The slight bump made no sense. Sarah was accustomed to the gentle swaying, rocking. But this was a definite bump. And she definitely heard a groan, too, low and rumbling underneath the bump.
Sarah looked around her, desperate to find Andy. Where was he? They were standing next to each other in the large dining room, only minutes earlier. How can someone disappear so quickly.
A flash of Andy’s sandy-blonde, shaggy hair, way over by the stairs. Sarah hurried along, pushing passengers out of her way, her terror and need to be close to Andy quickened her pace. At the top of the stairs, she stared downwards. He was at the bottom step, heading towards the door, no doubt to check on what was happening in the engine room. She followed, carefully taking each step in her stilettos, lifting her sequinned gown to her knees.
At the bottom, in the narrow passage, Sarah’s heart skipped a beat when she took in the activity around her. Staff from the ship were moving towards the engine room, curious passengers blocking their way.
‘Everybody on deck,’ came the Captain’s booming voice. ‘All passengers head to the deck please. The staff will direct you once there.’
Sarah stood still, shock coursing through her veins. Andy turned, grabbed her arm, ‘We have to head up, with the others. We’ve hit something.’
They followed the stream of passengers, Sarah was almost carried up the stairs with the throng. Andy held her arm.
By the time they got to the deck, staff had already untied the life boats and were lowering them into the ocean. Small children and their mothers were clambering onto the rafts. On the horizon the land was a tiny speck. A boat, the coast guard presumably, was already speeding their way.
Sarah sighed. They would be safe. They would all be safe. The ship groaned again and tilted backwards. Sarah fell onto her bottom and slid a 360° turn, her body shaped like a V. She glanced around for Andy, saw him in the distance gripping onto the rail, just as everything around her went black.
‘M’am, wake up!’ The darkness around Sarah wavered, a hand was lightly slapping her cheek. She opened her eyes. She was in a life raft. She glanced at the others. No Andy.
‘Please, where’s my husband? Andy? Do you know where he is?’
‘Sorry, m’am, no. But I do know all passengers made it off the ship. You were among the last to be rescued.’
As Sarah’s eyes focussed, she realised a number of the crew from the ship were in the life raft. She felt cold, damp. No, wet. Not damp. Her feet were in water. Turning her head to gaze behind her, she noticed a crew member with a bucket, bailing water from the raft.
‘We’re going to be fine, m’am,’ said the man closest to her. He threw her a blanket. Smiled wanly. Panic rose inside her. She didn’t believe him.