Sleep could not come soon enough. Davy Jones spent the day crueller than usual, unleashing the kraken twice in one day on two separate ships. It was a while since he'd called the beast at all, and as it rose from the waves in a stinking curl, he felt a bitter, hateful power surge through his ravaged body. The sick fury renewed him to his very toes and tips of tentacles. He'd never felt so alive as when he watched death and fear in others by his hand. Not since- but that memory was locked in a chest where it should be.
When he shut his eyes to sleep, however, he was uncomfortably clutched by small fists of guilt. They dispersed quickly and left no marks but he wondered where they came from.
"Murderer," said the girl humorously by his ear.
He snorted, amphibian-like. He had not been aware of the passage from sleep into dream, though now he cocked an ear, the silence seemed to wring the air out. Surely there was no such silence on the waking earth?
To spite him, the music box juddered, played a few notes, and wound down very suddenly.
"The sea-monster today was... unnecessary."
He sat bolt upright. "They need to know to fear me. I do not compromise! I do not forgive! I do not- I do not do things by half. I. Am. The. Sea. I am always powerful."
She jumped straight in, sending him mentally reeling. "The sacred tablet on the wall shows I have hung up my dripping clothes for a god who has power over the seas."
She shut the book with a wet 'squelch' and it fell to pieces. "Finished," she added, unnecessarily.
"Like I said," she continued, ignoring him, "every woman is a sea to herself. And she tried to drown you, but you swam away. And you hung up your courting cloths and you climbed into that awful set of weeds, and you sailed the ocean and you got your own theme tune." She grinned, mockingly.
"I suppose the discerning and intelligent reader of this little bedtime drama," she said idly, "could draw parallels between your heart and the sacred sacrificial tablet. Well, good luck to them. I just wanted to let you know of... this."
He said, in a voice he was not sure was his, "I wasn't sure if it was my child."
She waited, glassy again.
"She wasn't always mine, see? I tried to ignore that. In my head she was mother and lover combined. She was just a particularly beautiful whore. But I loved her. Properly. And she said we'd elope together, then later told me I'd paid her to say such things, then told me she said it from the heart, then-" He broke off. "In the end, I couldn't tell when she was telling the truth. I sailed away. I wrote letters. I tried to make myself hard at heart. Hearts don't do that. I came back six months later and she was pregnant. I didn't understand a word that came out of her clever, clever mouth. I couldn't, she twisted meanings and bent sentence double with her tirades and her tears. When the thing was born, I drowned it because I was afraid it would never know me, or worse, call me Papa. My heart was soft and difficult, so I got rid of it. She withered and died soon after the birth. I stayed alive. But- O God! I still loved her."
He looked up. At first he thought she was crying, then he realised her entire body was dissipating into salt water.
"Wait!" he exclaimed, not sure why.
Her voice came to him like the distant crash of waves on the shore. "By telling me your soul, Mr The Sea, you've set me free. I can... rest now."
"But you said you were just part of my dream," he said, perplexed.
"Isn't... this all... part of one... nightmare?" Words were difficult because her mouth had faded, like a perverse and poignant Cheshire cat. "You... needed... to...dream...me. I needed... the sea to... let me go. I was... destined to... die... on... land..."
"I still need yer," he whispered. "Yer- yer a good subconscious. I need one of those sometimes."
But she'd gone, and she wasn't coming back.
When he awoke, the sound of water had returned, lapping hungrily at the sides of the ship. He fought the temptation to raise what were once his hands to his ears, to shut out the din of living and hear his own mind in the silence, the silence, the silence which wasn't coming back.