In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of Titanic I crafted this little story. I am definitely taking liberties with real life historical figures so keep in mind, beyond the names and perhaps a few traits and characteristics that have been recorded in history, it’s all fiction.
I hope you enjoy it. I had a lot of fun crafting this and I got a taste of what historical fiction writers must go through as I researched specifics.
As the Locket Turns
Trinity stood on the pier, the scents and sounds of the sea pulsing around her. A brisk wind, carrying with it the cloying odor of unwashed bodies mixed with tar, rushed past. The broad brim of her hat was pulled upwards exposing her pale face to the sun.
She gripped her hat with her free hand and picked up her travel case preparing to push through the crowd of passengers and crew clogging up the pier. A tightening on her elbow brought her lurching to a stop. She twisted to see who grabbed her.
“Lucius. I might have known it would be you.” She yanked her arm free. “Afraid I wouldn’t board?”
Lucius’ thin lips twisted in a smile that never came close to reaching his eyes. A quick flash of teeth and his face stilled to blankness. Only his onyx colored eyes, shifting back and forth, revealed any life. Trinity stepped back further from his grasp.
“Now, Trinity, is that any way to greet me? I only wish to ensure your safety.” He linked his arm through hers and took her case. She allowed him to escort her knowing a struggle was futile.
The sound of music and voices blended in the air as they walked. Trinity kept a watch on Lucius out of the corner of her eye. He seemed distracted by the people around him but she knew better.
“It’s quite impressive, don’t you think?” His voice broke through the din suddenly and Trinity looked up at him in surprise. She realized he was speaking about the ship.
“Yes.” She spoke cautiously, drawing the word out. The feral smile returned to his face.
Trinity felt her throat close up. She gasped out a breath, speaking in a rush. “You aren’t changing the deal, are you? We had an agreement! I signed the form! I-“
Lucius held up his hand. “Our agreement stands.” He scanned the ship, his eyes traveling from bow to stern. “You have the locket?”
Trinity’s hand flew to slight bulge beneath the high collar of her dress. Her fingertips traced the edges of the intricate silver locket hidden there. A locket she had yet to figure out how to open. “Yes, of course. What purpose does the locket have?”
“All in good time, my dear.” Lucius patted Trinity’s hand the way a parent would a child. She tightened her jaw but kept quiet. “Remember, you need to find Ismay. It will become clearer soon.”
She nodded. Her foot collided with something solid and she glanced down. A ragged looking man, thin with greasy hair was seated against a massive crate waiting to be loaded. He held a sign in his lap.
Beware! The End is near, all Hope lost. Travelers sail to their doom!
“Lucius,” she whispered and pointed to the man. Lucius glanced down, displeasure flaring in his eyes. He guided Trinity past him towards the First Class Boarding ramp.
“Good bye, my dear. Good luck.” He planted a chaste kiss upon her cheek that burned. Trinity moved towards the gangway, her mind pushing her fears away and focusing on her task.
“Welcome Aboard, miss.” A friendly faced man with snowy hair and beard dressed in the Captain’s uniform greeted her at the top of the ramp. “Enjoy your voyage on Titanic.”
Trinity stood at the top of the staircase. She was frozen by the brilliance, the magnificence of it all. Never in her life had she been in a place that was this luxurious. As elegantly dressed people glided past her, discussing topics of the intellectuals and the rich, she felt certain one would stop suddenly, look directly at her and see beneath the façade. She would be outed as cheap, as an interloper, as an invader to their social circles.
She lifted her chin and began the decent down the plush carpeting lining the stairs. The silk train of her ornate evening gown, one of many she discovered in the travel chests delivered to her cabin, rustled as she moved down the stairs. She felt a tug and realized the silk had become caught on a curl of wrought iron forming the banisters grill-work.
“Please, allow me.”
She turned to discover a distinguished man dressed in a fine navy suit bend to unhook her dress. As he straightened their eyes locked and she felt an unexplainable pull within the chocolate depths. He grasped her gloved hand and in a seamless motion brought it to his lips, his thick mustache disguising the actions of his mouth.
“Thank you for your kindness.” She let a soft, demure smile play about her lips, a smile she analyzed and copied from countless aristocratic women swirling about her on board.
“My pleasure. J.Bruce Ismay, at your service.”
Trinity felt her heart begin to beat a little faster. Ismay! She bobbed her head in reply. “Trinity St. James. Aren’t you the owner of this magnificent vessel?”
Ismay seemed pleased that she knew his name and hooked her hand into the crook of his elbow. They began to move down the stairs again at a slow measured pace.
“Yes, I am one of the owners.” He gazed at her, letting his eyes sweep her from head to toe. “Might I have the honor of your company for dinner?”
At her nod, he guided her through an oversized double door to the elegantly appointed First Class dining hall. A low rumble of conversation filled her ears as they wove between the tables to a large round one situated near a massive lead glass window. Fragrant scents filled the room from the vases containing fresh cut flowers. She wondered how long the flowers would last.
Half the seats were already occupied by passengers as Ismay pulled out her chair. Trinity sank gratefully onto its plush seat before her trembling knees betrayed her. Ismay eased gracefully into the seat beside her and offered her a glass of champagne. She shook her head taking note that the glasses nearest the ladies seated at the table were still empty.
“Mr. Ismay! Such a delight that you will be dining at our table this evening.” A fresh faced young woman nodded at Trinity before continuing. “Are you pleased with Titanic’s performance so far?”
“Countess Rothes, a pleasure to see you. Yes, I do believe Titanic is proving to be everything I expected.” He pulled out his pocket watch and smiled. “We’re already ahead of schedule. This will be a trip for the history books, I can feel it.”
“Well, so far I am heartily impressed with her. My stateroom is beautifully appointed and the staff has been a delight.” She stretched out a white gloved hand to Trinity. “I’m sorry, I’m being rude. Noelle Leslie, Countess of Rothes.”
Trinity took her hand gingerly and bobbed her head. “Trinity St.James. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Countess.”
“How do you know Mr. Ismay?”
“We just met on the grande staircase.” Ismay broke in. “Miss St.James’ dress was caught.”
Trinity watched the Countess shift her gaze between them as if she was questioning the validity of his comment. “And how are you enjoying the trip so far?” She pointedly looked at Trinity which brought a smile.
“It’s been a wonderful experience. This is my first time on a ship.”
“Who are you traveling with? Perhaps they can join us for dinner.” She gestured the empty seats at the table. “I think we still have a few open.”
Trinity froze. An upper class woman would never travel alone. What could she say?
Suddenly the locket resting on the exposed skin of her chest grew warm. She felt an energy flow up her body and her mouth opened. “I’m traveling with my godmother. She gets very seasick so she’s remained in our cabin.” The lies tripped off her tongue as if someone else was speaking for her.
“That’s too bad. My cousin gets seasick as well. I have a tincture you can add to her tea that may help.”
“Thank you, Countess. That’s very kind of you.” The sound of raised voices approaching drew Trinity’s attention away. Ismay pushed back his chair and stood, the motion jostling Trinity’s own.
“Gentlemen? Some decorum in the presence of ladies?”
“Ismay!” A man pushed his way past the others and stopped by Trinity. His face was flushed and a lock of dark hair tumbled down across his forehead. “Have you been asking Captain Smith to increase speed? We can’t be foolhardy!”
“Calm yourself, Thomas. Titanic can handle it.” Ismay turned to the women and bowed. “If you’ll excuse me.” He grasped the flustered man by the arm and walked away with him, their voices low. Trinity looked at the Countess in surprise. The countess waved a hand, dismissing any fears.
“That was Thomas Andrews. He designed Titanic. I’ve heard he’s a little overprotective of her.” She took a sip of water and changed the subject. “Now, that locket of yours is exquisite. Is it a family heirloom?” She leaned in closer for a better look.
Trinity grasped the locket lightly with her fingers. The warmth she’d felt earlier had diminished. “I’m not exactly certain of its history,” she said, keeping her tone vague. “You know how it can be. Everyone has a different tale to tell. Before you know it, the remnants of tales combine into something completely new.”
The Countess pursed her lips, her chocolate brown eyes thoughtful. The return of Ismay postponed further conversation about the locket.
“Miss St.James, since this is your first trip on a luxury liner such as Titanic, perhaps a tour could be arranged.”
“That would be wonderful. Thank you for the offer Mr. Ismay.”
“Please, call me Bruce.”
The chill night air cut through the heavy silk of Trinity’s skirt. She pulled her wrap tighter about her shoulders as she leaned against the rail. The Boat Deck was eerily silent except for the creak of the lifeboats swaying in their rigging and the crash of the water against the hull of the ship. She gazed up into the clear sky at the stars twinkling merrily down at her. A wisp of cloud drifted across the moon, temporarily shrouding her in darkness.
A sudden cry jerked her to attention. She looked down the deck and saw a figure moving closer to her, the body swaying as it walked. The sound of a lullaby reached her ears before they did.
I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And it was full of pretty things
For baby and for me.
Trinity felt her heart clench as she watched the nursemaid walk past, a young child wrapped tightly in blankets, her face twisted in heartbreaking sobs. The nursemaid noticed Trinity observing them and bobbed her head quickly.
“Pardon, miss. Don’t mean to bother your evening stroll but the poor lit’le ‘un can’t settle.” She gave a tiny smile. “Thought some fresh air might help.”
Trinity reached out her arms. “May I?”
Stunned, the nursemaid stared at her. Her brow furrowed but she passed the bundle over to Trinity’s waiting arms. The warm, comforting weight pulled Trinity back to her life before. Before she’d met Lucius. Before she made that bargain out of desperation.
Absently swaying she hummed a lullaby she remembered from her childhood. Memories of her mother’s gentle smile and delicate touch rushed forth bringing with it a calmness that had been missing since she’d stepped foot on Titanic.
“You’ve done it!” The nursemaid’s hushed voice broke Trinity from her reverie. She glanced down to see the child sound asleep; her tiny thumb nestled between rosebud lips. She eased the bundle back into the waiting nursemaid’s arms and watched them disappear into the night.
A spot of heat began to pulse upon her chest. Startled, Trinity reached under her wrap and clutched the locket within her hands. Its normally cool exterior was warm to the touch and the heat seemed to make the detailed etchings on its surface become alive. The vines and flowers wrapped along its edge writhed and swirled. Lucius’s instructions floated through her mind. He’d made it clear Trinity was to never let the locket out of her sight and to wear it at all times.
“Why are you so important?” She lightly brushed the locket with her finger.
“Who are you talking to?”
The voice came from nowhere. Trinity jumped and whirled around to find the angry young man from dinner standing behind her. He took a step back at the look on her face.
“My apologies, miss. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He glanced around. “Are you all alone?”
Trinity felt her face flush. She pulled her body rigid and settled the wrap about her body like armor. “I should be going back to my cabin.” She brushed past him. He laid a hand on her arm.
“Wait, please.” His voice was soft and cajoling. “Didn’t I see you at dinner? Sitting with Countess Rothes?”
“Yes.” Trinity was unable to be rude even though she had an overwhelming urge to flee.
“I thought so. I’m sorry I interrupted your meal. It’s unlike me to be so rude.”
“It was no bother. The first course hadn’t even arrived so you were interrupting nothing but casual conversation.”
He smiled faintly and bowed his head over her hand. “Allow me to introduce myself. Thomas Andrews, at your service.”
“Trinity St. James.” She eyed him as he fell beside her, his arm brushing hers lightly as they walked. “I understand you designed this magnificent ship, Mr. Andrews.”
His features softened as his gaze drifted over the deck. “Yes. She is the pinnacle of my career. Titanic will go down in history as the most luxurious ship ever to sail!”
“And the fastest?” Trinity felt him stumble.
“Speed is important and Titanic is perhaps one of the fastest at sea but I do not believe our speed is what will launch Titanic into the history books. Until she has been more fully tested, it’s foolhardy to push the engines-” He closed his mouth with a click.
They lapsed into silence until Mr. Andrews delivered her to the door of her cabin.
“Good evening Mr. Andrews. I hope to see you again during the journey.”
He stared at her, a quizzical look on his face, before he bowed slightly, breaking eye contact. “Good evening, Miss St. James.” He spun on his heel to leave then paused, his head swinging back to look her in the eye once more. “I feel certain we will encounter one another again.”
Congealed fat edged Trinity’s untouched grilled mutton chops. Her working class, frugal nature rebelled at such wastefulness but she found her appetite had abandoned her. Sunlight streamed in through the large windows of Café Parisienne creating shadows that danced upon her plate. She toyed with her fork, the tines striking the small crystal goblet beside her plate.
“Miss St. James! What a pleasure to see you again!” Trinity looked up to see Countess Rothes approaching her. “May I join you?”
“Please, have a seat.” Inwardly, Trinity groaned as the Countess settled herself. As much as she had liked the spirited young woman she wasn’t in the mood for company. Everything about this voyage had her stomach twisted into knots and she knew it wasn’t seasickness.
The Countess leaned in and laid a hand upon Trinity’s own. “I had hoped to find you alone. I wanted to invite you to walk alone the Boat Deck this afternoon so I stopped at your cabin this morning.”
Trinity felt her heart skitter in trepidation as the Countess continued. “The door came unlatched at my knock and I ashamedly entered your cabin uninvited.” Trinity met the Countess’s gaze hoping her fear was not visible. She dropped her voice lower. “You aren’t traveling with your godmother, are you?”
Trinity opened her mouth to lie but the words wouldn’t come. Unlike last time, she was on her own to craft a believable story. Resigned to her fate she shook her head. The Countess let out a small gasp.
“My dear! If it became common knowledge that a well born lady was traveling alone…the scandal would be all over the ship in minutes.” She gripped Trinity’s hand. “You’d be ruined.”
Taking a leap of faith, Trinity returned the Countess’s grip. “I cannot reveal the details but this must not become public knowledge.” She bit her lip. “Will you keep my secret?”
The Countess remained silent a moment before nodding in agreement.
The air on the Promenade Deck was bracing. Trinity pulled the thick wool scarf tighter about her neck and tucked it securely within her coat. The Countess’s cheeks were rosy and she laughed like a child.
“Isn’t this magnificent? What better place to be, than out on the open ocean!” She leaned up against the rail and scanned the horizon. It was nothing but dark blue water and puffy white cloud filled sky as far as the eye could see. Trinity leaned up next to her and looked down to where the hull of the boat was cutting through the water. “It’s as if we are completely alone in the world, no responsibilities, no pressures…”
“I suppose…” She sighed wishing in her heart for all the responsibilities in the world to be piled upon her shoulders if it meant she didn’t have to be here in this situation. The Countess turned to her, concern in her eyes.
“Is everything alright, Miss St. James? I know you said you couldn’t speak of specifics but…if you want to talk, I’m a good listener.”
“It’s fine, Countess. Truly. Perhaps I’m just a bit homesick.” Trinity worried her lip and contemplated the repercussions of speaking openly to the Countess. She opened her mouth to speak when a voice calling her name drew her attention down the deck. Bruce Ismay approached, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his overcoat.
“Good afternoon Miss St. James, Countess. Lovely day, isn’t it?”
“I was just commenting on how amazing the feeling was to be out at sea. It’s so freeing, I understand the lure it has to young men.” The Countess flashed a dimple filled smile.
“A little chilly though.” Trinity rubbed her arms briskly. “It’s April, shouldn’t is be warmer?”
“Not this far north in the Atlantic. We’ll be passing through the edges of the ice fields soon.”
“Ice? Really?” The Countess turned with interest to scan the horizon again. Ismay chuckled.
“We most likely won’t see any due to the route Titanic sails. And if we do, Titanic can handle it.” He patted the rail fondly. “Are you ready for your tour, Miss St. James? I need to do some observations of certain areas of the ship anyway and I’d be honored to have your company.”
“Yes, except…” She turned to the Countess. “I don’t wish to abandon you. We’ve barely begun our walk.”
The Countess waved her off. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine alone.” Glancing up deck she continued. “I believe I see my cousin taking some air. Poor thing has been trapped in our cabin with sea sickness. I should check on her anyway.” Waving goodbye the Countess began walking towards a small group of passengers clustered around some deck chairs. Ismay extended his arm to Trinity.
With a soft smile she placed her hand in the crook of his elbow and allowed him to guide her away.
Over the next few hours Trinity was given a detailed tour of the first few decks of the ship. Much of it she had seen on her own wanderings but hearing Ismay speak about the design choices and luxuries added to the ship was fascinating. He had been intimately involved in so many aspects of Titanic’s creation. She could see the love he had for this ship. It was similar to how a parent felt about an accomplished child.
Glancing at his pocket watch he turned to Trinity. “I should check in at the radio room. Have you ever seen a wireless in operation?” Trinity shook her head. “It’s quite the marvel of engineering. And the range of our system surpasses anything else in the world. Perhaps you have someone you’d like to send a message to?”
Trinity thought of her mother and sister back in Cornwall but shook her head. “No one, really. But it sounds very exciting to see.”
Ismay chuckled deep in his throat. “Exciting…perhaps not that exactly. But it is impressive in its capabilities.”
The radio room was tucked in behind the bridge. Frantic clicks could be heard as Ismay opened the door. Two young men were perched in their chairs, one sending out a message, the other scrawling something on a piece of paper. The latter threw down his pencil and stood in a rush almost crashing into Trinity as he left the room.
“What’s the urgency, Mr. Bride?”
“Another ice warning sir. I’m taking it to Captain Smith straight away.”
Trinity shivered and looked over at Ismay. His eyes darkened but then he forced a smile. “Ice! Bah, a little ice shouldn’t give us any concern. We’ll come with you to the bridge. I’m giving Miss St. James a tour.”
Bride looked unconvinced but said nothing. He took the lead while Ismay and Trinity followed.
The bridge was teeming with activity. Crewmen moved about the room completing their tasks while Captain Smith stood regally in front of the broad window facing the bow scanning the sea before him. Ismay followed Bride to the Captain leaving Trinity to hover uncertainly near the door.
She looked idly about the room and noted a couple of crewmen hunched over a table completing pages of calculations and making marks upon a map. She stepped closer and felt the locket begin to warm against her skin. Her hand drifted up to clutch it but an officer’s attention interrupted the action.
“Good afternoon Miss. Can we be of any assistance to you?”
“Oh, I’m here with Mr. Ismay.” She pointed over in his direction. “Might I ask what you are doing?”
The officer stepped closer to the table and gestured to a pencil line crossing a map. “We’re charting Titanic’s course, making sure we are following the correct helm. It’s difficult to navigate in open water and the calculations take some time but Captain Smith insists on accuracy.”
Curious, Trinity moved closer and leaned over the table to look at the calculation pages and markings made on the charts scattered about. The locket slipped out from under her dress and swung lazily above the charts. To Trinity’s eyes it appeared to be glowing but no one in the room took any note. As she watched it spin the pencil lines on the chart began to shift. Startled she watched them disappear and then reappear. Eyes wide, she turned to the officer but he didn’t comment on what happened. She began to wonder if her anxiety was causing her eyes to play tricks on her.
“Miss St. James?” Ismay beckoned Trinity over towards the Captain. Trembling she walked over.
“Lovely to meet you, Miss St. James.” The Captain took her hand and brushed a kiss on it. “I hope you are enjoying the voyage thus far?”
“Yes, thank you. It’s been a wonderful experience.” Trinity paused then recklessly plunged forward. “The ice warnings…is there anything to be concerned about?”
The Captain smiled and patted her hand. “Not to fear. Titanic is a well made ship and can handle a few bumps with some ice. I doubt we will even see any on this trip. I’ll be adjusting our direction to take us around the outer edges of the ice fields off Newfoundland.” He passed the latest wire over to Ismay and laughed. “Here, Ismay. A souvenir for you.”
Ismay tucked the piece of paper in his pocket and took Trinity’s arm. “We should be off for the rest of our tour. I’ll leave you to continue your good work, Captain Smith.”
Trinity and Ismay returned to the radio room so he could check on any messages. The second operator was speaking to Bride as they entered.
“I received it right after you left. We should give it to the Captain.”
“There’s no point, Philips. The Captain knows there’s ice. He said he’d take precautions.”
Philips looked at the message in his hand and shrugged. “If you’re sure.” Trinity watched him toss the slip onto the table where it quickly became forgotten.
It wasn’t just the cold that kept her from falling asleep that night. Events of the past day kept her mind in turmoil. She desperately wished to confide in the Countess about the real reason she was on the ship but she dreaded the repercussions.
Recognizing sleep at this point was futile, Trinity got out of bed and dressed in her warmest clothes. She walked quietly down the corridor to the closest access door to the outer deck and stepped out.
The air outside was much colder than in her cabin. Her breath hung in the air in a solid mass before vaporizing into the night. The ocean was completely still, like glass. Trinity strained to identify the horizon but everything blended together into darkness.
She climbed a set of stairs to access the upper most deck and felt the wind created by Titanic’s motion through the ocean strike her in the face like a wall of ice. The moon appeared briefly from behind some scattered clouds illuminating the hulking shapes of the lifeboats perched along the edge. She realized she’d come up to the second class portion of the Boat Deck; in the first class area there were no lifeboats so the view was not obscured.
The cold was making her toes go numb. She decided to continue her walk inside or to find a quiet corner in the Reading Room when the entire ship shuddered. Trinity lurched forward and grasped the edge of a lifeboat. Out of the corner of her eye a dark shadow slid past. Her heart leaped into her throat. Iceberg.
She bolted down the stairs and found a door into the main lobby that contained the grand central staircase. Small pockets of passengers clustered throughout the room, grabbing hold of passing crew members to interrogate them.
“The engines have stopped.” A fur wrapped, elegantly dressed woman snatched a steward by the arm. “What’s going on?” Trinity could see the terror in the boy’s eyes. He clearly wanted to be nowhere near this regal woman. She scanned the crowds hoping to recognize someone she’d met on the journey.
“Miss St. James!”
She turned to see Ismay descending the stair case. Worried passengers stopped him as he moved, asking the same questions.
“What’s going on?”
“Are we in danger?”
“What happened to the engines?”
To each frantic question Ismay patted the person on the arm and said not to worry. The Captain had everything under control. As he reached Trinity she moved closer to speak to him.
“Bruce, tell me the truth. Is the ship sinking?”
He glanced about furtively before speaking directly in her ear. “I’m not sure. The iceberg punctured at least four of the watertight compartments. If it’s just that Titanic can stay afloat until another ship comes to help. If it’s more…”
The locket at Trinity’s neck began to pulse beneath her clothing. She felt her knees tremble. “May I come with you? To speak to the Captain about the severity of our situation?” Somehow Trinity knew she could not let Ismay out of her sight. The locket lurched and began to grow warm.
“Of course. Come with me, I’ll see to it that you are safe.”
Ismay and Trinity navigated the growing crowds of passengers emerging from their cabins. Crew members were making announcements to them as they passed.
“Please, locate the life vest in your cabin and put it on. This is just a precaution. Attention. Please locate your life vests and put them on. This is just a precaution.”
Outside the Bridge they found Thomas Andrews pacing in the hall. Ismay rushed up and griped his arms.
“Thomas? What’s our situation?”
Andrews glanced at Trinity hovering behind Ismay and sighed. “It’s not good, Bruce. The engineers report that five of the compartments have been punctured. Titanic is filling up with water. She’s going to sink. We have to get as many passengers off as possible!”
Ismay shook his head in disbelief. “Are you certain? I just don’t see…”
Andrews lurched at him, grabbing his shoulders. “Listen to me! I know this ship! I knew our speed was going to be an issue. We were moving too fast to avoid the collision and now…” He stared at them, a haunted look in his eye. “Everything…gone. It’ll all be gone.”
Pushing Ismay away he walked briskly down the hall shouting to anyone he encountered to begin filling the lifeboats. Trinity stared at Ismay with wide eyes.
“Oh my god, Bruce. We have to get off the ship. We have to…”
“I want to speak to Captain Smith. Come with me.” Ismay pushed open the door to the bridge and encountered chaos. Officers moved out, not really knowing what to do while Captain Smith stood at the window staring out into the night, his knuckles white as he gripped the edge of the console.
“Captain?” Ismay placed a hand on his shoulder. The Captain jumped at the touch and whirled around to face them. It was the only time through everything that Trinity saw him scared. He smoothed his features quickly.
“Is it as bad as Thomas says? Are we sinking?”
Wearily, the Captain nodded. “I’m sending out distress signals over the wireless and shooting up the flares. There should be a ship close enough to provide rescue.” He paused. “You know there aren’t enough lifeboats for everyone.”
Wordlessly, Ismay nodded. Trinity choked back a cry.
“I’ve issued the orders to my crew that it is women and children first.” Turning to Trinity he gripped her hand. “Miss, you should head to the Boat Deck as fast as you can. I want you on a lifeboat.”
“Yes, sir.” She gulped quickly, trying to keep the tears at bay. The Captain looked at Ismay.
“See that she gets to safety, and then help out with getting others to the lifeboats.”
“Of course Captain.” He wrapped an arm about Trinity’s shoulders. As they walked away she turned to look back at Captain Smith. He was standing ramrod straight before the window, his face resigned to his fate.
In the hall, Ismay quickened his steps. The ship beneath them lurched to one side, throwing Trinity to the wall.
“Are you hurt?” Ismay helped her regain her feet. Trinity shook her head.
“I’m alright. Let’s keep…” Her sentence was cut off by the appearance of a shadowy figure emerging from a doorway.
“Why, hello again Mr. Ismay. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
Trinity gasped. “Lucius!”
The locket suddenly went ice cold.
Lucius grinned and took a mocking little bow. “In the flesh, my dear. Thank you for completing the task I set you.” He shifted his dark gaze back to Ismay. “Ismay and I, however, have some unfinished business.”
Ismay gaped at Trinity in disbelief. She could see the hurt battling with his surprise over Lucius’ sudden appearance. He took a step towards her, his hand reaching out. “What did you do for him, Miss St. James? What did you do?”
A deep guttural laugh filled the small space and Lucius threw his head back in delight. “Oh, that is fabulous! Yes, Ismay, blame the girl for all your life’s misdeeds.” He looked askance at Trinity, amusement filling his glittering obsidian eyes. “Never allowed him to call you by your first name? So proper of you, darling Trinity.”
Ismay’s face flushed with anger. “What the blast do you want? I met the terms of our deal!” He choked back a sob and buried his face in his hands. Lucius’s brows furrowed in anger.
“You think that paltry little soul was enough, Ismay? For what I gave you? Fame, fortune, success? I told you I would have your heart and soul!” He took a step forward, his fists clenched at his side. His eyes blazed with hellfire. Trinity backed up flush against the wall as far away from Lucius as possible.
As quickly as the anger flared it disappeared and Lucius resumed his calm, confident demeanor. With a grand sweeping gesture that encompassed the entire ship he smiled like a feral cat, his perfect white teeth glinting in the low light.
“I now have your heart, Ismay. Your true heart. And she will be destroyed. Nothing can save this ship. Your ‘unsinkable’ boat is, quite frankly, very sinkable…if you make sure it travels the right route.” He looked over at Trinity against the wall and winked. She gasped and gripped the locket in her hand, the sterling silver ice cold to her touch. The pencil markings shifting on the charts, it hadn’t been her imagination.
“Captain Smith tried to direct us around the ice, he tried…but I changed the coordinates, the calculations. I-“ She felt her throat close up as the tears filled her eyes. Horrified she met Lucius’s malicious gaze. “People will die Lucius! Innocent people who have nothing to do with Bruce’s ‘debt’ to you. There aren’t enough lifeboats!”
Lucius yawned and shrugged at her. “Why is that my fault? There could have been enough boats. Ask Ismay why there are so many empty davits on the Boat Deck.” He shifted and settled into a relaxed pose. “What are you still doing here Ismay? Our deal is concluded. Off now, run away, like the coward you truly are.” He flicked his fingers at him in dismissal. Ismay looked over at Trinity and reached out a hand to her.
“Miss St- Trinity, come with me. I promised the Captain I’d see you to safety.”
Trinity took a hesitant step towards him but was stopped by Lucius extending an arm between them. “No, Miss St. James stays.” He stared deep into her eyes, the black pools devoid of any life. “She has something that belongs to me.”
Trinity could see the indecision in Ismay eye’s before he licked his lips and pushed past Lucius without a word. She watched his back until he disappeared around a corner.
“I thought our deal was concluded. I did what you asked…is my life still to be forfeit?” Her voice trembled with fear. Lucius narrowed his eyes and held out his hand, palm up.
“My locket, please. Once it has been returned, you are free to go. All debts will be cancelled between us and your sister’s health will be sound once more, as agreed.”
She clenched the locket tighter in her fingers. “Why did you choose me for this?”
Lucius huffed, exasperated. “Why not you? You are a comely woman with enough courage to tackle the challenge. And you had a need. So I filled it.” She noted the subtle change to his profile as his jaw clenched. “Now give me back my locket!”
Her eyes narrowed. “Why must I give it to you? Why can’t you just take it?” Understanding hit her. “You can’t just take it, can you? If you want it back, I must freely relinquish it!”
With two swift moves she darted to the opposite side of the hall and pulled a hatchet off the wall. Yanking the locket from her neck, the chain breaking, she dropped to the ground and paused. The locket perched on the edge of her hand, the hatchet poised to drop upon it the moment it hit the floor.
An anguished cry escaped Lucius’ throat, the first time perhaps in his life that fear filled him. “No! Don’t! You can’t!”
Trinity took a deep breath. “Can’t I?” She asked and dropped the locket to the floor. She brought the hatchet down upon the delicate surface and was thrown back by its reaction to being struck.
“Nooooooooooo!” Lucius’ wail echoed in the hall. Trinity stared as he shimmered, faded, and finally disappeared. The locket lay in two pieces on the floor, mangled into an unrecognizable shape. Her fingers quivering, Trinity reached out, plucked the pieces up and tucked them into her pocket.
The deck was still teaming with passengers as crew members tried to guide them as quickly as possible to the few remaining lifeboats. Trinity pushed through the masses, struggling up to her tiptoes to see how close she was to a lifeboat.
“Miss St. James! Trinity! Over here!” Countess Rothes stood in a lifeboat, her arms waving at her. She yelled at the steward working on lowering the boat down. “Wait! Wait! Let her on!”
The steward helped Trinity jump down into the boat and continued to lower it gently to the sea. The seaman in the boat began rowing and Countess Rothes stepped up to the tiller, explaining she had some experience with boats.
Her arms wrapped tightly about her body, Trinity stared back at Titanic, her heart heavy with the loss of all those souls.
Lucius would feast tonight.