Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Pirates of the Caribbean. I wish I did. Because then I'd be rich. However, as I don't own them, exactly, and am merely borrowing them, with every intention of giving them back, the least I can do is treat them with respect.

Sort of.



In the Belly of the Beastie

It was dark.

Very dark.

He tried waving his hand in front of his face. Nothing. Not even a shadow of movement. Interesting.

If it weren't for the stench, he'd think he was dead. By all rights he should be dead, but then, he'd made it a habit long ago to avoid dying at all costs, and so he wasn't entirely surprised to find out that he was still, somehow, against all the odds, clinging tenaciously to life.

The stench wasn't that bad, really, he thought philosophically. After all, he'd smelled the stinking breath of Hector Barbossa. Nothing beat that.

Slowly he became aware of sound surrounding him, a dull rushing sound. Ah, he thought shaking his head a little, hearing the slight tinkle of his beaded braids, it was the beastie breathing. Very interesting.

How had he come to be here, to be alive? Now that was a question worth pondering. He supposed it had something to do with the dive he'd taken into the Kraken's razor rimmed maw. Unlike most other sailors, he'd jumped in, and somehow he'd avoided those teeth, and ended up... er... well he wasn't entirely sure. This was the first time he'd ever been inside of another living creature.

He paused. Remembered. Rephrased mentally.

The first time his whole body had been inside of another living creature.

Another pause.

The first time he was consciously aware of his entire body being inside of another living creature. There, that ought to do it.

Right, well, luck had gotten him this far, and Lady Luck had always been a fickle mistress—rather like a certain blondish chit of a girl who he was NOT going to think about right now. Not at all. Not. Definitively.

"Where the bloody hell can I get some rum?" he growled, surprised a little at the sound of his own voice. He listened. Nothing. Just the same dull roar, and a curious gurgling sound from somewhere to his left. He reached out a hand, feeling about in the dark for something, anything.

And was simultaneously disgusted and relieved when his hand touched a soft, slightly yielding, thoroughly slimy surface. He was rather grateful for his boots all of a sudden. Even the left one.

Time to make some luck of his own. He frowned a little as he realized he still held his sword clenched in his right hand. Well, that was bloody useless. Sheathing it, he delved into the leather pouch attached to his belt. At least he had all of his effects.

Flint and the stub of a candle were still there, and thankfully dry. In the pitch dark it took a couple of tries before he managed to light the candle, and then there was a nerve-racking moment when he almost dropped it.

Because the light of the candle revealed exactly where he was.

Jack blinked.

"Well," he said finally, "it could be worse."

He was standing in a tunnel of flesh that moved slightly, throbbing obscenely with the Kraken's giant heartbeat. The walls were a fleshy pink, shot through with dark veins that pulsed and wriggled as he watched. Everything glistened with slimy mucus. The tunnel sloped down to his left. Well, he assumed it was down, since he was standing upright, but the movements of the Kraken every once in awhile rocked him a little where he stood. No more so than the Pearl on a choppy sea, though. To the right... the passage went up, and high above he caught the glimmer of teeth.

Interesting.

The gurgling sound on his left grew stronger, and curious, he slid cautiously toward it. The candlelight reflected off the wet walls, and showed him what lay at the end of that passageway. He had the impression of water, like a huge lake, which was littered with the flotsam and jetsam of a thousand ships. The light caught on a pale, fishy colored object and with a muttered oath and a quick warding sign that he'd seen Gibbs use on occasion, he realized that it was the bloated corpse of a sailor.

He peered closer.

Ew.

It was one of his sailors. Jack made a face. Oh, well. He said he'd wanted to sail the seas forever, eh?

The Kraken shifted again, and Jack was thrown to his feet. The candle went out, but he held on to it. The gurgling sound was louder now.

Er. Right. Time to see what was happening at the other end of the tunnel. He carefully groped his way in the dark, away from that sound and the increasing stench. He'd made it about ten feet up the corridor when there was a rush of overpoweringly nasty air and a loud belch. Instinctively he threw an arm up over his face, his eyes watering from the smell. Blast it, but that was nasty. A smell like that would wake a dead man.

For three seconds Jack's head mulled that thought over.

Then, behind him, from the direction of the lake, he heard a splash.

He froze. Waited. The temperature inside of the Kraken dropped. Again, behind him, far out on the lake, a distinctive splash.

Not good. Not good.

He scrambled forward, not caring anymore what he touched, seeking a more level surface. When he reached a good spot, he lit the candle again. He noticed absently that his hands weren't entirely steady.

There were more splashing sounds coming from behind him, and he could feel the beastie moving through the water with increased speed. Lord, but they must be flying. He held the candle aloft, peering back the way he'd just come.

The lake was frothing. Boiling. And in the midst of that churning nightmare, he watched with dawning horror as more of those pale fishy colored corpses rose to the surface and began moving toward him. They weren't swimming, exactly, but they were definitely moving, floating, bobbing in his direction.

"Bugger," he said.

Whirling around he headed farther up the passageway. The surface underfoot was slimy, and it was difficult going, for he'd move forward a few feet only to slide back if the beastie shifted. And the passage was increasingly steep.

A louder gurgle than usual from behind him made him turn. The candlelight just barely reached the end of the tunnel.

The corpses were shambling up out of the water. Some of them had clearly been there longer than others, for they were bleached white, coated in mucus, and partially... ew... digested. The corpses of his crew, however, were more recently dead, but even they had gone pale and cold, and their glazed over eyes glittered strangely as they began to slowly move toward him.

"Bugger," Jack said again.

He had reached the steepest part of the tunnel; here it went nearly vertical. Around him, the fleshy walls of his tunnel were contracting and releasing, not unlike his own stomach. There was another belch that nearly knocked him flat.

It did, however, blow out his candle.

It was dark again. Very dark. And the temperature was getting increasingly cold. He could hear the soft wet squelching sounds of his crew as they drew closer.

"Jack," the whisper came, low and cold and wet.

"Jack Sparrow," it came again.

"Captain," he said, silently pulling his sword from its sheath and turning toward the whispers.

"You did this to us," came the whisper. "You bloody coward."

"Now that's going a bit far, don't you think—," Jack said.

"You killed us, Jack, sent us to fulfill your debt."

Bloody hell. Bloody draugs.

"Ah, yes," he said, squinting into the darkness, "well, debt's settled, and here I am wif you fine gents and—" In the dark, a cold something brushed Jack's face and he jerked away from it.

"You'll be joining our crew, now," the whisper said, slowly, sinisterly. "We need a Captain."

"No offense intended, mates, but even my standards aren't quite that lax."

"Jack. Jack. We're not goin' to be givin' you much of a choice."

Jack's sword leapt out toward the whisper, and he had the satisfaction of feeling it sever something soft. There was, however, no cry of pain. No reaction from the darkness at all.

Bugger. Something cold touched his hand and he lashed out again. Again, the soft sound of flesh parting, a squelch. More silence. His ears burned with it. Then the beastie gave another gurgle from deep in its belly. He rocked a little as he felt the creature slowing.

Cold, on his right. Again with the sword, again with the strike, again with the silence.

He didn't bother to wait this time, but instead lashed out instinctively around him, feeling each blow, but unnerved by the silence of the draugs.

Tired, he leaned back.

"Nice try, Jack," came the whisper. "But it's far too late now. We're here."

"Where's here?" Jack asked, but the only answer he received was a roar from deep within the Kraken, and sudden pale light shining down from the creature's mouth as its maw opened. The light illuminated the undead around him, showed him the slashes and gashes he'd made, and the great gaping wounds oozing black blood, which did not seem to affect those that bore them at all.

They were staring at him as if they were hungry.

Then the walls of the tunnel abruptly contracted, expanded, and with a deep, nasty gurgle and blech, the Kraken did exactly what Jack would have done if he'd had a belly full of zombies.

It threw up.

Holding on to his sword, Jack turned to face the Kraken's mouth as the water in the lake, the draugs, the stench surrounded him and propelled him upward. He arrowed through it all, twisting his body, barely missing the teeth again, and then he was flying through the air and crashing to earth with a bone jarring thud.

He waited until he'd caught his breath again, then turned and watched as the Kraken lifted up from underneath its leviathan body a battered looking ship. A black ship. With black sails. Its tentacles pushed the Pearl closer to the shore, lodging it among the shoals. Then, the Kraken slipped back into the sea.

Around him, the draugs were picking themselves up bonelessly. But this time they did not go for him. Instead, as if they were drawn toward it like baby sea turtles, they began shambling back to the sea. One by one, the pale zombies slid beneath the fog shrouded waves until Jack was the only thing left standing on the shore.

For a long moment he watched the sea. There was no horizon. No sunlight. No darkness. Just endless pale gray fog stretching out as far as he could see. The Pearl sat quietly among the shoals, her tattered sails ghostly and terrifying, dripping. He turned to his right. The shore he stood on was of a light gray, nearly colorless sand, and it too stretched away into the fog. Here and there, the skeletal remains of ships littered that veiled beach, half sunken into the sand. To his left, it was the same.

Nothing moved. Nothing stirred.

It was as if he'd reached the end of the world, he thought.

Something caught his eye, half buried. Approaching it warily, he noted its shape, and then he got down and dug it out with his hands. It was a crate, encrusted with dried salt and barnacles, it had clearly been there for awhile, but Jack didn't care. With a blow from the hilt of his sword the rotting wood crumbled revealing the crate's contents.

Not long after that, Captain Jack Sparrow sat morosely on the shore at the end of the World, a bottle of rum in each hand, humming.

"Well," he said, a little drunkenly, "it could be worse."


Author's Note: Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

That's it. Sorry. At this point I'm not planning further chapters. I really just wanted to write what I thought may have become of everyone's favorite Captain after his dive into the Kraken. And so I have. I hope it was entertaining. It was definitely a surprise to write.

"Draugs" by the way, are a type of marine zombie, all that's left of sailors who die at sea. Look them up. They creep me out.


Update (6/23/07): Imagine my surprise when viewing At World's End, when Davy Jones's Locker looked rather a lot like how I'd envisioned it in this story. I've updated this a tad (changed, in fact, only two words), and am contemplating continuing with it, for at least another chapter--should anyone be interested in the story of how Jack's time in the Locker goes all screwy. I confess, however, that the idea of writing a story featuring multiple (shirtless) Jack Sparrows holds a vast deal of interest for me, so it would not take all that much encouragement.

In the meantime, I'm working on another Pirates story. For updates, check out my blog.