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The Man Who Was Poe: A Different End

*As Edmund watched, breathless, Peterson drew close enough to Sis to make a grab for her just as she leaped into the water.* Stumbling like a drunk, Peterson lost his balance and fell over the side of the ship, tumbling into the water headfirst. He did not reappear as Sis did moments after he disappeared into the water.

Edmund ran to the rail and called out her name.
She flailed her arms over the water in response, bobbing up and down as she gasped for air.

“Hold on!” Edmund yelled, gripping the wooden side of the Peggy.
“No!” Poe cried, grabbing the boy as he prepared to help his sister.
“Let me go!” Edmund screamed, “Sis! She can’t swim!”

“You will be lost!” Poe snapped, pulling him away from the rail.
Absolutely frantic, Edmund gave a violent yank and escaped Poe’s grasp. He ran to the side of the ship and dived into the icy waters –and the water was icy. Edmund almost sank from shock, but he forced himself into action. He kicked at the water and swung his arms over the water and back under, propelling himself forward. Locating Sis’s location, he urged himself forward, even as the waters numbed all feeling in his body and his breath came out in gasps. It was hard work, but he managed to swim against the strong waves of sea.

“Edmund-!” Sis shouted as she bobbed up out of the water. Her cry was cut off with a gurgle as she went under the surface once more. A moment later, she reappeared several more feet away. She was being pulled back to the Sunrise by the waves.

Edmund swam harder, thrashing against the water, kicking, swinging, wiggling –anything to make him move faster. He reached Sis and grabbed her just as she began to slip under the water again. “Sis!” he cried, hugging her in the water. “Don’t worry, I’ve got you!”

She reached out and held fast to his arm as he began to swim back toward the Peggy. He looked up to see Throck and Poe on the deck, yelling and waving their arms wildly.

Suddenly, they heard the loudest creak of wood breaking yet. A shadow loomed over the twins and they both looked up just in time to see the Sunrise lurching onto her side.


Poe and Throck flinched as the Sunrise fell. There was a thunder-like crack as it hit the water and a spray of sea water flew up into the air. The twins were nowhere to be seen.
“Good God!” Throck cried in horror as he raced to the edge of the boat.

Poe stared in horror, too. His mouth was slightly agape, and his eyes were wide. Throck was shaking his shoulder and yelling something, but he saw only Death, grinning with hollow eyes. It was a sign.

Sis had died and little Edgar had followed. No, Edmund. No –
Edgar.

Poe turned pale and despite the chilly morning, beads of sweat appeared on his brow.

Death shook him again and screamed. Maybe he laughed. Poe couldn’t tell. He couldn’t see; Hell was clouding his vision. Scrambled, horrified thoughts flew through his mind: Sis was dead, Edgar followed. Sis died and Edgar tried to save her. Sis died Edgar followed Sis died and Edgar died and everybody died died died died. Everybody died.

Poe clamped his hands to his ears to stop the ringing, but it continued; Death death death death death death death like the steady beating of a drum at a sacrificial ceremony. When the drum stopped beating, the heart stopped beating.

Death was coming to get him.
Poe dropped to his knees and screamed.




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