Mary Donner knelt in front of the hearth, using the poker to push the log towards the roaring fire. A few wisps of dark hair tinged with grey slipped loose from the tight bun, framing her face. She made no move to brush them back, mesmerized by the dancing flames. It was so quiet now. James and Emma were tucked in bed, and her husband, Commodore Andrew Donner, was down at the docks, waiting for the Governor's ship to come in.
He worked late so many nights, but she found no reason to complain. They led a good life because he was so devoted to his work. He was a well respected man, known for his 'no tolerance' approach to piracy. That also made them many enemies. She couldn't count all the times that ominous messages had been left on their doorstep overnight, shady people following her and her children sometimes as they headed to the market, and on a rare occasion, a rock thrown through their window.
The door creaked open, and she stood up. Picking her skirts up, she headed into the foyer to see her husband shut the door quietly behind him. Andrew turned towards her, a small smile on his lips. She rushed over, throwing her arms around his neck. He smelled of the salty sea air. Stepping back, she looked up at him. He was a tall, proud man, standing nearly a head above her, strong chiseled features, and piercing blue eyes.
"Did everything go well?" She asked him quietly, leading him into the kitchen. He sat in his chair, pulling the cloth off the plate sitting in front of him. Each night she saved him a plate of food from dinner for him. She slid into the seat next to him.
"Very well." He responded quietly. "The Governor's ship arrived without a problem. They encountered some pirate activity on the way here though. Apparently, a small merchant ship on its way here was attacked as well." He took a bite, and it was silent in the room as he chewed. "The only survivor was a young boy. They took him back to the mansion for tonight." He reached for his glass.
"How terrible." She said, placing a hand on her heart. "That poor boy." A thought struck her. "You don't think the pirates might have been headed here, do you?" She whispered. There was a hint of fear in her voice. He looked towards her.
"We can't be sure." He set his fork down. "I made sure there were extra men on the fort walls tonight, just to be sure. If anything should happen, we will know of it ahead of time." Andrew's hand slid across the table, taking her hand in his. "Don't worry."
She gave him a weak smile. "You know I will anyway." He nodded.
"You look weary. Get yourself to bed. I'll be up soon." Mary slid from her seat, kissing him on top of the head before leaving the dining room. A shaky breath escaped her as she walked up the stairs, skirts in hand. She should be used to this now. They'd been in Port Royal for six months now, and not a single thing, other than the mild threats, had happened. Their lives had been relatively peaceful. She pushed open the door to James' room, a smile crossing her lips as she saw the boy fast asleep. Quietly, she shut his door and walked across the hallway. Her daughter was also fast asleep in her room. She finally made it to their room, lighting a candle and getting undressed. Sleep had never sounded so good to her. After pulling the pins from her hair, she ran the brush through a few times before sliding into bed. Her gaze passed over the book on the nightstand, but she was too tired to read. She shut her eyes, curling her arms around her pillow and drifting off to sleep.
Later that night, she felt an arm curl around her waist. A small smile slipped across her lips, and she reached down to place her hand on the arm. The grip tightened. She let out a gasp, her eyes flying open. "Andrew?"
"Wrong, lass." She shuddered at the smell of the breath of the man whispering in her ear, thankful that she hadn't been facing him to get the full effect.
"What do you want?" She whispered, trembling. Fully awake, she became aware of the sounds around her. Outside, she could hear the screams and gunshots; see the shadows created by the buildings in flames. She sucked in a deep breath, feeling her chest tightening. She was terrified. Her first instinct was to call out for Andrew, screaming his name as loudly as she could. The only response she got was harsh laughter from the man behind her. His grip tightened even more, and he yanked her from the bed, onto the floor. She stared up at him, standing over him. He leered at her, showing rotten teeth. Dark eyes glittered maliciously in his dirty face, as he waved the pistol over her face. She tried to look defiant, but the tears rolling down her face said otherwise. "Please…"
"That's what they always say." He responded, reaching down and grabbing her by the hair. Mary winced, letting out a sob. "You play nice, you might live through this." He hissed at her. Pulling her to her feet, he dragged her to the door. She let out another sob, digging at his hands grasping her hair. They reached the stairs, and he pushed her. She tumbled down, landing in a heap at the bottom. The tears flowed freely now, and she called Andrew's name again. Barely a moment later, the pirate was back, pulling her roughly to her feet. His hand hovered close to her a face for a moment, and she seized her opportunity. She sunk her teeth into his hand. The hand holding her let go as the pirate bellowed in pain. She took the opportunity, sprinting for the dining room. The doors burst open as she pushed into the room. Her feet slipped, and she hit the ground. Her hands landed in something wet, and she sucked in a breath. She had landed in a puddle of something, but it was hard to tell in the dark room. Rolling over, she found the source of the puddle.
A loud scream escaped her as she came face to face with her dead husband, blood leaking from the bullet wound in his forehead. She let out a terrified sob, scrambling to her feet. Still staring at his body, she started to run, and hit something. She looked around, to see that she had run right back into the arms of the pirate. He grabbed her roughly, leaning down.
"I said if ye behaved, ye'd survive this." He growled. "Too bad ye didn't listen." The next thing she knew, a loud bang echoed in the room and a fiery pain spread up her abdomen. She gasped, sliding to the floor in front of him. One arm wrapped around her stomach as she sat heavily on the floor. He didn't even bother to give her another look as he started for the silverware drawer.
Mary took a deep breath, but it was a lost battle. Slowly the life left her, and she slid to the floor beside Andrew. Her eyesight began to blur, growing light headed. She reached out a shaky hand, grasping Andrew's cold hand in hers. One last breath escaped her before she closed her eyes, and died.
"William, maybe it would be easier if you…"
"Nonsense. We're doing this the proper way, Elizabeth." Will Turner muttered, trying to hold his new bride in his arms and unlock the door at the same time. Unfortunately, with the many skirts of her wedding dress, it was proving to be quite a task. Elizabeth's arms were wrapped tightly around his neck, as if she feared he would drop her trying to open the door. It wasn't that she didn't trust him, quite the opposite actually. She knew that he would do anything she wanted him to in a heartbeat, without question. It was his lack of grace that worried her.
"It would still be proper if I just…"
The key slid into the lock, and Will twisted the handle. He nudged the door open with his foot, turning sideways to walk inside. Once they had cleared the door, he turned to face the foyer. "Welcome home, Mrs. Turner." He said with a look of pride on his face. Over the past couple of months, he'd taken on as many jobs as humanly possible just to raise enough for the house. It was no where near the elegance of the Swann manor, but it was better than the small hovel he had called home for many years.
He carefully set her on the floor, and she walked a few steps away. A smile appeared on her face as she gazed around. She turned around, running back to him and throwing her arms around his neck, her lips pressed against his. "I love it!" A relieved smile crossed his lips.
"I know it's not as nice as yours…" She pressed a finger against his lips.
"It's beautiful, Will. And it wouldn't matter where we lived, as long as I was with you." It had been a dream that he'd held forever, since the first time he had laid eyes on her. Just a small boy rescued from the remains of a merchant vessel on which he'd been a cabin boy. He'd seen her again after he'd become Brown's apprentice, delivering orders to the mansion, and catching glimpses of her. He remembered how nervous he'd been, waiting in the foyer to talk to Governor Swann, asking him for his permission to ask his daughter's hand in marriage. The Governor had been very reluctant. Bluntly he told Will the reasons he believed that he should say no. He wasn't sure that Will had the necessary means to support his daughter; that she would be marrying below her status, and the one that seemed to be the most emphasized, that he was the son of a pirate. Will had argued his case, saying that he had raised enough money to provide for Elizabeth. His job provided a steady income, now that he had finished his apprenticeship and could now be considered a master at the craft. He also assured him that his father may have been a pirate, but he was not. Not in the sense the Governor had meant. After a moments thought over what the blacksmith had said, Governor Swann agreed. He told Will that even though he had his doubts, knowing that Will loved Elizabeth that much, and that she loved him back, was enough for him. He gave his blessing.
Elizabeth stood up on her
toes, her lips brushing against his. "I can't believe we're finally married."
She said softly. "It seems like nothing more than a good dream, but it's real."
She pulled her arms from around his neck. "Shall we then?" The smile on her
face became mischievous as she looked up the stairs, then back at him. He
couldn't help but laugh at her before picking her up in his arms again, and
going up the stairs. Down the hallway, he leaned against the door to open it,
taking Elizabeth inside. She slid
loose from his arms, allowing him to close the door as she walked over and fell
backwards on the bed.
Will walked towards her, unbuttoning the first three buttons of his shirt. He turned to light the candle on the bedside table, striking the match and lighting the wick. When the flame was burning steadily, he turned to face Elizabeth again. Only it wasn't her.
In her place, an older woman laid on the bed. She stared up at him with dead eyes, blood matting the hair to her face. Then she blinked, and looked up at him, eyes full of hatred.
"Dirty pirate…" He stumbled back into the bedside table, the candle rocking perilously. He rubbed his eyes, shook his head, and looked up again.
Elizabeth had propped herself up on her elbows, staring at him in concern. "William, is something wrong?" She asked, getting to her feet. As she came into the candlelight, he could she it was his fair haired beauty. There was not a single speck of blood on her, and there was nothing but love and concern in her eyes.
"It was nothing. Just a…I thought I saw something. It was just a strange shadow." He gave her a wan smile. It had all been an illusion, couldn't have been anything else. It was just a trick of the candlelight and shadows, nothing more. At least that's what he tried to tell himself. He shook his head again, laughing at himself for being so frightened of the shadows.
Elizabeth smiled, taking hold of his shirt. "Now, Mr. Turner, where were we?"