suddenly Jenny went over to her kittens and began to drag one across the smooth wood floor back into the cavernous tote bag. Cocoa helped her and they soon got the entire litter in the bag. When they were finished Jenny and Cocoa got in and began to look at me worriedly. I was scared now. My mother had always been superstitious, especially about animals. She believed in signs: not going out if a raven cawed before dawn, or throwing away fish if our old cat wouldn't eat it. I always half-way believed in this, but not really. But this was one of the clearest signs I had ever seen. Something was wrong, and my animals knew it.