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"Yo ho, Yo ho. A pirate's life for me. We pillage and plunder we rifle and loot, drink up me hearties, yo ho. We kidnap and-"

"Annabelle," her mother, Susanna, gently warned. "This is not the place for that song to be heard, let alone one to be sung by a young girl. Sailors are very superstitious." She paused for a moment. "Who taught you that song, anyway?"

"Mr. Sanderson," Annbelle replied.

Susanna smiled to herself. "I should have known."

Annabelle was only ten years old. It had been just her and her mother since her father's death just a few years before. She had grown up in the English countryside, barely half a day's walk away from London. They both had stayed in a hotel by the docks the night before so they could meet Annabelle's uncle and cousin-Weatherby Swann and Elizabeth-before they left for Port Royal this morning, a city far across the sea. Weatherby was her mother's older brother, and he had looked after them since her father's death. Though he wasn't arrogant about it, he was a bit wealthier, and he used that wealth not only for him and Elizabeth, but to be sure Annabelle and her mother got by. When her father was alive, they had a humble income since he worked as a merchant. When he died, Susanna tried being the breadwinner by working as a seamstress. They were still able to get by, but Weatherby graciously shared his money when he could, helping Annabelle get an education and continue with lessons typical for proper young girls. Susanna also taught her how to dance and play the piano. Weatherby had wanted them to come live with him and Elizabeth, but Susanna wished to stay in England, though they did plan to go and visit sometime-more than once if it was possible.

Mr. Sanderson was a family friend. A former sailor, he told Annabelle and Elizabeth stories of his days on the sea, and pirate lore, much to the chagrin of his wife. Both girls had a fascination with pirates, though their interests held a slight difference. Elizabeth enjoyed hearing the stories of the ones that got away, and hoped to have an encounter with one, maybe an adventure even, but Annabelle preferred stories of the ones who were caught or slain, or the ones that were feared, for she feared these rogues herself and would be satisfied if she only caught a glimpse of a ship someday. Mr. Sanderson also taught them the pirate song, which they caught themselves singing almost constantly.

Susanna and Annabelle only had a short walk to the docks from the lodge. When they reached it, they both looked around for their relatives. Annabelle spotted them first by their carriage.

"Elizabeth!" she shouted and dragged her mother by the hand towards them as Susanna tried to keep her hat on with her other hand.

"Annabelle!" Elizabeth saw her cousin when she was only feet away. They hugged each other as their parents greeted each other.

"Susanna, dear." Weatherby kissed her cheek. "I'm so glad you and Annabelle could come."

"Well, of course, Weatherby! How could we not? It's not everyday someone is requested to become governor in one of his Majesty's colonies!"

"Are you sure you won't join us?" He asked her quietly, though Annabelle and Elizabeth could still hear.

"I need to think on it. I'm not sure if I'm ready to leave yet," Susanna answered in a low voice.

Weatherby nodded his head in understanding. "Let me know when you decide." He rose his voice to normal again before adding, "I'll have to send for you both once Elizabeth and I are settled. I'm sure there will be plenty for us to show you."

"When will that be?" Annabelle and Elizabeth asked anxiously.

Weatherby smiled at them. "Soon, my dears, I promise."

Annabelle then noticed a young man approaching, wearing a blue coat over a white suit, which indicated he was in the Royal Navy. She had never paid attention to whether or not a man or boy was handsome, but she felt like the schoolgirl that she was as he walked closer, despite her guess that he was at least eight to ten years older than her (though she was sure it was more).

"Ah, Lieutenant Norrington! Now we can rest assured we will reach Port Royal safely," Weatherby greeted him.

"Afternoon, Governor, Miss Swann. We are honored to have you and your daughter aboard. I trust you will continue to please his Majesty as you carry out your duties as governor," Lieutenant Norrington stood tall and straight.

"My thanks, Lieutenant. Allow me to introduce you to my family: this is Susanna Bennington, my younger sister, and her daughter, Annabelle. Ladies, Lieutenant James Norrington."

"Pleasure," Norrington replied as he kissed Susanna's hand and she slightly curtsied and greeted him. He bowed slightly to Annabelle. "Miss Bennington."

She curtsied, focusing on his face. His green eyes that didn't seem to miss a thing, his firm jaw, and another detail she couldn't help but notice. Her next remark came out before she could stop herself. "Can't you smile, Lieutenant?"

"Annabelle! Mind your manners!" her mother chided in a harsh whisper. Elizabeth covered her mouth to keep from giggling. Norrington just stood there, in surprise or even amusement, no one was sure.

Susanna was about to apologize but Weatherby stepped in. "Unfortunately, Lieutenant, outspoken girls runs in the family."

"No offense has been taken, Governor," he replied lightly. His eyes were still on Annabelle. "She's a very observant girl." She saw a smile form at the corners of his mouth, but she didn't say anything for fear of embarrassing her mother again.

Another young man in a similar uniform approached just then. "Governor, Lieutenant, the captain wishes for the passengers to make their final arrangements. The Dauntless is almost ready to set sail."

Weatherby nodded in acknowledgment.

"Thank you, Groves. Governor Swann, this is Officer Groves. He will be of greatest assistance on our voyage." Groves slightly bowed before Norrington added, "Your belongings are already on board, I presume?"

"Yes, they are," Weatherby replied.

"Very good, then. I will take my leave and see you on board. Mrs. Bennington, Miss Bennington." The two ladies said their goodbyes to Norrington before he gave Annabelle one last lingering glance before walking back to the ship with Groves.

"I was dreading this moment," her uncle said as he embraced his sister. "I love you both so very much. Please remember my offer."

"I will, Weatherby, as long as you don't forget to send for us as soon as you're settled. Written correspondence-especially for these two-won't be enough." She proceeded to say goodbye to Elizabeth as Weatherby leaned over to hug Annabelle.

"You take care of your mother and be a good girl," he said

"I will, Uncle Weatherby." He smiled and kissed her cheek before she and Elizabeth said their goodbyes. They didn't actually use the word goodbye since they knew they would see each other again soon. They gave each other a long hug, trying not to cry. This would be the longest and farthest apart they had ever been from each other.

Weatherby and Elizabeth proceeded to the ship after he ordered his carriage to take his sister and niece back to the lodge and then back home. They looked back several times, Annabelle and Susanna waving back each time.

A few minutes later the governor and his daughter made their way to the rail on deck and continued to wave, all of them holding back tears now.

"We'll join them soon, Annabelle," Susanna said softly. Annabelle knew what her mother meant. Even though it had been a few years, her mother's grief was still very fresh, and she wanted to overcome it before they moved somewhere else. She wasn't ready to leave yet. Making that kind of change would be extremely difficult for her, regardless of who they'd live with.

While they both were still waving, Annabelle skimmed her eyes over the Dauntless. Elizabeth had told her Uncle Weatherby said it was one of his Majesty's newest and finest ships, in size as well as endowment. It was so big, she had to scane it carefully to take in its glory. Her eyes hit the crow's nest, however, and stopped. A sea gull had perched on top of the mast. Mr. Sanderson had once said birds landing on a ship meant bad luck.

Her mother could tell she was staring at the ship. "Big ship, isn't it, darling?" When her daughter didn't answer, she glanced down to see her frightened face. "Annabelle, what is it?"

"There's a bird on the ship. Mr. Sanderson says it's bad luck," the little girl's voice faltered.

Susanna kneeled to look her daughter straight in the eye and spoke in a gentle but firm voice. "Nothing bad is going to happen to them, Annabelle. Do not worry."

Despite Mr. Sanderson's strong belief in superstition, she believed her mother's insistence more. She nodded, though fear still gripped her insides.

~~~~~~~ Eight years later...

Annabelle sat alone at the table in Mr. Sanderson's kitchen, recapping the last eight years. She and Elizabeth had kept in touch, writing to each other and when she and her mother visited them in Port Royal on a few occasions. When their family was reunited those times, it seemed like they hadn't been apart. Annabelle and Susanna would be toured around Port Royal, as well as occasional visits to the fort where Governor Swann would sometimes carry out his duties. Those times Annabelle made sure she was on her best behavior, especially when Lieutenant Norrington was present. She felt giddy around him, but she dismissed it as being in the presence of someone who was not related to her who served for his Majesty. She admired the way he carried and expressed himself, a quiet strength she was awed at witnessing. She voiced her little crush to no one, though her mother suspected it; Susanna thought it was adorable in fact and just a phase. Governor Swann still voiced his offer for her and Annabelle to come live with them in Port Royal, but Susanna declined each time. Annabelle grew to assume that although she was proud of her brother, her mother did not want a life of aristocracy. She never said why, but Annabelle thought her mother was afraid of somehow feeling like she'd betray her late husband, or that she may somehow forget him. Annabelle didn't fully understand that, for she knew her father would have encouraged them to join Governor Swann and Elizabeth; but since she was still under her mother's care, she respected her decision, as did Governor Swann.

Unfortunately, ships began to leave less and less for Port Royal, instead embarking for other colonies of his Majesty that were of newer interest to the English government. If a ship happened to go there or at least make berth there temporarily, it was for trading purposes, and seeking passage as a traveler became more difficult. Annabelle was only twelve when she last visited Port Royal with her mother, and written correspondence had to suffice.

And now here she sat, alone. Her mother had died only several months ago from a fever that had struck many of the countryside's residents, though Annabelle herself had not been afflicted. Mr. Sanderson and his wife immediately took her under their wing until word was sent to Governor Swann and he sent a reply.

Mr. Sanderson still told her pirate stories, which reminded her of the first letter she received from Elizabeth after she left for Port Royal: she had mentioned the recovery of a boy, the lone survivor of a ship fire. She had said Lieutenant Norrington assumed it was a merchant vessel (which always carried ammunition of some kind) and had somehow ignited; but Mr. Gibbs, one of the Dauntless crewman, insisted it was pirates. Elizabeth had also mentioned she could have sworn she saw a ship sailing in the opposite direction, hidden in the smoke, with black sails and a black flag with a white skull and crossbones. She begged Annabelle not to mention the last part to anyone, and she faithfully kept the secret. Several times Annabelle wondered if the sea gull she had seen perched on top of the Dauntless's crow's nest the day it had set sail had been an omen of that wreck. The last she had heard from Elizabeth was that Will Turner, the boy they had saved from that wreck, was doing very well as always in the blacksmith shop where Governor Swann had found work for him, and that she felt she was adopting feelings for him, though she was unsure what those feelings meant.

Annabelle always thought about her mother, especially the last memory she had of her: she lay in bed ill while Annabelle tended to her. She was squeezing out another cold cloth to lie on her mother's head when she noticed her mother barely humming, her lips moving as if trying to speak the words:

"What are you humming, Mother?"

Susanna slowly turned her head to look at her daughter. "It's that lullaby I always sang to you when you were a little girl. Do you remember?"

It wasn't exactly a lullaby, more like a love song; but she had used it as a lullaby. After her mother died, Annabelle sang it to herself, sometimes when she was not even aware of it:

Oh my love, my darling, my dear

How I long for you to be near

Please come here to me, I pray

And by our sides we'll stay

Oh my love can't you hear my cries

This is where my heart truly lies

My love for you runs deeper than the sea

With you I long to be

Oh my love can't you hear my cries

This is where my heart truly lies

My love for you runs deeper than the sea

My love, please stay with me...

"Would you like some more tea, Annabelle?" Mrs. Sanderson popped her bubble of memories.

"No, thank you, Mrs. Sanderson, I'm fine," she replied with vacant eyes. Mr. Sanderson was suddenly in the room too. *How long have they been in here?*

"Would you like to hear another story?" He asked. She looked at him for several moments before nodding in reply. It would at least distract her from her pain for a little while. He sat down next to her and spoke with his storytelling, leery voice. "Have you ever heard of Davy Jones?"

"I think you mentioned him in another story. All I remember is that he was one of the greatest sailors, but is now one of the most feared pirates."

"Do you know why?" Annabelle shook her head, so he continued. "Legend has it, that he fell in love with a woman. A beautiful woman, more beautiful than the sea herself. No one knows for sure what happened, but he got his heart broken, and he experienced such a searing pain within that he was determined to never feel it again." Annabelle sat in silence, prompting him to continue. "So he took the sharpest dagger he could find, cut out his own heart, and hid it somewhere where it could never be found-"

"Charles!" his wife exclaimed. "How dare you tell such an awful story when-"

"It's all right, Mrs. Sanderson, I'm not bothered by it," Annabelle interrupted. Though she still felt dead and numb inside, she wanted to hear the rest. "Where is he now?"

Mr. Sanderson waited a moment before continuing. "No one knows where he is. But it's said he is still captain over his ship, the Flying Dutchman, and they are not known for their mercy. Davy Jones still filters his rage and despair on those who are unlucky to encounter him, though it is unknown what he does with prisoners-if he takes any."

"And what does his ship look like? Does it have black sails?" she asked, now fully distracted with the story. She wondered if maybe this was the ship Elizabeth had claimed to have seen.

Mr. Sanderson eyed her suspiciously. "Black sails?"

*Oops, come up with something, quick!* "Well, certainly a captain so evil who commandeers so evil a ship must have black sails."

"No one knows for sure what his ship looks like. Where did you hear about black sails?" still eyed her carefully.

*Something else quick! Uhhhhh...* "Elizabeth said in a letter she's heard sailors talk about a ship with black sails," Annabelle slightly fibbed.

"I've heard of a ship with black sails, but it doesn't exist." Annabelle's face finally showed expression, one of confusion. "That ship is known as the Black Pearl. It's said that the captain is so evil that hell wouldn't even take him or his crew, so they're cursed to sail forever on the open sea, destroying and plundering what they wish."

"If there are stories about it, how can it not exist?" Annabelle asked.

"No one has ever reported seeing it, and living to tell the tale" Mr. Sanderson replied. "I myself have never seen it."

"But then how can they know what it looks like?"

"It's pirate lore. The mystery behind it is knowing how much of it is actually true."

There was a knock at the door as soon as he finished speaking, and he rose to answer it. Mrs. Sanderson was going back and forth with her duties in the kitchen, leaving Annabelle alone to soak up what he had just told her. *How can a man still exist after cutting out his own heart, but a ship not exist even after hell itself refused to take it? And even have stories told about it?* She was quickly worn out with that much thinking, which was the most activity she'd had in days.

Mr. Sanderson reappeared in the kitchen, an opened note in his grip. Annabelle and Mrs. Sanderson waited with anticipation. As she had thought, Governor Swann wished for her to come live with him and Elizabeth in Port Royal. He wrote the next ship that left would know her circumstance and that Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson would accompany her there and return to England with the ship.

They left two days later. Annabelle still pondered the two stories, but each time she would dismiss them. *Like I will ever have to worry about such frightening encounters...*