Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean
Silence. Who knew it had a sound? Who knew that it could be the loudest thing imaginable, especially with hundreds of people? Who knew that silence could press in on your eardrums, until you could concentrate on nothing but the silence and the quiet?
I never knew, until now.
Sweat poured down my face, mingling with the dirt. My clothes, ragged and torn, seemed to droop with the heat, while my dark, greasy hair lay limp against the back of my neck. The chains on my wrist felt heavy, and rubbed painfully against my wrists. The dust scratched onto the soles of my feet, but I hardly took no notice.
The line moved forward again as another group of pirates were executed, and their bodies hauled off. Another group was ushered up onto the platform, and their necks were looped through the rope. I watched, fear striking my heart, as the executioner walked against the platform, his shoes making dull thuds, and gripped the lever. The trap doors dropped, and the bodies went limp.
The officer, who had originally been speaking about our rights being suspended, fell silent. There were only a couple of people in front of me in the line to be hung as the next group was ushered up. Good people. Good pirates. Today, all would die.
My heart clenched as I recognized little Robby, the cabin boy on Captain Sion's ship, the Sea'sFear. If this was back when the seas were ours to roam, Robby would have gone far. Already he was useful in a fight and showing the signs of ruthlessness. He was also the best pickpocketer in the seven seas, in my opinion.
He had been caught, like the rest of us.
Robby was too small to reach the noose. While the executioner searched for something to stand on, I watched as Robby fingered something in his hands.
It started out softly, but with the silence surrounding me it was like a beacon in the darkness. The haunting melody flowed back towards me, until it was all that I heard in Robby's quiet voice.
"The King and his men stole the Queen from her bed
And bound her in her bones."
His voice seemed to grow in strength as he continued.
"The sea's be ours and by the powers
Where we will, we'll roam."
The executioner came back with a barrel. Carelessly grabbing Robby by the armpits, he hefted him up onto it, slipping the noose over his neck. Robby remained silent.
The pirate standing next to Robby, who I vaguely remembered as Stone, slowly picked up the song, as if remembering it from times past.
"Yo, ho, all hands. Hoist the colors high..."
I cleared my throat, and joined in. Around me, all the pirates picked up the song. A fierce sort of pride began to burn in me, chasing away the fear and uncertainty. No more. No more.
"Heave, ho, thieves and beggars. Never shall we die."
Around me, others began to pick up their heads, feeling the same sort of power, pride, and dignity that flowed through me at that moment. Keeping in time with the melody, we began to stomp our feet and rattle our chains.
"Yo, ho, haul together. Hoist the colors high..."
I made eye contact with a young guard next to me, who was nervously clutching his bayonet to his chest, his eyes wide and uncertain. I wanted him to feel the fear. I wanted to see his terror. We were pirates, and he should fear us! He may feel all high and mighty with his uniform, but he never knew the true feeling of comradeship with the other members of your crew, or the feeling of freedom as your ship flew over the water towards the horizon. He never knew the joy of seeing gold or silver after a raid on a ship or town, or the satisfaction of seeing it dwindle as you drank to your heart's content in a dinghy tavern in the town of Tortuga.
He would never know what it means to be a pirate.
"Heave, ho, thieves and beggars. Never shall we die..."
The lever was pulled. Stone's, Robby's, and the other pirates' bodies hung limply from the rope. They were gone. For a moment, I felt my heart falter, but my eyes were drawn to something that seemed to slowly fall to the earth.
A piece of eight. It was what Robby was holding in his hands.
Immediately, the power and strength was back, and my resolve hardened to unbreakable stone.
They may be gone from their bodies, but they would never die, oh no.
My group was motioned forward, and I went, heading directly for the middle noose. I felt its scratchy tendrils as the executioner looped it around my throat, but I ignored it. My mouth was parched and dry, and my throat was rubbed raw, but I kept singing, glaring at the guards.
"Some men have died, and some are alive
And others sail on the sea
With the keys to the cage and the Devil to pay
We'll lay to Fiddler's Green."
I watched calmly as the executioner walked towards the lever. My life was about to be ended, but my soul would remain. I was a pirate. I would forever sail the seven seas, pillage, plunder, and loot to my hearts content out of my greediness.
The executioner gripped the lever, but it didn't matter anymore. A pirate I was, and a pirate I would forever be.
Never shall I die.