Inspired by watching The Butterfly Effect. If one moment had changed,
how would the rest of the story be affected?
The early morning fog lay thick over the ocean waters, making it impossible to see anything ahead of them. Not even the man up in the crow's nest could warn them of impending danger. It was also quite silent. Most of the men were still in the forecastle drinking off the night's events while the meager watch that had been assigned prowled the deck, just waiting for something to happen, and growing bored as nothing did. They were used to having to outrun the British Navy before they could be boarded and their cargo exposed. They weren't pirates; most of them did not have the bravery to be. They were simple smugglers and specialized mostly in bringing rum to the Caribbean.
Of course, that didn't mean that they weren't all pirates. A man stood alone at the rail of the ship. His dark eyes were focused intently into the fog as if he could see beyond it, searching for something that lie just beyond his grasp. Dark hair hung around his face in dreadlocks, some entwined with beads that were mementos of places he had been and things he had done. The dark overcoat was pulled tightly around him, his hands shoved in the pockets to fight off the early morning chill. Most of the men were avoiding him purely for the look on his face, however. Jack Sparrow was far from happy.
It had been a few years since Barbossa had convinced the crew to mutiny against him and throw him overboard to that dn little island. He had known it was coming. William had told him off the rumblings Barbossa had been stirring up and Jack had disregarded it. He knew his first mate was a temperamental man and disloyal at that, but the only other man he had thought of for the job spent a few of the voyages at home to be with his son. He had never thought that his crew would actually do what they did. When the time had come, he'd told William not to interfere. He had a family to see to and couldn't do that if he was stuck on an island with him. So when the moment came, William had stood quietly at the back of the crowd against his better judgment while Jack had been forced off the plank into the water.
A fist slammed down on the railing in anger, making the man passing behind him jump and start walking faster. This was what he was reduced to now. Chasing his ship around the Caribbean with one shot in his pistol saved for one man. The only other protection he had with him was the sword at his waist and the knife in his boot. But the pistol was for Barbossa when he found him. The one shot that they had marooned Jack on that island with for three days would be the death of the traitor. A small part of him wondered if it would be possible though.
Jack had heard many things in his quest to find the Pearl, questioning dockworkers, sailors, tavern keepers, and regular tavern patrons. Many of them said the same thing. The crew of the Pearl had gotten a little odd as of late. Not many wanted to be around them when they came into port anymore. They acted different, almost demonically. One old man even went as far as to claim that they were possessed by the demons that prowled the sea. He stuck with his story even after Jack had waved the pistol in his face, trying to get more from him. All his inquiries about his best friend were met with the same answer, however. William was gone from the crew, sent to his fate at the bottom of the sea for betraying the captain.
Now he was chasing down the Pearl. When he could he stole passage on passenger and merchant ships, keeping to the hold among the cargo. There were rare times when he could call in a favor from old friends as well, like he had done this time around. Jack had spared the man's life during a raid of his ship and had even dropped him off at a nearby, well populated port when the man did not take the offer to join Jack's crew. He had run into the man and decided it was time to call in the favor. Captain Jameson of the Pride of the Sea had reluctantly agreed to take Jack on board for the journey to the destination port. The best thing about the trip was that Jack had been able to drown his misery in all the rum his body could handle, just by lifting it from the cargo bay.
"Captain! Look at this!" The watchman's cry suddenly filled the air and Jack looked up to see him pointing frantically towards the port bow. Jack's curiosity was piqued and he made his way up to the bow and leaned over the railing on the port side. His heartbeat sped up as he found himself looking at the flaming wreckage of what had once been a ship. Dead men floated in the water surrounding the flaming boards and floating barrels. He knew what had done this all too well.
He knew who had done this.
He also knew he was on the right path. Jack allowed himself a small smile, realizing that he was drawing closer to his beloved Black Pearl if the damage was any indication. More men were appearing from the forecastle, looking out over the rails at the damage that had been done.
"Forward on the Port Beam! Forward on the Port Beam!" The watchman's cries rang out again and Jack noticed a hint of fear in his voice. The men all looked towards the direction that the frightened man was shouting. The sight made Jack's smile grow while the men around him stared in shock, whispering among themselves or making the cross, praying.
"It's a ghost ship." The man beside him said so quietly Jack wondered if he was breathing properly. The ship leaving the wreckage behind could be mistaken for a ghost ship. The dense fog that had caused them so much trouble seemed to cling and caress the ship like a lover. He could see no sign of light aboard. The torn, black sails flapped in the breeze, and above them the Jolly Roger announced to the world that this ship was indeed that of pirates.
"It's not a ghost ship." Jack told him, for the moment happy. "It's the Pearl." There was a certain fire in his eyes as he said it, grinning and giving the man a slight flash of silver and gold. He was close to her now. Perhaps he would not get to her at this moment, but he knew that he was drawing near. Soon he would have his vengeance and his ship back, restoring his name and reputation around the Caribbean. "They're heading south." He muttered, more to himself than anyone, and wished he had a map. Perhaps he would 'borrow' one later.
"Man overboard!" The man next to Jack suddenly shouted. The pirate jumped, having been lost in is own thoughts and gave the man a dirty look. The sailor quailed under the look for a moment before pointing towards the lost soul so that his mates could see. There was a sudden burst of action on deck, sailors running to grab ropes to attempt a rescue. Jack found himself being knocked back and forth and his dark mood returned. He would never be treated like this on his bloody ship. At least the position of captain demanded some respect. He pulled himself from the crowd and sat down on the stairs leading up to the quarterdeck. The man must have been extremely lucky to survive the attack and not to meet any sharks afterwards.
The lines were thrown over the side and two men climbed down over the rail. A few moments later they reappeared, one carrying a small body over his arm. A few of the men rushed to help him, grabbing the child and laying him on a blanket on the deck while the others helped the sailors back over.
"Not more than a boy." Jack said idly, looking down at the child. "How does a cabin boy only survive that attack when there were so many other experienced sailors on board?" He mused. A few looked in his direction, unsure expressions on their faces. He continued to idly play the coin through his fingers, letting them go about their work. A child was beneath his concern. He just wanted them to hurry up and get to port so he could find another ship heading in the direction of the Pearl.
"Ship ho!" The watchman in the crow's nest piped up again. Jack looked upwards at him, an annoyed expression on his face. How much more would happen this morning? He was already delayed as it was by the dnable ship and now this. But to his surprise, Jameson was shouting orders for his crew to get away before the other ship reached them. Jack grabbed a man running by, stopping him in his tracks.
"What's goin' on?" The man looked down at Jack's hand then back at his face. Most of the men, despite being smugglers, had no love in their hearts for pirates and Jack assumed this man to be one of them.
"Navy ship headed this way." He said shortly, pulling his arm from Jack's grasp and continuing onto whatever duty he had in mind. Jack felt a little uneasy at that revelation. If they were caught, he would most certainly hang while the smugglers would get a sentence in jail. But from the appearance on deck, it looked as if he wouldn't need to worry. Sails were being luffed to catch as much wind as possible and he felt the ship beneath him become just a little faster.
In the controlled chaos of it all, the boy had been forgotten, lying on a blanket on the deck. Curiosity got the best of the pirate captain and he wandered over, looking down at the boy. There was something very familiar about him, almost as if Jack knew him. He crouched down, spotting a glint of something gold. He picked up the chain lightly and pulled so that he could see what was hidden of it beneath the child's collar. It was a golden Aztec coin, a heathen skull crafted into it over another inlayed pattern. Jack looked down at the child, eyes narrowing slightly. Why would a child have such a piece as this?
the boy's eyes shot open and he grabbed Jack's wrist. The pirate
dropped the coin at the sudden movement and stared down at the boy.
He was frightened, his chest heaving as he struggled to calm his
breathing. Dark eyes widened in fear as he saw Jack staring back at
him, but he never released his grip. "You...you...you're a
p-p-pira..." He was unable to get the full word out, stuttering
too badly from the cold and fear.
"What's your name, boy?" Jack asked as he lifted his chin slightly and looked down to regard him. The boy stared at him again, looking unsure if he should answer.
"W-W-Will T-T-urn-rner." He blurted out, shaking. Jack stared at the boy, unbelieving for a moment of what he had heard. But there was enough proof when he looked at it again. With a face to compare him to, the boy did very much resemble his old friend, and there was the gold pirates medallion hanging around the boy's neck.
"Were you named after your father?" Jack asked. "Was your father named William Turner?" The boy nodded, his breathing starting to slow down and return to normal. The boy's eyelids started to droop in exhaustion, no matter how hard he fought to keep them open. A moment later he sunk back to the deck in a deep sleep, exhausted. Jack stared down at him for a moment before getting to his feet.
Jameson had been standing nearby, watching the whole thing. Jack eyed him before walking over. "How goes the situation with the Navy ship?" He asked.
"We got away before they could spot us. This cursed fog was a savior this morning." Jameson said, looking past Jack towards Will. "You know that boy?"
Jack nodded. "Aye, I do. Son of Bootstrap Turner." Jameson raised an eyebrow, obviously remembering the man. "When I get off at the next port, I'm taking the lad with me." Jack told him. Jameson looked to him.
"Take the boy? What are you going to do, Jack? Turn him into a pirate?" Jameson chuckled. "Trying to rebuild your crew with a new generation?" Jack didn't find it as amusing as he did and turned to give him a dark look. Jameson clamped his mouth shut.
"The boy is my best friend's son." He repeated, this time slower as if the captain was a dumb child. "So I will be taking him with me when I leave."
The captain nodded, not wanting to make Jack angry again. "As you wish, captain." He responded wearily.
Jack stood on the street, looking around at the small port Jameson had dropped him off in. The smuggler had been all too happy to drop Jack off at the nearest port before continuing on to his destination. The pirate was beginning to wonder if he shouldn't have worded it better.
Jameson had dropped him off in Isabella on the north coast of Hispaniola. From the looks of it, the town named in honor of the Spanish Queen had never really flourished. The government and the Captaincy-General obviously forgot it every year. The poor wandered the streets, begging for food. Those lucky enough to have homes lived in rickety huts just on the outside of town. Most of the population was extremely poor, so it was easy enough for Jack to pick out the merchants that had chosen this town to take a rest in. He had once heard that the bigger the merchantman around the middle, the wealthier he was and the more power he owned. Jack was going to test that theory.
He turned and crouched in front of the twelve-year-old boy, who was watching him with unhidden curiosity. Once again Jack was struck by how much Will resembled his father. In one smooth motion, Jack pulled the knife from his boot and held it out to Will on his palm. "That, lad, is a thief's best tool." He said and pointed to the blade. "You always want to scrub it with somethin' rough first. Takes the shine out of it so it won't reflect in the candlelight and give you away." The boy nodded, listening as if Jack were his teacher. "You don't want to keep it out in the open where they'll see it right away either." He flipped the knife up and caught the handle. Grabbing Will's shirtsleeve, he unrolled it so that it went down to his wrist again and slid it up the boy's sleeve. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that the rather larger merchantman he'd had his eye on was still there.
Will looked rather unsure of himself, shifting from foot to foot. Jack gave him a stern look before continuing on. "Now, the next part requires a little bit of actin' on your part. You need to get in close enough to him to cut the strings that tie his purse to his belt, savvy?" Will nodded and pointed past him.
"Like her?" He asked. Jack got to his feet, spinning around. There was indeed a young woman hanging on the merchant's arm now. He seemed pleased with this new woman and she hung on his shoulder, giggling. Jack seethed, clenching his fists. That was his target. He'd picked that man out specifically. With a practiced eye, he watched as the dark skinned beauty leaned against the merchant and whispered in his ear while removing the knife from the bodice of her dress in a quick, hidden movement. The sharp blade slipped through the purse strings and dropped into her other hand. She tucked it in the back of her skirt and pulled away. The merchant tried to lean forward for a quick kiss, but she put a finger on his lips and backed away a few steps. The next thing he knew, she was running and he was missing a purse. His outraged bellows echoed in the street.
Jack grabbed Will's arm and yanked him out of the alleyway, heading down the street towards the tavern. "We'll just have to find ourselves a different target." He was still angry that that woman had taken what was his. He'd searched long and hard to find the biggest purse that he could.
Stopping, he turned to Will again and pointed to the well-dressed woman standing in the streets. "She was with the man we just saw. If anything, she'll have a few coins in her purse to, aye?" He asked. Will nodded. "Good, then go to it. You saw how she did it. Just stay calm." Will took a deep breath and checked the blade in his sleeve before starting down the street towards the woman. Jack ducked into the shadows, watching carefully.
The young woman noticed his approach and smiled at the young boy. Will gave her a small smile back. "Good evening, ma'am." He said, waving at her. She laughed and waved as well.
"Good evening to you as well, young sir. How fare you this evening?" She believed him to be one of the many poor peasant children that ran all over the town, finding him amusing. Even at twelve years of age, Will found it slightly insulting. But he kept the smile and approached her.
"I would fare better if I could find my father. I believe him to be in this tavern drinking away his wages, but the keeper had taken a disliking to children. Beats them proper if he sees one enter." He looked up at her sadly. "Ma'am, would you look through the window and tell me if he's there? He's quite tall, with hair like the night and a scar under his right eye." Will had to put his trembling hands behind his back and worked to keep the nervous tremor out of his voice. The woman mistook it to be sadness and nodded slowly.
"I will." She said and turned towards the window, peering inside. As she did so, Will pulled the knife from his shift sleeve, but he could see no purse strings to cut but the ones around her wrist. Without thinking about it, he did as Jack had taught him. The blade cut through the strings easily and dropped into his hand. What he hadn't counted on was her noticing the sudden change in weight. The woman whirled around and spotted her pursed strings cut through and then him. "Thief!" She shrieked loudly. "Give me my purse, you little thief." She started towards him, but he didn't wait for her to reach him and took off running.
Jack cursed, stepping out of the shadows and made his way down the street as casually as possible. A few men in the tavern had been roused by her shrieks and came outside. Crying hysterically, she pointed them in the direction that Will had run and they took off. The boy was as good as dead if they found him. Once he was out of view of the tavern, Jack broke into a run, hoping to catch the boy before they did.
Suddenly a slender arm reached out of the shadows and grabbed his arm, tugging him into the alleyway. He had no choice but to follow, caught off guard. Whirling around to face the person who had grabbed him, he stopped short with an angry expression on his face. "You wench..." He snapped. His response was a slap across the face.
"Call me a wench again and this boy will be the only child you'll ever have." The thief hissed at him, yanking him farther into the alley. He could see Will sitting on the ground, knees pulled up to his chest and a frightened expression on his face. The purse sat on the ground beside him.
"He's not mine. Son of a friend." Jack shot back at her, rubbing the side of his face. The woman smiled at him.
"So if I cut it off now, you'll never be able to reproduce and I'd be doing the world a favor." She said easily. He gave her a dark look but she easily brushed it off. "Better be more careful with this one next time. Almost got caught." She knelt down beside Will and pushed a dark lock away from his face.
"It's his first time." Jack muttered and made a move to pull her away from the boy. "Don't baby him either." As he reached towards her wrist she raised her hand as if she would slap him again.
rethink that movement, sir." She told him and turned back to
Will. "I'm not babying him, simply soothing his nerves. A good
thief needs strong nerves." She looked back at Jack. He guessed
that she couldn't be anymore than eighteen by the looks of her. "Or
a pirate, if I'm guessing correctly." She looked him over and
nodded before turning back to Will. "My name is Anamaria. What's
He didn't look at her, just continued staring at the alley floor. "Will." He answered. Jack snatched the purse from the ground and opened it, sifting through the coins. Not at all bad for missing out on the first purse.
Ana laid a hand on Will's shoulder. "Don't worry. You did well for your first time, Will. I'm sure you will be very good once you learn to think on your feet and make decisions quickly." She got to her feet and ruffled his hair before turning back to Jack. "And you need to get the boy to develop trust in you. It comes in handy a long the way." She said, straightening his lapels and laying her hands on his chest. He felt the urge to slap the hands away, but couldn't bring himself to do it. "And while we're at it, why don't you tell me your name?"
"Jack." He answered simply, not about to give her anything else. She narrowed her eyes slightly, nodding.
"You look like a Jack." She told him before surprising him completely by leaning forward and giving him a kiss. "Not bad." She winked at him before looking at Will over her shoulder. "Keep at it. In time you will be a great thief." She promised. With that said she brushed by Jack, giving him a quick pat on the behind as she sauntered out of the alley. Jack growled and shot a withering glare over his shoulder, but she was already gone.
Will got to his feet, brushing off his clothes. "I'm sorry." He said quietly, not looking up at Jack.
"It's ok. Least you got away. My first time I spent the night in the stocks." He rubbed his neck and put a hand on the boy's back. "Let's get out of here. We have more than enough to buy pass..." He trailed off as his hand patted the pocket where the purse had been. His eyes narrowed and he clenched his fists.
"I hate that bloody woman!"