Commodore Hook looked out across the wreckage of the Jolly Roger. Years ago he had scratched the "HMS" from the bow; he had betrayed his king and left the Empire for his new cause. He had abandoned everything for his mission. There would be no armada coming to his aid.
At his feet, Smee lay mangled, his innards displayed open for the seagulls, his eyes in permanent pleading to the heavens for mercy, his body drained totally of blood. The good Commodore swiped his hook at the carrion birds and knelt beside the man who had stood beside him from Bermuda to the Ivory Coast. Slowly and hesitant, he sealed shut the eyes of his old friend. "Maker have mercy, good Smee."
They had come in the night, the "Lost Ones", undying bodies of children lost to the sea, razing the ocean to sate their unending hunger. Hook had lost his daughter, Wendy, years ago to the sea. He was to join his family in the Caribbean colonies, but that was not to be. Obliterated in a storm and now lost to the sea, Hook knew that his daughter now wandered with the other Lost Ones.
He sailed to every island and searched for every priest, padre, and shaman. He cared not whether they were Lutheran or Papist, or some vile heathen; he would save his daughter from her torment no matter what power granted him insight. He knew that his daughter would find no rest until he could end her again. He knew the monster who had stolen his daughter's soul. He had found the infernal island that the beast called home. The papists had called it "Somnium Terra"; the voodoo had an unpronounceable name for it; Hook had named it "Neverland".
From where his left eye once was, Hook felt a tear form and soak the rim of his patch. His boat was dashed on the wretched shores of Neverland. His men searched through the wreckage for supplies and armaments. They knew that they would not sail again except across the great four in the after life.
The Commodore tasted his powder to ensure it's quality. There would be no second chances on this island. Hook loaded his hand pistols. He looked at Smee again before taking his coxswain's pistol belt. He wept silently over his friend. "With this," he whispered, "I promise you, with this I will throttle the life from the beast."
A fire burned within Hook. A fire brighter than any muzzle blast. Any sorrow in him was tempered into sheer anger. He focused his rage to a single unstoppable force aimed at the beast who would die at his feet. He waded into his crew, at the ready. They had followed their Commodore, their brother at arms, from one corner of the map to the other. This hellish island would be no different. His men watched him await his command. His first mate, Starkey, was the only one bold enough to approach. "What are your orders, Commodore?" he asked, his voice shattering at each word.
"FIND PETER PAN!"
From across the open ocean, the Lost Ones were returning to roost in the hollowed cove. Like bats they shrieked as they glided to their home.
Not far beneath them, the men of the Jolly Roger lay in wait for their prey. Starkey and some of his scouts had found the cave the week before and planned the ambush. The Lost Ones, he knew, could not withstand the burning sun, ambush at dawn was the best option.
Starkey signaled to the men behind him as the murder of Lost Ones closed in.
The men of the Jolly Roger waited for the Commodore's opening shot. Hook watched the Lost Ones' maddened path to their cave. Like of a single mind they followed the path of a single one, a boy, Pan. Hook knew this, but could not find the damned child. Not ready to waste this opportunity he took aim at the belly of the beast.
Not a moment shy of the Commodore's blast, his marines fired the first volley. Not waiting to reload they dropped their muskets and raised others, primed to fire. Junior crew who survived the journey reloaded guns with all the fury that the marines fired them. With the long guns soon expired they defaulted to pistols.
Scores of the monsters plummeted to the earth, their crazed siren more wild as they descended toward the sudden end that awaited them below.
What few creatures avoided falling prey to the centuries of occupation by the Lost Ones fled the cove. Never before had such lights been ignited before the greatest light had shone.
"REMEMBER SMEE!" Fist-mate Starkey hollered, stealing his rapier from his belt. Behind him the marines followed, "FOR THE JOLLY ROGER!" In a bloody charge Hook's men thrust themselves upon the writhing beasts. The sun had just glimpsed over the horizon and what was left of the Lost Ones dare not counterattack in the sunlight.
The Lost Ones that did not meet a merciful end when smashed against the earth were decapitated and quartered by the men of the Jolly Roger. Their limbs writhed and their mouths continued to gnaw for minutes after their disconnect.
An hour after the fight, marines scoured the battle field, checking every corpse for any sign of the undeath. Hook surveyed his men, it had been a good day. Mercifully, Starkey's reconnaissance had spared the remnants of Hook's crew any loss of life. Some had shattered their ankles as dismembered jaws sank in and shattered bones. They would be brought back to the ruins of the Jolly Roger.
Hook walked to the mouth of the cove, flanked on each side by his marines. In the distance he saw the inlet that lead into the cave where the Lost Ones hid. He pulled a spyglass from his belt and peeked through. A full lake separated the Commodore from the cave.
In the cave, he saw countless pairs of hollow glowing eyes back them, each of them a son or daughter, a child forever lost to the monster, Pan. The marine at his side raised his rifle. The clang of metal on metal sounded as Hook placed lowered the marine's gun. "We are too far, don't waste your powder."
"I'm sorry, Sir Commodore."
Hook sneered, "Tonight we build rafts, put the injured on guard, tomorrow we sail into Hell."
From within the cave, a hoard of gray and rotten children peeked through the mouth, just beyond the reach of the dawn. Their curiosity had not died with their bodies. Never before had they encountered men as fearless as Hook's.
Deeper within, on a throne of knotted and withered wood sat the object of Hook's wrath. Pan sat in quiet contemplation. Never before had he felt such wrath. It intrigued him.
At his side sat Wendy, she had bore many of her father's features, but years of decay had left her a decayed mess. From the scraps of flesh that her minions had collected, she chose the finest skins, the softest hairs to stitch to her rotting body. Such was the existence of the girl in Pan's inner court.
In the recess of the throne room was Belle. Apart from Pan, she was the only cave denizen who showed no signs of the undying rot. The few straps of leather that clothed her showed as little wear as her unblemished skin. She looked at Wendy in disgust and spat. "He'll grow bored of her soon."
At the mouth of the cave, the Lost Ones began the work of the harvest. The week before they had sown storms into the sky. The storms did the work that they could not; splitting boats in twain, overcoming the marines and musketeers.
The dead floated like so much bloated flotsam into the mouth of cave. The adults were carried into the workshops and stripped for grafting. The children suffered another fate.
From the opposite side of the lake Hook kept watch as activity stirred in the cave. He could just barely spy dozens of hands dragging bodies into the cave. For what reason he could only guess. No matter he turned to the two marines beside him. "Dredge the corpses," he ordered, "Burn the bodies, bury the ashes."
In the cave the Lost Ones had brought the few children to Pan, it had been a poor harvest, no doubt plagued by the new pest that waited just beyond the threshold of the cave. "Peter, they are ready," a Lost Ones croaked, his vocal chords far beyond rotten; in another week his voice would be gone without a fresh graft.
Peter extended his hand back into the cave. Undisturbed, Wendy continued to pick at the choicest bits of flesh that sat before her. Belle extended her wings and fluttered to her master's side. She was much more uncovered than covered and had the Lost Ones had any sense of arousal they would have found her irresistible. She handed Pan a glittery jar filled with the metallic dust that sloughed off her wings.
A fresher Lost Ones watched as Pan opened the jar over the bodies that were brought in. "What is happening?" he asked, his voice noticeably crisper than that of his brothers and sisters. Pan glared at the interrupter and stopped himself from tearing him shreds.
"What happens now, simple one," Pan started. "Just watch. It only takes a little pixie dust."
His ranks barely reinforced by the poor corpse harvest, Pan knew he dared not face his nemesis head on. Seeding a storm would flood the cave and he was still unsure of his ability to leave the cave. He knew that his Lost Ones would be dashed on the muskets of those red-coated men. He needed to trap them. He brooded on his options as Wendy fawned upon him.
She had grown marginally prettier by her fresh graftings. She had bits of hair from a noble-woman, the skin of a princess stitched over her cheeks. The fresh beauty would last a week before sloughing off like so much refuse.
Tinker Belle ruminated in the back of the throne room, watching Wendy slide her fingers through Pan's hair. She grit her teeth. Pan's other mistresses were simple to deal with; "irreversible decay" is a plausible explanation when they can be kept away from Pan, but Pan had kept this new one close. She clenched her fists and her nails dug deep into her palm. She lapped at the wound and thought of how to win back the grace of her master.
A sliver of moonlight piercing the thin ceiling of the throne room illuminated the monster child. Truly, he was as handsome as he was ruthless. But now his face was twisted and contorted in frustration.
"Tinker Belle," he called, "to me," he commanded. Quickly, she unveiled her wings and followed her leash to her master. He reached for her face and gripped it open palmed. Below her, Belle watched Wendy pick at the bits of foregone flesh left on her body and Tinker Belle winced with disgust.
"Tink," Pan said with a sneer, "you know you're the most important thing in the world to me." The words were terse and lifeless, like the creature from whence those words fell.
She could have resisted him, Wendy still splayed on his lap was enough evidence to see the bald lie in his words. She could have resisted him had she not so wanted to believe him.
She was his.
Hook's men worked tirelessly through the afternoon. What was left of the Jolly Roger was recast into a small fleet of rafts.
In the night two marines had stood watch just beyond the camp. They scanned the tree line for signs of movement, but found none. With an odd jerk of his neck one marine twisted his head almost unnaturally skyward, the other took no notice. Above them hovered the iridescent pixie, shimmering dust fell over the observing marine and he quickly drew his pistol. His comrade followed suit and looked more frantic at the tree line, "What is it?" he beckoned, "What do you see?" His answer came swiftly. In a moment his head became a shattered wet mess of gore and bone. No sooner had the watchmen fallen than the mesmerized marine took his friend's pistol, put it to his temple and rejoined his friend at the River Styx.
"It's been a while since I could do that," Tinker Belle mused, truly proud to put her abilities to work again.
At the main camp the gunshots did not go unnoticed. The men fell back to positions. Only on the order of the Commodore did work on the rafts continue. The sleepers were roused and brought to bear. Muzzles bristled across the encampment, Hook had not come this far to die so soon.
"Help!" cried a whimpering voice. "Please help!"
"Weapons down!" barked Hook. The voice that called to him was painfully familiar. "Help!" it cried again. "Come in! To the light!" she shouted desperately, "Come so that we may see you."
A redheaded child, sopping wet, came forward. A single utterance fell from Hook's mouth, "Wendy," he whispered. Before he could realize what was said the memory evaporated. The girl was covered in blood, a gaping wound on her hand bled profusely. "Doctor, to me," Hook ordered as he ran to the bloodied child, "Quickly!"
When had reached her the child collapsed in his arms. The transformation spell always took a toll on Tinker Belle. She was helpless in the care of the man whose doom she brought. The doctor came forward with his bag. He paused, clearly remarking on what Hook had so fleetingly noticed. "Commodore," the doctor started. "NOT NOW!" Hook screamed, "SHE'S DYING." She wasn't. Belle knew how much magic she had consumed that day and she was far from exhausted.
The seeds of Pan's plan had been sown. But now Belle was too tired. And she had started to understand how much she missed the concern of another.
"Hold on, child," Hook whispered, taking care to use his flesh hand to cradle the girl's head.
When Belle finally roused it was daylight. She had stayed out too long. The sun burned on her skin leaving red welts of searing pain.
Across from her sat the grizzled Commodore. He walked toward her and draped his heavy Commodore's jacket over her. "Sunburn," he said, "keep yourself covered." Belle quickly took account of her surroundings. She had slept in Hook's bed. From the look of the dirt where Hook had sad, he had spent the night keeping watch over her. She looked at the small portrait of a young redheaded woman leaning against a makeshift table and knew that her transformation had been perfect. Subtle enough to stir Hook but not so overdone to be suspicious.
She would gain his trust and strike him down. Now she merely needed the moment. To kill him now would be no small chore but entirely doable. Living to reap the wards of such loyalty to Pan was another matter entirely. The strike would be stayed.
Hook smiled at Belle as she she looked at the painting. "What is your name, child?" he asked.
Belle hesitated, "B-Bea."
"For, Beatrice, no doubt," Hook beamed.
"Of course," Belle replied.
"It's as though it were a mirror, isn't it?" Hook said, pointing to her and to the portrait.
"Almost," Belle replied with a sly grin. Wendy's withered face wasn't so hard to reconstruct, after all.
"Follow, child," Hook beckoned, standing, "It is time for breakfast." He extended his hand and smiled. The expression was alien to her. Like a grimace, or perhaps a scowl, but without the malice. The sensation was pleasant. Perhaps she would try it.
The muscles in her face contorted and flexed into formation.
Hook's face went from a smile to a furrowed brow, "I know the burn hurts, child. Come eat, for your strength."
Belle wasn't sure what she had done wrong but picked herself up, the tail of Hook's coat dragging behind her as she followed.
Hook and Bea had taken the captain's table, or what passed as the captain's table at the encampment. Marines on all sides saluted their Commodore as he passed. No doubt the reverence and respect of the soldiers was not lost on Tinker Belle. She assured herself that killing him in his room would have been a mistake; to do so would only enrage them. They would have to be thinned for Pan's plan to be effective.
But for now she pushed those thoughts from her mind. It had been so long since she felt the care of another. Hook would be dead before tomorrow's end, Belle had to make the most of her time with the Commodore.
The doctor pulled a bench open for Bea and she sat beside Hook. "Like father and daughter," the Doctor teased, hoping to lighten the mood of his stoic commander. The words only brought a ripple of pain that resonated throughout Hook's body. He shook at the words. His face buried in his hands and only the faintest whimper escaped him. He had to be strong for his men. With a painful, sorrowful smile he patted the doctor on the shoulder, "Indeed," Hook replied. He turned his smile toward Bea and she made another disappointing attempt at the expression.
"It is alright, child," he laughed, "do not strain yourself."
Breakfast passed half solemn and and half celebratory. The men knew that this would be one of their last meals together. The daytime was far too early for drink but with certain death before them they drank well - except for the captain, who, after years of sorrow and solitude, had a child to care for.
When the drink had subsided, he met with his lieutenants and sergeants. They were two men short but their numbers were sufficient. They plotted their course and assigned gunners and loaders to each squad. Each man would carry two rifles and two pistols, reloaders would have guns accessible to their squad at all times. In the midst of their war planning. Bea had wandered into the meeting. She had overheard the planning and thought the information would aid her Master in the coming battle.
"Whoa now," one sergeant said, holding his hand out, "you shouldn't be here, lass." She looked at him and then to Hook. "Calm down, Sergeant," Hook said, "there's no need to censor her. Unless you suppose her for some kind of informant," he joked. The startle on Tinker Belle's face was plain. She looked at Hook wide eyed. He caught it, he had caught her. 'He's clever, this Hook,' she told herself, 'played me as I played him.'
She was certain he was dead. The muskets would light at any moment and she would be pulverized. Hook reached out his hand and pulled the hood of Bea's shawl over her head. Hesitant, he said, "Cover your burns, child. They'll never heal otherwise."
She quickly departed. He may have been on to her. She had to regain his trust quickly or at least make him want to believe that she, Tinker Belle, was Wendy.
Back in the cave, Pan had laid his trap. He pulled his Lost Ones from the mouth of the cave. The men would most likely use the sun as cover and the Lost Ones were helpless.
He knew that he would need every Lost One if he was to survive the assault. He looked at the animated corpse that gazed at him playfully from his lap. The stitching on some of her newer grafts was coming loose. Perhaps Wendy would also suffer "irreparable decay" and go the way of the others. No matter, there were others. There would always be others.
He matted the bits of hair that had not fallen out and launched Wendy from his lap. She flew across the floor and slammed into the closed door of the throne room. She would have screamed if she remembered what pain was.
"Wretch," she said, her tongue having more endearment than it would seem. "Prepare yourself. Tonight we make nightmares in Neverland."
Wendy picked up her broken body from the floor. She hated Pan. The further he throttled her the easier it was to hate him, to see him for the monster he was. But to be near him made him irresistible.
Her body no longer told her of cuts or bruises, but the intense loss and loneliness she felt in the throne room pained her like nothing else. She prayed for oblivion every night, when she could roll away from the monster that lay beside her. How she wished for the black nothingness instead of eternal misery.
The good Commodore sat on the unusable bits of the Jolly Roger and surveyed his men. He counted the number of souls that would never see the colonies or Mother England. The thought of the men who had followed him. He reminisced on the day he had offered his men escape from this fate. How none left his side, even knowing that only death waited them.
"Papa," the pip voice called out to the solemn Commodore. He stirred. "Papa" was how the doctor had told Bea to address Hook. Of course he was drunk, but no matter now.
"I haven't been called that in seven years," he said sadly. He patted the plank beside him and beckoned Bea to sit.
"What was she like," Bea asked, "your daughter?"
"To be fair," he started, "I do not know. All I have of her is that portrait in my study, sent by my wife in England while I patrolled the Caribbean." A look of sorrow filled Hook's eyes again. He pulled his emotions back, there would be plenty of time for sadness in death.
Bea patted Hook on the back, she had seen the other sailors do it when consoling each other. It seemed appropriate.
"All I know is that she was beautiful," he said and smiled, "as are you, child."
"No, no," Bea protested, "surely others cherish her more than me." The phrasing was odd, but Hook parsed through it.
He looked at her sternly, "NONSENSE!" he roared, "I would have been proud to call you my child." Then he looked broken again, "The odd thing is that by now I'm more familiar with you than I will ever be with my own."
"Then you may call me your daughter," Bea said quickly. For the first time her heart had felt warm and resonated through her body and to her cheeks where, for the first time, her muscles fired perfectly and finally Bea smiled.
The Commodore smiled and lifted his hat to hide the tears in his eyes. "Of course," he started, putting his oversize hat on Bea's head, "my daughter."
The men of the Jolly Roger solidified their battle arrangements. The few cannons that survived the beaching were mounted onto the heavy rafts. Every gun was primed and loaded, marines practiced their battle drills while the quartermaster allotted each squad their ammunition.
The Command Crew of the Jolly Roger had no illusions of the task at hand. If half the gunners survived to fire, it was already optimal. In the dark reloading would be next to impossible, reloading by torch was damned dangerous. Melee would ultimately be the focus once all the lead balls had flown.
In a far corner of the camp, a father and daughter played on the beach, watched after by the crewmen of the Jolly Roger. They had been far from home for so long. They all knew that they would never see it again. England was a far off dream, their corpses would drift to royal land if they were lucky. Even then, their corpses may just be quartered for treason. But none of those thoughts bothered them. For now, on an island deep in the Caribbean, where no cartographer has set foot and from where no man would leave that day, a father and daughter played on the beach. Immune to the worries of the next few hours, the men thought only of the man to whom they owed their unquestioned allegiance and undying respect.
Dusk approached. Hook ordered makeshift anchors for the rafts made. They would hold position around the mouth of the cave; in case the Lost Ones dared to fly out that night they would be met only by a wall of lead.
Quietly, as the sun set, they paddled into position and dropped anchor. Some rafts were tethered together as some of the make shift weights loosed themselves. With their floating fortress they watched intently, the mouth of the cave. The largest raft was manned by the Commodore himself. Bea stood behind him, watching the mouth of the cave in horror. The time would be soon. She knew it.
The men on the command raft were the injured, their minds would be easy to dominate. The moment the Lost Ones attacked she could easily force them to kill Hook. With her incredible sight she peered into the cave. Deep in the recesses she saw Pan's grimacing face. For the first time in her life on the island, his glare only brought fear to her. She saw the first wave of Lost Ones take flight. She would have to act soon. She felt her body shake, she knew what had to be done next. She felt her wings twitch beneath her father's coat. Her legs went weak and her head felt dizzy. She tried with every fiber in her body to disobey the order, to disobey Pan.
The iridescent dust already began to fall out from under her. It was time. It was too late. She could do nothing. Weak and broken she said only words her body could muster, "Papa, I'm sorry."
Pan watched the light explode in the main raft. Tinker Belle had done well. Perhaps he would reward when she returned. Perhaps. The Lost Ones hungry after a full night without hunting were let loose upon the ragged raft fleet.
No doubt the men would be in a frenzy without their leader. They'd likely go mad and deteriorate completely. Pan looked forward to picking over their bodies. "Don't cut them too much!" he hollered to his minions, "No sense in ruining dinner," he said, looking lovingly to his mistress. Wendy returned, a dead look across her eyes.
The Lost Ones bled from the mouth of the cave like an open wound. At least a hundred or so clawing over the cliff faces or spurting out like so much split blood. They were no match against an organized force but with their Commodore gone, they would break. Pan knew this.
"OPEN FIRE!" a voice roared. The muskets blazed to life. Like they had drilled, the marines dropped their muskets to the loaders and quickly brought up the next gun. "FIRE!" the voice rang again. Sheets of lead cascaded over the Lost Ones like an unrelenting sea. "FIRE!" the voice shouted again; a cannon on one of the heavy rafts exploded in fury, hurling a cannon ball deep into the cave.
Pan watched in terror as the hot iron round rolled around ever contour of his cave and came to rest at his feet. In his shock his grip was loosened on Wendy and she let brief emotion slip. What it was she did not know, it had been so long since she had felt emotion. But she knew that oblivion was coming - and with it rest.
Pan flew to the mouth of the cave to assess the situation. He looked from one raft to the other, trying to find the commander. That was when he saw him. The grizzled man with the eye patch over his left eye. Where is right hand once was, there brandished an engraved hook.
For the first time in along time, Pan had truly felt scared. He had sown many storms with his Lost Ones but never did he imagine that this man, this Hook would be his Whirlwind.
"Bea!" Hook shouted, falling to the collapsed body of his daughter, "Bea, what have they done to you?"
"COMMODORE!" one of his crew shouted. Hook whipped the pistols from his belt and fired the lead balls through the body of a lost one. It crumpled mid flight and slammed against the bow of the heavy raft like an egg on brick. He handed them to his reloader who quickly went to work.
He knelt over the body of Bea and put his ear to her mouth. She was breathing, thank heaven. The reloader handed Hook his pistols.
"Ensign," he called the junior officer, "bring me parchment and a quill. Now" The battle raged around him and Hook knew that he would not have much time. He brought his daughter behind one of the walls on the raft to shield her from the fight. The ensign was quick with the Commodore's orders.
"Ensign," the Commodore commanded again, "bring me my sword." The officer hesitated. He knew what that meant. "Please, ensign," the Commodore repeated, more fatherly.
He wrote quickly on the parchment, taking care that it would be at least readable. He glanced over at his daughter when he thought her breath stilled to ensure that she took in air again.
When he finished, he sealed the letter with wax. He searched the bins for a leather sack and carefully placed the note inside. That done, he knew what came next.
He looked at where his right hand had been at one point in his life. He looked at the hook that now rested there. He never used the hook in anger, it was a tool, it was his strength. Unlike bone and muscle, it would not bend, it would not break. When he was gone the hook would survive. On it he can scratched the names 'Victoria' and 'Wendy,' when he died those names would live on.
Gingerly, he separated the iron hook from his arm. There was a sharp pain with it was severed, but Hook knew lost limbs felt little. With the note he placed his hook in the leather bag. Gingerly he folded it and put it into his daughter's hands.
"I do not know how you survived where so many others perished," he whispered, "I do not know how or why you found me on this island. I do not know where you go from here. I don't even where you came from. I suspect I shall never know those answer." He brushed his daughter's hair and slowly removed his eye-patch and put it around his daughter's neck. "But I do know one thing," he said, holding his daughter's hands, "You were a godsend."
He collapsed beside her, "I shall miss you Bea, more sorely than anyone can imagine." He looked at the stump on his wrist and felt his fingers brush tears from his left eye socket, "I was a broken man, Bea. But you made me whole again." He kissed his daughter on the forehead.
The Commodore stood and composed himself. The ensign would return soon. His moment with Bea would be theirs alone, one of the few things shared by this father and daughter. "Remember me, won't you," he said tying his hair back, "In dreams, remember me."
"Commodore," the ensign burst through the room, shocked by his commander. He had never seen the hollow socket or the stump. "I-I'm sorry Commodore."
Hook stepped forward and took his sword and dagger. He clipped the long blade where his hook had been and stepped out onto the deck.
He exchanged some words with the ensign before stepping off and making his way toward one of the heavy rafts. The ensign looked at his commander hesitantly and Hook nodded. The junior officer pulled up the anchor and drifted away into the night. Hook had spared the wounded his fate, and he had spared his youngest crewman such as well. Most importantly for the grizzled sailor he had protected the most precious cargo of all.
A small girl who meant the world to him.
Pan watched from inside his lair as the largest heavy ship broke rank and drifted out of the lake and into the ocean. 'Weakness,' he thought. How wrong he was.
"'LOST ONES,' CHARGE THE FLEEING SHIP! LET NONE ESCAPE!" He marched forward has his minions ascended into the sky. "I will end you, Hook," he muttered under his breath. The name stirred something in Wendy but quickly suffocated in utter blackness that filled her.
On the heavy rafts Starkey looked to his commander for guidance. The 'lost ones' had come in force but were ascending, attempting to overshoot the rafts. Hook looked out behind him, they were chasing Bea.
"OPEN FIRE," he hollered. A volley of lead washed over the lost ones. Canons roared to life and tore through the rafts that carried them. Marines frantically bailed water from their boats and reloaded their guns with all fury.
The muzzles chased after the 'lost ones' as their numbers easily flooded over them. Hook looked behind them and watched more 'lost ones' advancing on the rafts, gliding effortlessly over the water. The marines chased the flying creatures with their muzzles and thinned them as best as they could to shield the fleeing vessel.
On the retreating boat the ensign commanded his squad of injured. He was only 14, the men he commanded were easily three times his age, but order was maintained. They knew that they would die. They knew that they had failed their beloved Commodore. But they would fail magnificently.
The HMS Bea, christened so by Commodore Hook had drifted far from the fighting and had almost reached the open ocean. The men on the rafts were sacrificing themselves to support their escape. The ensign called the men to order. They were so each man had a gun, even the loaders, there likely wouldn't be enough time for a second volley in any case.
The ensign stood on the deck with his men, propped up against whatever support they could find. The 'lost ones' were gain ground too fast. He knew he was right to arm the loaders. He lifted his sabre into the sky and the men took aim. "Goodbye, gentlemen," he said. "Goodbye, sir," they replied. The young officer swept his sabre and fired his pistol into the mass of 'lost ones' his men followed suit and grabbed their swords, ready to defend what ground they could. The 'lost ones' descended upon them like hornets, jaws bared and razor teeth ready to shred whatever it flew into.
In the hold of the raft. Bea stirred.
She was groggy and dizzy. She had spent her energy on herself, overloading her body with magical energy to stay her hand. She had not expected to awaken -- ever.
First she found the leather bag that had been folded so neatly for her. She was oblivious to the combat waiting to happen outside. The volley was already gone and the 'lost ones' had not yet overtaken them.
She found the hook first. It was heavy and roused her curiosity. She looked around for her father but did not see him there. Maybe he had discovered her plot, left her to drift on the open ocean. It was a fitting punishment, she decided, to be left alone on the cold open ocean for plotting to betray the man who had only showed her warmth and love. She would not fly away, she told herself, she would endure it. It was the least that she could for her father.
She palmed the hook and looked it over. The names 'Victoria' and 'Wendy' were etched plainly and with fine craft. Why had he left this, she wondered. Then she felt the odd bristle of shaved metal on the obverse. Written plainly, scratched with the tip of a blade 'Bea.' She palmed the metal hook like her father had, drawing her hand into her sleeve. She looked into a steel mirror in the room and found that her father had left her his coat and hat, and eye patch. Perhaps he was just outside, she thought, just fishing. Her mind drifted to thoughts of a new life. Surely the calm meant they were at peace. All was well. Pan was far enough away that Tinker Belle -- no -- Beatrice Hook could live.
Hook was caught in a flurry of musket fire when he saw the beast emerge from his cave.
"PAN!" he gritted.
"Hook. How nice to see you, so glad you could c-"
A lead ball flew past Pan's head, the heat from the flying projectile burned his cheek as it whizzed past.
"Come now, Hook," Pan taunted, "do come inside," he drifted back into the cave, his mutilated mistress in tow.
"Bring us in Starkey," Hook commanded.
"Aye." The heavy raft was paddled into the mouth of the cave, when it could go no further Hook disembarked. His sword fist rattled as it dragged along the floor, it had been a long time since he had used it.
Starkey loaded his pistol and prepared to follow. "No, Starkey," Hook commanded, "this is my fight, the men need you to lead them." Starkey paused, "Aye," he said reluctantly. He turned his pistol and offered it to the Commodore.
"For Smee," he said. Hook took the pistol.
"For us all," he replied. The heavy raft drifted back into the fray Starkey looked upon the man who had seen every corner of the world, who had set his foot on every known continent, he looked at his friend who walked away from him now. He know that he would not see Hook again in this life, he prayed he would have the fortune to meet him at the Great Four Rivers.
Beatrice heard the heavy thuds of flesh and bone colliding with the boat. Suddenly she snapped back to reality. Her father was gone. She stepped outside and watched as dozens of 'lost ones' circled and dived at the ship. Two of the men were dead, their bodies being lifted away by the rotting children. The ensign did his best to harass the buzzards coming after his dead but they were gone. Beatrice stood on the deck surrounded by carnage. She looked at the glittery dust that trailed off their fetid corpses in flight and the knew the hand she had played in this.
But now was time for her redemption. She was not Tinker Belle. Not anymore and never again would she answer to that name. "I am Beatrice Hook," she whispered to herself, "now I must act like a Hook." Her father's metal claw still tight in her hand she felt her body default back to its normal state. She would not have the energy to fight if she stayed a child. Faster than thought, she had filled out her father's coat and hat, the patch he had so lovely put over neck now slid over her left eye. She forced her wings to wrap around her body so as not to destroy her father's coat.
"Hook!" one of marines marveled before correcting himself, "Miss Hook." His wounds had reopened and was bleeding out. Surely he was delirious, Bea told herself. She put him to sleep at sealed his wounds. She did the same with the others. They would have been driven insane by what she did next.
Bea leapt into the sky, an orb of fire and electricity rippled around her. The 'lost ones' had never truly faced the awesome wrath of the fae, but they knew what awaited them.
For one hundred meters in all directions, anything unfortunate enough to see Bea's fury erupt in a yellow white nova of pure rage.
The eldritch ripple sent a wave of energy that anything magically inclined could sense.
Still hovering in the air, Bea watched as the 'lost ones' out of range of her first nova retreated back to the cave.
"I'm close, Papa," she said under her breath, "I'll be at your side soon."
The 'lost ones' driven back by Bea's fury rushed back to the mouth of the cave. Starkey looked to his crew and yelled, "FIRE," a sheet of lead flew at them but with the legions with with they came, they may as well have done nothing. Starkey turned towards the last cannon team and aimed them at the mouth of the cave. He would not allow his Commodore to be denied his revenge.
"FIRE" he screamed and the remaining two cannons hurled their heavy rounds at the roof of the cave, crushing the few lost ones at the head of the retreat. Those that were left barrelled back at the raftsmen. They crew of the Jolly Roger knew their end had come. Stoic and brave, they raised their swords and prepared for the end. "Good look, my friend, Hook. I pray I shall see you at the Great Rivers."
The 'lost ones' crashed upon the rafts like a tidal wave of wretched flesh and bone, pulling into the depths what remained of the brave crew of the Jolly Roger.
"Where are you, Hook?" Pan teased. He could very well see the sailor stumbling through the pitch black cave. "So dark, yes?" he chided, gliding from one end of the cave to another to disorient the man. "It's like fighting a ghost, isn't it?"
"If I were you, Pan, I'd surrender," Hook called into the darkness.
"If I were you, Hook," Pan teased, preparing to pounce, "I'd be DEAD!" Pan thrust himself from the cave wall barrelling toward his blind target. He readied a knife, not large enough to kill, just cut. Pan wanted to make this battle last.
Hook was almost at a loss. He could see nothing and Pan's flight made him almost silent -- almost. Hook stabbed his sword and Pan was caught under Hook's sweeping blade. He rode the swing into a wall behind him.
"I've got you," Hook proclaimed."
"Not quite," Pan kicked again, bringing his blade on Hook's good eye. Whatever aid light would give him was gone.
Bea charged back to the cave, energy sparking off her in all directions. She watched as the wave of 'Lost Ones' crashed upon the raft fleet and vanish into the water. The few that remained on the surface faced her wrath. One after another 'Lost Ones' came at her from all angles, and each one vaporised as it touched her aura. She had given them the magic to achieve undeath, she would wrench it from every last one of them.
She glided into the cave and quickly picked her way deeper in. Her father was still alive, she knew it in her heart, he could not be dead. The cave in was a simple obstacle and with a single burst of focused energy, the work of two cannons was undone.
The 'Lost Ones' who hid in the caves found their unlife slowly drained out of them with each of Bea's steps.
Picking across the cave she remembered well her old home. She had felt boredom here once, then fear -- now there was only determination.
She breached the door to the throne and watched as a blind and stumbling Commodore Hook dragged his body toward the unmoving corpse of Wendy.
"You stole my family from me, Pan, what more is an eye," Hook spat, "I've lost one already, losing the second one doesn't hurt as much." Hook steadied himself again.
Pan charged. Now fully focused on his hearing Hook's swipe rang true, he cut into the monster's arm and freed the beast's weapon from his hand. Hearing the clang of metal on stone, Hook dove upon the knife and took it into his left hand. Pan, baffled by the sailor's skills, slammed right into the wall of the cave.
Unperturbed he produced another knife out of the air, this one much longer. "It's been fun, Hook," he chided, "but I think it's time I found a new play thing." Pan strafed over and over, cutting Hook to ribbons. Slowly the life leaked away from his crippled adversary.
Hook steadied his free hand on a wall to keep his balance and Pan struck. Without more than a moment of gripping the stone, the hand would never feel again.
Hook grit his teeth. He would show no weakness. He heard the heavy breathing of his foe and knew he was wearing the monster down. He still had his sword, it would have to be enough.
Wendy felt slightly free. She had always been in control of her body, to a degree, but now she felt like bonds were breaking. Whatever spell Pan had put her under was weakening. Surely the stress of battle weighed heavily on one even so magically inclined as he.
Wendy looked at the bleeding man across the throne room. Who was he? She looked at her hands, the rotting flesh that was her skin, what had become of her. What kind of monster was she?
"YOU'RE FINISHED, HOOK," Pan cheered. The name struck something in Wendy. She had felt it before but both the name and the feeling still felt alien to her.
Gleefully, Pan danced around his faltering adversary. "I hear there's some crocodiles on this island that would love to get a piece of you; maybe I'll indulge them," he said, slamming his knife through Hook's knee. The joint collapsed completely, as did Hook.
"Oh my simple simple, friend," Pan joked, "You know, they say that 'if you stop believing in something, it dies.'" He sauntered over Hook, resting his foot on the proud sailor's chest, "But believe me, Hook, oh believe me. I'm very real. And I will never die."
Wendy felt the name roll over her again. 'Hook' she thought to herself. 'Who is Hook?'
"Wendy," Pan beckoned, "come see this."
'Wendy?' the old Commodore thought to himself. He looked out into the world but it was pointless. Even if there was light he wouldn't be able to see anyway.
Pan was exhausted. Not from Hook working him over, what hope did a crippled, old sailor stand against a being such as he; but from the exquisite torture that he exacted upon the man. Pan took pride in his work, the most excruciating pride.
"COME HERE," Pan barked. Wendy cautiously approached. Pan grabbed her by the neck and thrust her before the man he was ready to kill. "You see this," he said forcing her face into the bloody mess of a man, "This, is the great Sir Commodore Hook."
Something snapped in Wendy.
"And this," Pan continued.
The gears in what was left in Wendy's head went into overdrive. "Wendy Hook," she muttered under her breath.
"-- IS ME KILLING COMMODORE HOOK!"
What little soul she still possessed beat back against the infinite darkness that filled her heart and for a single blazing fleeting moment, her body was hears again. She thrust herself before the blade meant for her father. She understood the life she lead, she knew her existence was forfeit the moment her body hit the deep blue. If she could give her father but a chance to live, a father she had only heard of. A father she had finally met in her dying moments. A father who had found his lost daughter, only to lose her again.
No words can express the sorrow that filled the good Commodore's heart. To be given the gift of Wendy, his lost daughter, only to be robbed of her again. No more cruel chain of events could Pan have ever dreamed. The magnificent grief he caused gave him only a mischievous glee.
"Papa," Wendy cried, "Papa, I'm here."
"I know," Hook called out, groping toward the voice of his loved one. "I'm here, my child." The pathetic sight only excited Pan. From every corner of the throne room came peeps of Wendy's voice, driving him in every direction.
Pan felt an odd ripple in the room, something was drawing away his power as his flight slightly faltered before he could correct it.
He looked over at Hook, finally crawling toward his daughter. "Hmm, better get this over with," Pan said slightly unnerved. He produced two more blades from the air.
"Wendy, my child," Hook said as he finally felt his skin rub against the monstrous patchwork that held his daughter.
"Papa," she cried.
"No, no, I'm here now, I'm here," he comforted, cradling Wendy in his arms. "Papa's here, it's alright."
"Papa be careful," she warned. Pan hovering over them, with blades poised to strike.
"So much to tell you," Hook started, "You have a sister, Wendy, you would like her."
In a dark and lifeless cave, in an unnamed and uncharted island, hidden out in the uncaring and angry sea; Pan let his knife drop. The Good Sir Commodore Hook was no more.
Bea had watched helplessly, trapped behind the throne room door as Pan severed her father's life. He fed on the sorrow that spilled from her.
But there was no time for sorrow. Not yet. She would let herself cry later, now there was only rage. The energy she had drawn from every 'lost one' in the cave rippled and boiled over. Pan would pay.
With a blast of energy, Bea tore through door and it exploded with the fury of a bomb. Pan knew immediately that something was wrong. Thinking fast, he shifted himself beyond the human light spectrum.
"So simple, isn't it?" he teased, "to neutralize your newfound pow-"
An electric explosion arced across the throne room like so many fiery spiders spinning their webs. It was inevitable for Pan to get caught in the fury.
He collapsed into a smoldering heap on the throne room floor. Remnants of Bea's attack arced over his clothes. He tried to shift again but it was no good. Bea was draining the energy out of him. He would be lucky if he could stand -- he was so lucky.
"Tinker Belle," Pan started, "what are yo-."
"NO!" she roared with the voice of a thousand lions. Her eyes glowed with an inhuman blue glow, "You will not call me that again!"
"Well then my lady," Pan flirted, she was having none of it, "by what name do I call you?"
With a blur and flash of light, Bea arced her hook across Pan's face. She brought it to bare again on the crown of his skull. "You will call me HOOK!"
Pan wiped the blood from his mouth. He had never bleed before. The new sensation would have excited and intrigued him, if he wasn't also mortified.
Bea throttled him to the wall of his throne room. He fell as he watched his impending death walk towards him. She approached, palms open collecting the energies she had absorbed. She channeled every imaginable element into her hands: light, dark, heat, cold, electricity, elements spanning the stars above and the deep recesses of the earth. An aura of raw magic surrounded her. Colors shimmered and boiled from every point on and beyond spectrum, colors that have never existed since flickered in and out of being. She magically lifted Pan to the wall as he struggled, totally helpless.
"You know that place between hell and oblivion?" she asked in a voice more grim than the death that awaited Pan, "That place of suffering so deep that you pray for the sweet nothingness that is just out of your reach? That is where I am sending you, Peter Pan. That is where you will spend eternity. Pray that Hades has more mercy on you."
She touched her iron hook to Pan's head. The creature writhed and contorted, weaving into and out of himself as magical energies ripped through his very essence. He felt his body falling apart in the torrent, then the tissues shredding around him; he felt his cells tearing away from each other until the very chemical bonds that held them together evaporated in a torrent of chaos and energy. Pan ceased.
Bea raced to her father's side. What magic she hadn't spend destroying Pan she channelled into her father and sister. There was nothing she could do. No sooner could she patch a wound than another reopened. She could bring them to the brink of life but that's all she could do. She felt her power weakening and their souls drifting further toward the Great Rivers.
"Bea," Hook muttered, the words just barely audible.
"I'm here, Papa," she replied. Wendy, slowly dying now that her bond to Pan was gone wasted away, her final moments with her family. "I'm here too, Papa,' Wendy said.
"I'm glad," Hook whispered. "I-I can't see you." Bea spun some magic to temporarily reform her father's eye. "Oh there you are," he said, Bea had reverted to her adult from in the fight, Hook was, well -- "My how you've grown," he said in delirium, "I'm so proud to see that you've become a lady." What he was seeing, Bea could not understand, that he was happy was her only concern. "Wendy," he muttered, "say hello to your new sister." Bea looked over at Wendy. Wendy smiled and was gone. Bea wept. "So nice to have the family here," he said, his voice growing weaker with each letter. "I think I must be going," Hook whispered. The smile that he wore slowly fading. "Papa has to go, Bea."
"Of course," she said, the tears uncontrollable, "I'll be here, Papa."
She weaved a ghostly hand for him to hold on to.
"Remember me, won't you?" the words echoed, "In dreams, remember..."
The late Good Sir Commodore Hook found himself standing on the barrens shores of an unknown water. He looked out across the vast expanse for any sign of life. The moments just before his death were a blur to him.
He stood for hours, unsure of what to do. As the time passed, he was sure he had died. The memory was painful and vivid. This new world before him flickered in and out violently. He heard voices talking to him. He was not sure why, but he had felt at peace afterwards.
He waited for what seemed like days, unmoving, staring out across the strange water. In the distance he saw a worm eating ferry make it's way to him. The rider was a skeleton. His name was Charon. How Hook knew this he did not know.
He approached and the ferryman crossed his scythe across his chest.
He pointed behind Hook. Where once no water had been, there spanned a vast ocean. In the distance he spotted a boat. It approached slowly.
"Good Sir Commodore Hook, Ahoy!"
"Where are we going?"
"How do we get there?"
"That's why you're here sir," he teased.
They paddled out to a huge ship. In brilliant gold letters read "HMS JOLLY ROGER." Starkey was the first to approach him. "We waited for you, sir. No way we'd head off without you." His marines, his sailors, his officers; all awaiting his first command.
Near the captain's corners a small redheaded girl played with a little pixie doll. "Hello Papa," she said, "Wendy!"
The reunion was more than he could handle. He turned command of the boat over to his long lost friend Smee and spoke with his daughter. "Where's Bea?" she asked. The name was oddly familiar, he knew it would come back in time, he did have an odd feeling, it was strange however that he had what he knew was a right answer, "I think she's just fine, darling."
"I think so too," she smiled.
"We approach Elysium, your wife has been waiting."
"Then we should make this fast."
"Of course sir."
Hook look proudly at his crew. His brave soldiers who had sacrificed everything for him. He knew the limitless rewards that awaited the valiant in Elysium; but having his family again was reward enough.
Bea, emerged from the cave hours after he encounter with Pan. The pulses of energy had grown tame around her. With her, she carried the bodies of her new found father and sister. She had known them only briefly but in that learned what it meant to be loved and to love another.
She walked to the highest peak on Neverland and with her hands, dug the graves of her father and sister. She held her lonely vigil for them for three nights.
On the third night she opened the letter that her father had written her. The wax seal was still pressed and she loathed to break it. She pulled the letter open. Written on it were simple words, written hastily by a man wishing to impart a life time of wisdom into a few words, a man who was broken and made whole, a man who had lost the world and found it:
"Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough.You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it."
At dawn Beatrice Hook, folder her father's coat and put it into a sac about her body. She was going for a trip, she would need her wings and she still refused to ruin her father's coat.
Just as the sun crawled over the horizon she took off. Her wings would take her to England, where her father lived, where her sister was born, where she would learn what it meant to be a Hook.
In England many had forgotten the Good Sir Commodore. The King might have branded him a deserter if he didn't have a thousand other ship captains to take his place. The few people who did know of him, knew only of the traitor. The man who abandoned the Crown and the Empire. The uncouth Pirate, not worthy of remembering.
Then opinion began to change. Soon, cities and townships were boasting some bit of Commodore Hook lore. How much of it was true will never be known now. Something changed one day, the glory of Hook was so bright that it illuminated all who surrounded it. No less than a dozen captains in the Royal Navy fought to christen their boat 'the Jolly Roger.'
It's hard to know exactly what changed the people. Though the changes do coincide with a certain oddity that appeared. A young woman looking for the Hook Family. She had gone door to door telling her tale of the Commodore and his men. However the speed with which she moved from one township to the next was much too fast to be true. The families of the crewmen of the Jolly Roger,however, took comfort in the young woman's words and kept hope that she would come visit others.
News Papers began printing stories about the Good Commodore and his adventures, not all of them true. Some of the stories, however, were given credibility when a boat of injured sailors from the Jolly Roger washed up on the colonies with corroborating stories.
Slowly the stories faded away. Perhaps the woman had found what she was looking for. But people continued to believe that she would visit them. Enthrall them with stories of Commodore Hook and the Jolly Roger. There were occasional sightings and a strange iridescent dust that never stayed long enough to analyze. But people wanted to believe. They dreamed of her and the Good Commodore and the Jolly Roger and her brave crew. And in those dreams they would live forever.