The ship rocks gently tonight, anchored in a small harbor off Neverland's north side. My crew names it Red Water Cove, insisting it's the site of some long and glorious battle. I remember no such battle (though I'm sure they speak truth), nor do I care to reclaim the lost memory, for it would soon allude me yet again. The shifting impermanence of thought is but one of this island's many curses.
Long has it been, my stay here. How long have I lived as the notorious Captain James Hook, terror of Neverland? How long have I played the part? Obliged as the story told to scare children in their beds?
Time has no meaning here, but I have carefully recorded the days. My ship has been sailing for eighty and eight years, and yet I remain in the prime of youth; preserved eternally and freed from death by even martial means. Often have I plunged a dagger through my heart in idle pastime, for on the 'morrow one is always raised from death; always returned to this never-ending life of conflict, forced to play the same role for eternity. To dwell here is to never die and yet never live, in this nightmare called Neverland.
I must get out.
I was not always a captain. In another world, another life, I was a man; an Englishman, born in London. But even then I was cut from a different a cloth. I have always been different, special; separate from the rabble around me. Even as child, my mind was not one of young happiness, but of thoughts deep, quiet, and cold.
I remember clearly the day my father died. My mother wept bitterly, slowly succumbing to a black sadness. She refused all food and wasted away, joining her husband in death. During this time, I watched her with blank eyes and heart. As all live, so must all die. This is not cause for grief, I thought.
No, my father's death did not distress me, but it did change me. My view of the world was revised; a world without my father. His absence closed possibilities of action, while simultaneously opening new ones. That is what death means, it simply is, and those capable of seeing the avenues opened by death do not fear it. Whenever I heard of someone's demise, my mind would carefully calculate; how can circumstances now change in regards to myself? I quickly learned to turn one's passing to my advantage.
I must get out.
I was still a young man when chance presented me with an opportunity. I was living in White Chapel at the time, and hard up for money. For cheap sustenance I used a local bakery, the owner selling me day old bread at a considerable discount. This baker had a son, an able assistant who learned his trade quickly, and who befriended me.
A day soon came, that day of days I will never forget. The baker had sold his day old bread, not to me, but to a restaurant. "Sorry, James," he said, "But times are tough, and business is business."
Of course. Business. What business was it of his, to see that a young man, down on his luck, is fed? None at all. I walked away with his empty apologies ringing in my ears, and raged inside at the injustice of it. Was I not his son's good friend? Was I not a regular customer? Was my coin not satisfactory? As these thoughts swirled in my mind, the evening air seemed to grow chill. A coldness took me, and my burning anger was quenched, replaced with an icy calm. Possibilities revealed themselves; endless avenues of potential action twisted through my mind. It was all so suddenly clear, like watching the world through a lens of chill crystal.
That night, as the baker walked home from work, he died. He did not suffer; nevertheless, he died as a dog, alone in a back alley of London, throat cleanly cut by a hungry young man.
The baker's son was informed of the murder that night. He took it badly, but not as badly as he may, for he called me, his dear friend. I was there to comfort him in his time of distress, and convinced him to keep the bakery running; that his father would wish it so.
"Worry not," I told him, "I'll lend what help I may."
His gratitude was overwhelming, and his spirit seemed to strengthen. The next day I began my first day of work with him. As the day past, I realized that things could never be the same for me. I saw the possibilities. With death as the lever, one could shift the world. So I did.
Years past and London seemed to grow wearier with every passing season. I though, grew ever more wealthy, prominent, and cunning; rising to the highest circles of society. The only price I ever paid was that of murder. But I was not crude in these fatal deeds. The most careful of planning and precise execution was utilized. Every death had a purpose and in some way, many times near intangibly, furthered my cause.
During this time London was buzzing. I'd made the killings appear brutal, and they garnered much attention by the press. The "Ripper" affair was in all the papers, filled with wild speculation. The police, in their usual fashion, were baffled. Many clues I left for them, all false. Such was their incompetence that I, in a moment of youthful daring, decided to give them a true clue. Into one victim, I carved a nickname by which some affectionately called me: Jack.
As I said, this was foolishly done, and my act of bravado was enough. I was, in time, put under suspicion. The chance of my arrest was miniscule, but not inexistent; in naïve, youthful panic, my mind turned toward escape. Death had ever been my greatest tool, and I had long since learned to wield it with skill. It was time to turn it upon myself.
Contrary to appearance, this was not an act of desperation. I calculated the move with absolute precision. The method of my escape cannot be found within these pages, and will be taken to my grave. Suffice to say that the blasphemous price is great, and upon escape there is no return. I was removed from London, from the world, from reality itself. I fled to the second star on the right and straight on 'till morning.
There, many adventures were had, many enemies made, and many more slaughtered by my hand and crew. But in time I discovered the truth of this island. It is only an illusion; a farce in likeness of reality, yet lacking its depth. In this cursed place time flows in circles, rendering null all choices.
I must get out. My resolve is set and thoughts are clear. Death once brought me here, and by it so shall I return.
May London sleep well tonight, for coming home is not the man she knew, but Captain James Hook of Neverland.