Poet Captive

by Alexandra Page

Wendy jumped and knocked over the inkwell as James burst suddenly and unapologetically through her cabin door. She cursed and glared at him as she sopped up all the black liquid with an old rag. Luckily, her writing was in tact. Lucky for him, as it were. He sneered at her. She raised her eyebrows

This had been the way of things for many weeks. There would be no cordial words between them - no spark of recognition that they simply were each other's company each evening until the crew came back to the ship from their latest venture of drunken misbehavior in this port town. The two of them were repeatedly marooned on the ship together and it was becoming awkward. Wendy did not drink and Hook had murdered his own liver ages ago, becoming violently ill if he so much as smelled liquor, now.

Then suddenly, clearly glad to have some excuse to make her pay attention to him, he would announce an imminent duty or task that needed completion. She had only been on his ship for little more than a month and already this was beginning to annoy her. It reminded her of the way her younger brother Michael used to show her some different toy of his every time it looked as though she might have her thoughts to herself for a few moments.

She wanted to move quickly past this façade of their captor-prisoner relationship. She had told him she wanted to join his crew. He had not believed her, insisting that she was a spy for "that brat Pan" and immediately took her captive. It was a silly, really, but since her aim had been to secure a place on his ship anyway, she went along with it. She was confident that eventually he would conclude on his own that she was not there to "spy" on him.

Her only desire now was to join him in his cabin, at night like a proper wench - fallen from the height of London society to the dregs of the beautiful, elegant silk and down feather quilts on the canopy bed in his stateroom. She could think of nothing that would make her happier. She was, in fact, quite cranky about the previous and current lack of falling onto quilts. Why did he want her to suffer? She knew living on a pirate ship would be difficult work. To have nothing in return…she had not foreseen this. Would she still have come, if she knew how utterly unsatisfied she might become?

She thought of the way his mouth had pleasantly dropped open in surprise when she said that she wanted to join his crew and the way he became endearingly infuriated that she remained calm while he accused her of being in league with Pan, his already unkempt hair flew about wildly, as if he was made of electricity. She reflected on the jovial way he joked with Smee each morning after ordering her around and the way he smiled when he thought nobody was watching, as he enjoyed sailing the ship into the sunset each evening. Yes, she would have come anyway.

"All hands on deck, Ms. Darling," he said, more gravely than she imagined was necessary. "There's a devil of a storm brewing-"

"Indeed," Wendy spat, smirking. His voice turned cold as he continued.

"And we need a beautiful young woman to toss to the heathen sea gods, to appease them. That is, of course, unless you think you'll be able to tie down the sails correctly this time…"

Wendy's eyes went wide and she pulled her hair back into a knot as she stormed past him out of her tiny living quarters. One of these days, she was going to kill him. She knew it. He knew it. It was to be expected. Hook tried to ignore the way his stomach tightened when she had to walk close by him to leave the room. Overcome by curiosity, he picked up the piece of parchment next to Wendy's quill, looking first to make sure she was out of sight, and he blushed as he read…

Islands

Oh, captain.

Is it only your crew who needs a storyteller?

You tease me unknowingly, moving toward me and

Away again, like the tide.

How can I be Red Handed Jill if you won't

Let me let you catch me in some act?

How many sheets of parchment must go untouched,

Your response frozen, unable to move from

Your heart to your fingers through your quill or

From your eyes through your lips?

It seems a shame for both of us to so enjoy

Sailing on the ocean together and yet remain

Two small islands in this eternal expanse of

Blue and green possibilities.

He sat down unsteadily at the makeshift desk by Wendy's bed. For some reason, he felt momentarily terrified that she would come back and discover that he had read this. He knew she would be able to tell just by looking at his face, the unnatural wisp of a woman. Her small cabin felt hot and he adjusted the collar of his brocade coat. James Hook was flustered. The nerve this wretch had, to come aboard his ship acting as though she wanted simply to be part of his crew, only to bewitch his already addled mind! Well, there was nothing else to be done for it. He would have to put a stop to these unbearably girlish musings at once. Yes, the two of them would have to have a long talk, in private…perhaps over dinner…

He smiled, feeling perfectly productive and pleased with himself. Lately, he had been able to make all of his decisions with the ease and grace he had become accustomed to in his venerable position as The Most Feared Pirate In All Of Neverland. James sauntered out of Wendy's cabin and up to the helm, having no idea what it was he really wanted and drowning blissfully in his ignorance.