Riddle

The novel is based on a riddle, that takes hours to solve, and minutes to understand once you have the answer. I have taken it and turned it into a story, so I hope you will enjoy it.

This story is inspired and written for the Picture Prompt Competition.

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6. Chapter Five

 

No, is what I thought. I didn’t know what to do, how to react or what to say. My mouth was half open, as I slowly turned my head so I could see Mark and Daniel. They were both close to tears and I could feel my own eyes failing me. My throat was closing up. Suddenly I was thinking of my mom, back in Ohio. What would she do if her son died in a ship wreck? Would anyone even notice if I was gone? Memories from my childhood resurfaced in my mind. My backyard with the red swing set, the green grass, the sun radiating heat off my body. Lazy Sundays, grilled BBQ, High School, College, New York City and my two best friends. All of these memories and pictures flashed by and brought to where I stood that second. On the verge of a sinking ship. A tear fell down my cheek and silently hit the floor. I think Mark and Daniel were having the same reaction as they all had a look of sorrow in their eyes. I wiped my nose and shook them out of the hypnotic trance.

“Guys? We have to get moving.” I said, my voice breaking.

“Yeah.. Yeah, Mark c’mon.” Daniel chipped in. We all hugged for two seconds and then plunged into our unspoken plan. All three of us stormed out the door, and pulled Patrick behind us. People were forced to make space since the four of us built up a wall, they couldn’t get past. I turned around and saw Patrick’s expression of despair. He felt pressured to stay with us. My creased brows softened and told him:

“Go.” I smiled faintly at him, when he looked at me with gratitude in his eyes. He ran off to the end of the hall and started guiding people through the door.

Soon our little fort was broken to pieces as the crowd of screaming people grew larger and larger. They pushed mercilessly past us and pushed us to the ground. Hastily we moved with the same speed as the stream and found ourselves pushing past the door which Patrick guarded and bounding up the stairs, where everyone else seemed to be headed. I knew where it lead; to the upper deck. I guess water was filling up the bottom of the ship, which meant we had a better chance of surviving the crash. I know what you’re thinking, Titanic, and to be honest so was I. I had watched the movie years ago, and it still horrified me. And now the same thing was happening to us. As we rushed up the stairs I realized why we were headed that way. The life boats.

The staircase was very narrow so everybody had to walk single file. Mark was in front of me and Daniel was behind. Everything went past in a blur. The only thing I can remember was the screams of terror, the calls for help and the atmosphere of pure panic. We all thought we would die. Everyone did.

Finally it was our turn to run out the door, and onto the deck. The clean night air filled my lungs and I clearly remember the stars. They were shining like I had never seen them before, glowing in contrast to the dark sky. It would have been a beautiful sight if it hadn’t been for the many bodies pushing past me, almost knocking me down. I had only slowed down for a couple of seconds to see the stars, but that was enough to ruin the flow. Mark and Daniel were about ten feet ahead of me, and their heads were turning rapidly, looking for me.  

“I’m here!” I called. I used all my strength to pass the many people that separated me from my best friends. When I was beside them, we snapped back into action.

“This way!” Dan tried to yell. It was impossible to hear anything at all, but we knew him well enough to know that was what he said.

We shoved our way through the many bodies and made our way to a life boat. The area was crowded, and the crews attempts of yelling reassurance to all of us, failed. They waved their hands, meaning they wanted people to stop, wait for your turn, and then get in the boat. No pushing.

As if that helped. No one cared about the other, they just wanted the seat of safety. My instincts took over when an old lady stood still in the middle of all the hectic moving folks. I ran to her aid, lifted her up, and made my way back to the nearest boat. People standing in line stood aside, as much as they could, until I reached the boat and carefully placed her within it. She kissed my cheek and thanked me. I nodded in approval and found my way back to Mark and Daniel. Mark held up a thumb, in appreciation. I waved my hand in a gesture that meant they should follow. I went toward the life boat and helped getting people inside them. Dan and Mark stood at the other end, doing the same. The crew member looked at me with a look of gratitude for our generosity. He couldn’t handle it alone, and we knew that.

All of it went by in a blur. Face after face, arm after arm. I helped all of them get into the boats and loved doing so. I was helping my comrades in battle.

Less and less people were wandering the deck now, but it was still crowded to the limit. Soon there wouldn’t be enough boats for everyone and I knew what that meant. The end was near.

Then came the rumble. Only this time it was something more. The ship had bumped into something hard, and the impact of it shook the whole damn thing. I felt the thud go through my body. Dread filled my stomach as I felt the ship sinking rapidly on my left. Time was running out.

I nearly threw the next passengers into the boats, not caring if they landed comfortably, but just that they were safely. Daniel and Mark did the same, and were working furiously, and fast.

We were standing on the side of the ship at the very edge, and the boats were being heisted up and down, on the outside. Tired from the massive physical job of carrying the passengers down, I finally lost my balance. That was because the ship rumbled once again, just as I bent over the railing to put down a grown woman, who then pulled me down as the deep sound shocked her. But instead of falling into the boat, I plummeted straight towards the icy black water.

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