Joseph checked his watch before stepping out on the deck. 11.45 said the time-piece once owned by his grandfather. He shivered and drew the overcoat closer and headed starboard. He had told Lord Asquith that they would settle the issue of his debts on the Starboard deck at midnight. Just 15 minutes remaining.
His father, having had more money than sense, managed to die leaving him several thousand pounds in debt. So he took the easiest way out. He caught the fastest train to Southampton and booked his passage out of the country on the first available ship.
America. That’s where he would make his future.
Misfortune struck as soon as he arrived for dinner in the ballroom. Charles, the young Lord Asquith, his childhood friend, who was unperturbed by the ties of days past when someone owed his money, managed to spot him in that large crowd of pretense.
Charles did not need the money. A hundred thousand pounds were just drops in his bucket. It was just the damned principle of it all. It was pure bad luck for Joseph that Charles was also on the ship. But he should have known better. Everyone who was anyone was on board.
Charles never mentioned the money over dinner. But over cigars, he casually brought out the topic, leaving Joseph in no doubt as to what his future in New York was, if he did not clear his debts.
Joseph thought long and hard for two days. He would never be able to come up with that kind of money. There was only one way out. He planned it out carefully. April was by no means warm in the North Atlantic. No one would be around the deck at midnight. It would just take one shot. He would bundle Charles over the deck easily and retire back to his room. No one would question him.
11.55. As he approached his destination, he saw Charles waiting. He was gazing pensively across the moonless horizon. As he drew closer, his hand tightened around the revolver. He was an excellent shot. He could not miss.
11.57. He approached Charles and said, “Hello, old friend. About the money…….. This is the only thing you are going to get out of me.” Joseph drew out the revolver and pointed it at Charles. Charles looked thunderstruck.
But there was something strange about the scene. Charles was not looking at him. He was looking somewhere beyond him. He thought it was a trick. But then, he heard the ship’s horn blaring out the three warning hoots. He also heard the sound of something enormous drawing close. Terrified, he turned around to see the huge mass of ice towering above him. In an instant, it slammed into the ship at the spot where they were both standing and bore down upon him with all its might, determined to take him to the very depths of hell, where Satan awaited with wide open arms…….