By Kiki Smith
The town of St. John was a medium-sized port in the Caribbean, locally famous for its excellent fishermen and the most attractive prices of seafood you could find in this part of the world. The town supported itself mostly from trade and was generally self-sustaining. There were no other towns nearby and as the area was still wild and untouched, there had been none who would dare dwelve into the woods to set up a village. The people of St. John managed quite nicely by themselves, though. The traders, upon whose work depended the constant supply of food and other necessary accessories, were at the top of the society, basking in their glory and wealth. People didn't hold that against them, choosing to focus on their own work instead. During leisure hours, however, people filled their small-town lives with idle gossip. And the person almost constantly talked about was the town's seamstress, Mrs Turner.
It was a woman of thirty, dangerously beautiful and fierce. She had arrived in St. John some eight years ago and when asked about her earlier life she talked of travelling. Always mysterious and unapproachable, she wasn't the best company. Ever since she told one of the women, one Mrs Brown, the shop-owner's wife, that her only real friends were at the sea no one bothered to forge any kind of pleasant relationship with her. Everyone assumed that she was a bitter widow and decided to let her be. Despite that, she had numerous suitors, willing to do anything for her, drawn by her beauty and the aura of assured independency that she carried around wherever she went. She had rejected each and all of them, in time turning all of the men against her and causing them to think of her as an old spinster, hiding behind a fake name, rather than a respectable married woman.
Mrs Turner, unsurprisingly, never talked of her husband, so the citizens of St. John didn't know who he was, or had been, or if he had ever existed at all.
Another thing that fueled the town's curiosity about Mrs Turner was an iron engraved chest that stood in a place of honor on the mantlepiece in her living room. She never answered questions about it and looked wistful whenever someone mentioned it in front of her. No one believed the stories told by the town's biggest gossip, Mrs Shane, of how she had presumably examined the chest and heard a rhythmic sound from inside of it, like the beating of a heart. This caused a series of rumours about how she was a wife who had murdered her husband and kept his heart as a reminder of her crime. But even without such sensational information, people were wary both of said chest and its owner.
There were other oddities about Mrs Turner, which didn't help a bit with her reputation. She had been seen walking about in men's clothing, carrying a sword and, to top that, practicing with it in her backyard! The town had been in an uproar for over three weeks after the news of this outrageous pastime activity reached the public. Sometime later Mrs Turner shocked St. John with another, this time even more unbecoming incident. One night she came to the tavern and kept ordering rum until she was so drunk that she couldn't stand straight. Her voice became high-pitched and unguarded as she sang off-tune pirate songs, cried and called out first for a 'Jack' and then chanting the name 'Will' until she passed out. Rumours of illicit affairs based on her words and behaviour immediatelly circled St. John. For some time everyone thought that she might have been a prostitute once and now was hiding under a fake identity in order not to go back to her previous profession.
However, the incident that ultimately ruined Mrs Turner's reputation occured some three years ago. St. John, a respectable port, had never before had anything to do with pirates. Therefore, that day, when the fishermen saw a rugged ship with black sails arrive in the bay, they panicked. They needn't have worried, however, for the pirates hadn't come to St. John to cause trouble.
Or, more importantly, to cause trouble with the fishermen and the traders.
For the Black Pearl, as it soon turned out, had come to St. John to visit Mrs Turner.
She had greeted them happily on the dock, going as far as flunging herself bodily at the Captain, the legendary Jack Sparrow. Disregarding the gasps and shocked looks, Mrs Turner led the dangerous bunch of pirates straight to the inn, where they had a night-long brawl, drinking rum, sharing stories, singing pirate tunes and, in the case of Captain Sparrow and Mrs Turner, frolicking around in the hall. Young Mr Murdoch had conveniently overheard their conversation at the time and later recounted the situation to his friends.
Apparently Captain Sparrow and Mrs Turner left the main chamber with their arms around each other and half-full bottles of rum in their hands. They were swaying drunkenly and laughing over their loud words.
'And then the old fool tried jumping, jumping, off the Pearl!' Captain Sparrow slurred cheerfully. 'We had to tie him to the mast so he would stay in place...'
Mrs Turner giggled. 'The same mast I tied you to?'
The air in the hall suddenly turned very serious. Captain Sparrow stopped and turned to her and they gazed at each other for a moment. He raised his free hand to her face, toying with some fly-away blonde hair, then leaning closer.
'The very same, darling' he said slowly, smirking. Mr Murdoch told his friends that he had sounded ridiculous while trying to appear seductive, but Mrs Turner apparently didn't mind that much, probably being as inebriated as her partner.
'Remember what you did... before...?' asked Captain Sparrow.
'Yes' answered Mrs Turner breathlessly and leaned in for a passionate kiss. Mr Murdoch cringed while talking about it, for he had been one of Mrs Turner's suitors and it was highly uncomfortable for him to speak of her in such a way. He bravely recounted the rest of the story, though.
When the kiss turned more serious, Mrs Turner suddenly pushed Captain Sparrow away and shook her head.
'I can't' she said firmly. 'I'm sorry Jack, but I can't.'
Captain Sparrow looked definitely crestfallen. He immediatelly moved to rectify the situation. 'But darling! You must be very lonely, no? It's been, what? Eight years?'
'Seven' answered Mrs Turner so quietly that Mr Murdoch had to strain to hear her.
'Exactly! So you've got three more to go before you can meet your dear William!' he grinned. 'Surely you'd like to impress him with your well-practiced technique?'
She glared at him fiercely. 'Even if, I'll definitely not practice it with you!'
'Aww, you wound my heart, dolly!' he put his hand to his chest in a mock gesture, before quirking an eyebrow. 'At least I have one, eh?'
Mr Murdoch was not prepared for what happened next and almost gave himself away with a barely stiffled gasp. Mrs Turner whirled about and slapped Captain Sparrow hard in the face, before turning on her heel and stomping towards the exit. The captain shook his head, smiled wistfully and called after her before she had the chance to leave.
'I saw him, you know.'
Mrs Turner stopped dead in her tracks, but didn't turn.
'About a year ago' the captain continued. 'He looked better than ever. I'd say immortal piracy suits him.'
Mr Murdoch could hear Mrs Turner's heavy intake of breath.
'Did he... say anything?'
Captain Sparrow rolled his eyes heavenward. 'Yes. Although I'm not sure if I can repeat it, the sentimental fool.'
In a matter of seconds Mrs Turner was in front of the captain, glaring at him and shaking him by the fabric of his filthy shirt. 'What. Did. He. Say' she hissed imperiously.
He grinned. 'Oh, the same stuff, really. How he loves you and can't wait to see you and all of that crap.'
Mrs Turner let go of the captain's shirt and her arms fell limply by her side. Her shaking shoulders told Mr Murdoch that she was crying, which really surprised him.
Captain Sparrow once again rolled his eyes and then gathered the weeping woman in his arms. She embraced him readily, without fear, the same way you embrace people you love. Mr Murdoch was particularly bothered by that part.
Their conversation continued, growing even more peculiar.
'Now, darling, it's only three years. You've already waited this long, what's another three years for you?'
'Jack, you don't understand... We'll only have one day and then he has to go back... I don't think I can go on for another ten years.'
Captain Sparrow grinned in the darkness. 'Don't worry, love. You're friends with Captain Jack Sparrow, aren't you?'
Mrs Turner raised her head to look at him. 'What are you talking about, Jack?'
'Nothing special, really' he said, but the reality was obviously opposite from what he was saying. 'Just some present from Tia Dalma and myself...'
'Tell me!' demanded Mrs Turner. He chuckled happily.
'In due time, love, in due time.'
Captain Sparrow was apparently too caught in his own musings to notice her protests. 'Ah' he said dreamily. 'What a fine formidable pair you will make... The Pirate King herself and the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. You won't get in my way, won't you?' he suddenly looked worried.
'Jack...' Mrs Turner whispered, staring at him. 'What are you saying...?'
He put a finger to her mouth. 'I'll tell you when the time comes. Now let's go back inside before Mr Gibbs drinks all of the rum.'
The pair left the hall, still unaware of Mr Murdoch in the shadows, nor of his ashen face and frightened expression.
Of course everybody knew the story of the Flying Dutchman and her cursed captain. There had been rumours that someone had recently found the heart of Davy Jones and stabbed it, becoming the captain in his stead. No one knew who it was, however, and even less people would suspect that Mrs Turner had anything to do with him. A lot of details matched, like the strange chest on Mrs Turner's mantlepiece, but the story still seemed way too farfetched. The people of St. John got divided into two groups – one that thought nothing of it and the other that waited the next three years with trepidation, wanting to find out for sure whether the Flying Dutchman would arrive in town to reunite Mrs Turner with her husband. Both groups, however, agreed that her reputation was beyond repair.
When the three years passed, the town became restless, observing Mrs Turner's every move. Even those who had doubted the story before became suspicious when she started selling things from her house and appointed another seamstress in her place, a Mrs Banks, a young widow whose husband had died at the sea a year earlier. From what Mrs Banks managed to notice, Mrs Turner was spending all of her time sewing a beautiful, rich gold gown and, to everyone's distaste, a whole wardrobe of distinct pirate clothing that included colourful shirts, black breeches, jackets and waistcoats. She even ordered herself a pair of high leather boots at the local shoemaker's, for which she paid a lot of money.
One evening in June Mrs Banks came running into the tavern, looking dishelved and bothered. She had a pack of keys in her hand and had to catch her breath before telling the news.
'Mrs Turner has just given me her house' she said, still not believing it. As a proof, she waved the keys around. 'And she's packed all of her things and the chest, too! And she told me that she was going to see her husband tomorrow!'
A hushed silence fell over the gathered people. They looked at each other's faces, seeing mirror images of what was going through their heads. If it all was indeed true, then tomorrow at dawn the Flying Dutchman and her captain would arrive at St. John's port. And the possibility of that happening was too frightening to consider.
The dock in the early hours of the morning the following day was much more crowded than usual. Even though the citizens of St. John were afraid, nothing could dull their curiosity, therefore many of them decided to come see what would happen for themselves.
It was brightening and the sky on the east was becoming grey, but Mrs Turner was nowhere to be seen. Some of the people started to doubt that she was ever coming and became angry at themselves for believing stupid fairy tales. Just when some were about to leave, they saw Mrs Turner at the end of the road, in the elaborate gold gown Mrs Banks had told them about, carrying a sailors sack over one shoulder and the iron chest in her arms, cradling it to her bossom. She looked magnificent and beautiful and many of the men stared at her in awe as she passed them, unseeing. Her expression spoke of a deep concentration and anticipation and a scary, dangerous aura emanated from her, making everyone move out of her way.
She reached the end of the quayside and stopped, putting away the sack, but still holding onto the chest as if her life depended on it. She shot a couple of amused glances at them before fixing her eyes on the horizon where the sun was beginning to peak from behing the waves.
Everyone held their breath as several things happened in quick succession. There was a flash of green light and the rising sun came into view, in all of its fiery glory. A blink of an eye later the water in the bay started seething threateningly and Mrs Turner was the only one who didn't flinch or back away. Suddenly a ship started coming out of the water, screeching and splashing, it's weed sails fluttering on the gentle morning breeze.
There was silence as the ship settled. Tears were streaming down Mrs Turner's cheeks, but she didn't turn her eyes, watching as a trail of disturbed water travelled from the ship straight in her direction.
Then something happened that no one in their wildest dreams would have predicted. A man appeared out of thin air, a dangerously handsome rascal in a blood-red shirt, purple bandana over his curly dark hair and with diagonal scar on his chest, right over the heart.
Mrs Turner almost dropped the chest she was holding, her eyes never leaving his face.
'Elizabeth' he said, his voice shaky. She answered by flunging herself at him, the iron chest flying, held with only one of her hands.
People of St. John stared frozen at them, both fascinated and uneasy to be witnessing such an intimate reunion. They watched as the couple on the quayside kissed and embraced, then started whispering. No one tried to eavesdrop on their conversation.
Suddenly the man looked up around the dock, for the first time seeing that he wasn't alone with his wife. He started laughing.
'I think I damaged your reputation, Elizabeth' he said loudly, not looking very apologetic.
She shook her head. 'Will, I never had a good reputation in the first place.'
They smiled at each other before Mrs Turner spoke once again.
'Besides, I'm not staying.'
The man – her husband – looked at her with a question dying on his lips. She grinned happily and reached into her pocket, from where she took out a small flask. She uncorcked it and sniffed at its contents.
'As a belated wedding gift from Captain Jack Sparrow, the Goddess Calypso and her beloved Davy Jones' she said, smirking.
'Elizabeth, what is it?'
She quirked her eyebrow.
'Why, water from the Fountain of Youth, of course' she answered off-handedly, then looked deep into her husband's eyes. 'To make me immortal.'
This time the silence was deafening.
'Are you... are you serious?'
He laughed, then kissed her again and they stood locked in their embrace for a couple of moments. Then Mrs Turner pulled away and quickly drank the contents of the flask.
'Take me to your ship, Captain Turner' she said, her voice strong.
He bowed to her deeply. 'As you wish, Your Majesty.'
He picked up her sack, then gathered her in his arms and took one last look at the assembled people. Though he had the appearance of a fearsome pirate, at that moment they weren't at all afraid.
Before they knew it, the quayside was once again empty and the formidable ship disappeared into the depths of the ocean, taking Mrs Turner along for the ride.
A/N: Thanks for taking your time to read this little piece of writing :D The plot-bunny bit me while I was still watching the movie (which was excellent, by the way, no matter what some people might say xD). At first I wanted to make it a multichaptered story, but then figured that with one unfinished story and one challenge response on the way it would be taking too much. So I shortened some things and decided to write a one-shot. Maybe one day I'll write a full-fledged Pirates of the Caribbean story... We'll see :D
Once again thanks for reading and please leave some reviews :) I'll be so very happy if you do, serious!