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A Creative Short Story - Title: A Cold Choice

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A creative short story

The Wind howled a long relentless cry, breaking the oath of silence that had gripped the night. Immediately, the waves roared abruptly, almost in response to the call of the wind. With a quick grumble, the serenity of the night was warped into a raging fury as the waters began to toss and turn like a restless sleeper.

First Lieutenant Flanders stood just outside the captain's quarters, gazing out through the observatory windows towards the icy horizon that was nearing an inch more every second. This was not the first time that he had embarked on this very same voyage, this very same route, yet he was struck with a flushing sense of vertigo as he gazed out upon the icy blanket that they would soon be upon. "It won't be the first perilous trip I have taken" he thought to himself. With a tired sigh he let out a cold breath which turned a frosty, pale white before his eyes. The ship seemed to slow and crash against the ocean water almost as if it knew of the fate which lay ahead, now standing upon the doorstep of a never ending coat of murky, frost-bound waters.

The passengers of the ship were all crowded around the dining table. They had just finished the meal which had been prepared by the crew and the hall was abuzz with an orchestra of voices, passengers socializing, laughing and shouting. They were a small group of around two dozen or so but they were enough to create a racket nonetheless. Amidst the crowd a man of average frame and height sat reclined upon one of the numerous cold mahogany chairs inside the first class dining hall, he was not particularly short but his torso took up most of his frame and consequently he appeared "stunted" to a small degree, like he had been compressed by a heavy weight. He sat there stroking his face, pondering in a way that seemed almost too cliché for the real world. He turned sharply as the familiar voice of a man called out to him, "looking a little grim there Charles!" Charles let out a forced smile and replied in an unruly voice that seemed to contrast with his ever-so professional appearance. "Just a little bit worn out Raymond, its been a long night after all" Despite what he said Charles was feeling just as grim as his facial features would have you think. Something about the night felt ominous and foreboding. His scanned the crowd that was around him. He knew little of the people who were here, and besides his friend Raymond, whom he had known for quite some time, most were strangers to him. His whole body was restless and uneasy. Charles blamed it on weariness or some sort of a very mild seasickness but it was a sixth sense of a sort that was uneasy at the knowledge of a predicament which was yet to come.

The ship rocked and tumbled across the ocean like an infant being cradled. Within the observatory, First Lieutenant Flanders was sitting spread-eagled on an old wooden chair. He sat there, slouching slothfully with a bottle of grog in his hand. The chair letting out a small croak as his head fell back. He wasn't in the mood for a drink. Something about the night all around him made it all too solemn a place for a drink which he would rather enjoy in the company of friends. He absorbed the feel of the scene, breathing in the cool air, the slightly metallic aroma engulfing the room with his mind on the border between consciousness and sleep.

A crashing sound like that of thunder roared all around him as a sudden almighty jolt shook the frame of the ship. With the sound of grinding metal the ship came to a sudden screeching halt as it grounded against the rocks that lay hidden, cloaked by the veil of the night's darkness, just beneath the surface of the ocean waters. An onset of jolts each more powerful than its predecessor, sent an echoing vibration throughout the whole ship as it came to a complete stop. A chill ran down Flanders's spine as the all-too familiar sound of grinding metal rang all around him, waking him instantly. He darted glances all across the interior walls of the ship, as if he somehow expected the source of the problem to be somewhere around him. As he turned to the right he saw the Captain leap across the hallway heading towards him, "What on earth was that?" He yelled, his voice holding a serious, commanding tone that demanded an answer. Flanders stared at him for a second, feeling dumbfound as he took the situation in, then opened his mouth to reply, still absolutely flabbergasted by the turn of events. "I don't know exactly what it was but I sure as hell know that it isn't any good!" Flanders's voice crackled and stuttered giving away the fear that was boiling up within him. Both men looked down as they felt something stir beneath them, the ship began to sway a little and the sound of gushing waters echoed through the hallway. A single loud electronic tone came from within the Captain's cabin signaling that the crew was on the line with him. The Captain ran back towards his cabin with a look of anxiety tattooed on his face "I better go get that, don't sound the alarm just yet, the last thing we want is panic" almost as if it was challenging his command another uproar came from the hull of the ship this time the steady motion of the ship downwards was obvious and both Flanders and the Captain realized that the ship was sinking.

All around the dining hall the collage of voices had come to an abrupt stop as people realized something was amiss . It was only minutes between the first jolt that they had felt and the sounding of the alarm , though it had felt like an eternity to those who were still hoping to hear the comforting sound of the Captain over the speakers telling them that all was well and that there was no need to panic. Yet it quickly became clear that it was wishful thinking for the passengers could feel the ship begin to slowly descend. Shocked faces all around began to leap into action like some one had flicked a switch on all around them. The crew began to rush passengers towards the lifeboats, one on each side. Among the ocean of faces stood Charles, the expression on his face had not changed though now his stomach had began to turn at the prospect of what lay ahead. Hundreds of questions flashed through his mind as he began to contemplate the possibilities. He hadn't even realized that he was now at the front of the queue and everyone around him was waiting for him to step onto the lifeboat. It was a rather small, shabby old thing that made him feel as if it would be safer to remain on the ship then place his life in the hands of this obsolete vessel. The man behind him gave him a quick nudge and Charles stepped onto the boat, his weight shaking its frame as he placed his other foot in, taking a seat besides a pregnant woman who



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