Chapter 5

Written by: SameerNagarajan

She landed on the ship's deck. A violent jerk nearly threw her overboard. Grabbing a rope, she saw huge waves drenching everything. Men were running around her while the Captain issued rapid-fire instructions attempting to save the ship and everything on it. 

She steadied herself. A wild-eyed horse ran past her as she rose to her feet. 

She turned and faced the young Captain. “Take down the sails,” she said. She didn't know where the thought came from but instinctively knew with the sails down there would be no resistance to the wind and so better chances of survival. 

The Captain turned to the sailor next to him, puzzled. “Jim, did you hear a woman speak?

No Cap'n, said Jim, keeping a steady eye on the horizon, “there are no women on this ship. He turned to look at Oliver, wondering if the Captain was delirious with fear, fever or both. 

Well the suggestion is a good one,” said Oliver, take the sails down!

Alice realised he could hear but not see her. As she pondered the implications another wave crashed on board. 

Steer towards starboard, she said next. He looked puzzled again but thought better of asking Jim who was giving him suspicious looks. The advice was wise since the ship took the next wave head-on, taking in less water. 

Still holding the rope to keep balance, she asked Oliver to check the cargo was evenly distributed. 

He immediately told a small group of sailors to go down to the hold and distribute the cargo evenly if there was a need. The men rushed to do as instructed. 

They were back in minutes, shouting that the hold had taken in water. 

The extra minutes that they had got from their manoeuvres were enough for them to launch lifeboats for the remaining men on board. Oliver made sure he was the last to leave. 

Alice stepped into the lifeboat after him. There was enough room for all of them. 

We are at any rate alive,” shouted Oliver over the storm, and not too far from land, I hope.

A few hours later, the sea regained its sapphire blue, glassy look and the sun shone as if the storm had never happened. A seagull squawked faintly in the distance and Alice saw it was nearing the boat. The men cheered and Oliver beamed. 

Alice saw the hope and optimism on his face and she was conscious of the growing tension in her mind. She had helped Oliver survive but Emma had said that she was a widow. Not any more,” thought Alice. She had changed the past. The present and future would change as a result. 

Coming back to reality, she saw the seagull had perched on the lifeboat, looking among the men. Something glinted in it’s beak as it walked carefully to Oliver. It dropped a ring at his feet and flew away with a triumphant, raucous squawk. 

That's Emma's, he said, as he bent to pick it up.

Comments

Your description of the storm and the sea is so graphic I could see it all. Great and the sea gull dropping Emma's ring is really good. It leaves the story open for the next writer. But I also liked the idea of changing the past and that changing the present and the future is very good.
Thank you for the feedback Suraya!