Elizabeth's night, as it is described here, is supposed to take place immediately after the end of Dead Man's Chest, so those of you who haven't yet watched that movie, wait with reading this story...
All characters here belong to the Disney Corporation. No money will be made in connection with this piece of writing.
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A GOOD NIGHT, NO?
The night wasn't quiet. It was filled with all the eerie sounds of the swamp; a symphony of sorts, subdued and yet insistent at the same time. In Elizabeth's head the terrible din from the battle onboard the Pearl was still clamouring and the images flickered before her inner eye in an endless motion, one more terrifying than the other. She had long since given up on sleep. After having fallen exhausted on the rickety bed that Tia Dalma had advised to her, she had succumbed to the almost nauseating tiredness and gone into a fitful sleep, only to wake up some hours later, knowing of, but not remembering what nightmare that had haunted her. She went up and fumbled through the darkness for the lamp that Tia Dalma had left of the table. She struck a light to it and welcomed the feeble flicker that gave structure to the small room in which she found herself. She remembered the both knowing and disdainful glint in Tia Dalma's eyes when she had advice Elizabeth of her sleeping quarters. "Sais bien tu sais, that you have lived with them men for a long time and shared their quarters as any matelot, but here, I can at least offer you a bit of privacy. Us girls must stick together, n'est-ce pas?" Tia Dalma had murmured. Elizabeth couldn't say that she fancied having to side up with Tia Dalma, but realised that she indeed had no choice. For the moment, they all lived on Tia Dalma's mercy anyway.
It had been hot and clammy earlier in the evening and when left on her own, Elizabeth had stripped out of her wet clothes and wrapped herself in one of Tia Dalma's thin and worn silk linens, whose laces told of better days. Now she gingerly touched her breeches and shirt that she had thrown on the floor and felt that they were still damp and almost stale from all the salt water they had been drenched in. Although it was a tropical night, she shivered uncontrollably; whether from feeling the humid chill of the late night air or from exhaustion she didn't know. "I should have needed a drop of that Rum" she thought fleetingly and immediately shied away from the implication of that statement. It was as if being burned by a red-hot iron or stabbed by a sharp dagger. Thinking of Jack.
They had all indeed been a subdued lot after the first euphoria had simmered down in the wake of resolving that they would do anything to get Jack and the precious Pearl back. The feeling that it was within the power of Tia Dalma to evoke strange and mighty forces to go about this daunting effort, left as much hope as unease. Because what did they all in fact know about Tia Dalma? Not much more than what Jack had told them about her and after the surprise of seeing the fearful and all-much-alive Barbossa as a testimony to those powers - as if she had indeed called him from the shadows of the deep to aid in this project - the feelings became also mixed with fear. Yes, Tia Dalma had in fact envisaged that they would have to go to Hell to get Jack back again.
Not much had been said between Will and Elizabeth since the arrival at Tia Dalma's house. Elizabeth sensed immediately that Will was avoiding her or at least avoiding being alone with her and being forced to speak with her. It slowly entered Elizabeth's mind that Will had been witness to her last encounter with Jack and what conclusions Will had drawn from this, she had no idea of; neither was she really in a position to ask him without revealing certain facts about that confrontation that she would rather keep to herself. It was a very strange feeling, the feeling of sensing that Will was all of a sudden in great doubt about her and mistrusted her. She felt even more wretched on account of this than before.
Elizabeth found herself alone in a corner while the men were discussing the situation in low but earnest voices. Tia Dalma came up to her with another glass of wine. "Cherie, you should drink a wee drop more", Tia Dalma coaxed, and although Elizabeth now felt that any hidden element could have been added to the cups, she closed her eyes and accepted the offer. Tia Dalma stood beside her as if watching that she downed the lot, before she left to tend to the other guests and Elizabeth saw her nodding quietly, evidently satisfied with the result of her efforts. If it was the wine or her over-heated brain reacting on the turmoil of the last few days, she didn't know, but all of a sudden, she thought that everything took on a deeper shade of hue, a richer, more flamboyant and earthier quality, and her ears started to hear even small noises of which she hadn't been aware previously.
No one invited Elizabeth to join in the discussion of the plans and she didn't feel encouraged to venture. That was the point when Tia Dalma thought best to show her to her room. It was so sparsely furnished that it looked like a monk's cell. But little did she care. All she wanted was a bed to rest on. By that time, she felt as if a fever was starting to rage in her blood and she couldn't stand even the feeling of any cover, however light, over her body. She threw it all off. Fitfully she slept and images from her subconscious tortured her defenceless mind.
Now, sitting musing over all this, she listened to the night and found no other sounds than those of the animals of the swamp. All human voices were quiet and she imagined that they all had gone to rest a while, much needed if so. She lay down once more on the sparse bed and closed her eyes. She was so tired that she could have slept with her eyes open and she drifted once more into a kind of oblivion but stayed in the upper levels of the consciousness, which made her feel as if she didn't sleep at all at times, although most probably she did.
When she drifted to the surface of her mind the next time, her awareness was heightened. It was quite clear that she wasn't alone in the room any longer. A flush of tired anger soared through her. "Hadn't they anything else to do but to disturb her in the middle of the night?" She opened her eyes to see if she could make out who the intruder was. Then she saw the dark outline of a man against the faint light from the door opening. He must have realised that she had noticed him, because he approached the bed and she could feel it sway a little when he sat down. He filled her whole vision by now.
"Cheers love" the raspy voice whispered out of the silence. Her heart made a turn and she sat up in bed in a violent motion and opened her mouth to scream: "Jack!!!" But before she could utter a word, he had put his hand over her mouth and hushed her gently: "We mustn't wake up the others, must we?" In what was an endless silent moment, she could hear her heart beating furiously. It was such a strong sound that he must have heard it too. When he was sure of, that she wouldn't scream any longer, he removed his hand. Instead, he touched her face, furtively probing as if wanting to outline her features with his hand and trust them to his memory. "Nope, I ain't dead yet - or at least not in that sense - perhaps much to the dismay of some of you, eh?" - "What do you mean by that?" she answered, a bit of her old temper rising. He chuckled almost soundlessly. "Don't tell me that all will be sooo well, if poor old Jack is found again. What about Master Will for example? Would he like to see me stepping into my old clothes again or wouldn't he rather see me sooo properly dead? Having a monument to cry over and put flowers on?" - "Oh Jack!! Stop it" she cried, interrupting him. "If you're here, you must know, that all have joined in the venture of finding you again. By the way, finding you? You are here already, aren't you, then we don't need to find you, Tia Dalma has conjured you to step on the scene like Barbossa!" - "No love, it ain't like that, I'm only here for you, savvy?"
No, she didn't really understand but just right now, it didn't so much matter. She wanted to ask him about what it was like where he was, but he interrupted her, saying that it was no way describing it, and furthermore, he wasn't allowed to talk about it. In fact, he wasn't really allowed to be here at all, so she mustn't tell anyone about it. "Promise?" And she had to promise, feeling bewildered and scared now. He seemed to sense her mixed feelings, because he touched her face again and then he let his warm hand slide down over her body in a way that he had never done before. Wherever he came from, all his inhibitions seemed to have been left behind there. And yes, his hands were warm. They were warm with living blood. He softly caressed her neck and her breasts through the thin silk linen. And she felt all of a sudden very weak and weary, all the last days' tension going out of her. Before she fell back on the bed, he had caught her in one tight grip and he bent down over her face. When he kissed her, his bristly moustache and braided beard tickled her lips and chin. He licked her lips and she felt the taste of his strong oriental Latakia tobacco, salt from the seawater and that special something that was only him, by which she would single him out from any other man; a savage, sweet and intoxicating taste. And she opened her mouth to his kisses and let him devour her. For an eternity, he held her close, in an iron grip, and she sensed the turmoil inside of him; his heart beating against her body, his hands soft and strong, touching her with wanting, his lips seeking hers again and again. "Love", he said in the end, "I must be going, but I'll try to be back". And before she could protest and ask when and how, he had disengaged himself from her and she saw him literally dissolve in the air.
Later she woke up and the dawn had started to colour the sky grey outside the small window. Her face and also her pillow were wet with tears. For how long she had been crying she didn't really know, but her feeling of despair was total. He had felt so real, but it had all been a dream, a vivid living dream but nevertheless an illusion. Her mind had played tricks on her and her guilty conscience had wished for that it was all untrue, that she hadn't been the cause of Jack's demise.
"Traitor...." the leaves whispered outside her window. "You killed him, you sacrificed him for your own benefit, you let him down.... you let him slip through your fingers... all you had needed to do was to stretch out a hand for him and he would have been yours up until the end of time..."
She stumbled out of bed in a vain effort to escape her mental tormentors and in doing so she almost slipped on something on the floor that hurt her foot badly. When she bent down to look at the object, she saw that it was a tiny bead - a red and golden coloured little bead with a small hole in it - as if it was meant to be thread on a piece of string. She picked it up gingerly and turned it around, letting it rest in the palm of her hand. She could of course have had it in the pocket of her breeches. And it might have fallen to the floor when she undressed yesterday. She could have.... It might have.... But was it so ? She closed her hand on the little bead as if it was the greatest fortune on earth. Then she ripped a piece of lace from the linen and formed a thread out of it where she put the bead. She hanged it around her neck and hid it carefully from view when hastily dressing. Voices outside her room told her that others had started to wake up too.
It was a bleak and quiet morning and although light had started to sift through the growth of the swamp down to Tia Dalma's house in the bayou, she had lit candles to light up the big room. Tia Dalma approached Elizabeth slowly with a cup of strong-smelling coffee in her hand. When Tia Dalma finally stood in front of Elizabeth and was out of hearing distance from any other person in the room, she whispered with a sly smile: "Et la nuit, elle etais bon, non? A good night, no?"