The little group of Witches and Slayers made their way for’ard; they had not gone far when they noticed the water start to leak into their shoes.
“Goddess that’s cold!” Exclaimed Will, as they made their way down the corridor with the water getting deeper by the step.
“What does this demon chappy look like then?” Asked Lady Rosenberg.
“Last time me an’ Ken saw him he was a tall, dark-haired, handsome young man.” Replied Will as she struggled through the deepening water, “How do you move in these clothes?”
“With determination.” Replied Lady Rosenberg, “Why? What would you normally wear?”
“Jeans, and a top of some sort,” Replied Will, “Much easier to move an’ fight in.”
“Jean’s?” Asked Lady Rosenberg, “Jean’s what?”
“No time to explain now maybe later, huh?” Said Will coming to a halt and consulting some kind of tracking device in her had.
Lady Rosenberg held up her pendant.
“It’s moved back towards the back.” Both Willow’s announced together.
“Stern!” Corrected the Kennedy’s as they turned to go back the way they had just come.
They gave each other pitying looks.
“If we didn’t love them so much…” Said Kennedy.
“Yeah I know.” Agreed Ken.
“I say!” Called a voice from behind them.
The group turned to see an attractive young woman with mousy blonde hair struggle through the water towards them. She wore what had once been an expensive evening dress, which now looked very much the worse for wear as it clung damply to her body. The four lesbians turned and studied her figure admiringly for a moment.
“Umm…Yes my dear can we help you?” Asked Lady Rosenberg after a moment’s hesitation.
“Don’t ‘Umm’,” Whispered Kennedy, “It’s unladylike.”
Lady Rosenberg cast her companion a dark look, which extracted nothing but a quiet giggle from its target.
“I wonder if you can help me,” Gasped the young woman, “But my young man is trapped,” She pointed towards the bow of the ship, “If I don’t rescue him soon he’ll drown!”
The two Willow’s exchanged looks.
“I’ll go,” Said Kennedy moving towards the young woman.
“We’ll all go!” Announced Lady Rosenberg imperiously.
“But what about the d-e-m-o-n?” Hissed Will.
“I think she can spell sweetie.” Said Ken nodding towards the young woman.
“Sweetie?” Mouthed Lady Rosenberg and Miss DeSilver at each other.
“Please!” Begged the young woman.
“Okay,” Said Ken leading the way back down the corridor, “Let’s go!”
“Common as muck!” Whispered Lady Rosenberg into her companion’s ear.
“Damned colonials!” Agreed Miss DeSilver with a grin.
By the time they got to the cabin where the young man was trapped the water was up to the party’s collective chest.
“Goddess its cold.” Complained Will as they took in the situation while the young couple got reacquainted.
Lady Rosenberg forced her way over to the two young people and felt around under the water.
“Young woman,” She asked sternly, “Can you tell me why your…‘friend’ is handcuffed to the wall?”
“Bulkhead.” Corrected the Kennedy’s tiredly.
They both received a withering looks from their Willow’s.
“He was falsely accused by fiancée Cal Hockley !” Claimed the young woman who’s name turned out to be Rose De Witt Bukater.
“Hockley!” Gasped Will, “That was the name the…the…you know…thing beginning with ‘D’, was travelling under!”
“The demon?” Asked Kennedy maliciously.
“Demon?” Asked Miss De Witt Bukatar.
The water crept up to just above their chests.
“Can you get me outta here?” Pleaded the young man struggling with his chains.
“He’s Irish!” Exclaimed Lady Rosenberg turning a disappointed look at Miss De Witt Bukatar.
The two Kennedy’s turned to one another and nodded. They moved towards the young man and disappeared under the water for a moment. When they resurfaced the young man was free.
“Now get outta here!” Ordered Will before Lady Rosenberg had a chance to say anything, “And good luck!”
The young couple struggled through the water together as they headed towards the stern.
The going got easier as the little group struggled their way aft, the tilt of the deck increased perceptively as the walked, but at least the water level was going down.
“I can hardly move in these clothes.” Panted Will as her Ken helped her along. “I’m going to cast a spell and dry us out.”
“Magic should not be used for frivolous things.” Pointed out Lady Rosenberg, but with no great conviction.
“I think we can let it pass just this once?” Asked Will of the group, they all nodded agreement.
Will muttered some words under her breath and within moments they were all standing in bone dry clothes.
“Lets get going.” Said Ken; “We’ve still got a demon to slay.”
They walked along seemingly endless corridors, occasionally meeting confused or panicked passengers trying to find their way out of the maze of companionways to the boat deck. The two Willow’s bickered quietly as they walked behind their Slayer’s.
“How long have you been together?” Asked Kennedy.
“Must be…seven years now.” Replied Ken after a moment's thought, “What about you?”
“Only five.” Replied Kennedy, “We fell in love not long after we’d been assigned together.”
“We’re in the Imperial Nightwatch,” Said Kennedy proudly, “We help protect the Empire from the forces of darkness…and Germans!”
“Nightwatch?” Repeated Ken as they turned another corner, “Never heard of it. There was a thing called the ‘Watchers Council’ but they turned evil and had to be killed. Will an’ me work for the ‘Slayers and Witches League’ in Cleveland.”
“In northern England?” Asked Kennedy.
“No Ohio, US of A.” Said Ken.
“We were going to Americas to help them start their own Nightwatch when all this started.” Explained Kennedy.
“We were Slaying Vampires in New York when we got caught up in this demon’s plans…now here we are!”
The two Slayers broke off from their conversation to find themselves in the First Class smoking lounge.
They looked around to see several well-dressed men standing or siting around the lounge. In one corner there was a group of noisy young men seemingly engrossed in a drinking competition. At a table sat an old man with a long beard who sat quietly engrossed in a book. At yet another table sat a smartly dressed middle-aged man playing Patience.
Over by the fireplace under a large painting of New York Harbour stood the designer Mr Andrews, he seemed to be checking a large ornamental clock by his pocket watch. He opened the clock and moved the hands on a few minutes. Closing the clock once more he snapped his watch shut. Turning to face the room he started talking to someone. The Slayers stepped a little closer to hear what was said.
“They're clearing away two of the collapsible boats,” Said Andrews to a young couple who sat on a seat in front of the fireplace, “If they succeed, I'm sure they'll be a place for you in one of them.” He nodded to the young woman.
“See,” Said the man to his young wife, “You can still go. Please darling.”
“No. We've started out together and we'll finish together.” Replied the woman turning away from her husband, “Are you married Mr. Andrews?” She asked.
“Yes,” Said Andrews, “And if my wife were here I'd think she would go.”
“Do you have a family?” Continued the woman.
“Then it would make a difference then wouldn't it?” The woman reasoned.
“Perhaps.” Agreed Andrews, “Let my give you some advice, put your lifebelts on and lower yourself down using the ropes hanging over the side. Don't jump if you can avoid it. When you're in the water swim away from the ship at once, and be well clear of her when she sinks.”
“Thank you,” Said the man as Andrews walked away, “We'll remember.” Then to his wife, “I wonder if he will save himself?”
“We'll save ourselves.” Declared his wife and the couple got up and walked towards the open deck.
The two Slayers looked at one another and came to a silent agreement, they both knew what they would have to do when the time came.
“This way I think.” Called Lady Rosenberg from the ‘up’ side of the lounge, she went through a door and out of sight.
“We’d better follow.” Sighed Ken.
The party found themselves in a kitchen, here and there things had slid onto the floor, but generally things were still ship-shape and tidy. Lady Rosenberg hurried on and opened a door leading to the first class dinning room. She daintily stepped aside as a mobile hotplate slowly bounced from pillar to furniture and then out through the door they had entered by.
They stood for a moment to survey the scene. Six steerage passengers, three men and three women scurried through the room on their way to find a boat.
“Well, where to now?” Asked Ken.
Both the Willow’s looked at their tracking devices. Lady Rosenberg’s pendant shone brightly, while the strange box that Will held in her hand flashed multicoloured lights at its owner.
“It’s close!” The two Witches announced.
Just then a bullet ‘spanged’ off an iron pillar the sound of the pistol shot as loud as a cannon in the confines of the dinning room. All four women dived for the carpet; the two Kennedys pulled out there own firearms.
“Who’s shooting at us?” Demanded Lady Rosenberg.
“Sorry,” Apologised Will, “I forgot to say the demon has a helper.”
The two Slayers looked at each other and nodded, they started to work their way around the shooter’s flanks. Two more bullets impacted the bulkhead above where the Witches lay.
“Is there anything else you’ve forgotten to tell us?” Asked Lady Rosenberg frostily.
“Can’t think of anything,” Replied Will, “Apart from; you’re really starting to get on my nerves!”
A fusillade of shoots interrupted the arguing witches as their Slayers gunned the man down. They walked over to examine his body. Ken kicked the gun away from the man’s outstretched hand.
“He’s dead.” She said to her sister Slayer.
“You don’t have any problem shooting people then?” Asked Kennedy.
“Not as such,” Replied her double, “It’s not something I enjoy doing.”
“Same here.” Agreed Miss DeSilver.
They turned to see their witches about to start some magical battle of their own as they argued over…over nothing that the Slayers could see or make sense of.
“An’ I thought working with other Slayers could be difficult.” Ken muttered darkly.
“You two!” Yelled Miss DeSilver in a very unladylike manner, “Will you stop that?!?!”
“Yeah,” Agreed Ken, “Demon to slay, people!”
“Ship sinking!” Added Kennedy.
The two witches stood and looked like two little girls who had been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
“She started it.” Sulked one.
“I did not! You…!” Began the other, as the demon burst into the dinning room.
The Slayers ducked for cover as the witches let loose a deluge of magical fire at the demon. The Slayers looked at one another as they hid behind an up turned table.
“I’ve never been so happy to see a demon!” They agreed, before emptying their pistols into the demon.
The bullets had little or no effect.
“Enchanted bullets?” Asked Kennedy as she reloaded her revolver.
“Will calls ‘em ‘Magic Bullets’.” Replied Ken slipping a fresh clip into her automatic.
It looked as if the witch’s magic bolts were having as much effect as the Slayer’s bullets. Other than making the demon shed it’s human form it still looked full of life. The Slayers fired off a few more rounds before crawling to a new table. The witches had their shields up by now and were trading magic fire with the demon, which seemed to be ignoring the Slayers.
“What’s a good way of killing a demon, where you come from?” Asked Miss DeSilver.
“Silver Knife is a good one,” Replied Ken, “But where are we going to get a silver knife around here?”
Kennedy picked up a dinner knife from the floor and pointed to the writing on the blade, ‘Stirling Silver’ it said. The Slayers grinned at each another.
Both Witches tried their most devastating spells on the demon, nothing seemed to work.
“Maybe if we both tried to bind it?” Suggested Will.
“You mean cast the same spell together,” Called Lady Rosenberg over the sound of magic that crackled and banged around the room, “Join our power together.”
“I think it’s the only way.” Shouted Will.
The two women held hands and started to chant together as the demon rushed towards them and the ship settled deeper into the water. Unseen by both Witches and Demon the Slayers ran towards the demon’s back silver cutlery held in their upraised hands. Just as the demon was about to sweep his clawed hands down on the witches a bright sparkley barrier appeared around the demon.
The demon raged and roared as it tried to break free of its prison. The witches struggled for control as they tried to keep the fiend trapped. The Slayers fell on the creature’s back stabbing repeatedly with their silverware! The demon screamed with pain and tried to fight off its attackers. However, each time he threatened one she would retreat to safety through the magical wall, while her sister continued to stab and slash at the monster.
Eventually the demon fell to its knees, dark red blood oozing from its many wounds onto the carpet.
“Cut its throat!” Gasped Lady Rosenberg.
Ken took a firm grip on her blood slick knife and drew the blade across the hell-spawn’s throat. Blood gushed from the wound fountaining across the floor, up the bulkhead and across the ceiling. It slumped to the floor and lay still. The magical barrier winked out of existence as both witches fell to their knees.
“Well fought sis.” Gasped Ken holding out her hand to Kennedy.
“Neatly done.” Agreed Kennedy.
“I think its time for us to go…get those two out of here.” Said Ken pointing to the exhausted witches.
The Slayers staggered over and each helped her witch to her feet.
“You better come to the boat deck with us.” Ordered Kennedy supporting her Willow around the waist.
“No,” Replied Ken picking up her Willow, “We’ll be okay. The spell that brought us here will drag us back soon, we’ll be fine.”
“You’re sure?” Asked Kennedy dragging Willow towards the exit.
“Sure,” Replied Ken, “Don’t worry,” She turned and carried her Will towards the stern, “Good luck!” She shouted and disappeared through a door.
“Room for one more lady!” Called the officer in charge of loading the lifeboat.
“Here!” Called Kennedy pushing Willow towards the boat.
“No!” Protested Willow weakly, “Like that woman said, we started together we’ll finish together!” She hung on to her lover refusing to let go of her.
“Come on Willow,” Begged Kennedy, “I’ll be fine…I can look after myself.” She grinned reassuringly at her Lady, “I’ll swim to New York if I have to!”
“Nooo!” Cried Willow as two strong sailors carried her towards the boat at a silent order from Kennedy.
“’Ere,” Came a man’s voice from the boat.
A crewman dressed in chief’s whites stood up, “’Er friend can have my seat Sir,” He said to the officer, “I’m no seaman anyway.”
The baker stepped out of the boat, “I’ll be fine Miss.” He said to Kennedy as he helped her into the boat.
Will and Ken held on to each other, they were near the very stern of the ship. The angle of the deck was now so steep that it was impossible to stand unless there was something to rest against. The last boat had been launched some time ago. The two women held tight to each other.
“I hope that spell kicks in soon.” Said Ken into Will’s hair.
“Me too sweetie.” Replied the little Witch.
The ship started her death plunge picking up speed as it slipped inexorably beneath the waves. The two women embraced and kissed as they disappeared beneath the surface.
“I hope they got away.” Said Lady Rosenberg as they sat shivering in the lifeboat.
“Ken was quite sure they would.” Replied Miss DeSilver.
Her Willow gave her a hard look, “Be that as it maybe,” Announced Willow, “But I know my Kennedy’s. They’d sacrifice themselves if it meant someone else would live.”
“But what about her Willow?”
“My dear, life would not be worth living if I lost you. Do you think that Willow wouldn’t feel the same?”
“Look!” Cried one of the survivors, “A rocket! We’re saved!!!”
“Talk about cutting it fine.” Said Ken as she and Will stepped out onto the docks at New York harbour.
“Yeah,” Replied Will, “But it’s not quite what I had in mind.”
“Hey,” Laughed Ken, “It’s dry land, I’m not complaining!”
“Yes,” Agreed Will, “But what are we going to do in an alternate reality’s 1912?”
“We can always wash dishes!” Smiled Ken as she took hold of Will’s hand and walked off into a New World.
The Baker in the story is a historical figure; I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember his name. He did indeed give up his place in a life boat so a woman could accompany her friend, and he did in fact survive.
In the Harland and Wolfe ship yards in Belfast (where the Titanic was built) there are two memorials. One to those lost when the Titanic sank, and one to the shipyard workers who lost their lives in the Great War. It is interesting to note that the names on the Titanic memorial are listed in order of social importance. On the Great War memorial the names are listed alphabetically.
How the world changed in six short years.