The warning blasted throughout the ship:
This is not a drill. Proceed to your muster station.
How can a ship sink when the sea is calm and the weather fine? I learn from panicked voices of a fire on deck one. I hear the word ‘bomb.’ The situation is surreal. I retrieve my lifejacket and head toward Muster Station 3 where I notice both men and woman boarding the lifeboats. How can that be? Isn’t it always women and children first? Then again, my only experience with a sinking ship was the movie Titanic.
A young woman catches my attention. I grab her hand, hoping she will prove strong enough for us both. When it is my turn to board the lifeboat, I turn to my companion to say we will be okay; instead she shoves a worn leather book at me. Before receding into the crowd, she mouths: make sure it gets into the right hands. The lifeboat plunges into the ocean and I never see the woman again.
As we motor toward safety, I open the book and read words more frightening than the sinking ship:
Citizens of the United States…. you are in danger.
Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag) provided this week’s challenging photo.