Those Who Return
Disclaimer: all recognizable characters belong to the Disney franchise.
Author Note: This is an old piece that I wrote pretty much the day At World's End came out. But for a long time I couldn't decide if I wanted to add more chapters. For now I've decided against it, but that doesn't stop me from posting the prologue, since its a self-contained fic in its own right. Please, enjoy!
It is an ancient mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
"By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
"The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din."
He holds him with his skinny hand,
"There was a ship," quoth he.
"Hold off! unhand me, greybeard loon!"
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He holds him with his glittering eye -
The wedding-guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will…
Excerpt from "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner"
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Port Royal Archeological Excavation– 1986
It was 6 am when Robert Hastings made his way down to the dig, still shaking the last cobwebs of sleep and dreams from his mind. The sun would be rising soon, turning the steely gray sea to bright Caribbean blue. He paused in his descent to watch the golden ball crest the waves and spread its warm glow across the landscape.
The sun was not quite up when Robert saw it. A flash of…green? It exploded across the sky like a lightning bolt and just as quickly vanished. Robert glanced around to see if anyone else had noticed but not a soul stared into the distance from where the flash had come and he was forced to conclude that it was just a figment of his imagination. He continued down the hillside to the water. Beneath the waves was the broken debris of Port Royal, destroyed in an earthquake three hundred years previously. Some of the ruins remained out of the water, about a third of the town and the broken remains of the wealthy district which had sat higher up on the hill.
The site was stirring to life briskly and with little muttering, except perhaps by the visiting interns who had become too friendly with the rum and lack of strict drinking age. There were still those who thought that a job on a site in Jamaican meant rum, women, and pot ever night but the rigors of the dig soon revealed the truth of that delusion.
Tourists were uncommon this early in the day and they were only allowed at a select few sections of the dig so for a moment Robert had to rub his eyes and squint to confirm there was indeed a lone figure standing inside section 27, a roped off area at the heart of the site. He was wearing a long coat that would be far to hot once the sun was further along its path. His hair was pulled back and covered by a bandana. For a bemused moment, Robert half expected an eye patch and peg leg. The man was staring at the ground and seemed to be prodding something with his foot. He was of average height and build but there was an aura about him, an air of command in the set of his shoulders that was apparent even as he skulked about where he surely did not belong. With a jolt Robert realized that the man surely didn't belong there and began to trot towards him.
"Oi! You! What do you think you're doing over there, this part of the site is off limits to tourists," the man stopped his investigation of whatever lay at his feet and looked up, allowing Robert a look at his face. He had a neatly trimmed mustache and a small goatee, which decorated a sun browned face no older than thirty. There was nothing out of the ordinary about it, beyond a certain attractiveness, which probably made him the popular with women, but something about it drove the air from Robert's lungs. For a moment, he could not speak or breathe and he stumbled to a halt a few yards from his goal. The shock only lasted a moment but Robert found himself gasping for breath, a cold sweat beading on his forehead. It was as if he had seen a ghost. But the man did not vanish and in a few strides was at his side scrutinizing him with concern.
"Are you alright?" his voice had a warm British-Caribbean lilt and his cultured concern did something to slow Robert's racing heartbeat.
"Yes, fine, really, I'm…quite alright," Robert gasped, "Just a little out of shape."
The lines of worry in the man's face washed away like lines of sand in the tide and he gave an easy smile that did not reach his eyes. Robert noticed that they were dark brown, almost black, and haunting. Was it his imagination running away with him or was there something of dark, moonless nights in treacherous waters about those eyes? He shook his head to clear the fantasy and only then remembered why he had raced over here in the first place.
"This section of the excavation is off limits mister…"
"Will Turner," the man supplied.
"Mr. Turner. I'm going to have to ask you to leave. This area is open to authorized personnel only and—,"
"Do you know what this pile of rubble used to be?" Turner said, he did not raise his voice but Robert's tirade was abruptly halted.
"A blacksmith shop," he said, surprised that he had remembered. Even after three years it was a huge site and he was an archeologist, not a tour guide.
Turner smiled, "Not quite. You may notice that this," he stepped back into the section without as much as a by-your-leave and picked up what looked like a rock. It glinted in the sunlight, "is steel, but it's not just any steel. If you analyze it, you'll probably find it is from Toledo and is of very fine quality despite its condition. It can be folded dozens and even hundreds of times to make swords fit for kings… or commodores. This smithy would have had too much business as the fine establishment it was to shoe horses or mend pots and pans. If you dig further you may even find a few half-finished swords, gold for the filigree and the remains of a smithy designed to reach higher temperatures than your average blacksmith would ever need."
"What makes you say that?" Robert said guardedly. That had been a hypothesis put forth by the intern working on this plot but it would require much more evidence to gain recognition as a possibility and even more before it was released to the public even in an academic dissertation.
A mysterious smile played across the stranger's face like light on the water. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Try me," Robert knew he should have been trying harder to get Turner to leave the site but he found himself fascinated as he had not been since his first dig back in college; certain that every stone and shard of broken pottery held the key to a lost civilization. Somehow, this man reminded him of a puzzle waiting to be solved.
"There was a ship…" Turner began then stopped. "No, there was a woman."
"Your wife?" asked Robert.
Will nodded. "She was the governor's daughter and I had loved her since I was a boy when her ship rescued me from the water."
"What happened?" Robert asked. Maybe the man was a loony but Robert's gut was telling him listen.
For a moment Robert thought Will was not going to answer . He was staring straight ahead, as if Robert had been replaced by the specters of his thoughts.
World's End – June, 1692
In the sea, the stars spread out like so many diamonds on a jeweler's black velvet display. There was no telling where sea and sky met, the reflection was too perfect, the water utterly still and no light but the stars to dim their glory. The galaxies above seemed close enough to touch. At the helm stood the master of these waters, the son of a pirate made immortal by mercy and an undying love that chose one meeting every ten years over the separation of true death. Captain Will Turner of the Flying Dutchman guided the souls of the dead to their final resting place, as he had done now for fifteen years. In this fey realm of unending night, the time passed too swiftly to be caught and measured. A decade felt like no more than a day to his now immortal mind. However, his heart was still bound, still mortal and to it every second was an eternity to the day he would next see the keeper of his heart on the shore. Yet the thought also filled him with dread. He had missed so much in the ten years he and Elizabeth had been separated, the birth of their son, his infancy and childhood. The helplessness he felt at being unable to provide for his family was only barely assuaged by the substantial fortune she had inherited from her father. While still the active Pirate King, Elizabeth had retained her identity in Port Royal as the widowed daughter of the late governor who had quietly retired to a private life of travel. This allowed her to carve out a future for their son in His Majesty's Navy, with glowing commendations of good background and a (mostly) blameless name. Considering the boys status as a member of the nobility and his grandfather's favor in the eyes of the king, it was certain that he would reach the rank of officer as soon as he was old enough to hold the position. He was currently stationed in far away England and so it was unlikely that he would run afoul with any of his parents' associates, be it the wily Jack Sparrow (still alive and combing the colonies with Barbossa for the Fountain of Youth when he was not busy with other pirating and the never-ending search for rum and the coin to buy rum when it could not be stolen) or any of the Pirate Lords that as Pirate King Elizabeth was responsible for. Even if he did, the face of the Pirate King and the new Davy Jones' child was universally known amongst pirates, and a pirate would sooner cut his own throat than risk the wrath of either of the formidable pair who could wreak vengeance in both the world of the living and the dead.
With young William as safe as he could be without his father's presence it was his wife Elizabeth upon whom his thoughts brooded. Though barely visible, the faint lines of age had been visible at their first land meeting after a decade. Though she would always be the radiant woman he had loved all his life, the ravages of time were visible to those who knew her as intimately as he did. He knew that in another decade the difference would be more pronounced until his love was an old woman bent by time and soon laid low by death.
While he had not aged a day.
Though it had been fifteen years since he had taken on the captaincy of the Flying Dutchman, leading the candlelit dead to the beyond, he looked no older than he had the day Davy Jones had run him through.
When he looked into the future all he saw was death. His wife and their only child would die as was the fate of all mortals and become one of the thousands of souls he ferried every day… and then he would truly be alone.
The cold dread of that inevitable day bowed his proud shoulders. Staring into the water he watched the souls of the dead that floated in the water below.
He recognized one of them.
"Mister Brown?" he murmured as he watched his old master float by. The man was much older than when he had last seen him but Will was puzzled to find him here. He ferried the souls of those who died at sea, for what reason would the aging drunkard have left his home for the water? As he watched the floating spirit continue on its way he noticed another familiar face, Goody Rowan who Master Brown would buy his hangover cures from; and then Queenie Child, the flower seller, and Master Pullman, the butcher. Before he knew it dozens of familiar faces from his childhood began to join their fellows in the somber journey to World's End. And the line did not stop.
Fear froze his blood to ice. Something terrible had happened and hundreds of souls from Port Royal were passing into the beyond, into the world of the dead. Which meant… "Elizabeth," came Will's terror-stricken whisper. Rallying himself he bellowed, "All hands! All hands to your stations!" There was a sudden flurry of activity as the sleepless sailors poured out to man their stations. Within moments, Will's father was at his side. "First-Mate Turner, I want this ship in Caribbean waters within the hour, that's an order."
Bootstrap-Bill blinked owlishly at his son, "Is the ten years up so soon?"
"No, but Elizabeth might be in danger and I will not stand idly by with her life on the line," he said.
Bootstrap nodded absently but held up a cautionary hand before his son, "But what about your charge? The dead need their guide. Do not start down Jones' path of thinking your wants and needs are more important than your duty."
"Duty be hanged, I would sooner plunge a blade into my own heart than lose her and it will take more than Calypso's curse to stop me."
Port Royal – June 1692, 4 AM
The soft light of the candle cast a warm golden light on Elizabeth Turner's face, illuminating a faint pale scar stretching from hairline to jaw, mostly obscured by the fall of her hair, bleached blonde by hours in the hot Caribbean sun. She bent over a folio of papers, scanning them with weary eyes, the only sound the scratch of her quill as she laid out her orders for the maintenance of her estate for the next six months. Then it would be back to the sea, beginning with a few months in Singapore to remind her men that though she had given the captaincy to Tai Huang she was still their Pirate Lord and they were not to forget it. The situation had gone pear shaped while she was raising young William and with him off sailing the English Channel, she finally had the time to remind everyone who the Pirate King was. Not that she didn't desperately miss him, just as much as she missed his father but the boy had to be free to spread his own wings, not remain at home with his mother or worse fall into a life of lawlessness and pirating as a result of her influence. It had been a bitter fight between when Elizabeth forbade young William from running off with Jack Sparrow and his ilk to rape, pillage and plunder, but she had prevailed. Perhaps because the boy had grown up around pirates and could see through the glamour of adventure to the heart of the desperate squalid life that they lead. With the British Navy, he would still be on the sea but he would not be bound to it, he would be free to live a respectable life wherever he chose, be it the Caribbean, England, or any of the colonies. He had inherited his father's desire to live an honest life, a trait for which Elizabeth could not be more grateful.
It had hurt more than she thought she could bear to let William go. Now, bereft of both her son and her husband she buried herself in the works of her double life. She spent three months in Singapore, three at Shipwreck Cove, and three in Port Royal maintaining the façade of the late governor's poor widowed daughter who frittered away her fortunes traveling to distant lands. She walked the fine line between respectability and eccentricity, the latter of which was frowned upon in a women but the mask had to be maintained, for William's sake.
It was painfully dull. The modest manor in which she made her abode, further down the hill than the Governor's mansion but still separate from the town, required constant maintenance even with the skeleton staff of a few maids, a cook, and a steward. Edmund Porter did his best to keep her affairs in order and lived comfortably as a result the master of the manor for most of the year. However, there were always issues that only she could attend to and over the six months she was away they would build up until her quarter of a year on land was spent buried in paperwork. She veritably flew to the docks when her "imprisonment" was over and merchant ship appeared in the harbor, ostensibly to take her to whatever exotic location had struck her fancy when in fact it only took her as far out to water as was required to avoid gossip before she changed ships and headed east for Singapore.
Elizabeth squinted at the page. Her vision felt foggy and her hands cramped. Perhaps it was time to retire for the night. She rang the small bell at her side, which summoned her maid Molly, guiltily wiping the sleep from her eyes. "Shall I turn down your bed for the night Mistress Turner?"
"Yes, that would be lovely, thank you Molly," Elizabeth yawned. She pushed herself to her feet and winced at the ache in her right leg, courtesy of a fall from the mast during a storm not a year ago. Ten years ago the break would have healed without further complaint but now in her mid thirties Elizabeth did not heal as she once had; another painful reminder of her enemy, Time. When she saw Will again in four years (her heart gave a painful lurch) he would still appear as young as the day they had married and she would seem old enough to be his mother. She did not cry at the thought, her tears had been used up in the first decade of their separation and the hardship of raising a son on her own, for all practical purposes a widow, while fighting the uphill battle for acknowledgment from the pirates of Singapore and the world as their King. The fact that her husband was the new Davy Jones had been some help in cowing the belligerent lot, but not as much help as his presence would have been for her bruised and battered heart.
Not three steps from her bedroom door; Elizabeth pitched suddenly and violently to the floor. Her cheek smacked hard against the floor, and an explosion of stars to blinded her. The floor shook beneath her like a deck of a ship in a hurricane and the walls rung as if a giant fist was pounding against them, demanding entry. She could hear Molly shrieking in the next room. Elizabeth managed to pull herself to her feet using the candle sconce on the wall and staggered into her room.
"Mistress Turner! It's another of those earth shakes!" Molly shrieked.
"Another?" Elizabeth shouted back, clutching at the doorframe to stay upright.
"They've been going on for months, Ma'am!" cried Molly. The ceiling gave a threatening groan and both Molly and Elizabeth's head swiveled in the direction of the sound. Molly froze; her mouth wide with terror as a huge crack raced across the ceiling.
"Molly! Don't stand their like a lackwit idiot, you goat-kissing hussy, get out of there!" Elizabeth roared as only a pirate could. It worked; Molly was so shocked by her mistress's foul language that she forgot her fear of the earthquake. She darted to Elizabeth's side just as the ceiling flexed outward and collapsed, sending dust and debris pouring into the room. "Come on!" she cried and began pulling Molly through the hallway to stairwell. Throughout the house, she could hear the shouts and cries of the other servants over the banging and shaking walls. Elizabeth could only hope they had the presence of mind to get outside as she dragged Molly down the stairs and out the front door.
For a moment, the two stood gasping and panting on the lawn. Elizabeth gave a cursory look around and saw Mary and Rachel, the other two maids along with the cook and Porter. Releasing a sigh of relief, she allowed herself to relax, secure in the knowledge that there was no one else in the quaking house.
Then she heard the screaming.
Turning she looked out over the town of Port Royal; or what was left of it. Fire had spread throughout the town and the taller buildings had all caved in on themselves. People lined the street, moaning for lost belongings mixed with the terror-stricken cries of the wounded and dying. Herds of people who had the presence of mind to flee the town in case more quakes followed crowded up the roads to the hills but most remained in the streets searching for loved ones and waiting for the shaking to die down enough to retrieve their possessions. In some places, looters ravaged shops, weighted down by the swag they had recovered from the debris.
"Why did no one tell me about these earthquakes, Molly?" said Elizabeth to her sobbing maid.
"Begging your pardon, Mistress Turner," said Porter, coming over to join the two, "They were just little things at first, twern't hardly strong enough to shake the teacups. They stopped right before you arrived a week ago and we thought we had seen the last of them. There seemed no reason to be alarming you, m'lady, what with your delicate constitution," Elizabeth was caught between screaming and laughing in his face. Her so-called "delicate constitution" was just an excuse so she could meet with messengers from Singapore and Shipwreck Cove without interruption. Servants gossiped and so not even they knew about her true identity; but now it had cost her valuable information. Had she known about these "little" shakes she would have sent word to the new Governor to evacuate the town. A series of little quakes were almost inevitably followed by disaster. And when the earthquake was this close to sea…
"We must go to the Governor, he has to evacuate the town," said Elizabeth, easily falling into a command.
"But Ma'am, all of the wounded, if they are left there they will die. We should go down into the Port Royal to help save people," said Porter, trotting to catch up with his Mistress as she strode towards the Governor's mansion.
"Whoever falls behind stays behind," Elizabeth said coldly, "And if they stay there any longer they will all die."
"Why is that, Ma'am?"
"There's going to be a tidal wave."
When they arrived at the Governor's mansion they found that he had already fled to higher ground and was not to be found. In the meantime, another massive quake had rocked the ground, collapsing more houses and the line of refugees had become longer as the denizens of Port Royal began to realize that this would not end well, or soon. But many still remained, foolishly clinging to worldly possessions or perhaps too hurt or drunk to move.
"We have to warn them," Elizabeth said.
"Begging your pardon, Mistress, but isn't it our own skins we should be worrying about," said Porter, who was becoming progressively more uneasy the further they traveled down the hill. Elizabeth opened her mouth to reply when another quaked pitched them both to the ground. A roaring sound filled their ears, drowning out all other sounds, even their own screaming. And then there was silence.
Pushing herself shakily to her feet, Elizabeth stared out to the port. Ships sat on sandy ground surrounded by flopping fish. The docks protruded out into air as the beach suddenly stretched out far into what had once been sea water. The air was utterly still and she could hear her own heart pounding in her ears.
Throwing herself forward, Elizabeth sprinted towards the edge of town. "Everyone, run! Get away before it comes back!" No one seemed to be listening to her. She began to run again but felt herself caught and pulled back by a strong hand on her arm.
"Mistress, please, you must flee as well!" Porter begged. Elizabeth didn't budge but stared back at him with a steely glint in her eyes. "At least get to higher ground!"
"Go back to the manor, Porter," she cut him off before he could protest, "Take the chest from its hiding place and put it somewhere safe. That is an order. If I find that you have not obeyed me, I will have no choice but to release you from my service," a faint sheen of sweat was visible on Porter's forehead. Licking his lips nervously he looked between his steely-eyed Mistress and the stretch of unnatural beach from whence the returning wave would soon be coming. With a quick bow, he took off towards the manor. Once he was gone, Elizabeth continued her into the heart of Port Royal, aware that she had very little time left. Here and there she saw people meandering like lost souls through the broken streets and she pushed them back them way she had come, commanding them to run to safety. Even the looters she warned, recognizing a few of them as pirates for whom she was responsible.
Then she saw the wave.
It towered above the hapless port town, a wall of water moving forward at a deceptively slow rate but gaining speed. Like a huge maw it stretched wider to swallow the doomed city. It was only at the sight of the wave that reality returned to Elizabeth. Why had she done it? Three months on land, three months only and yet she was defending the town of Port Royal as if it were her own ship.
Maybe…because it was, she realized; but if she did not do something soon, she would go down with it and she would never see her son again, and of her husband she would only see one last glimpse as he ferried her to the other side. It would be a death at sea, as that avenging wave crashed down and swallowed the offending port and all those who lived in it, snuffing them out like thousands of little candles in a gale. For a moment she wondered if it would be worth it, to see Will one last time four years before their next meeting. Then she would never grow old for him, never fade. He would always remember her as the young mother of his child, not an old bent grandmother with only a glint of the young woman he had loved in her eyes. The vision sang a siren song to her as she stood frozen before the oncoming wave.
Then she banished it.
She was not a girl anymore to think that her wants and needs were all that mattered. She had a son to care for here, and hundreds of men and women around the world that she was responsible for. She was the Pirate King and if she was to die she would do it on her own terms.
On the street only one tall building remained intact. There she would make her last stand.
Climbing to the roof she wrapped her arm around chimney as if it were the mast of a ship and staring out in the gray pre-dawn at her onrushing doom she suddenly understood something that Jack Sparrow had known all along. A wicked grin spread across her face and staring down the monstrous wave that was devouring the land before it she realized she was not afraid. "Hello, beastie," chuckled Elizabeth Turner, Pirate King. And as the tsunami crashed down, sucking up ships and buildings she did not move or cry out as she was dragged down into darkness.
The sun rose bright and beautiful over the sunken ruins of Port Royal. Its light turned the dirty water, floating with corpses and flotsam red as blood. Up on the hill above town the survivors looked with hollow eyes upon the ruin of their town, all their possessions lost. Hundreds, if not thousands were dead. Men, women, children, soldiers and pirates alike, sharing the same watery grave, all the same in death, bloated, white and lifeless. Porter clutched the heavy metal chest that had been his Mistress' last command for him to retrieve. Whatever it contained he would never know since there was no key to be found but he fancied he could hear his heart thundering fit to burst, since of course the frantic beat of fear was not coming from the chest in his arms. In the aftermath of the earthquake and the tidal wave, there was nothing to do but wait for the water to recede.
As the sun rose, few saw the flash of green on the horizon and those who did had other things to worry about that a strange ship floating towards what was once the port. It plowed through debris and corpses and only someone with particularly sharp eyes would have seen a frantic man at the helm, his face pale beneath his tan staring out with terrified eyes at the wreckage.
The crew of the Flying Dutchman seemed uneasy to be back in the world of the living, remembering the dark days when their bodies and souls had been corrupted by Davy Jones giving up his duty as the guide for the souls of the dead. Yet their loyalty to the captain of the Dutchman no matter whom he was and so when he ordered them back to the Caribbean four years early they had obeyed.
"Orders, sir," said Sharkey, nicknamed for his corrupted form even after he had returned to his human one. For a moment all Will had been able to do was stare at the ruins of his boyhood home, knowing that somewhere amongst the broken buildings and sunken corpses could be the body of his wife. The thought sent terror like lightning through his body; but he had to maintain at least outward calm.
"Send out the boats, search every inch. First-Mate Turner will take one boat to land and look there."
"For the chest, captain?" said Sharkey.
"For the one who keeps it," said Will. It galled him that he could not yet return to land. If Elizabeth was alive, she was likely in the hills above Port Royal. If he found her from the boat, it would only be her corpse. If that was the case… he could not even consider the possibility.
The search lasted for hours and each passing second increased Will's fear for Elizabeth. As the boats drifted through the streets of Port Royal, now more closely resembling canals, he could see his men glancing to each other, shaking their heads at a lost cause. It was quiet from the lack of survivors. There would be the occasional far off shout or cry but Will's attention was focused entirely on the search for his wife to the exclusion of all else. The day wore on until the setting sun caused the sky to burst into a fiery shade of pink and gold, as if to mock the destruction and loss of life beneath it. Just as it was getting dark, they found Elizabeth.
She lay on her back upon a plank of wood that looked as if it had been ripped off the side of a house. She wasn't moving. Without waiting for the boat to get closer, Will dove off the side and swam to her side. The board was not strong enough to support both of their weights but he held her out of the water, one arm keep them afloat as the boat pulled alongside them and his crew dragged them up and in. Her fact was red and peeling from her exposure to the sun, encrusted with salt, and her clothes and hair were sodden and her fingers pruned. She didn't seem to be breathing.
"I think she's dead, captain," said Sharkey.
"No, no," Will said shaking his head as if he could force the fact from existence, "She cannot be," taking a knife from his boot he sliced open her corset, loosely bound as it was, and began to rhythmically press down on her chest, alternately breathing air into her lungs as if kissing her awake. She coughed and a faint trail of water trickled from her mouth but she did not open her eyes. Pressing his ear to her heart Will realized that her heart was beating but faintly. "Elizabeth," he said, barely able to keep the tears from his voice, "Elizabeth, darling, can you hear me?"
A faint gasp, more death rattle than whisper escaped her lips. "Will?"
"Yes, it's me," a smile dawned on his face, "I've come to rescue you."
Her lips quirked weakly into a smile and slowly her eyes fluttered open. Her brow creased. "Will, I feel…cold," The heat was beating down like a hammer even in the fading light. Pressing a callused hand to her cheek, Will felt her skin burning up as if with a raging fever. "Will, it's so dark. All I can see are… stars…"
"It's alright, Elizabeth, I'll take care of you. I won't leave you until you're better, I swear it," he felt the tugging of his duty but he shrugged off the nagging pull.
"I love you, Will," she whispered. "But I think this time… I will be leaving you first."
"What?" he said, "No! No, Elizabeth, you can't," her head sagged to the side as with a breath all the strength seemed to leave her body. "No! ELIZABETH!" she gave no response. Pulling her into his arms, Will bowed his head and wept into her neck like a lost child. All around him, his crew bowed their head in respectful silence. "Stay with me, please, I can't lose you," he choked.
"Captain, let her go, 'tis the natural order of things," said Sharkey.
The words rolled off Will like rainwater but one thought stuck in his mind. Sixteen years ago as he lay dying with Davy Jone's sword through his heart. The last thing he had seen was Elizabeth's tear-streaked face, begging him not to leave her. In that moment, he made his decision, though it breaks all laws of nature and God. "I will not let her go," he said.
Then, like lover, he whispered into her ear, "Elizabeth Turner, do you fear death?"
Robert Hastings watched Turner, waiting for him to go on with his story but the man had gone utterly silent, staring further up the hill to what had once been the wealthy district of Port Royal. Like a mirage a figure shimmered into existence. It was a woman, dressed not unlike Turner in a long antique coat, loose shirt and high boots. As she drew closer Robert was taken aback by her beauty, sun-bleached hair framed a sun-darkened face that seemed too perfect to be human with high cheekbones and warm brown eyes. Glancing to his companion he saw the look of pure adoration on the man's face.
"Your wife?" said Robert tentatively. Turner nodded and began to walk towards the breathtaking woman. "I thought you said she died," Robert called after him.
"Sometimes people come back," Turner replied.
"Wait! What about your story? How could you know about the smithy? Who are you?" His words seemed to go unheard. As Turner came alongside the women (who seemed to be several years older than him) he caught her in a deep, passionate kiss that left Robert feeling vaguely uncomfortably, as if this kind of love was not for mortal eyes.
"Ten years," said Turner, "In ten years I'll come back. Maybe I will tell it to you then."
As the two walked away, Robert could not shake the feeling that he was losing something of immense value.
But maybe not forever.
When he looked up again they were gone. Out on the water an ancient ship pulled up its anchor and sailed off into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Author Note: Please review :)