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'Save That Ship!' by 'Korky'


The sun streamed through the curtains of my bedroom that morning. I had just awakened and already noticed something very unusual. “Those aren't my curtains”, I thought. I rubbed my eyes and took another look. Beautiful lace curtains with heavy inner curtains of a deep red hue. “Where am I?”.

I looked around the room and while I clearly recognised the old, long since disused fireplace and the door, little else was the same. The carpet was gone and in its place on the old floorboards was a small mat. In place of my locker was a small night-stand and even the bed had been transformed to an old-fashioned steel bedstead with heavy blankets and sheets.

My heart was racing. “Was I in the wrong room? Had I a few too many last night?”. But I remembered that I had been home last night and hadn't touched a drop of alcohol.

I got out of bed and went to the window, opening the curtains hesitatingly for fear of another shock. I certainly got it. While the view of Cork Harbour was familiar the large ship in the distance was unmistakeable. A large black hull, four funnels and a shape that had gone out of fashion many decades previously. It couldn't be. Could it?

I had to investigate further. I got up and looked for my clothes only to find an old suit. I put it on and slowly went down the stairs. Who else would be in the house? There wasn't a sound as I let myself out through a heavy timber door which had replaced my PVC door. The town of Cobh looked much the same but there wasn't a car in sight and the colours of the houses were somewhat drab. Smoke rose from many chimneys.

I walked to the town centre, amazed at the sight of people in old fashioned clothes, the occasional horse and cart and shop windows selling what looked like antiques. I went to a newsagents shop and looked at the newspapers on display. The Cork Examiner was there, it's familiar colour photo and sharp headlines gone and in their place a front page full of ancient looking adverts. I ignored them as I looked for the dateline. There was no mistake. April 11, 1912. I tried my pocket for some change and was amazed that in place of the now familiar Euro coins I found some old pennies in my pocket. So I bought the morning paper.

Inside the Examiner I read of the arrival of a ship I only knew from history. I had not been mistaken. RMS Titanic, the world's largest passenger liner and there she was off Roche's Point, three of her funnels belching black smoke. I knew what must come next. She was going to meet her fate with an iceberg in the North Atlantic in just two days time. I must warn people, but who'll believe me?

I ran along the street, avoiding piles of horse manure on my way, until I got to the Bench where I saw some of the local harbour pilots having a chat. I asked for the Harbour Master but I was told “He's back in Cork” so I found the chief pilot in charge and tried to warn him of the danger to Titanic. He laughed as he told me the ship was practically unsinkable. The other pilots and a few fishermen said the same and laughed. “I must get out to that ship and talk to Captain Smith”, I thought.

I tried and failed several times to get a lift out to the ship and eventually decided the only way to get on board was to buy a ticket to New York. I queued up and got the ticket and I was soon on board the White Star tender on my way. With a few dozen other Irish passengers on the tender we eventually reached Titanic and I climbed aboard.

I headed towards the captain's cabin when I heard a light rasping noise and the back of my neck felt wet. I put my hand to my neck and it felt clammy and disgusting. I heard a shout “Cut”, I looked around and there was James Cameron, the movie director, shouting at me. “Get out of the bloody way. Now when you're ready Miss Winslett could you try spitting boy again, this idiot got in the way”. “Really, you can't make a movie these days without some bloody fool spoiling it by trying to get in the action”.