Disclaimer: I own none of these characters in any form and am making no money from them; they belong to others and I am merely borrowing them for a while.

Author's note: This story is set during/after the 2003 movie version of Peter Pan, but also incorporates some elements from the original book as well. This is all about Captain Hook, who survives his plunge into the crocodile to awake on an enchanted island beyond Neverland, and is inspired by Jason Isaacs absolutely riveting performance in the film. This is a mainly a story about loneliness and envy, and how much a man is willing to give up to get his heart's desire.

One last note, this is the first time I've posted a work-in-progress, and the first bit of creative writing I've done after a long dry spell, so hopefully, it will get better as I get less rusty. All reviews will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Addendum: This chapter has been slightly cleaned up, only in the most technical sense. The content is identical.

One More Rich in Hope

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

–William Shakespeare

I

The Lonely Keep

Old, alone, done for. With those words Hook dropped into the maw of the crocodile. But the curious thing about resignation is that it doesn't last long when you find yourself alive and suffocating in the belly of a beast, and Hook struck out with the one weapon he had left, ripping and tearing till he found himself free of the beast, and even still the ocean might have taken him if the mermaids had not intervened. Why they chose to drag him up from the depths of the sea and drop him onto land, he could not fathom. Perhaps it is because they saw themselves as kindred spirits, dark and cruel, or that they were determined to carry him far from Pan so as not to lessen that eternal boy's triumph. Ultimately, it did not matter to an exhausted Hook dragging himself over the rough rocks of the shore to escape being battered by waves. Barely conscious he managed to make past them before losing consciousness entirely, and that's when the magic took hold.

Hook awoke suddenly with a bellow, thrashing around trying to escape the crocodile, only to discover he was tangled up in the sheets of a large bed. Collecting himself he looked around the room. To his surprise it looked rather like his own cabin on the Jolly Roger, possessing almost same colors and furnishings, and more pertinently, his harness and an array of hooks nearly identical his own. Cautiously he rose and strapped on a hook and then pulled on his boots which sat next to the bed before examining the rest of the room. Pulling open the large mahogany wardrobe on the far side of the room, he discovered the clothes too could be his own and quickly finished dressing before venturing out to explore the limits of this place.

It was deathly quiet all around, so much so that he could hear the steady thump of his own heart as he prowled through lavishly decorated rooms and corridors. His boots sank into thick piles of carpeting laid over stone floors. The walls were covered with tapestries. Coming across a sprawling conservatory overlooking a courtyard, Hook stood on the balcony and looked miserably over the empty expanse. Not even a breeze to stir the heavy atmosphere. The sun shone weakly in the sky.

It was the smell of food that led him to a dining room. A sideboard held an array of still steaming dishes and the elaborate table was set for one. He regarded the scene with suspicion for a moment, but knowing that whatever or whoever had brought him here could already have had him dead, Hook decided simply to eat. At least the clatter of cutlery and the indulgence of wine cut the silence away for a time. After he finished his repast, Hook cleared his throat and more as an experiment rather than in any hopes of getting an answer, addressed the room.

"My compliments to the chef or chefs or spirits of the air," he said, as politely as he could. At least his voice still worked, though it seemed unusually loud. "If you don't mind, I think I'll continue to explore this charming keep." And maybe find something to claw and rip, he thought frustrated with the tomblike atmosphere. Something had to live here.

He exited the dining room, closed the door for a moment and then on impulse turned back and looked back inside. All the dishes were gone, and the sideboard cleared; the room looked untouched. All done without a sound.

"Strange magic this," Hook said. "Or maybe I am dead after all."

He drew his hook across the back of his hand, watching as a line of blood appeared and taking pleasure in the sting. He bled; he felt pain; that was good. However, it still did not explain the mystery of this place. As he continued to prowl through the corridors, Hook suddenly heard a thump ahead. He tore forward and found himself in a badly lit gallery. Taking up a candle, Hook searched for the source of the noise. The walls were lined with portraits of various sizes; Hook was startled to see a likeness of Smee as well as the Wendy and some of those dreadful lost boys before coming upon a full length portrait of Pan in one of his cockiest attitudes. Hook slashed and tore at that one until he saw a flash of movement from the corner of his eye. Spinning round, he saw it was only a mirror half-covered by a curtain, but as he looked closer, he saw something that chilled him. The reflection in the mirror was not his own.

TO BE CONTINUED