It's daft to be jealous of a ship. A ship can't guard a man's back or
sit up all night with him drinking and spinning tales. A ship knows no
loyalty; she's a fickle bitch, yielding to any man strong enough to take
her. A ship, no matter how gracefully she responds to a hand at the helm, is
not alive. Bill Turner knew that, yet he couldn't help resenting the
Jack had only been captain of the Pearl a few months, and his
fondness for the ship bordered on the ridiculous. He claimed he could hear
her whispering to him, telling him which way to steer, warning him of
shallows and guiding him to prizes. Jack could be peculiar about things like
that. He was similarly obsessed with a broken compass he'd won in a dice
game, which he swore pointed the way to a fortune in Spanish gold.
Bill and Jack had been sailing together since they were little more than
boys. They'd turned pirate together, shivered and sweated together through a
fever that had killed half their shipmates, fought and whored and stole
together more times than they could count. Jack had killed his first man
saving Bill's life. There was a six-inch long scar on Bill's forearm from a
jealous husband who'd been chasing Jack. Bill had a wife in England, but
that had nothing to do with what passed between him and Jack. Where Jack
led, Bill followed.
When Jack met a voodoo woman in Hispaniola and got some fool idea of
bespelling the ship, Bill reluctantly agreed to help, despite the uneasiness
that crept up his spine. Piracy was one thing, sorcery was quite another.
Bill had no truck with witchcraft. But he couldn't let Jack down. Besides,
it most likely wouldn't work anyway. Probably the worst that would happen
was Bill would miss out on the fun the rest of the crew were having on the
shore, and Jack would get drunk and doleful and go on about his beautiful
"Did you get it?" Jack's voice was hushed, but his eyes blazed with feverish
Something about the desperate eagerness in those eyes made Bill reconsider
what they were about to do. He stopped, balanced on the rail, and thought
about throwing the sack he carried over the side. Then Jack grasped his arm
and hauled him onto the ship.
Bill squashed his doubts. "Yep, just like you asked."
"Well, then, no time like the present, eh? Let's get started." Jack opened
the rum and poured out a liberal helping on the deck. He took a swig himself
and passed the bottle to Bill. Bill upturned the bottle and drank deeply.
Chances were good he'd need a little Dutch courage tonight.
Jack laughed, a little self-consciously, and called out, "Spirits of the
water, witness my vow," then took the bottle back and emptied it into the
dark water below. It seemed to Bill that a fog was rolling in and the night
suddenly turned cold.
Jack clambered forward and laid his hands on the figurehead that jutted from
the bow. He reached into the pouch at his waist and threw a handful of some
foul-smelling powder into the air. It shimmered in the flickering lantern
light before settling on both Jack and the figurehead, coating them in a
fine, grey dust. When Jack spoke, his voice was solemn and defiant,
dispelling Bill's doubts that this might be nothing more than an elaborate
joke. "I, Jack Sparrow, take the Black Pearl to wife."
The wind picked up, and whispered through the sails. It sounded eerily like
a human voice, and Bill shuddered. Jack smiled, gold teeth flashing. "Now
the rooster, Bill."
Bill silently handed him the bag. He'd hunted high and low for the black
rooster Jack had requested, inspecting each candidate to find one that was
entirely black, with no feathers of any other color. For his trouble, he'd
suffered a nasty scratch on his hand, where the cock had caught him with its
When Jack untied the loop of string and reached in, the rooster crowed
loudly. Jack swiftly wrung its neck, twisting the head clean from the body.
Blood gushed out, covering the figurehead. The metallic smell of death
filled the air.
There was a weird, savage cry then, and the fog grew thicker. The lanterns
guttered and blew out, and Bill strained to see what was happening in the
shadows. A twittering sound, and tiny feet scurried across his boots,
dragging long skinny tails behind them.
The ship rocked and groaned, and Jack muttered, "It's not enough. 'Course
it's not, gotta be mine. I hear ya, darlin'"
Alarmed by Jack's tone, Bill took a step towards him. Something crunched
under Bill's boots, and as his eyes adjusted to the gloom, he could see
gleaming cockroaches carpeting the deck. Bill's stomach squirmed and he held
Jack reached into his boot and pulled out his knife. In a frenzied motion,
he sliced it down the inside of his arm, once, twice, three times. The smell
of blood grew stronger.
Bill thought he heard music blowing in the wind - a minor chord, winding its
way around the ship, catching up the wooden creaks and rustling sails and
mixing them into the melody. Jack was screaming, and Bill could not tell if
it was from pain or pleasure, or both. This too seemed part of the strange
Bill shouted, "Jack?"
The ship pitched and Bill fell to his hands and knees. He felt things
slithering and creeping around his body, felt the deck shaking and shivering
under his hands like something alive, and, although he hadn't been in a
church since his own wedding day, he began to pray under his breath, "Our
Father, who art in heaven-"
The Pearl pitched again, and the sails snapped. Bill thought perhaps
this was as good a time as any to shut up. Jack's caterwauling reached an
ecstatic pitch, and then ended with a final drawn out moan.
Lightning flashed and rain began to pour down on the deck. As quickly as it
had come, the fog disappeared, taking with it the creatures who had slipped
out of the nooks and crannies of the ship. Bill stood, shakily, and made his
way to Jack.
Jack rolled over onto his back, a sated, triumphant expression on his face.
"Aye, I think she'll have me." His sleeve was torn to shreds and blood still
oozed out of the cuts on his arm. The stains on his breeches suggested
something perverse that Bill didn't like to think on.
This was perilously close to blasphemy and Bill regretted that he'd had any
part of it. He wondered if he'd ever really known Jack, if there was any way
to trust or understand a man who would do such a thing.
Grudgingly, Bill offered Jack his hand -- only just managing not to recoil
in disgust -- and pulled him to his feet. In Jack's cabin, they dried off
and Bill bandaged Jack's arm. They had another drink to take off the chill,
but there was none of the usual banter and small talk. Jack was dazed,
smiling to himself and touching the hull obsessively. Occasionally, he
cocked his head as if he were listening to something Bill couldn't hear.
Bill too was turned inward, reflecting on what he'd seen that night, trying
to make sense of his chaotic impressions and Jack's disturbing behavior. He
thought of his wife and his young son. Suddenly he couldn't bear the thought
of spending the night on the ship, alone with Jack. Bill drained his cup
hastily and stammered out some excuse to go ashore. Jack barely seemed to
notice Bill was leaving, so enamored was he of his new bride.