Disclaimer: not mine, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer's.

Author's note: written for the Black Pearl Sails Yahoo Group's "Discovery" challenge.


"Land ho! Three points a'larboard!" The lookout's voice rang out loud and clear.

On the quarterdeck, Barbossa pulled out his telescope and surveyed the horizon. "Land it be," he confirmed. "Island. Set the course, Mr Turner."

Bootstrap Bill Turner nodded, and wordlessly changed course. He could not see the island ahead of them, but he felt it - oh, he felt it, deep in the pit of his stomach, pulling at his heart. Isla de Muerte, an island that had made him betray a friendship and disobey a command.

By evening, the Black Pearl was gliding noiselessly through a narrow channel of shoals. On either side, the carcasses of dead ships lay, the rocks threatening the Pearl with the same fate. Yet she cut through the floating debris as one charmed, Bill's hands merely resting on the wheel.

They dropped anchor in a sheltered cove, the dark cliffs of the island sheer above them. Barbossa ordered the boats lowered, and paced the deck impatiently as his order was carried out. His little monkey scampered around excitedly, sensing the jubilant atmosphere among the crew.

Shortly, the boats were ready, and leaving a couple of men aboard the Pearl, the crew set forth. A cave entrance had been spied as they sailed in, and that was the way they headed. With torches raised high, they paddled stroke by cautious stroke into the innards of the island, and came eventually to land. Climbing out of the boats, the water reflected golden in the torchlight, and Twigg reaching down picked up a handful of gold coins.

"This be it, lads," Barbossa said, "this be it."

Hurrying now, they scrambled over sand and rock, further into the caves. Rounding a corner, they came at last into a vast echoing chamber, and held torches aloft in awe.

The place shone yellow, glistening treasure heaped high. There were weird and wonderful pieces of jewellery, pearls and gemstones; and atop a mound surrounded by water, a stone chest.

The pirates, silent now, made way for Barbossa as he climbed the mound and pushed back the heavy lid. Dust flew, the motes forming a mist in the flickering torchlight.

"Well," Barbossa said, a long sigh. "Well, maybe Jack Sparrow weren't so mad after all." Golden pieces cascaded between his fingers, clinking against each other as they fell.

Bootstrap made his way to the chest, and looked down at the riches it contained.

"Well done, Jack," he murmured to himself; reached out and picked up a coin. In his hand it was cold, somehow menacing. It felt, he thought, like death.

Bill Turner held up the coin, and smiling bitterly to himself, slipped it in a pocket.

The End