ESCAPING THE ICY SEA: A STORY OF THE TITANIC|
Kiana looked up and took a deep breath of the fresh sea air, holding her locket nervously in her hand. She opened it to look at the pictures of her parents on either side, and smiled. They would want her here.
The sun was shining high in the sky that afternoon, making the joyous day even more bright and cheerful. The huge ocean-liner, Titanic, floated in the water in front of Kiana, its black hull shining. At over 880 feet long, the ship was like a giant, looming over her head.
The woman sitting next to her laughed as said something in a language Kiana couldn't understand. She shrugged, showing that she didn't know what the lady was saying.
"She said," spoke a man from a few feet away, " ëDon't breath all the air! Save some for me,' " he laughed.
Kiana giggled from sheer excitement. "I just can't believe I'm going all the way to America on such a lovely ship! And it's such a beautiful day."
"Yah, sure, you betcha," the man was Norwegian, by the sound of him. "Where are you headed to in America?" he asked politely.
"New York," Kiana replied, squirming nervously in her seat. "I'm going to visit my aunt," she lied. It had been what she was telling everyone.
Finally, the smaller ship they were riding in settled in against the side of the Titanic. They had crossed about two miles of water out to the huge ship, as the Titanic was too large to be in any of the harbors at Queenstown, Ireland.
Right up next to it, Kiana looked up, trying to see the top of the ship. Her long, golden hair swung down her back. It was so big! She swallowed a lump of fear and cleared her throat. She had to get out of Ireland. She had no choice. Even here, away from her town of Ferbane, she was not safe. America was her only choice. In all her sixteen years, Kiana had never been so afraid.
As soon as she had boarded the ocean-liner, Kiana walked around the deck, uncomfortable among the rich folks who swarmed the deck.
She turned around and around, trying to see everything. The beautiful deck was swarming with people bustling around with luggage and cargo. Men in dark uniforms carried huge boxes and barrels down into the hull of the great ship.
A woman in a billowing blue silk dress led a small girl with unruly black hair to the side of the boat and pointed down with a gloved finger. The other hand was on her unusually large stomach, and Kiana guessed she was pregnant. "See the ocean, Liberty? Isn't it beautiful?"
The little girl nodded, her black locks bouncing. "Can I go swimming?" she asked sweetly, her red lips in a pout.
The lovely lady shook her head. "No, the water is too cold. Maybe some other time."
Kiana snickered. Who would want to swim in such freezing water? Kiana stared down at the cold, dark blue water. Just seeing it made her shiver.
I wish I weren't afraid of the ocean. I wish I weren't afraid of anything!
"What are you laughing at?" a voice behind her asked.
Kiana whirled around and found herself looking into the merriest blue eyes she'd ever seen. They were like the ocean on a sunny day.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you," the boy said, taking a polite bow. "My name is Reilly. What is yours?"
"Kiana," she said with relief. He was Irish. Finally she could talk to someone from her own country. She was tired of hearing the strange English accent.
"Sure and she's a grand thing, isn't she?" Reilly asked, letting a sweep of his arm take in the ship.
"Aye. That she is," Kiana breathed. "I've never seen such a ship."
"It's like the hotel in my old city. Only this will take me to my new life in America." Reilly said, almost to himself rather than to Kiana.
"What class are you?" Kiana asked.
"First. I'm traveling with my mother and two sisters. And you?"
"I'm in third-class," she said, blushing slightly. "I just got on, and was going to bring my luggage down to my stateroom. I hear the first-class is just as lovely as the rest of the ship." She was surprised this rich boy hadn't told he to leave him alone. She had no place with someone like him.
"First- and second-class are grand, yes, but the third-class is better than it is on any other ship," Reilly said, smiling. "To be honest, I've seen closets that are bigger than the steerage staterooms, but it's better than sleeping on the deck like most boats, I suppose."
Kiana nodded. She reached to pick up her suitcase, but Reilly beat her to it.
"I'll take that. The steps are hard enough to climb for a lass, without having something to carry." He stepped around her and started down the stairs.
"Thank you!" Kiana said, happy to not have to carry her heavy bag. As she followed Reilly, she continued talking.
"I'm traveling alone, going toÖvisit my aunt and uncle in New York," she told him. Why does it feel so wrong to lie to him? He's just like the rest of the people in Ireland that I don't know. I can't trust him with my secret. It's too dangerous.
"Oh, really? How long are you staying?"
Kiana bit her lip. Nobody had ever questioned her further than where she was going. With relief, she saw the door ahead of her. "Here it is!" she exclaimed.
Her cheeks flushed, Kiana stepped up to the door of her temporary home. Stretching out her finger, she traced around the numbers that were written with gold lettering.
"Number 36. That's what the man said," she could hardly believe it herself. If her parents hadn't been secure in their finances, Kiana would never have gotten on such a lovely ship, even if it was just third class.
Reilly reached out and opened the door, and they both walked in. He was right. It was small. Kiana was used to large rooms, with beautiful tapestries, servants waiting on her every need, and food whenever she pleased. She swallowed the tight lump of tears in her throat. She'd had to leave that all behind.
Reilly set Kiana's suitcase on an extra berth to make more room for walking. "It'll take a little getting used to," he said. "I have to get back to my mother and sisters. I will see you again, hopefully. Have a good night!"
"Thank you for your help," Kiana said, and then Reilly was gone, the door shut behind him.
Chapter 2 >>>
Submitted by Copyright © 2003 Amy S. 'Soccer Chick' (), USA
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