The Isle of Circe
The Black Pearl rode the swells patiently as she waited off the coast of the island. Jack couldn't resist sweeping his eyes across her as she lay anchored before the horizon. His ship once again. But now to business…
"I don't think that be rowing I see, Mister Gibbs." Jack said, snatching the flask from Gibbs before he could take another swig.
Gibbs glared at him before guiltily returning to rowing, helping the others in the small boat propel her towards the shore. Jack took a hearty swig from his lifted flask as he scanned the beach. There was no sign of habitation that he could make out. Fairly densely wooded inland, but no ports, no forts, and no houses. Curious. Where had he taken them to this time?
Jack waited as his men leaped ashore and pulled the boat up on the bank before stepping out and moving past them. He was more interested in exploring this island than making sure the boat didn't float away. The Pearl was in need of some supplies, most importantly food, and with any luck they would find them here.
"What do you make of it, Captain?" Mister Gibbs asked, walking up next to Jack a few moments later.
Jack tossed Gibbs the now empty flask before replying.
"I think we may need to be going for a hike, Mister Gibbs."
That remark inspired barely suppressed groans from the crew, but Jack ignored them.
"Mister Chauncey! Lead the way!" Jack ordered, gesturing extravagantly towards the trees before them.
The men immediately began to file into the forest. Jack paused to glance back at the Pearl one more time before he followed after them.
"Bloody island." Jack growled as he climbed up the steep mountainside after his men.
They'd seen no sign of life other than animal and they were quickly losing light. He'd spied a couple of fruit-bearing trees that they could harvest and maybe they could kill a few animals for meat, but that would not satisfy a whole crew for very long and there was no telling when the Black Pearl would come in sight of another island. They were exploring after all. How else did one become absolutely the most dreaded pirate in the whole ocean?
The distraction caused Jack to miss a step and his boot slipped on some loose gravel.
"What?" he snapped angrily.
"Captain, there's singing." Mister Chauncey reported, sounding confused.
"What?" Jack repeated, pausing in his climbing to look up at his crewman.
Chauncey leaned over the edge to look down at his captain. His face was puzzled.
"There's singing. A woman's voice. Ain't there Mister Gibbs?" Chauncey turned to the man for support.
"Aye, Captain." Gibbs agreed, "Makes not a wit of sense but there be a woman nearby."
"Well," Jack said, climbing up to the edge and accepting a hand up from one of the men, "best not keep her waiting then."
As if Jack had snapped an order, the men all took off into the woods towards the voice.
"I didn't mean attack 'er!" Jack yelled after them.
But the men either didn't hear him or didn't care because Jack was quickly alone on the edge of the mountainside. Looking about him as if for an explanation, Jack finally threw up his hands.
"Well, suppose I better be off then, too, eh?"
With that, Jack strolled after his over-zealous crewmen. But as he walked, he began to hear the singing, too. It was strange and beautiful and somehow…it called to him. That realization made Jack pause in his tracks.
"Hmmm. That's interesting." he remarked to himself.
He pondered the strange quality of the music before finally shrugging it off with an "Ah, well" and continuing on towards its source. The forest was getting thicker, the sounds of animals louder, and the music more insistent. Jack impatiently battled back some branches until he emerged into a clearing containing an enormous structure of stone. It appeared to be some sort of pavilion with stone steps leading up to it and huge columns adorning the edges. And amid the columns and on the steps lounged all forms of creatures from lions and monkeys to snakes and rabbits. But no sign of the woman and no sign of Jack's crewmen. Jack paused again.
"Very interesting." he muttered, rubbing his chin.
Cautiously, Jack moved closer to the structure. He took a couple of steps, then paused to see if any of the animals had stirred. Another couple steps, then pause again. None of the animals even seemed to notice him. They would glance his way, then look somewhere else as if he wasn't there or wasn't important. Normally, that would perturb him a little, but seeing as it was a bunch of potentially dangerous animals it suited him fine.
Finally, Jack was close enough to touch one of the lions. Cautiously, Jack reached out a hand and touched the lion with the tip of a finger before whipping his hand back and preparing to run. But the lion didn't move. It almost seemed half asleep.
"Well. Good kitty." Jack said, stepping closer, "I always thought you weren't as bad as they say. Just an overgrown housecat, really."
The lion yawned, baring huge fangs and Jack quickly hurried on inside.
Beyond the stairs and columns were the huge doors to the building. They stood open and inside, Jack could make out the outline of a woman behind some curtains. Candlelight highlighted her shadow. Needless to say, Jack found himself wanting to see more than just her outline.
"Uh hum." he cleared his throat, "Excuse me, luv?"
Abruptly the singing stopped and the woman threw the curtains aside.
"A visitor!" she exclaimed, seeming pleased.
Stunned for a second, Jack didn't reply. She was gorgeous! Flaming red hair in waves and scantily clad to boot. Just what a pirate dreams about on those lonely nights at sea. But she was looking at him, waiting for a reply so Jack got a hold of himself.
"Yes…uh…well, I'm Captain Jack Sparrow. You may have heard of me."
She shook her head and Jack frowned.
"Well, you may have seen my crew. They came this way."
"Are those your men? Yes, of course! Come, come. My women are helping them to relax and enjoy some of the fruits of the island." The drop-dead gorgeous woman said.
Jack's gaze dropped from her face slightly and he contemplated briefly what it would be like to enjoy the fruits of the island before he noticed her gesturing for him to follow her into another room. Jack quickly hurried to her side.
"I'm Circe." she said as she opened another door, revealing a large chamber, "This is my island."
"Lovely place." Jack replied without thinking as he took in the room.
The room was lines with couches along the walls where some of his men were reclining and being fed fruit by beautiful women. Others were occupying the stone water tubs in the center of the room where more beautiful women were pouring buckets of hot water on them and washing their backs. Jack swallowed and thought wistfully that Tortuga would never seem quite as nice again.
"Come, Mister Sparrow. You must be awfully weary from your journey. Come, join me for some food and wine." Circe beckoned him, her voice more alluring than any tavern wench.
"Uh…it's Captain." Jack managed as he stumbled after her.
Circe smiled and pushed Jack onto a plush couch. Jack swallowed again as she stretched out next to him, picking up some grapes from a nearby tray and feeding them to him, before he smiled and relaxed. He could definitely get used to this.
Suddenly, as Circe was about to pour wine into his mouth, Jack had a thought.
"Circe, luv. Where are all the men?" Jack asked.
"Men?" Circe repeated, frowning as if the question displeased her, "There are no men on my island. Except you and yours, of course. Here, have some wine. It's excellent and you must be thirsty."
Jack was about to agree when he something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. Something that caused him to jump up from the couch, knocking the goblet of wine out of Circe's hands. That something was Mister Gibbs turning into a pig.
"What the bloody hell!" Jack yelled.
Before his eyes all of his men were turning into animals. Chauncey shrank and became a monkey, Jacob grew feathers and became a parrot, Roberts was suddenly a goat. Even at his most drunk, Jack had never seen anything like this. Whirling on Circe, Jack grabbed her arm before she could get away.
"What's going on?" he demanded.
"Unhand me!" Circe commanded.
"I don't think so, luv."
"If you care for the lives of your men you will unhand me." Circe threatened.
Slowly, Jack removed his hand, but he kept his gaze steadily fixed on her, waiting for an explanation. Sighing, Circe gave it.
"Alright, alright. I'm a witch. I turn men into animals. It's what I do."
Jack's eyes widened and he took a step back from her. She rolled her eyes and plopped down on the couch.
"It's a potion in the wine, stupid." she snorted.
Jack glared at her for a moment before glancing back at his men.
"Well, undo it already." he prompted.
Circe looked up at him with a devilish smile.
"Why should I?"
Jack glanced around the room as if looking for a valid argument before finally giving up and drawing his sword. Circe laughed and pushed the blade away.
"If you kill me you'll never get your men back." she taunted.
Jack cast his eyes heavenward and muttered something about women before sheathing his sword again.
"Well, then, how do you propose we come to an accord?" he asked.
Circe appeared to contemplate that for a moment before she looked Jack up and down and a grin appeared on her face.
"Well, Captain Sparrow," she said in her seductive voice. She gestured for him to come closer, "I'll restore your men if you…"
She whispered in Jack's ear. Jack's eyes widened and slowly a smug grin spread across his face.
"Ah, so I'm irresistible." Jack grinned.
"Don't push it." Circe snapped, "You'll do. Besides, it's been awhile."
Jack frowned, looking wounded. She didn't mean that. She couldn't. He was Captain Jack Sparrow after all. Expression changing to one of anger, Jack whirled around and began marching for the door.
"Wait! Where are you going?" Circe cried.
"To get another crew." Jack replied over his shoulder.
"What?" Circe exclaimed in disbelief.
"Sorry, luv. You're just not my type." Jack said, turning back to her briefly so he could spread his hands apologetically.
"What? Wait!" Circe protested, running after him.
"It could never work between us." Jack continued.
"Are you mad?"
"Besides, I never really liked that Gibbs anyway."
"You are mad."
"Just as well, really. Get me a fresh new crew and start again."
Jack was almost to the steps now and he noticed out of the corner of his eye that by now Circe's face was almost as red as her hair.
"I command you to stop!" she bellowed.
Jack paused and slowly turned around.
"This is unacceptable, Mister Sparrow."
"Captain. It's Captain." Jack sighed, "Why is that so difficult?"
"Captain Sparrow, I demand that we reach an agreement."
Jack quickly suppressed a grin and feigned thought.
"Hmmm, well. Here's an idea. How about I give you just a taste of Captain Jack Sparrow, you release my men, and we see if anything…develops."
Circe pouted unhappily, but finally nodded agreement. Now Jack couldn't help but grin as he sauntered back towards her. Circe remained where she was, watching him uncertainly. She looked up at him as he closed the distance between them and her eyes widened as he leaned in towards her. And suddenly, she was being dipped backwards and kissed passionately. She almost cried out in surprise, but was prohibited by Jack's kiss. When the pirate finally pulled away and set her upright, she felt weak at the knee and a little dizzy. It took Jack clearing his throat to snap her out of it. Snapping her mouth shut, she whirled around and snapped her fingers, causing most of the animals to turn back into men.
"Get up you lazy dogs! To the ship!" Jack snapped at his men.
Startled and confused, the men obeyed without question, hurriedly running back towards the ship. Jack headed after them, but paused.
"Sorry, luv. We're just not right for each other." he said remorsefully.
Circe didn't reply or even turn around. Jack shrugged and started after his men again. But again he paused. This time he turned and addressed the lion.
"Sorry, mate, but I've got enough mouths to feed."
The lion didn't look at him either.
"I knew you'd understand." Jack nodded, before quickly leaping down the steps and walking quickly after his men.
He caught up to them on the beach where they were waiting for him by the boat. They were all silent as they shoved off and sailed for the Pearl. That is until Gibbs asked the question they were all thinking.
"Yare, Jack! What bloody happened?"
"Infatuation, Mister Gibbs. Women all love Captain Jack Sparrow." Jack replied immediately.
Meanwhile, Circe still stood at the door to her home. She had stayed firm for as long as she thought Jack might possibly still be around, but now she felt it safe to collapse against the building and slide to the floor. A sighed escaped her.
"Captain Jack Sparrow." she murmured.