The Sea Labyrinth
Fandom – Pirates of the Caribbean
Disclaimer – I do not own these characters. All historical figures belong to themselves.
Chapter 4 – Doubt and Lies
Captain Edward Teague surveyed the wreckage of the Star Explorer. The ocean swelled gently against the hull of his ship. The storm had veered off to the west. Teague found it hard to look at the bottle of rum half full instead of half empty. His voyage would see him home the day after next. The Star Explorer, her crew and her Captain were all dead.
Valerie stood off to the side a bit. She didn't look happy either. Their stock pile was running low. They either had to find the person who was trying to make them desperate and kill the ingrate, or risk a supply run of their own. Teague, however, hadn't planned on doing it today – he only had enough supplies to meet the Star Explorer and escort her back to the cove. If he tried for a longer voyage, his men would go with him, however, it'd be a close call.
He wasn't going to risk it.
"Valerie, turn about, we're going back to the cove," Teague grumbled. Valerie nodded and turned to carry out his orders.
Grandmamma was smoking on the dock when Teague showed up at the house. In her hand was a single, old key. She gave him a raised eyebrow.
"You need the families' private stock pile, yeah?" she asked.
"Yes, I am going to bring supplies back myself," Teague muttered.
"Ye know, Jackie got that honest streak from ye," Grandmamma said.
"I know it," Teague nodded.
It was then that Terrance and Laurie ran out of the house.
"Jack's gone!" they said simultaneously.
Teague saw red.
"I told that boy to stay here," Teague slammed the rum bottle onto the desk. He and Grandmamma had retired to the study for a "private discussion". Terrance and Laurie had been put into Valerie's good hands for the evening. The young lass hadn't been happy about it but took them away.
Grandmamma swigged from her own bottle; "Flint'd kidnap him if he hadn't gone on his own,"
"Flint is the exact reason why I told him to stay here at the house," Teague rumbled.
"Edward, ye do remember from whose loins that boy was brought from, right? He's as unpredictable as the ocean and he's got Carolina's spirit," Grandmamma rolled her eyes.
"That isn't the point," Teague sat down heavily in his chair.
"Well, it's too late now. Jack will just have to handle things on his own, won't he?"
"That's just it, he shouldn't have too,"
"It's too late now," Grandmamma reiterated.
"Maybe," Teague shook his head and finished off the bottle in a single swig.
"Ye should stop drinkin'," Grandmamma murmured, "it's bad fur ye liver,"
Carolina met him on deck. It was quiet and the wind blew into the sails softly, almost – but not quite – bringing the ship to a dead stop.
"He's in danger," she said. Her voice held the American accent though she could change it at will. She was a trickster and a con artist; she could talk herself out of any situation. Her son was the same. Seeing her now, Teague missed her.
"How much danger are ye talkin' about, woman?" he asked.
"You know Flint and Silver; they both want to kill you. If Jack serves that purpose…they'll use him to do it, or, they'll kill him to cause you anguish," Carolina explained.
"I'll go get him then, shall I?" Teague asked. A small smile graced his lined face.
Carolina had a cheerful one in return; "Yes, Eddy, go get my son,"
Teague woke to the sun rise. The Misty Lady rolled at a fast clip. The port windows were open to let in a cool breeze. It was still sweltering, even in the early morning. Teague pushed the sheets away and dressed in breeches, his shirt, vest, sash and belts. He didn't bother with his normal decorative coat.
He tried to ignore the dream while dressing. He'd dreamt up his own anxieties over Jackie Boy in the guise of his long dead wife Carolina. He was glad to see that at least he remembered her correctly. His subconscious had kept her in perfect shape. Everything from the shade of her summer gold hair and curvaceous body was just as she'd been in life.
He shook his head. He was just worried about Jack. Flint and Silver might be bastards, but they'd rather kill him face to face, not use his boy to do it. Though, the question remained, could he be sure?
Jack woke with three very important question bobbing in his head.
1) Why wasn't Flint dead?
2) Why was Silver sailing with the man he'd formerly betrayed?
3) Where was Silver's peg leg?
This wasn't good.
Flint and Silver hated each other. If the stories were even accurate Silver had killed Flint to get to the treasure Flint had buried. However, Billy Bones had made off with the map and had hidden at the old Admiral Benbow Inn where that hapless lad had found the map after the man had died of a heart attack. The treasure had later been found after a bit of trouble on the lad's part, and the Island's bearings were still a mystery to those who'd like to go back and take a second or even third look.
So, this begged the previous three questions. Something was up; something that involved more than just more buried treasure and Jack's special compass. Flint wasn't dead, or, if he was he somehow found a way to stave it off or someone had reanimated him. Jack had seen voodoo zombies a time or two before. Each time he'd come away with a scar or two but at least he could say he'd survived. The same couldn't be said of the Zombie.
Flint didn't look, act or smell like a Zombie. He smelt human. Long John Silver smelt human as well. The only problem was his missing leg…which wasn't missing any longer. Maybe this treasure was far more special than Flint had let on in the first place, or there was a single piece of the treasure that was magical in some way. That magic could probably give Long John his leg back.
That had to be it.
Now, all he had to do was confirm his suspicions.
The time was not yet near to hand. If there was one thing he'd learned through these hard years, it was the waiting for the opportune moment was the far better part of valor.
The sudden sound of an explosion above him had Jack rolling out of his hammock, throwing on his great-coat and boots before he dashed through the confused maylay of other sailors who were also making their way up to the deck to see what in the blazes was going on.
The sun had just begun to rise and to the port bow a ship was bearing down on them. Flint crashed out of his cabin. Flamboyant in his red coat and large feathered hat. Long John knew his job and though he didn't much like old Flint he gave orders just as fast as Flint gave them. Jack ran into the rat lines. He and some other blokes got to the main mast and along the arms they fanned out. The white sail was freed from the lines and the wind filled it in seconds. This burst of speed put a few more fathoms between them and the ship on their port bow that had to also be the source of the explosion. Jack hypothesized that they were gaining ten knots with the full sails.
"Who do ye think that is?" Scraggy, a sailor with several missing teeth and thin white hair, asked Jack.
"I don't know, they aren't flying any colours," he also didn't have a good view of the ship. Unlike Flint who snapped his spyglass down with an annoyed flick of the wrist.
Jack watched Long John and Flint exchange a few words. It was lost to him in the wind. He and the others made their way down the lines to the deck. Others of the crew were preparing the guns. If it came down to a fight, it was blood for blood. Jack had the sneaking suspicion that this ship wanted they had. Only, he didn't know what they wanted.
Jack made his way to the upper most deck by the wheel. Flint was still staring off to port. They made a good head way and were now out of gun range of the mystery ship.
"Do you know who they are?" Jack asked, coming up to Flint's side.
"No, but they seem to have given up the chase," Flint turned to Jack, "but, we should be ready for a fight anyway,"
He yelled out the orders for the deck to be cleared for battle. Flint had been in the Navy before he turned rogue. Though, the stories of Flint were always confusing.
Flint turned to Jack, "Come with me, boy," and he led the way to his cabin. Flint motioned for Jack to enter before him. Flint closed and locked the doors before he grabbed Jack by the upper arm and slammed the younger pirate into the cabin wall.
"Ye told them didn't ye Jack?" Flint was nose to nose; his snarl set Jack's nerves on end.
"No…I swear I didn't," Jack tried. Flint's eyes took on a crazy glint and Jack knew he had to talk fast, and now.
"That's probably the idjits who're attacking the supply ships to the cove. Me Da was speaking about going after whoever was doing it before I left," Jack tried not to swallow nervously, he had to seem some what threatened but at the same time, he had to save face. "They possibly mistook us for a supply ship, sir," he added just in case.
Flint's grip was strong and hurt. Jack didn't struggle. Flint thought about this for long moments before he slowly dropped his hands. Jack licked his dry lips but kept on the look out in case Flint decided to take a knife to him or something akin to glinting edges. Flint stumbled back a few paces.
"Boy, I knew Long John was wrong when he suggested ye, but I had ta make sure," Flint mumbled. He made his way over to his desk. He rustled around in a bottom drawer and pulled out a half used bottle of port. He poured two glasses. Flint motioned Jack to come over.
Jack did so, but he was flighty and fidgeted. "I understand," he mumbled as he accepted the small glass of port Flint offered him.
"Ye see, one doesn't sail with Silver without suspectin' everythin' that man says," Flint went on, "He's more slippery than ye old man, in fact, Teague has an honest streak a mile wide and ye can see it. Ye have that too, it'll win out some days," Flint said assuredly.
"Ye just got a scare tis all, sir," Jack replied.
"When ye've been marooned, and ye've watched some bastard sail away in yer ship, then ye can tell me I ain't crazy to want to nail Long John to the mast and leave him there to bleed out," Flint mumbled and he poured himself another cup. Jack watched him drink this and the older man stumbled backwards. He was saved by a bad fall to the deck by his chair.
"Speakin of said scallywag, what 'bout 'is leg?" Jack asked.
"What ye be on, lady?" Flint asked.
"Long John doesn't 'ave a peg leg," Jack replied.
"That's because he never lost it in the first place. I read the account that lad Hawkins put out," Flint raised an eyebrow at Jack, "surprised I can read boy?"
"No sir, and what about Hawkins? Do ye think he changed more than just the bearings to Skull Island?" Jack asked.
"O' course he had to change some thing, The Real Long John Silver has both his legs. He's also far more blood thirsty and if the lads hadn't of voted for marooning me – well, he'd have had me nailed to the mast and bleeding out," Flint mumbled.
"I see," Jack cocked his head to the left, "but why sail with 'im iffin ye believe he'd murder you?" Jack asked.
"He and I are the only ones to know the entire bearings of our treasure trove, however, he ain't willin' to give it up and neither am I," Flint shrugged.
"Which is why ye need me," Jack huffed.
"So all this threatenin' me is because you lot can't behave in a civil manner?' Jack deadpanned.
"Are ye questioning me, boy?" Flint glared. Jack shook his head quickly.
"My apologies Captain," he bowed slightly.
This seemed to make Flint think he'd put Jack in his place; "Just remember to never question me, Teague's boy or not, I'll sick the cat on you,"
"Yes sir, I shall remember," Jack began to inch away from the drunken Flint who was now nodding off. When the man began to snore, Jack left him. He was able to unlock the doors seeing as how Flint hadn't thought to take the key out of the lock in the first place. Jack rolled his eyes. Flint was losing it.
Jack was heading back to his birth. It was not yet his watch and he planned on trying to gain more sleep. However, Silver had other ideas and pulled Jack into the Officer's cabin. Jack was not amused by once again finding himself pushed up against the bulk head.
"How are you doing it?" Silver asked.
Jack blinked at him. He couldn't mean the treasure, could he?
"Tell me how you're doing it!" the dark hiss made Jack raise an eyebrow at Silver. He knew he should be afraid of the man. Silver could stick a knife in his belly and he'd bleed out onto the deck before anyone knew. However, Silver needed the information first.
"Do what?" Jack asked.
"Don't play stupid with me, boy!" Silver growled low.
"Ah, you mean how am I finding the bearing to the treasure, right?" Jack asked, trying to sound as if the idea had just dawned upon him.
"What else would I be talkin' 'bout?" Silver hissed. He seemed to like taking after cats recently.
"Well, Flint's got a map, hasn't he shown you?" Jack lied through his teeth.
"Does he now…?" Silver lent back and Jack shook off the man's now limp grasp.
"Yeah, why not take it up with him? It is not my fault he does not trust you," Jack mumbled.
Silver glared at him; "If you're lying to me," he pointed a finger at Jack, "I'll skin you like a pig," and he brought back a fist, and struck Jack clean across the jaw. The younger man blinked before going completely limp and falling to the deck.
"Hands!" Silver called. A man, huge and dark of skin with long braids of hair poked his head into the cabin.
"Put this clapper-clawed hound o' hell in the brig," Silver demanded.
Israel Hands didn't question Long John's orders. He hauled Jack over his shoulders as if the young man was a barrel and he was off to the bowls of the Walrus. Long John wiped his hands on his trousers and glowered. If Flint did have a map to the fabled Treasure Labyrinth – that'd explain a lot. What it didn't explain was taking Jack Sparrow on as a crew member. The younger man could hold his own in his duties, Long John had no question of work ethic, he questioned whether or not he could control the him.
His first degree of business, however, was Flint. By murder or some other path, he had to be rid of Flint. For good.