Title: "Before I Wake"
Rating/Classification: SAC, gen (E/N implied), futurefic, 315 words.
Disclaimer: All belongs to the House of Mouse.
Summary: Loose sequel to Burning for a Cause and For the Wicked.
The little girl cowers, clinging to her mother's voluminous skirts as the men crowd the deck with their loud voices and pistol reports. She's a wee one, not more than three or four, with bright red curls and wet green eyes. Elizabeth would like to think that the curling sensation in her belly is feminine admiration, something maternal and tugging...but it's not. It's bile-ridden nausea, and she turns from the fear in the child's eyes, shouting for Cotton to check the hold for gunpowder and spice tins stamped with the East India Company's mark.
"Please...please," blubbers the mother, her accent clipped and uppercrust...it wouldn't be anything but that on a vessel this fine. "Please don't hurt us."
"Don't be daft, Woman," she scoffs, staring at them with her good eye, her only eye. Surely they are horrified to see a maiden scarred thus but she could give a damn at that horror. Perhaps her breeches scandalize them, too. Her cutlass, her boots, her shorn locks. Her very existence is offensive.
Their captain is of no use. He, too, is blubbering, along with his mates. Cowards, the lot of them. It was an easy take. Cannon fire for show and the black flag and they rolled over and showed their yellow bellies.
Elizabeth does not think too closely on the fact that every take is easy now.
That she finds no challenge in piracy. No sport. No joy.
"Perhaps you ought retire," Norrington had whispered the last time they met. She'd laughed, ugly and braying, as he took her against the shabby stable wall...the meaning not lost on either of them, as they were both educated once. To "retire" means to go to bed, to chase sleep...and she does not do that anymore.
"Don't be daft," she repeats, like a litany. Drowning out the sound of the piping voice crying "Mama, mama, mama." And the past.
September 20, 2006.