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Authors: Jeremiah Kleckner,Jeremy Marshall

Captain James Hook and the Siege of Neverland

BOOK: Captain James Hook and the Siege of Neverland

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Captain James Hook and the Siege of Neverland

By Jeremiah Kleckner and Jeremy Marshall

Amazon Kindle Edition

ISBN-13: 978-1502449245

ISBN-10: 1502449242

Copyright © 2014 Registration Number TXu 1-919-334

Captain James Hook and the Siege of Neverland

By Jeremiah Kleckner and Jeremy Marshall

Copyright © 2014 Registration Number TXu 1-919-334

ISBN-13: 978-1502449245

ISBN-10: 1502449242

This is a fictional work and any resemblance to actual people living or dead, businesses, locales, or events is coincidental.
Reproduction of this publication in part or whole without written consent is strictly prohibited.

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Chapter One

August 15

The world was darkness, then spun slowly into focus.
I reached into my coat pocket with fingers I no longer had for a watch that was no longer there and tore the lining.
This iron hook does as much good for me as ill, but in the moments that I forget, I curse its place in my life.
It is a trophy of my failure.
My weakness.
I have no fairies to save me.
Just my wits, which now slipped between my fingers like dry sand.

Thick and foul-colored blood pooled on the floorboards, but not from the hook.
I didn’t cut myself.
Something else happened.
My head
Someone had hit me and now the slick copper taste stuck to my teeth and lips.
I worked the hook free of the fabric as my vision righted.

Smee and Billy Jukes laughed in the dim candlelight.

“Tasted enough of the butt of my sword?” Smee taunted.
He thumbed the handle of his weapon and rocked back and forth on stout legs.

I spat, pulled the leather straps that held my hook in place tighter, and rose to my feet.
“Once more.”

“Again?” Smee asked.
He wiped the sweat from his graying brow and looked to Billy Jukes, who scowled.

I rose my sword to guard position and used my hook to pull long tendrils of hair away from my face.

“Sure,” Jukes said, shifting his herculean frame.
“Once more.”

My rehabilitation has been a trial, but Jukes and Smee were kind enough to help.
The cabin in the old brigantine is not ideal for this kind of training.
Chests cluttered the limited wall space, narrowing an already tight room.

The two men advanced.

Smee thrust high at the chest.
I parried with my sword, but caught an elbow in the teeth.
Blood flowed again down my chin as I drove my forehead into the bridge of Smee’s nose.
I then slammed the dull side of my hook down onto Smee’s chest and the Irishman collapsed in a heap.

Billy Jukes lunged at me, taking only two steps to cover the distance.
I rolled underneath his grasp, but with one sweeping movement, Jukes backhanded me and knocked my sword away.
He hoisted me high in the air and brought me crashing down onto a pile of books and old maps.
He leaned his knee across my chest and made himself heavy.

“Are you done?” Jukes asked.

“No,” I breathed, “but you are.”

Billy Jukes chuckled, but his smile faded as a splash of red warmth grew on the front of his shirt.
Jukes got up and opened his shirt, revealing three shallow scratches, one just below each ear and another across his midsection.

“You’d have gutted me.”

“And slit your throat.”
I leaned myself up against the wall and cleaned the blood from my hook.

“Didn’t even see you do it that time,” Jukes said.
He walked over to a small chest where I keep my private stores of medicines and bandages.
He took off his now tattered shirt and added, “You took a hell of a beating, though.”

“I’d take any number of broken bones over disembowelment.”

Billy Jukes nodded and went back to cleaning and dressing his wounds.

I stood up and walked over to Smee.
“Are you getting up now?”

“Aye, Captain.
Just a moment longer.”

I extended my hand and helped Smee to his feet.

“Next time, I’ll be armed also,” Jukes said, looking again at his blood-stained shirt.
“You’re ready.”

“Aye, Mr. Jukes,” I said.
I picked up my sword and practiced drawing it left-handed.
My swordsmanship has a long way to go before it will be where it was when I brought Peter Pan to heel.
I sheathed the sword and loosened the straps of my hook, shifting the guard to find a comfortable fit.
The wound aches constantly, but the right pressure makes it bearable.

When finished, I noticed my first officer and boatswain standing oddly stiff.
Smee shifted his weight and put his thick hands in two sets of pockets before deciding to let them hang at his sides.
Jukes dropped his shoulders and breathed loudly through his nose, a sure sign of bad news.

“Anything to report, Mr. Jukes?”

“The men are hungry.”

“Anything more than quarter rations are foolish until we know more.”

“They’re afraid,” Smee snapped.

“They should be,” I said.
Smee and Jukes looked at one another and waited for me to say more.
I didn’t.

“This place…” Billy Jukes started.

“There are no stars,” Smee cut in, pointing out the porthole.

“Stars are everywhere,” I said.
I walked over and looked out at the thousands of lights that dazzled overhead.
“They are as bright in the day as they are at night.”

“But no stars we can use,” Jukes said.
He stormed over to my desk and unrolled two sets of charts.
“We don’t know them and we can’t draw new maps because they’re always moving.”

At that moment, a soft light washed over the dark wood and gave everything a golden-orange hue.

“The sun’s rising again,” Smee said, blowing out the candles on my many book shelves.
“That’s twice today.”

“It was three times yesterday,” Jukes said.

“It’s still early,” I said, pointing to the tall upright clock against the aft wall of the cabin.
Its gentle ticking filled the moments between words and thoughts with its rhythmic beat.
“It’s barely eleven.
How much food is left, Mr. Smee?”

“We have enough to last another week, if needed.”

“If you can call it food,” Jukes said.
“I could kill a man with the biscuits and the salted beef is as green as it is slick.”

“The cook is doing the best he can,” Smee said.

“Aye,” Jukes said.
“The best he can.”

“You’re too good for dried beans, Mr. Jukes?” I asked.

Billy Jukes and Smee said nothing.
I watched them look to one another and build their courage.
As important as starvation was, it paled compared to the topic most on the minds and lips of the crew of the
Jolly Roger

“They don’t know what they saw,” Smee said.

“How would they?” I asked.
We chased Peter Pan past the clouds and into the heavens.
There were moments when the men thought we lost him, but I didn’t need to see him to know his heading.
Stars, whole worlds passed us on all sides, above and below.
Then it all stopped.
One instant we were surrounded by the night’s sky.
In the next, a gentle sea lapped against the hull.

And here we have stayed for ten days.
No wind to fill our sails.
No life in the black water below us to fill our stomachs.
Ten days in still water does a lot of damage to a crew, especially one that is not accustomed to being idle.
Jolly Roger
requires maintenance and upkeep, to be sure, but that is short work for a crew of twenty-seven.

“They need you to explain it to them,” Billy Jukes said.
The tension in his voice disappeared and, for a moment, he looked like the boy I knew when we were both young.

“If only I could,” I said.
“I told them all that I know.”

“That elf,” Smee said, shaking his head.

“Peter Pan,” I corrected.
“Learn his name, Smee.”

“Peter Pan, it is,” Jukes said. “What is he?”

“A child,” I answered.

“That is no ordinary boy,” Smee said.

“He bleeds.
He cries,” I said, pausing only a moment to savor the thought.
“He is a child, aged beyond reason and dangerous, but still a child.”

“And the sparkling light with him?” asked Smee.

“She is a fairy,” I said.
“And a nasty one, at that.”
I walked over to my desk and pulled my red coat on over my shirt.
“Is there anything else, Mr. Smee?”

“No, Captain.”

See to it that the ship is kept up.
Light work will keep the men’s minds off of their stomachs.
Who is on watch?”

“Cecco, but he’s been up there for hours.”

“Call him down and get him fed.
Send Skylights up.”

“Aye, sir.”

Smee walked through the door and closed it behind him before I spoke again.
“How bad is it?”

“More or less what you heard,” Jukes said.
“The men are in bad shape, but they keep looking to you for answers, so we should be alright.”

I smiled.
“We’ve managed to avoid mutiny for another day.”

“Aye, sir,” Jukes said with a smirk.

“I’m sure our fathers had it easier.”
I chuckled to myself, then looked up into the blank stare of Billy Jukes.
“Our fathers,” I said more clearly.
“When they commanded this ship, they had to have had it easier than this.”

“Yes,” Jukes said, “I’m sure they did.”
He looked down at his feet, then over to the door.
“I should get out there, Captain.”

“Go ahead, then.”

“Do you want me to send in Starkey or Cecco?” Jukes asked.
The gentleman and the Italian are fluent in two languages other than English and I insist that they teach me.
The lessons are never formal.
We talk about wine and rum and the empty promises we made to women.

I stepped over to my shelves, on which volumes of literature and collected histories in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, and Greek taunted me.

“Not today.”

“Aye, Captain.”
Billy Jukes ducked under the door frame and clicked the door shut behind him.

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