Titanic: Traveling Through Time
Written by: Diana Strenka
Publisher: Diana Strenka
Year Published: 2015
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Characters and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
My black dress fit me snugly around the waist. I examined myself in the floor-length mirror of my bedroom. The cap sleeve, adorned with lace, complimented my narrow shoulders. Some satin elbow-length gloves matched my outfit nicely. I was only missing one thing: a veil.
“Agatha, what are you doing?” scolded a familiar voice from the door. I pretended not to hear her, as usual. “Agatha!”
“I am getting married today. Help me find my veil.”
“Agatha, this is ridiculous!” roared my sister.
“He likes it when I wear black,” I told her.
She left as quickly as she had come. I chuckled. Such jealousy, I thought to myself.
After what seemed like forever, the veil finally made its appearance known. I examined myself in the gold-trimmed mirror once more. I frowned. My long black hair had a way of hanging limply by my side like a rag doll. I secured it into a loose bun and tucked it underneath my veil with hair pins.
I tiptoed over to my sister’s jewelry box and obtained her coveted gold chandelier earrings. She must never know, I thought to myself, as I poked them through my ears.
The house smelled sugary-sweet. Mabel, our cook, was making petit fours again for Mother. Mother loved to entertain guests on our back patio each evening. Father died last year from influenza. As a former bank owner, he had amassed a small fortune which he left the family when he perished. I had to wonder if the parties were Mother’s way of curing her loneliness.
“Miss Agatha, you look wonderful today,” beamed the merry cook. I smiled and curtsied before her. “I am getting married today.” The cook turned her head, reaching for the eggs in the pantry. I had heard Mother instruct the servants to ignore anything that they deemed “peculiar and unusual.” I was the black sheep of the family, a title which I now embraced.
Mother and Margaret roared like a steam engine outside. “She’s continuing with her absurd notions of getting married!” Margaret yelled. “Now, Margaret, hush,” said Mother sternly. “As long as no one knows about it, what is there to be concerned about?” Margaret shook her head and stormed off in a huff. I snickered as I slipped on a pair of Mother’s finest brocade shoes.
Mother didn’t mind me as long as I kept out of her way and didn’t embarrass her. Lucky for her, that’s exactly what I intended to do.
I reached into my purse and counted the money inside. No one must never find out my plan. The front door clicked shut behind me. I turned around to admire the beautiful mansion that I had once called home. Some cheerful yellow and red roses wrapped around our front porch. The fountain waved to me happily from the yard as it bubbled and splashed about.
“Goodbye,” I whispered, as I wiped a tear.
I walked in the direction of the forest. After a few minutes, I could hear the whir of automobile engines as guests started to arrive. No one would notice my departure for hours.
The tall trees beckoned me into their fold. The weeping willows pushed me through the entryway. My skin bristled as I passed through the portal.
I had wandered into this exact patch of wood on many occasions, but there was one day when the stars aligned. It was then that I had met William. He told me all about his adventures as a time traveler, and had invited me to be a part of them. I decided to wait one year so I had time to prepare myself mentally for this fateful day.
And this day had finally and truly come.
“You made it,” remarked a familiar voice. My heart leapt in my chest. His hair was still as silky and black as I had remembered, and his hazel eyes burned with that same passionate intensity. His face beamed as he held me in his arms.
“They didn’t believe it,” I smiled into his shoulder. “Now, our dreams can come true.” He slipped a diamond ring onto my ring finger, declaring us married.
“What do you think of our new home?” he asked, gesturing behind him. “I love it!” I cried. The large mansion, with its twisting vines and stone exterior, was perfect for us. It was right out of a fairy tale.
“Now listen, Agatha; this is very important,” William commanded. “If you get lost, or are in danger, signal 3-4-2 and the portal will appear for you. You can also run back to this space, and it will shield you.”
I nodded as I soaked in this information like a sponge. I knew what I was going to do.
“What year did you come from just now?” I asked him.
“1773. I was trying to aid the colonists at the Boston Tea Party.”
“Were you successful?”
“No, it was too dangerous. We had to get out of there.”
“We?” I echoed.
I watched as several wolves ran through our portal. I shrieked and ran through our open door.
“Agatha! It’s okay! They are time-travelers as well.”
I carefully peered around the edge of the door frame as the wolves stared at me curiously.
“We are human,” one of them began. “We were changed to this form by an evil witch.”
“Change back, then, and prove it,” I dared.
“Agatha, they can’t,” he replied. “They help by reading the thoughts of others and reporting back.”
“Okay, tell me what I am thinking, then!” I yelled.
“Yes, Paris was around in 1773,” they snickered.
How did they do that? I wondered.
“We have always had this ability. It’s a blessing and a curse, really,” one of them remarked.
“So, tell me how it works. How do we go back in time?”
He held my hand, and I watched as the wolves gathered around us. I felt very uneasy, like I was going to be ill.
“It will be okay,” he whispered, smiling. “Remember: 3-4-2 to summon the portal.”
I nodded as he traced 3-4-2 with his hands. A green portal, in the shape of a door, appeared. “What year and location would you like to go?” he asked. “Can we go to the future?” I wondered. “Yes, Agatha, but I would caution you not to do that just yet. You’ve not adjusted yet to the time travel experience.” I nodded. “Alright -- 1912, the Titanic,” I stated calmly. The door began to shimmer and shake, and the portal door opened.
William squeezed my arm gently. “Agatha, this situation could get very dangerous. Are you sure?” I thought about my Uncle Thomas, who had died on the Titanic, and felt a tear roll down my cheeks. Perhaps I could be the one to save his life.
“Remember: 3-4-2,” he reminded, as we stepped into the vast unknown.
The dark wood paneling greeted our arrival. The fireplace, trimmed with gold, crackled and glowed from the burning logs. “I believe we are in a first-class cabin,” I murmured in shock. I sat down on a velvet chair as I regained my senses.
“Yes, madam, we are,” replied one of the wolves. The pack of them fit tightly together, like sardines in a can. “You’re not coming with us, are you?” I asked. Surely, the passengers would notice them. “No; we do our work from here. If we follow you, we will be seen and likely attacked.” I nodded in agreement, wondering how they would be able to read the minds of others so acutely.
“William, how will they communicate with you?”
“Telepathically. They speak into my mind what they are hearing,” he answered.
“And if they are spotted, what then?”
“Do not worry too much about them. They are able to telepathically link with the portal to escape,” he commented.
I didn’t know if I should be afraid or impressed.
“What time is it?” I asked William.
“It’s 11:30,” he responded. “We have ten minutes to try to warn them.”
In a flash, we were heading in the direction of the Grand Staircase. A lump appeared in my throat, firmly lodged. All this grandeur would be at the bottom of the ocean unless we acted fast.
“Climb to the top of the stairs to exit to the boat deck,” a voice echoed in between my ears.
“Thank you,” whispered William. “You can hear that, too?!” I gasped.
“Oh, yes. They can communicate with the pair of us now,” he commented.
My gloved hands glided along the smooth wooden banister until we reached the top stair. The door was labeled “Boat Deck” in capital letters, making it easy to spot. As we exited, the icy air sharply cut into our flesh. The newspapers weren’t exaggerating when they remarked on the cold April night of the Titanic sinking.
“Head to the right to access the bridge,” instructed the wolves. “There aren’t many humans there, but they still will not let you gain entry.”
We acknowledged the wolves before rapidly proceeding towards the bridge. The clock was ticking.
I ran straight up to the nearest officer, nearly falling through the entryway.
“Sir, you must take care! There are icebergs afoot!” I cried. William squeezed my hand.
An officer with dark brown eyes greeted us warmly. “Madam, we are already scouring for bergs. You needn’t worry! Now, you need to go back to your room. No passengers are allowed on the bridge.”
“Sir, if we turn the ship now, we can avoid all the icy areas,” commented William. “There’s still time.”
“We have strict instructions to continue on in the manner as we are,” replied another guard. “Now, I suggest you go back to your cabin. It is too late for a young couple such as yourselves to be out.”
“We would like to watch for bergs then, if you don’t mind,” added Will. “We will not be a disturbance. We just wish to make ourselves useful.”
The officers shook their heads and laughed. “You would be the first. Very well, though you must not come in here. This is officers only.”
We nodded and tried to scour the dark evening for the iceberg that would sink the ill-fated Titanic. “Do you see anything?” I whispered to Will, squinting my eyes. “No; nothing,” he answered.
A loud bell rang in the distance, presumably because the iceberg had been spotted.
I pushed the officers out of the way as William and I lunged for the steering wheel.
We turned the wheel furiously to the left to avoid the danger looming ahead. The officers pulled us off the wheel and forcefully heaved us out of the bridge. “Get rid of them!” one of them shouted to the purser, who had heard the commotion and dragged us away.
We continued to hear the officers arguing with each other for several minutes until we felt a shudder through the whole ship. Painfully, we realized it was too late.
We had failed.
“No more issues from either of you, or I shall have to lock you in my office,” he warned us. “Am I clear?”
“Yes, sir,” we said in unison, eyes averted.
“The ship has hit the iceberg,” the wolves informed us. “It has already taken on water. We need to take action quickly.”
“Wait! My uncle!”
“Do you know his room number?” asked William, his hazel eyes glowing.
“No, I am afraid I don’t,” I admitted. “Wolves! Can you try to find someone for me?”
“We will do our best,” they replied. “Who are you looking for?”
“Master Thomas Smith,” I stammered. “First class. Please; you have to find him!”
“It will take some time. We’ll report in when we get anything concrete. Wolves, out.”
A couple of confused passengers had filed into the grand staircase like a bunch of ducklings. They were dressed in fur-trimmed robes and velvet slippers.
Several minutes had elapsed, and more passengers were trickling in. This time, they were wearing bulky-looking white lifebelts over their elegant clothing.
“Passenger Thomas Smith, cabin C16. He is awake and preparing to head to the boat deck.”
“Let’s go. Thanks, wolves!”
We heard the rustling of keys clinking together from the wolves’ transmission. “We have to leave. Wolves out!” they cried. And then, deafening silence.
“What happened?” I asked William.
“Likely, they were checking the doors to see if anyone was in them. The wolves know to leave on the first sign of trouble, and are in the portal now.”
My heart raced like a steamboat engine. We were all alone now.
We pushed past the growing crowds like a stampede of elephants. “C-Deck!” I shouted victoriously. As we approached C16, we checked the door. “It’s locked!” William declared. He pushed the door until it caved in on itself. The bed was neatly made, with each corner tucked in with great care. Uncle Thomas’ plush fur slippers peeked out beneath the bed frame.
“He’s gone! What do we do now?”
“Check the Grand Staircase,” stated William. “It’s now 12:10. We still have 35 minutes until the first lifeboat launches.”
“He’s got to get in one of those early boats, or he will be doomed!” I cried.
The C-Deck staircase was a mob scene. “Thomas Smith?” we called out. “Master Thomas Smith, of Essex?” I checked the faces of every confused and exhausted passenger. Nothing. “Keep going up!” called William.
On B-Deck, it was even more crowded. “Thomas Smith?! Thomas Smith, of Essex?” I was even louder this time than before. “Madam, please,” scolded an elderly man. “I apologize, sir. Have you seen a Thomas Smith?”
He paused a moment, rubbing his grey beard. “Why yes, actually. I saw him on A-Deck earlier. Good luck!” With that, he lifted his hat and bowed.
With a flash, we were at the A-Deck Grand Staircase. We continued to call out the name “Thomas Smith.” No response. I sat down with William, and rested my head in my hands. It was hopeless. I was never going to find my uncle.
“Excuse me, sir; what is going on?” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it: the Smith family nose. Thomas Smith: in the flesh!
He was dressed in a black suit and a matching necktie. His chestnut hair was slick back, and a thick mustache hung above his lip. He looked identical to the family portraits I had seen.
A chill ran through my spine as I studied the man who is (was) my Uncle Thomas. I knew I couldn’t reveal my hand without scaring him to death. When he turned and looked me in the eye, he bowed. “Madam,” he greeted me. “You look familiar to me in some way.”
I smiled. “Sir, I have heard that often,” I lied. “I hear we have struck an iceberg.”
“Oh? Is that what I felt?” he asked curiously.
“Yes sir, and they are evacuating the ship. It is a safety measure for all. Make sure you find the first available lifeboat and board it.”
“You don’t think…it’s anything serious?” he questioned, furrowing his brow with concern.
“It could be,” I admitted. “So your best bet is to ensure you board one of the first available lifeboats. Please, I ask that you do this for me.”
He bowed again. “Anything for the lovely lady,” he said, smiling broadly.
“Everyone to the boat deck. We are uncovering the lifeboats,” called an officer.
“That’s my cue!” He bowed one final time. “Madam, you have a wonderful evening.” And then, he was gone.
“We did what we could, William. Now we need to make our way to the lifeboats!”
William gripped my shoulder gently. “There’s no way they are going to let me into a lifeboat,” he said gently. “You know what happened.”
“Well, we have to try! Come!” We followed the crowd, now congregating along the boat deck like a swarm of mosquitoes. “Women and children first!” called the officer. I turned to William. “William, this is the wrong side. We need to go to the starboard side first. The port side never let any men on.” It was then that I heard it: a child, crying.
“Listen. Do you hear that?” I asked William. “Listen.” We followed the shrieking until we found the small child bundled under a heap of clothing. “Are you okay?” we asked.
“My mom went below decks to go grab her furs and she left me here! I’m scared!” She rubbed her eyes, which were red and swollen.
“It will be okay,” William assured her. “We will stay with you until your mom comes back.”
“William, I don’t think this is a good idea,” I reminded him.
“Nonsense. Remember 3-4-2. We have time!”
I nodded, though I didn’t feel confident. Time was slipping away like grains of sand.
The minutes ticked by slowly. A woman showed up, wearing several layers of fur-trimmed clothing. She was also carrying a purse that was overflowing with diamonds and other jewels. “Thank you for watching my daughter,” she said. “I really appreciate it.”
“Madam, you need to get to a boat at once. Your daughter has been very worried.”
The woman smiled. “Let’s go find a boat, Penelope,” she ordered. She took the little girl’s hand and disappeared into the crowd.
“William, what time is it now?”
“It’s 1:10. We have to hurry!”
On the starboard side, many of the boats had already left. We were out of luck. “Madam, you can take a seat but the gentleman must stay behind,” an officer informed us.
“No, I cannot leave you here alone!” I exclaimed. “We can wait for a boat together.”
“Don’t be silly,” William chided me gently. “You will board a lifeboat, and I will stay behind. I can always do the 3-4-2 signal to escape.”
There was no changing his mind. I sighed, and lifted up the edge of my gown. A man already in the boat helped me in. I winced as it rocked from side to side. “Don’t look down; don’t look down,” I thought to myself. I was terrified of heights.
And this moonlit night was no exception!
I watched as the vessel dipped precariously to its side. “Lower away!” called an officer from above. Each jolt of the tiny boat sent fear shooting through my heart. I gripped the edges of the boat so tightly that my knuckles began to swell. “Don’t fall, don’t fall,” I pleaded. The tiny raft finally hit the water’s surface with a resounding whack. I looked upwards once more, but could no longer see William.
He was gone.
We pulled away from the doomed liner. There was a very clear list to the front, where part of the ship was buried under the ocean’s surface. Rockets continued to launch upwards, streaks of white painting an otherwise dark sky.
The music of the band on the boat deck continued to float through the air. It haunted me, the thought of all those men perishing at sea. It was like I was a lead actress in a moving picture.
It was unreal. Completely unreal.
The salty ocean water stung my eyes like hornets. The men pulled our lifeboat away from the ship with all force and might. The women in the boats huddled together, crying. There was nothing I could say to comfort them. I knew what the ultimate fate would be of those who were left in the water in that night.
Lost at sea.
It was time to leave. I could only pray that William had already evacuated.
3-4-2. As I traced the letters into the air, a blue-green luminescence hovered above the water’s surface. It called my name and beckoned me towards it.
“What is that strange light?” murmured some people in the boat.
Splash! Every cell in my body screamed in agony as I dove into the icy abyss. “Madam! Come back to the boat!” begged the people inside. They started to row in my direction. “Please!”
I really should have worn a lifebelt. I kicked and paddled so I could keep my head above water. I stretched and reached until the light finally lifted me upwards. “Goodbye,” I said to the astonished crowd, before I merged with the portal.
My stomach turned like a wheel rolling along a cobblestone path. I was safely dispatched back in my 1914 home in the middle of the woods. However, William was nowhere to be seen.
The woods had never been so quiet.
I continued to wait. The leaves were beginning to change colors with the fall season. Shades of green, orange, and yellow adorned the oak trees.
I started to wonder what had become of my family. I hadn’t ever missed them as much as I had in this moment.
I left my new home and headed for the edge of the portal. Surely, I could come back in a few minutes to see if William had indeed returned. The anxiety and dread of sitting around wouldn’t do me any favors.
“My love, I am home,” boomed a familiar voice.
William’s hair was soaked with sea salt, a smell which permeated his every strand. I held him so tightly that I feared I was suffocating him.
“I thought something happened to you!” I cried.
“William smiled sadly. “I stayed on the ship for some time, and helped escort the ladies into lifeboats. When the Titanic took a dangerous tilt forward, I checked my watch. I had to leave quickly, or risk getting swallowed by the ocean. I ran forward, attempting to dive in once I neared the water’s edge. However, I underestimated my pacing and slipped. I hit an obstacle on the ship, and became unconscious for a time. When I had awoken, I was floating like a cork in the water. Someone had seen me and put a lifebelt on me at the last moment.”
“At that point, I figured it was time to abandon ship. My arms were icy cold and as heavy as a slab of concrete, but I managed to activate the portal signal. I had to swim towards the light or risk perishing in the ocean water. Everyone around me stared at it transfixed, and some approached the light themselves. However, I realized that there was no way they could escape the portal. They are not aligned with it like the time travelers are.”
“I am grateful we made it out alive. I wonder what happened with my uncle.”
The wolves re-appeared in our portal world. “Your uncle safely left the ship on one of the first lifeboats,” theystated. “He arrived in New York, eventually settling in Pennsylvania. In fact, he is still there now.”
A mischievous grin overtook my face. “Let’s go see him!” I shrieked. “What do you say?”
William laughed. “He will never believe it. Ever.”
“Or maybe, just maybe, he will join us on our adventures,” I whispered excitedly.
I took William’s hand and ran towards the center of the woods. “3-4-2. Destination: Thomas Smith’s house, Pennsylvania, 1914!”
A swirling green light hovered just inches away from us. “Come on! Let’s go!” I called out. With that, all of us jumped through the portal to a newer, and brighter, future.
Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer? Thanks! Sincerely, Diana Strenka\
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