The man in the oversized cap looked at me as if something were missing.
‘Where’s your family?’
I couldn’t get away with a lie.
‘It’s just me.’
If the ship hadn’t been sinking, the man would’ve given me an earful. But words and time were precious.
‘Move to the back! Families evacuate first!’
Before I could act, angry hands pulled me back, making way for men, women, children bound by blood, lawfully stitched together.
I squeezed myself in an isolated corner. The groans of the dying ship and the panicked screams made me nauseous. If I was going to die, I wanted some peace and quiet.
The deck trembled and lurched. People screamed even louder, reaching for the railings, dropping to their knees, fixing their hands on the cracking wooden surface.
The man in the cap held on to the tiller of the fast-filling lifeboat. People scrambled aboard like escaping rodents. Had families forgotten the concept of manners?
I laughed till I vomited. No one cared to notice my swelling hysteria.
That’s when I saw the girl. Just a toddler. Her eyes searched the grey sky. There was clearly no one with her.
Another loud crash sent the deck dropping several feet. There was little time before the ship’s bow would rise for its final descent.
I had to get to the child. She deserved to survive.
I pushed through the confusion and fear. My progress was slow.
I found her, laying on her side, surrounded by broken glass. I grabbed her, lifting her above my head.
‘Help! Save my daughter!’
My shouts reached receptive ears. They turned to a family in distress. The girl glided on a bed of hands above crowded heads safely reaching the lifeboat.
My newfound daughter would live. And I would die a family man.
He’s sure that the bump on his arm will kill him. The Hypochondriac confronts his doctor with the sad news.
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