As the trio hit the water Isabella’s body begins to twist and thrush in the blind panic of someone drowning. But luckily, she was no match for the bone-deep strength of Tiny who had been born on a coastal town and got his first ship job as a cabin boy and look out at the age of 9. He had learnt how to swim in the sea and knew how to save people who were panicking. As he pulled them all up to the surface of the water Isabella scratched at his arm and chest, screamed and kicked and did everything she could to make the situation worse until Tiny’s large hand came down flat and hard against her face knocking her senseless and in that blur managed to find her calm. Thomas, on the other hand, did nothing. Didn’t panic or struggle or swim. He just floated blank and unthinking, but Tiny had him too and with both under his massive arms started swimming with all his strength towards the shore.
Tiny continued to hold onto them both as he strode up the beach and once safely out of the surf dropped exhausted to his knees, finally letting them both fall onto the sand. Isabella shook with cold and fear.
“You, you saved our lives.”
Tiny looked at his friends and smiled weakly, too tired and too sad to form words. Being out of immediate danger gave him the time to think about what had happened. Isabella knew what he was thinking and they both turned to look at Thomas who still stared blankly at the sand in front of him quivering. Slowly she managed to get to her feet and walk towards him.
He turned quickly, his eyes red with tears and a touch of insanity.
“Oh my god, where’s Jack?”
“Where’s Jack, did we just leave him up there?”
“Thomas, Jack was shot?”
“And we just left him up there!”
Thomas turned his attention toward Tiny.
“What were you thinking just grabbing us, how could you leave him!”
Tiny turned a confused look towards Isabella, who tried again even more gently.
“Thomas, breathe, you’re in shock.”
But Thomas sprang to his feet furious and determined.
“Get up, we’ve got to go and rescue him.”
But no one moved, causing the redness in Thomas’s eye to brighten.
“That’s an order Mr Small! Get your lazy! Useless! Arse up!”
Isabella quickly put a sympathetic hand on Tiny’s shoulder.
“Thomas? Thomas? Thomas… Is that all you can say? Get up we’re going after him.”
“But Jack’s dead, sir.”
Tiny’s voice was sad, but matter of fact, and it seemed to strike Thomas, dropping him back to one knee.
“No… No! He’s not!”
Thomas pushed himself back up.
“Right, if you two cowards won’t help I’ll go myself.”
And Thomas turned and started running at full speed into the woods towards where he believed the clearing and the entrance to the cave was. Instantly Isabella and Tiny took off after him yelling.
“Thomas, stop, come back!”
Tiny pushed as hard as he could but could feel his legs and body start to give up and couldn’t keep his speed going, while Isabella simply wasn’t as fast as the madman in front of them, and after a few quick twists and turns, he was gone into the woods. Tiny stopped once he caught up with Isabella and sat down panting, his vision a blur.
“S-sorry m’lady. I… I’m so tired.”
She sat down near him and put her arm around him.
“It’s alright Tiny, I know, and you’re not any of those things he said.”
“Oh I know ma’am he’s just got the sads.”
She smiled for a second trying to ward of her own sad thoughts.
“We must go after him though, we know where he’s going.”
Tiny took a deep breath and pushed himself back up.
It didn’t take long to get to the secret tunnel, but longer than they would have liked and as they crept closer to the entrance into the cave, they could see Thomas lying over the body of his brother, not moving or making a sound, and could hear the whispers of the mutineers from deeper in.
Isabella and Tiny stared at each other searching for some idea of what to do next, when Tiny’s fatigue returned with a vengeance. Suddenly he slumped forward and fell to the edge of consciousness, leaving Isabella with what she felt like her only option. She remembered again the teachings of her mother and how they had always guided her, and she thought of the night they had escaped the town she was from. She closed her eyes and started whispering to herself. She then reached for her back and undid the laces that held her dress up. Tiny, seeing that she was moving, tried to focus and looked up in time to see her dress fall to the ground, revealing her naked body. He quickly realized that she was covered in an intricate pattern of tattoos and scars, and as he continued to stare they began to faintly glow violet. Then, as if she had never been there, she simply vanished. Confused and exhausted Tiny lay his head back down and fell unconscious.
Isabella moved cautiously through the Unknown towards where Thomas lay over his brother, unsure of what she would find there. She had been scared of venturing into the Unknown ever since she and her mother had been separated, in case she found her there and confirmed what she feared over all else.
She turned quickly towards the sound and saw the glowing outline of a familiar form.
“Isabella where are we?”
Her face turned grave and she looked down.
“We’re in the Unknown, the world between worlds.”
“How did we get here?”
She began to focus on him and willed him to remember. For a few seconds his glowing form took on more detail and for just a moment she could even see his face clearly.
“Oh? Oh… I… I … We were in a cave, we had found the treasure. We needed a plan to escape. I… I was thinking… I?”
His form faded back into a glowing outline.
“I remember. How is Thomas, how are you all? Oh my God, if you’re here does that mean?”
“No! No, I’m here by magical mean, but we are in danger. Tiny got us out of the cave, but Thomas refused to believe and ran back to find you. Tiny used up all of his strength saving us, and now he cannot help and here I am, once again seeking your guidance, hoping that that plan you had could save us still.”
Jack sat back down on the shadow of a rock and searched through his mind.
“Originally I was going to suggest offering to pay the mutineers to come back to our serves and help build a ship. Remind them that they were stuck here too. Not sure that would work now.”
Isabella’s hope began to drop and a slow helpless feeling started making its way into her heart, and she whispered.
“Then I don’t know what we are going to do.”
“Isabella, if you have the power to ward off dark spirits and travel to this… Unknown, can you not use magic to save my brother yourself and Tiny?”
“My magic is all about spirits, my mother taught me this so that I might one day help people who are trapped to move on. I… I’m afraid I can do very little to affect the real world.”
Suddenly a wind danced through the Unknown around them and a voice familiar to Jack whispered in their ears.
“Don’t be afraid.”
They both began looking around searching for its source until a beautiful woman stepped out of nowhere and rested her bright hand on Jack’s shoulder. Instantly he took form and seemed almost alive.
“Hello, my love. I am delighted and so sorry to see you here.”
Jack sprang to his feet and wrapped his arms around her.
“I’m here to bring you across the Unknown to the other side.”
“But mother, Thomas and my friends are in danger. I must help them before I can go.”
She turned a warm smile towards her son then towards Isabella, whose eyes seemed to brighten.
“I know what we must do. Jack, quickly, give me your hands.”
Jack turned to look at Isabella then back to his mother.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be right here waiting for you.”
Jack’s face grew stern and determined as he believed he knew what was going to happen, then reach out to Isabella. In a flash of brilliant violent light, Isabella reappeared and a wind like a hurricane erupted from the tunnel into the cave itself. Paper and sand and even gold coin started flying around the room causing the mutineers to start screaming and crossing themselves in panic. Then came Jack’s voice, loud as thunder and dripping with fury.
“You dare threaten my friends, my FAMILY! You who promised to be in our serves, dare kill me!”
As the panic increased the men started trying to flee but found themselves tripped up by the winds and all ended up on the floor crying and begging for mercy. Jack’s form manifested in front of them, looking resolute.
“Mercy? You want redemption for your misgivings?”
As one, all the men who could find their voices cried out in the affirmative.
“Then you will return to my serves, you will build my brother a ship, you will help him sail it home, and any who fail to do so will have ME to deal with! Now get out of my cave!”
As he spoke the final words all the men present hurried to their feet and started running for the exit, desperate to get away. As soon as the last man was out of sight the wind disappeared and a much more familiar form of Jack stood over his brother.
“J-Jack? Is that you?”
“Does, does that mean you’re?”
“But your spirit is still here, with us?”
“Not for long. I’m due back on the other side. Mother is there.”
Thomas’s eyes filled with tears but his jaw set hard.
“Thomas, you are the bravest most capable man I know. There is no one else I would rather have set sail with to take on the world. You gave me the courage to be truly myself. I’m sorry to leave you, but I have no doubt you will continue to do me proud.”
A tear slipped down Thomas’s cheek and he pulled himself up to look his brother in the eyes.
“I won’t let you down.”
With that, Jack turned to Isabella who nodded and whispered a word, and the spirit of Jack disappeared.