There is no time, shouted the wrinkled man with a folded spine, wildebeests running across his eyeballs. He wished he were one of them. Getting the hell out of there. If she gathered everything she wanted from her cabin, they would be sacrificed to the sea. Anna took a long gaze at her jewelry box and gilded picture frames from the doorway. The old man hissed at her as he hobbled towards the exit. Really, her hesitation lasted the smallest of moments, but a split second becomes eternity when you can hear the ocean gushing towards you, when you're already in the belly of the ship, below water, practically daring the ocean to swallow you whole.
He wasn't ready to go home to the angels. Though he'd lived a long and full life, he couldn't ignore the feeling that he had many more good years on the planet. He had great grandkids with full heads of red hair and the most achingly beautiful granddaughters an old man could imagine. He had no wife, he hadn't had one for a while, but he had children and true friends and a house down the street from a deep blue lake where he fished every day from May through September.
The girl stepped back into the room. She was drawn to her things like Sleeping Beauty to the spindle. She had gold in her eyes and the devil on her shoulder. The man yelled from his belly, stop! You're going to drown! But the sound came only from his throat. Spindly and quiet. He'd run out of that kind of power decades ago.
He hated her. She didn't deserve to live if she believed pretty things to be bigger than a life. What did she think would happen if the ship went down? Did she fancy herself a mermaid? Did she think she could outrun the ship, the weight of the ocean, the force of God? He staggered towards her, purple fingers stretching for her ivory neck.
Follow me now, or you will die.
And then he turned and fled. He wanted to look back but he feared this would kill him. He did not see his life flash, rather the faces of his children hurtled through his mind at an alarming speed. With each face, he climbed another rung of the ladder. He was the last person saved from the ship.