Around the World Against my Will
I'm about to enter into the first journey I've ever taken, odd little booklet. The cruise ship Lusitania seems pleasant enough. But maybe it would be best to climb on board first. The U-Boats frighten me.
But we'll be alright.
On the Ship
The sun is beating down on me, but somehow the sky isnâ€™t filled with air. The oxygen has been replaced with a sort of darkness that lurks over the still blue waters, like a poisoned gas we shouldnâ€™t breathe in. Even as I scan the deck, little booklet, I want to collapse right here. Actually, the water below is looking pretty appetizing. Could I survive the fall? Hopefully not
Whose brilliant idea was this? My mothers. At the time it seemed slightly exciting, floating across the ocean in a cruise ship as the scent of war lingered around me, but now my breath seems wasted. I want to go home. Thereâ€™s a bad feeling etched across the skies today, no matter how safe the captain claims it is in the waters, haunted with the thought of death that had been echoing across the planet for the past years. How have people lived like this for so long?
Germany has been under Nazi rule for a little while now. Everywhere we sail, I can almost smell the u-boats in the ocean spray, like a ghost that taunts me even in my dreams. With the low-hanging clouds in the sky, I feel like the cruise ship Lusitania is in a ditch that it will never escape.
My mother approached me a little while back and asked me if I wanted anything to eat, but I havenâ€™t been hungry for the past three days â€“ another sign that something bad will happen. My gut is in a dark spot right now, between food and danger, and it isnâ€™t leaning any specific way at the moment. Thatâ€™s why I wonâ€™t eat. And in case you wonder, you odd little booklet, â€˜What was the point of this â€œTravelâ€ journal?â€™ Oh, another one of my motherâ€™s brilliant ideas. â€œWhy not try, Ellie? Why not see the world?â€
Because, mother. Because most of it is in ruins right now. Burnt to the ground by Hitler and his little gang of Naziâ€™s. Because my life is awful. Because America isnâ€™t as neutral as people think she is, and as of this moment we could very well be the weight on the wrong end. How hard would it be for those u boats up there to shoot us down? Claim it an accident? Weâ€™ve practically thrown ourselves into the line of fire at this point and thereâ€™s not a thing keeping us from going down.
A girl approached me just now, booklet. I jumped nearly into the ocean when she touched my shoulder. I donâ€™t mean to sound as if Iâ€™m being rude but she is quite beautiful her eyes frighten me a bit, bright blue and blonde hair speckled with dirt. She looks like one of them. Like a German. Suddenly they donâ€™t seem so bad.
â€œYouâ€™re Ellie?â€ the beautiful girl asks. She seems quite shocked at me. Of course. Because my mother most likely sent her to find me, saying, â€˜Oh, can you find my Ellie?â€™ and she expects a girl. Just like every other person Iâ€™ve ever spoken with. Ellie, the worst nickname you could be given.
â€œMy name is Elliot,â€ I say. I speak it with a force as if Iâ€™m spitting at her, and she steps back, upset. I almost feel bad She deserves it.
Her eyes twinkle I watch as she blinks, as if trying to decide an appropriate response. â€œOh. Well, Iâ€™m sorry.â€
There isnâ€™t any bite to her words but still Iâ€™m offended. â€œWhat do you want?â€
She straightens her posture and hands me a notepad. Itâ€™s black, with perfectly white paper that matches her flawless skin. I glance at the scrawled black handwriting that clearly isnâ€™t hers â€“ itâ€™s cramped and hasty, clearly the writing of a man. As you can see, booklet, I donâ€™t have the writing of a man. Mine is more that of a young girl.
The note is something about meeting the captain on the bottom deck of the ship. I look at the girl again. She seems quite interested in what my reply may be, as she stares at me with unyielding intensity. I like her eyes. Her eyes frighten me.
Iâ€™m about to hand the notepad back to her, but there is suddenly a whistling sound filling the air. We both turn quickly little booklet. Perhaps I should put you away. It would be safer â€“
Oh gosh. No, no, booklet. Somethingâ€™s hit the ship.
And they thought I was wrong.