Jonathan Ball
FICTION
 

From INBOX

 

Titanic and Other Ships (Charles Herbert Lightoller)

Then nobody would have had a ghost of a chance. Out of the rope we made our fishing lines. Then back with their booty to the lair, leaving no track or trace.

In the entrance to the lagoon the wreck of H. Sure enough, it was a real pool of pure clear crystal water. When the backwash came, I could feel that rope dragging through my hands, inch by inch. At the point of an albatross beak is a hook, almost exactly resembling a lion’s claw.

Now in what books have I read about mirages? Peep of day next morning saw us scrambling up the cliffs aiming for the top of the island. Then back with their booty to the lair, leaving no track or trace. Then back with their booty to the lair, leaving no track or trace. Then I further noticed that they seemed to be actually drinking.

With the result, that, I came a terrific cropper on the rocks below. We expected all four masts to come down like a row of ninepins. Over that edge, and it would be all up for me. Or, to put his ship straight at it, and deliberately throw her away. I had good eyesight too, but perched up there I could see nothing resembling house or hut. Or else he was not as lucky as the rest of us in dodging the backwash. Arrived at the huts, the first cry from the fellows already there was, Have you found water?

So the strongest formed a sort of bodyguard, wilst we youngsters became the carriers. I could see the fellows walking ahead, but they seemed a mighty way off. From time immemorial sailing ships have what is termed Run their Easting Down. Stand clear below, was the caution, and then let go!

They had just time to slip their anchors, and run her as hard as they could for the beach. If we had not been made of cast-iron we certainly could not have stuck it. Everything on the island seemed poisonous. When the albatrosses scented the pork and the rabbits, they rose in a cloud to share a cheap meal.

One could almost describe it as a relief from the racking suspense when at last she struck.

Very likely he would be trying to sight the island to correct his position. As almost everybody was on the starb’d side of the boom, I nipped along to the port side.

I don’t blame them altogether, but when, on occasions, they drew knives, then it got beyond a joke.

 


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