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Evelyn Herwitz novel

The Sinking

NOTE: “The Sinking” is an excerpt from Evelyn Herwitz’s debut novel, Line of Flight. In 1915 Simone Levitsky, recently widowed, sets sail on the Lusitania on a desperate, dangerous search for her estranged daughter, Camilla, who has run off to France with her beau to volunteer in the Great War. Simone writes her account to her granddaughter, Zoé.

by Evelyn Herwitz

How is it possible that a line of ink becomes a thought, that these swirls and dips of black on white convey the blood and anguish, the terror, the pain, the profound grief and stupefaction of that terrible Friday, May 7, 1915? Nearly four years later, my hand still shakes as I recall the horrors I witnessed, horrors that invade my dreams to this day. Yet, there is no avoiding it any longer, no sparing the truth. Writing to you, dear Zoé, seems the only way I know to expunge the disaster from my soul.

The Lusitanias foghorn woke us early that morning, blasting once a minute by Papa’s gold watch. Far from a reassurance that Captain Turner was taking all precautions as we approached the coast, however, the warning only unsettled me all the more. Outside our porthole, the water was veiled by a milky scrim of mist, as if we were sailing through a sea of ghosts. Only when I saw Professor Rockwell at breakfast, when Colin assured me that the fog provided an invisibility cloak from U-boats, was I able to breathe more freely. My cabin-mate, Amanda, however, remained unconvinced, peppering him and Mr. Berdichevsky with questions about the apparent absence of any naval escort, working herself into such a lather that I could no longer tolerate her company.

By late morning, the mist began to dissipate and the foghorn fell silent. As the skies brightened, so did my mood, heartened by the brilliant green Irish coast and indigo seas, smooth as glass. We glided through waters like a skater on ice. There were no other ships in sight, but the lack of a naval escort seemed perfectly normal on such a pristine day. Everyone was in a jovial mood, strolling the Shelter Deck in the brilliant sunlight, dressed in finery as our journey approached its end. Pink was the favored shade.

I was relieved that the Professor wisely chose not to revisit our prior conversation about your mother’s flight to Paris and whether I would accept his help to find Camilla. Following a pleasant lunch at first sitting (Amanda was holed up in our cabin, unable to stomach more food, despite calm seas), we resumed our rounds on the Shelter Deck, while Colin explained the many variants of avian life now apparent near land.

Shortly after two o’clock, by Papa’s watch, a cluster had gathered by the rail and were pointing at something. Hoping for porpoises, we hurried to join them.

At first I thought the frothy trail heading toward our ship was the trace of a curious whale.

Colin gripped my hand. “Good God,” he murmured, “they’ve gone and done it.”

The torpedo struck like a thunderclap, followed by a muffled explosion belowdecks. A geyser of water and debris flew skyward toward the starboard bow, pelting the decks above. The ship rumbled and trembled, listing toward open ocean. I nearly fell. Colin caught me. “Life preservers. Now.” He tugged me toward the stairs down to the Main Deck.

As we pushed our way through the screaming crowd, another explosion, deep within the ship’s bowels, caused me nearly to lose my footing again. My heart slammed my ribs. By now, the Lusitania was tilting more heavily to starboard. Descending the two flights to our cabins on the Main Deck as other passengers shoved upwards, I felt like a salmon swimming cockeyed, in the wrong direction.

To my surprise, however, I was not frightened so much as intensely alert. As we edged past our fellow passengers, every facial scar, every mole, every excessive streak of rouge stood out in sharp relief. A floral stew of perfumes and colognes mixed with sweat and coal dust and salt air and the aroma of breaded fish from the First Class Dining Saloon. When we reached my cabin, Colin had to yank open the door.

Inside, lying on her bed as if nothing had happened, was Amanda. She looked up, blankly. Her mouth opened, then closed, but no words came.

“Amanda, we must go! The ship’s been hit!” I yelled, shaking her while Colin grabbed our life vests from the closet. She merely stared. “Put this on,” he barked. “I’ll be right back.”

My icy fingers fumbled. I had barely secured the ties when Colin returned, neatly suited in his preserver. Amanda had curled into a fetal position on her bunk, moaning softly.

“What do we do? We can’t just leave her here.”

“I’ll carry her.” Colin tried to pull Amanda to her feet, but she collapsed again on the bed. “Close the porthole,” he ordered. I did as I was told. Colin managed to seat her upright, and I supported her as he deftly secured her into the preserver. She moaned again, but was compliant enough. We were losing precious seconds. I wanted to smack her. Colin scooped her up in his arms, like some fragile doll in a clumsy yellow vest, and nodded toward the door. I shoved it open, and we teetered back to the stairs.

By now, the ship was so tilted that maintaining balance was a strenuous effort. More Third Class passengers thronged the stairway, yelling, crying, cursing, surging in both directions. All the passageways were dark. Colin forced us through, pushing me from behind as he cradled Amanda, who did absolutely nothing to help herself.

Somehow, we found our way up the three flights to the Promenade Deck, level with the lifeboats, but the ship was so canted that the boats swung too far inward on the port side where we emerged. There was much shouting and pushing and shoving as passengers and crew tried to force the boats outward over the railing. The public address system was dead, and no one seemed to be in charge.

In the midst of this chaos, one lifeboat, filled with passengers, suddenly swung back and smashed against the ship’s inner wall, tossing those aboard like matchsticks and crushing others who weren’t limber enough to jump out of the way. People shrieked. Blood spattered everywhere. Mrs. Cooper, our mealtime mate, lay crumpled in a heap upon the deck, her little boy dying in her shattered arms.

If this weren’t hellish enough, a second boat crashed to the slick deck and lurched toward the screaming throng. Right in its path stood little Jenny, frozen, crying for her mother. I don’t know how, but I ran. I grabbed her, knocking her pink rubber ball from her grasp. It bounced madly off the deck and wall, right toward the careening boat. Howling, she tried to wriggle free to rescue it, but I hugged her to my life vest, teetering to stay balanced. Miraculously, the boat swiveled and jammed to a halt, barely a foot away—the little pink ball squashed beneath its prow.

The poor child sobbed, shivering in my arms as I carried her back toward Colin. His face was drained of color and sweat dribbled down his broad forehead. The reality of what I had just done registered only in my trembling muscles and pounding heart. Neither of us spoke. I stroked Jenny’s hair as she rested her head on my shoulder. He jostled Amanda to rebalance her in his arms. She remained totally oblivious, staring, wide-eyed, at nothing. Together with our burdens, we slid and stumbled through the frenzied crowd, round to the starboard side.

Here the scene was equally frantic, as the ship was rapidly sinking. We listed so far to starboard that the lifeboats swung away from the rail at least seven feet. Some jumped the distance, others missed and fell, shrieking, into the water. One boat, full of passengers, swayed and jerked as it was lowered, only to loosen and plummet into the sea atop all the hapless souls struggling to stay afloat. Bloodied waters slapped the wreckage, staining splintered boards crimson. I sheltered Jenny’s eyes.

“This way!” shouted Colin, shoving me toward a lifeboat still filling with passengers. As we pushed through the crowd, I recognized Mr. Vanderbilt from his photographs in the papers. Dressed in gray suit and polka-dotted tie, he stood to the side, calmly handing out life vests and helping stray children put them on, smiling as if doling out prizes at a Sunday picnic. Nearby, a woman cried hysterically, asking everyone if they had seen her little boy. The lifeboat, Number 15, was near capacity, but Colin forced our way through the crush to the railing.

“Women and children, first! Come along, Ma’am,” barked one of the ship’s officers, reaching to pry Jenny from my arms. She clung to my neck with the ferocity of a tiger cub. I glanced desperately at Colin, who urged me forward.

“It’s all right, Jenny, I’ll be right there,” I whispered in her ear. She looked up, pupils wide with terror. I forced a smile and kissed her downy forehead. Before I could offer another word of reassurance, however, the officer wrenched her from my arms and tossed her, screeching, across the watery gap, into waiting arms on the boat. Then he grabbed my hand. I looked back at Colin, still lugging Amanda, who barely stirred. I hated her more in that moment than I have ever hated anyone.

“Go on,” he said. “I’ll find you.”


“There’s no time. We’ll be fine.”

“Jump!” ordered the officer, hoisting me up to the rail. I looked back, again, at Colin. He smiled grimly and nodded. Jenny screamed for her mother. I gathered my skirts, took a deep breath and leaped with all my might into the arms of the catcher on the boat. “That’s the last one. Lower her down!” shouted the officer.

The boat jerked as the ropes released us over the side. I stumbled over legs and squeezed down between a heavyset woman in a ridiculous fur coat and diamond necklace, and a pregnant woman crying for her husband. Jenny clambered into my lap and streamed urine all over my skirt. “Where’s Mummy?” she whimpered. “We’ll find her,” I lied. I held her close, panting, my heart throbbing in my ears. Above us, the Lusitanias four towering black smokestacks listed heavily. Number 15 had barely twenty feet to drop before we struck water with a heavy splash, but as the oarsmen tried to row, something snagged.

“It’s the Marconi wire!” a man shouted. “Cut loose, cut loose!”

Horrorstruck, Colin watched from above, still cradling Amanda, overshadowed by the looming black smokestacks, like a doomed passenger on an elevator to Hell. “Get out of the boat!” he yelled. “You’ll go down with the ship!” A man’s body floated nearby, face down, blood swirling from a gash in his arm. Jenny burrowed her head in my neck. My legs turned to consommé. I looked up at Colin and shook my head, no.

With a sudden jerk, our boat drifted free. One of the crew had cut the wire with a knife. My fellow passengers cheered as the oarsmen rowed hard to clear the ship. A huge knot in my throat stifled my voice. The best I could do was summon a smile for Colin, to give him courage. He touched two fingers to his lips and waved. Moments later, he dropped Amanda into the water and jumped in after.

Of perhaps two dozen lifeboats, I counted only five others, packed with passengers. The rest had crashed or swamped. All around us floated deck chairs, shattered boards, useless life vests, oars, wooden crates, books, bottles, luggage, hats, a child’s doll. A hencoop with a bedraggled, clucking mother hen and five peeping chicks, clinging to wire mesh, twirled past. Dear Zoé, the horror of it all, hundreds of people, flailing about, waving their hands and crying for help! Such desperation! The lifeless, drifting children were the most heartbreaking. Barely an hour earlier, they had been playing shuffleboard or skipping rope.

Shivering swimmers tried to grab our gunwales, but we were already low in the water and could not take them on. The crew had to butt them away with oars, lest we all drown. Their eyes pleaded with sheer terror, their blue lips quivered, speechless, as they floated backwards. A heavy-set balding man, submerged to his chest, gray mustache plastered to his cheeks, begged for mercy. He offered to pay for a seat, clinging to the side of the boat with such ferocity that we tipped sideways. An oarsman had to pry off his white knuckled fist, finger by finger. People jeered and applauded as he bobbed away, cursing and weeping like a pathetic walrus. It was sickening, cruel, but there was no way to save everyone.

The crew rowed us farther out, dodging the wreckage and the drowning, to avoid the sinking ship’s suction. I scanned the waters in vain for any trace of Colin. I told myself over and over that he was a strong swimmer; he’d said so himself. He had his life vest. There were plenty of debris to hold onto. Amanda was undoubtedly dead. I feared that Jenny’s mother was probably lost, as well. There was nothing I could do but hug the child for reassurance—hers and mine. We all watched, mesmerized, as the Lusitania continued her relentless slide to the ocean floor.

Bow first, she sliced the waves like a dagger. A small army of passengers still crowded the deck along the rail, struggling upward en masse toward the stern as the prow submerged. Some jumped. Others stepped off into the sea. Those who remained to the end simply drifted away like petals. One by one, the massive smokestacks swallowed saltwater and all that was afloat nearby, then belched blasts of coal dust and steam. A blackened body shot from one funnel like a cannon ball, then plunged headfirst into the waves.

“What was that?” asked Jenny, wide-eyed.

“A flying fish,” I said. She accepted my ridiculous explanation without question.

In a final salute, iron and steel groaned as the ship’s mighty propellers rose high in the air, glittering golden in the sharp sunlight. Then, with the most unearthly, protracted moan, the Lusitania was gone. A huge plateau of water rose in her place, washing debris and lost souls outward in her wake and nearly capsizing our boat. Waves splashed over the gunwales as we rocked violently to and fro. Jenny screamed for her mother. I pressed my cheek to her forehead and whispered more lies to soothe her cries into whimpers.

Slowly, the swell dispersed. Where once sailed our mighty ship, all that remained was a massive, swirling vortex of jade and white froth.

“Where did the boat go?” whispered Jenny.

“Into the sea.” There was no point in pretending, at least about that.

“Where’s Mummy?”

“We’ll find her, Jenny, we’ll find her soon.”

She clasped my neck so tightly, I gasped for air. My shoes and stockings were soaked through, and my toes had long gone numb. This was no time, however, for self-pity. We were among the few lucky ones in a lifeboat. Gradually, Jenny’s grasp relaxed, and she slipped into the blissful sleep of childhood. Overhead, herring gulls circled, mewling. One alighted on a floating deckchair and preened its feathers. Indigo seas shimmered.

As the ocean calmed and our boat drifted around the huge floating island of wreckage and bodies, the field of waving hands thinned and grew still. Seagulls wheeled and screeched. I thought I heard hymns. I wondered if I were delusional, until I realized that the singing voices came from one of the lifeboats across the way. Oddly, we had not made contact with any of the other boats, perhaps out of a shared sense of guilt. It was as if we who had survived were all complicit in the act of saving ourselves at the expense of the drowned.

A woman’s body floated past. She was wearing an emerald green dress trimmed with bedraggled peacock feathers, and her long auburn hair streamed about her face like Medusa’s serpents. Her skin was ashen blue. Her glassy eyes stared blankly at the heavens. A seagull swooped down and landed on her breast. It hesitated a moment, head cocked, then plucked an eyeball from its socket, freckling her cheeks crimson. “Bloody bastard!” yelled the oarsman. He tried to smack the gull with his oar, but it flapped away, easily evading any punishment. The pregnant woman groaned, louder. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to steady my stomach. Jenny stirred in my lap, then resettled.

“Look!” The woman in fur pointed a bejeweled finger toward the horizon. A plume of black smoke rose from a fast-moving steamer. “What took them so long?” muttered someone else. “Where in hell is the friggin’ Navy?” snarled a third. Our hopes sank as the steamer continued on its way and soon disappeared from view. “Outrageous!” exclaimed the woman in fur. Water calmly slapped the sides of our boat.

Next to me, the pregnant woman groaned once more, louder this time. “Oh my God,” she cried, “I think I’m in labor!”

“Good Lord,” muttered the woman in fur. “What next?”

A woman near the prow turned around. “I’m a midwife. How far apart are your contractions?”

“I, I don’t know. My water broke when the torpedo struck. This is my first. Oh, God! Where is my husband? Where is Robert?”

Her body shuddered beneath my fingers. Thank goodness I had pinned Papa’s watch to my waist that morning! As I timed the woman’s contractions, the gentle tick-tick-tick brought his sweet smile to mind, and my strength rebounded.

“Let me through,” said the midwife, trying to rise. The boat rocked heavily.

“We’re all going to drown!” shrieked the woman in fur.

“If you keep it up, you’re the first one overboard,” I snapped. She gaped at me, jowls fluttering. Others made way so the midwife could climb over to us. By now, the pregnant woman’s contractions were coming every three minutes. The oarsman passed his knife. I wanted to hand off Jenny, but I was afraid to wake her from her deep slumber.

“Madam,” said the midwife to the woman in fur. “We could use your coat to provide some privacy.”

“Do you have any idea how much this mink is worth?”

I glared at her. “No one cares.”

She arched her brows, looking from me to the midwife to the moaning pregnant woman and back to me. “Go on,” growled the oarsman. After what seemed an endless struggle to extricate her plump arms, she handed the mink to the midwife with a snort. “Any damage and you’ll have to replace it.”

It was all so ludicrous. I would have laughed were it not for the poor woman’s intensifying pain. Another passenger helped me hold up the precious coat to shield her as the midwife conducted her examination. Jenny stirred and blinked, then fell back to sleep.

The woman’s wretched cries rang out across the water as rippling shadows grew longer. Still there were no rescue boats in sight. “What in the name of God is taking them so long?” someone groaned.

Jenny sat up. She rubbed her eyes and looked about, confused, then reached out to explore the mink’s soft fur.

“Don’t touch that!” snapped the owner. Jenny pulled back her hand and began to wail.

I stamped the stupid woman’s foot. “Ow! How dare you!” she sputtered.

“How dare you think only of your foolish coat! Thank God you’re still alive and keep quiet.” Her lips parted and closed like a fish, but she said nothing.

Behind the mink coat, the pregnant woman began to shriek. Jenny cowered in my lap, whimpering. My arm shook from holding the heavy fur. Thankfully, a woman behind me tapped my shoulder and offered to take it.

“Oh, God, I’m going to die!” gasped the pregnant woman.

“What’s that?” whispered Jenny, pointing. A few yards away, a triangular fin traced a path amidst the debris. My stomach turned. Could there be sharks in these waters? What about Colin? I clutched Papa’s watch, but its steady ticking could not quell my rising panic. Then the creature’s gray back surfaced, and a spray of mist rose from its blowhole, painting a rainbow.

“It’s a porpoise,” I said, exhaling with relief. We marveled at the shimmering colors. The mink’s owner harrumphed, but she looked away when I glared at her with one eyebrow raised—the stern look that nearly always silenced Camilla (at least, until your grandfather died).

The young woman heaved and cried. We all tensed with each contraction. I wondered what the porpoise must be thinking, swimming among the drowned. Had it dodged the torpedo on its deadly course? Had it watched the Lucy sink to the ocean floor? Did it feel sorrow, or was it as anxious to be rid of us humans, intruders in its watery world, as we were to be rescued?

“Breathe with me,” coached the midwife.

The sun moved inexorably closer to the horizon. Jenny bored her head into my aching shoulder. It suddenly struck me that Shabbos would soon arrive. I tried to block out the chaos by humming Lecha Dodi, to no avail. For all the times I’d grumbled about preparing Friday night dinner before sundown, all the tedious rituals, now, in this hour of blood and destruction and the battle of birth, how I ached for the candles’ glow in our silver candlesticks, the white linen tablecloth set with our best china, the smell of my fresh baked challah, the peace that would settle over our home as your grandfather left for shul. Unable to avoid the mother’s agony, I felt as if I were trapped, once again, in interminable labor, turning myself inside out to force Camilla into the world. When her tiny body was placed in my arms, I was so depleted that I barely noticed. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mother.

“I can see the head,” said the midwife. “Push!”

With one last bloodcurdling scream, the woman obeyed. We all held our breaths. Seagulls circled overhead. The lifeboat creaked as passengers shifted uneasily. Then, at last—a newborn’s wail.

“It’s a girl!” announced the midwife. Our wooden ark rocked with applause and huzzahs. Jenny traced the path of tears down my cheeks with her pinky. The midwife nodded to lower the coat as she handed the infant, swaddled in her shawl, to the mother, who shivered in her own sweat. Blood puddled on the floor of the boat. The midwife tossed the placenta over the side. A gull swooped, snapping it up. Numbly, I handed the coat back to its owner, who snatched it from me, checking for stains. If she found any, however, she at least didn’t have the chutzpah to say anything. The new mother cradled her baby and sobbed.

Jenny stared in wonder at the newborn. Then she looked at me with huge violet eyes. “Where’s Mummy?”

“We’ll find her soon, Jenny. We’ll find her.” The words grabbed at my throat.

“Over there!” someone yelled. On the horizon, blue-black against the fading sky, wisps of smoke curled heavenward. As we all strained to watch, the puffs grew more distinct, and beneath them emerged dark shapes—an armada of fishing boats, trawlers, others that I could not identify. At last, our rescuers had arrived.

There were ten boats in all. My fellow survivors cheered and cried, but I was unable to summon any enthusiasm. I was suffused with exhaustion. Jenny embraced me like a vise, her leg clamped against my thighs.

As the boats chugged closer, the crew members scanned the watery killing field in stunned silence. “Over here,” one of our oarsmen shouted, waving his arm. “We’ve a newborn!”

A red bearded sailor on the closest trawler pointed in our direction. I could just make out the name Manx, painted in white on its rusty black bow. As the trawler pulled up alongside us, one of the crew caught our vessel with a long boat hook. A grizzled man in a navy-blue wool cap reached over to grab hands and hoist passengers aboard. Jenny clung to me when it came our turn, but he plucked her from my arms with reassuring words. Soon she was back in my lap as we sat on the deck, wrapped in gray woolen blankets. The crew brought the shivering new mother and her infant into the cabin, where she could rest near the ship’s stove. My hem and shoes were soaked with her blood. I feared she might not survive the night.

Crowded as we were, the Manx felt luxurious. It smelled of fish and coal dust and grease and guts—but, inexplicably, it was the most intoxicating aroma. I nodded off to a dreamless sleep.

I don’t know how long we sailed back to the harbor. Snippets of conversation drifted in and out of my consciousness. At one point, I thought I heard someone say there were thousands of bodies in the water. I thought I heard Colin, calling my name. The ship’s horn blared, and I awoke with a terrible shudder. Overhead, stars twinkled in the blue-back night. Cliffs loomed like fortress walls along the Irish coastline.

Gently, I slipped the sleeping Jenny from my lap and struggled to my feet, legs tingling with pins and needles. The landscape softened as we entered what appeared to be a large inlet. Along the shoreline, a string of golden lights glimmered. This was Queenstown, I later learned. Land never looked more welcoming. As the Manx slowed on approach to the harbor, I realized that the lights were actually lanterns held by townspeople who lined the quay. I pressed a fist to my lips, for I knew if I started to weep, I could not stop.

Jenny grasped my hand as we stepped off the gangway, but my legs nearly collapsed beneath me. I had become so accustomed to rocking over the ocean, compensating for the rise and fall of the deck, that land now felt too hard, too solid. A crew member grabbed me under both arms until I regained some semblance of balance, although my mind continued to play tricks, as if I were still dipping and rising. He handed me off to a tall man in flannel trousers and blue suspenders.

“What do ye go by, little darlin’?”

I looked at him, dazed, then remembered. It was as if I were naming a stranger. Then I realized that Jenny was nowhere near. “Wait!” I panicked. “There’s a little girl with black curls. I can’t leave her.”

“Would that be the wee one?”

I stared in the direction he indicated, more confused than ever. Another trawler had arrived, and crew members were carrying bodies, stacking them like cordwood alongside the pier. A ragtag crowd of survivors huddled nearby. One man sobbed over his wife’s body. Then I saw little Jenny. She was hugging her mother.

“Mummy, Mummy, that’s the nice lady!” She pointed my way. I wanted to move, but my legs would not obey.

Jenny’s mother limped to me, carrying my former charge in her arms. One sleeve was missing from her dress, and her head was wrapped in a blood-stained rag, her eyes red and swollen. “I thought I’d lost her. I can never repay you,” she said, choking on each word.

I yearned to stroke Jenny’s hair once more—but she was no longer mine. I forced a smile. “She was no trouble at all. She’s a very brave little girl.” My voice cracked. Jenny buried her sweet face in her mother’s neck. We said goodnight. As they were led from the pier with a group of other survivors, the lamplight cast long shadows.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Mr. Berdichevsky, his face ghostly pale. He had yet to find his wife and wept when he saw me. I tried to comfort him, but my words rang hollow. Our conversation seemed to float in the air between us. He told me he had seen men carrying someone who looked like the Professor, weakened but still alive, from one of the rescue boats, though he knew not where. I should have been relieved, but parting from Jenny left me depleted. All I wanted to do was sleep. My escort had to support me as we walked the short distance to the Rob Roy Hotel.

We were greeted by the proprietress, who offered lemonade and dry biscuits with apologies that this was all they could muster on short notice. I couldn’t stomach either and requested a glass of water. She showed me upstairs to a narrow room with whitewashed walls that overlooked the harbor below. There were two small beds, a little table and chair, and a washstand in the corner. Above the beds hung wooden crucifixes. White lace curtains luffed in a gentle night breeze, but the air was damp and clung to my skin. My roommate, a plump woman who snored like a foghorn, was already asleep. I recognized her from another table in the Third Class dining room.

I moved in a strange dream. The proprietress mentioned that Cunard would enable us to buy new outfits at some local clothiers. I lay down in my undergarments, expecting to fall into a deep slumber, but sleep would not come—only a horrific rush of images: the pleading eyes and white knuckles of the walrus man, the shattered bodies of Mrs. Cooper and her dying son, the wretched seagull. I tried to think of your mother and my parents, but all of them, all of them were lost to me.

The last thing I recall was the chime of the hotel’s parlor clock, striking five, and a chorus of birdsong. Perversely, the sun had risen, as always, as if this were just another dawn.


Evelyn Herwitz has told stories professionally as a public radio and award-winning print journalist, as a marketing and communications specialist, and as an author of an environmental history, Trees at Risk: Reclaiming an Urban Forest (2001). Now devoted to writing fiction, she is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Generator in Boston. Her WWI short story “Nachtmusik” appeared in Chautauqua. “The Sinking” is excerpted from her debut novel, Line of Flight. Learn more at evelynherwitz.com.