The boat rocked. A scraping sound echoed through the night.
Screams. Everyone, everywhere was screaming. Running. People running. The tears. The confusion.
"What happened?" Jane Allick asked the terrified people as they passed.
No one stopped to answer. The confusion.
A member of the crew brushed past her. She grabbed his arm. "What's happening?"
"We hit an iceberg! Get up on top!" he shouted and continued on his way.
The confusion melted into dark black fear. The fear did not grip her all at once, it swelled in her, slowly spreading at first then it shot through her, so she could hardly contain herself. The fear.
She ran back into her lower-class room on the HMS Titanic.
"What's going on out there?" her husband asked sleepily.
"We've hit an iceberg, Paul, we have to get out on deck."
The fear. His eyes widened. "The children!" he shouted.
His shouting awakened the children. Two wide-eyed little girls, one four, the other two, climbed out of bed. The fear.
"What's going on?" the eldest child asked.
"Well," their father began. "We have to put on our life jackets and get out on deck."
"Why?" the younger one asked.
"Don't ask questions," Jane said evenly.
The children stared at their parents, not knowing what to expect. The fear.
The small family put on their life jackets and walked out into the hallway. A grief-stricken crew member was wandering past them. He frowned when he saw Jane and Paul. When he looked down and saw the two little girls, his eyes filled and his face contorted. The fear.
The crew member regained his composure, pulled Paul across the hall, and whispered something to him. Paul' eyes were filling. He wiped them, and walked back to his family. As the crew member walked away, Paul thanked him and blessed him and wished him luck.
Paul pulled his wife close. "There are no more lifeboats."
Jane tried to pull away, but Paul held her tight.
"Go back to bed," he said to the children.
Slowly, the older girl climbed into bed.
"I thought we were leaving," the younger girl asked.
Paul lifted her up and kissed her on the forehead. He carried her over and set her in bed. He then kissed the older girl gently on the forehead.
"What's happening, Mommy?" the older girl asked.
Jane walked over and knelt next to the bed. "Well," she said. "You know all those stories about God and heaven and the Bible? If you go right to sleep, when you wake up--" Jane could not continue. If she kept talking, the sob in her throat threatened to make her cry.
"What will happen when we wake up?" the youngest asked.
Paul walked over and put a comforting arm around his wife. "Go to sleep and find out," he said with a sad smile.
The two little girls curled up in the sheets and drifted off to sleep.
The fear melted away into a cold gray acceptance. Paul and Jane climbed into bed.
Jane slipped her hand into Paul's. "Good night, Paul."
Paul squeezed her hand. "Good night, my love."
With that, Jane shut her eyes. There was nothing they could do; nothing anyone could do anymore. Both her hopes and fears slowly drifted away on the waves in the sea around them.
Then she heard something strange: violins. Above the sounds of people running and screaming, above the sounds of people arguing with their last breaths, above the crashing waves, the calm music floated through the cool air and filled her mind.
Jane slowly drifted off to sleep.