It is barely noon when we come amongst them, and already they fresh out of battle; perhaps a recent tussle with the natives. Their camp is dank and misty place, filled with both cheer and drear. Cups of rum were spilled in toasts for slain brothers-in-arms as ceremonial pieces of driftwood were tossed into St. Elmo's Fire. "Thar she lies, ye wayward souls," said the pirates with raised cups. "Steal that horizon." Afterwards, the pirates all went about the day trading nods and grunts as every man proceeded with his own individual chores, which mainly consisted of washing the red from their boots.
Then came a voice as loud as cannon-fire. "At the ready!" it said. At once, the pirates dropped whatever they had in hand, unless it was their rum; for to do so would be sacrilege. Every man stumbled their way towards the counting station for the usual after-battle roll call. "Form a line right here!" said the loud man. "No! No! No! That's not a line, that's a square! Divide by four!"
This quasi-intellectual seated proper at the desk with quill and parchment was none other than Thomas E. Foolery, the crew's accountant. You might note that there was not a touch of sea in this man, for unlike the rest of his fellow dogs "" most of whom were born into piracy "" Mr. Foolery had been a stagehand in his early days. Therefore all he learned of pirate custom and lingo came from the likes of Flint, and Ahab, and of course, the Sparrow. This afternoon, Long Tom, as the crew often called him, went down the page as per usual, checking off each surviving man from the list, and putting an X down for the dead men.
"Haven't got all day," said Mr. Foolery. "Give us an 'aye' if ye be already slain, savvy?"
Aye," said the old, decrepit pirate, steadily shifting from this world and the next.
We could not begin to explain how, but somehow, as he slumped over dead on the table, the quill was shot up in the air. All the pirates gazed up in the sky to see it, but the sun was to bright, and when it came down they heard a loud cry of pain. From that moment on, Thomas E. Foolery had an eye patch over his left eye.
"Ahem," he said. "Right then, shall we proceed?"
The first name to receive a golden check was Giovanni. He was a well-groomed pirate whose only sign of his time on the black water was the large scar going down the side of his throat. Next to him in line was Edward Cullings, a pirate known for his selective slaughter of first-year sailors. His was the ghost story recited by old hands to scare the new recruits into shaping up. Lawson, however, receives a crimson X, but it is given lightly, as he was merely shark bait. The others to receive checks were well known titans; like Robert Red, whose blades are always freshly painted; John Quarterly, the Quartermaster who keeps a collection of eyeballs in a jar underneath his bed; and let us not forget Jimmy Low, a man so illiterate he could hardly read his own mind. There was also the infamous Oriental, Micheal Risky of the Caspian Sea, Skylight's Bastard, and the notorious Bill Angst "" just to name a few.
Though none of these rough and gritty men could even hold a candle to the pistol-proof corsair now emerging from her tent. It was she, in fact, who first taught them to count their deaths before supper, and to always keep a tidy deck, and how to tell the difference between fair winds, and the much more ominous kinds. She was the captain of this horrid crew, Madame Guthrie. However to commoners such as you and I, she is known as the Governess.
The Governess was the beauty of a rare black rose and all its poisonous thorns. This was noted by the black color of her painted lips. Her eyes were green like the wreaths she deserved but were never afforded, and they were ever-searching to find a crewmate not doing what they weren't supposed to so do. Once found, she would put them back in line with a steel ruler she carried in the same manner pirates kept their cutlasses. And if given proper inspection, you would see a wavy pattern in the metal, similar to the flow of the river Barada.
The Governess was not new to Neverland, though she usually kept a low profile. But that was before word reached her about one of her favorites being maimed and fed to the Croc! What's more, he had been so by a cheeky boy who claimed no adult could ever make him grow up. That, of course, would not do. T'was bad form to leave undone, you see? And so, the Island was now visited by this scourge of joy and innocence. See as she now makes her theatrical entrance into our story with a weak hand on her forehead, appearing as if she is soon to faint.
"Quell my qualms!" she cried, "Quell them, I say!"
All the men stood panicked, ready with open hands as she stumbled through the encampment. "Madame!" they shouted. And the moment it seemed she would fall into one of their arms, the Governess would then suddenly shift direction, and go swaying towards another. And so it went, so that the pirates "" some of whom were half-drunk and half-deceased "" were now comically chasing through the mud after her.
"Avast you "" ye scoundrels! Don't let the Governess sully herself!" shouted Mr. Foolery as he tripped over a various items trying to make his way to her with his chair.
"Smartly now, ye poxy plums!" added Bill Angst as he quickly downed the rest of his rum.
In the end, Madame Guthrie found her way to Long Tom's chair in which she collapsed. The others sat on the ground in front of her with worrisome eyes while Mr. Foolery poured her a cool glass of the Sweet and brought the fan. "Madame!" he said concernedly. "Tell us, what is it that vexes you?"
"I"ve just had the vilest pondering," she cried.
"Ponder'n?" said the bewildered men.
"Oh, a frightful pondering indeed," she replied. "It was one of my dearest Jas, being cast away into the jaws of that awful ticking crocodile. Tis one thing to know your death; but to hear it in every tick and tock, until the moment it consumes you; what tragedy!"
The other pirates silently grimaced and traded glances with one another. You see, they had all grown sick and tired of hearing the name of that pirate spoken of, yet they did well to hold their tongue lest they share the same foul fate as Samuel the Silent, who once made the mistake of speaking ill about Madame Guthrie's favorite dog. The next day a black spot appeared on his tongue and the Madame decided it must come off lest he perish. All, save for Samuel, knew it was the Governess who had placed the dot, but in the end, steel pincers and a hot knife saw an end to his promising debate career.
"Poor, sweet Jas," she said. "Never before has there been another to share my grace, love of literature, and of course, good form. Yes, always good form on that lad." She then shot quickly out of her chair with a fearsome scowl and a terrible growl that made all the men flinched back in fear. That was how the lady Guthrie was, you see? She would have bouts of frailness, only to rise seconds later harder than nails; and so the pirates were never quite sure when to act gentlemanly towards her, or when they should draw their swords and brace for an attack. "Revenge will soon be mine," she growled. "With all the furies as my witness, I swear I shall have my revenge!"
"We shall find that Pan, Madame," said Jimmy Low. "And when we do, we'll slay em good."
"Slay him?" she said with a hearty laugh. "Heavens no! I have something much more excruciating than death planned for that one. I think I should love to see him in a suit and tie. Yes, whiskers shall pierce from out his smooth, supple cheeks until they are as thickly bearded as a bear. And he shall be called "Husband" and "Sir" and "Father. And then," she said, grinning maliciously. "on the day when comes the first gray hair, I shall see him at Rope's End!"
"A dastardly scheme!" said Mr. Foolery in praise.
"Aye, that it is," said John Quarterson. "Hell hath no fury!"
"And he's sure to come too," said Mr. Foolery. "After what we did to his you-know-whats."
"Ah, so he shall," said the Governess. "Speaking of that, where are the rest of those iron cages I called for? Did you not send a group towards the shore a day ago."
"Y-yes, certainly," said Mr. Foolery. "It pains me to say, but since what you say is true I consider it may be very likely that they are no more."
"Blast those Panimals!" she shouted. "Send another group at once, and carry your pistols! I will not be stalled by little boys and half-naked men." Just then, in the middle of her tirade, the crew all heard the faint sound of laughter. Every voice died and dug its own grave, and the men went pale-faced. "Which wretched dog among you dares laugh while his mistress is aflamed?"
"N-no not me said," said Bill Angst. "Swear it so!"
"Nor I!" said another, and another, until the whole crew were in an uproar declaring their innocence.
"Quiet at once!" shouted the Governess. Again they heard the laughter. "And there it is again!" she said. "Are you calling me deaf? Saying I'm too old to tell the difference between giggles and the ringing in my ears?"
"No, Madame!" they cried, "C-course not!"
It was just then that Nowah and Sarah came breaking out of the woods and into the encampment; and they were both completely unaware. The children were both laughing away as they joyfully chased each other around in a friendly game of tag. They were so into that game of theirs that they didn't realize they were deep in the presence of pirates as they darted through the camp. Of course the pirates were all speechless, quietly watching in disbelief as the children ran circles around them.
"Ahem," said Madame Guthrie. Still they paid no mind. "Ahem!" she said, louder. Finally, Sarah stopped long enough for to take notice of the woman. The first thing Sarah noticed was that the Governess had the face of a mother, though she could tell the was something missing. Sarah gazed up, making eye contact with the scowling woman, and then gave a hard swallow. Nowah, of course, could not be bothered to wait, and was still darting in between pirates, smiling that ignorant, mischievous smile of his.
"Nowah!" Sarah said in a loud, nervous, whisper.
"You can't catch me," he replied. "Sarah, I am the morning breeze."
"Nowah, stop it," she whispered again, "stop it right now!"
Finally, Nowah ceased the game and walked back towards Sarah. And Sarah could see the total lack of awareness on his face as he pushed aside the scowling pirates to make his way towards her. "What's wrong?" he asked, studying her with his eyes. "Have you stumped your toe again? Here let me rub it for you." Now Sarah was as shocked by Nowah's obtuseness as the pirates, and she gave a slight smile embarrassingly.
"Get up," she said. "Nowah, look around you."
Finally, Nowah noticed they were surrounded by a band of unsightly pirates. He saw that the whole encampment were standing still, staring at them, and among them, the Governess's eyes lit with rage. "Take them!" she shouted.
At once a flood of pirate came rushing at them. Though very soon, the march slowed as Nowah had swiftly fell of three of their cremates in the blink of an eye. "That's three," he said, threateningly. "Who shall be number four? Makes no difference to me, any pirate that lays a hand on me shall be made 'Hooked'." Nowah then drew a circle around him and Sarah with his dagger, daring the next fool to step inside. Other men did try, but after Jimmy Low fell to Nowah's blade, the others became slightly disheartened.
However, Nowah had no idea this whole time Madame Guthrie had been fuming at his earlier phrase. He had said 'Hooked', in a crude reference to her beloved Jas. The Governess walked right on in as lucky number seven, and she drew her ruler. For the first time in his life, Nowah had experienced a feeling all children have experienced at least once in their life. That fear after being caught doing something they ought not by a parent.
The Governess had the dark aura of a displeased mother, and it, quite frankly, paralyzed him. Therefore, the fight was surprisingly brief. And by brief, we mean to say that in less than two moves Nowah was on the ground, and the Governess stood towering over him.
"Nowah!" Sarah shouted.
"Yo-ho-ho!" shouted the pirates. "The Madame's don' it again!"
"How many children is that so far?"
"Who knows? Strike em down, Governess!"
And just as the Governess raised her ruler for the final blow, Sarah ran in front of Nowah with open arms, shouting 'No' at the top of her lungs. Madame Guthrie was thrown back. The other men were still chanting away, but they were all just foolish dogs who knew nothing.
The girl had shown good form.
And now, it came to be that the Governess actually admired Sarah. But what was she to do? Striking the boy now would be a horrible display of form on her part, yet she could certainly not let him go off unscathed. Had they been on the Satisfaction, she could have simply tied weights to his ankles and let Davy Jones handle him. But now, things were all muddled up. The Governess sighed. "Lovely girl," she said, almost kindly. "What in heaven's grand design are you doing here with this weedling of the island?"
"We meant no trouble, we're only looking for fairies," she said. "That's all, I swear!" To this, the men began laughing heartily. "Oh you brave, foolish child," said the Governess.
"What's so funny?" Sarah asked.
"There are no such things as fairies." said Mr. Foolery
"Well of course there are," Sarah replied. "and they are on this island."
"Balderdash!" exclaimed Mr. Foolery.
"Is not." Sarah replied.
"Men," he said. "Have any of you ever seen a fairy?"
"Nay, Long Tom," replied a pirate. "Thar be none here."
"You see, little girl?" said Mr. Foolery. "I'm afraid I must humbly disagree on this matter."
"Agree or disagree, old man" said Sarah, smartly, "but fairies do exist. My mother told me."
"Tsk, tsk, tsk," said the Governess. "What an awful thing it must be, to be born from a liar."
This statement upset Sarah a great deal. "My mother is not a liar," she said, stepping in.
At this, the men went on the defensive and unsheathed their swords.
"Hold your tongue!" said Mr. Foolery.
The Governess studied the frowning girl now staring boldly at the tips of countless swords. She smiled. "And so," she said, almost playfully. "What shall we do with these foul-mouthed, false-tongue, foolhardy rascals?"
The pirates started chanting again. "Ground them! Ground them! Ground them!"
"We did nothing wrong!" Sarah shouted. "Surely nothing deserving a grounding!"
Madame Gurthrie looked at Sarah, thinking back to her brief moment of good form, and made a concession. "Perhaps!" she said, gaining Sarah's ear. "Perhaps we can overlook this matter for you; on one condition. Thomas, my dear, hand the lovely girl quill and parchment. She is to write down, 100 times, 'there are no such things as fairies'. Only after that can we accept her apology, and send them on their merry way."
This of course, was a lie. Merely a trick to hasten Nowah's fate. Luckily, Sarah would not even entertain such nonsense. "Are you mad?" she said, aghast. "You wish for me to slay a hundred fairies merely for the sake of my life? Never!" Nowah struggled to his feet and defiantly nodded in agreement.
Madame Guthrie feigned displeasure in the matter and sighed. The truth is, she loved nothing more than dealing punishment. "You heard them," said Madame Guthrie. "Toss them down below! Sleep tight tonight children, for in the morrow, we shall see you to a swift and harsh punishment. Fret not though, it shall be dealt justly, and of course, all in good form."
The two children were carried off to the middle of the camp, and lowered down a deep, dark hole. It was so deep and dark, that soon, the laughs of the pirates were but whispers now. Once they were firmly on the ground, each went about feeling their way in the darkness.
"Nowah!" Sarah cried.
"I'm here, Sarah," replied Nowah. "Reach for my hand."
"Ouch!" the children shouted after accidentally headbutting.
"Oh, I just want to get out of here!" said Sarah, rubbing her head.
After their eyes had adjusted to the dark, the children attempted many times to climb the dirt wall, but it was all in vain. A shame the Governess had to take Nowah's dagger. Now there was nothing to use for leverage. After thoroughly tiring themselves out, both mentally and physically, the children gave up and together with their backs against the wall.
"I wonder what time it is," she said.
Nowah sniffed the air. "One minute til nine."
"Truly? I've never gone without supper before," she replied as her stomach whined.
"Hm," said Nowah, consideringly. "I think I can find some bugs for us to eat."
"Perhaps another time," she replied.
The two laid in wait, until, by Nowah's nasal watch, the clock struck twelve. There was a change in the air at that moment, and Nowah suddenly felt that there was another in the hole among them now. Sarah shifted closer to Nowah, who now took a position crouching defensively in front of her. Soon they saw two dimly glowing eyes. The eyes were of a familiar color, glowing bright amber.
"Name yourself, fiend!" Nowah demanded.
Sarah then began hearing a familiar giggle that caused her to stand up quickly."Is that "" you?" she asked. There was a slight pause, followed by a great laughter. "It is, isn't it?" she said. "You're the girl from the box! The one who brought me here!"
"Aye," said the girl, giggling as she did her best to sound like a pirate.
A lamp was lit by the girl and now the children could see each other. Nowah was most surprised to see the girl. "Have we met before?" he said.
The girl brought the lamp towards Nowah's face, giving no care for his personal space, and stared at him. "Doubtful," she replied. "I'm sure I'd remember those eyes had I seen them before."
"What are you doing here?" asked Sarah. "More importantly, how did you get here? Were you captured too?"
"Not sure," she said. "I don't think so."
"Then why are you here?"
"Someone in my head just kept telling me to give these to you, so I came." Then the girl approached her and put something into her hands. "There," she sighed. "I'm leaving now." The girl place the lamp in their corner and walked off into the shadows.
"Wait!" Sarah shouted. "Where are you going?"
The girl then slipped into the shadows, saying. "Peter is waiting."
"Peter?" said Nowah, his attention now fully peeked. "What about Peter?" Nowah took the lamp and brought it towards the shadows, but she was gone.
After a long talk, Nowah judged that what they had been give were flower seeds. Of course, Sarah didn't see the use for seeds in their current situation. "It would have been better to just hand us magic beans," she said.
Nowah sat down scratching his head. Thinking hard over them. There was something on the tip of his tongue begging to be said. It just so happened that at that time, the moon happened to be passing right above them, shining a soft ray of light to the floor. "I've got it!" he said. Nowah took that chance, and buried a seed where the light shone, waiting eagerly. Shortly after, to Sarah's great surprise, a small, glowing bed of purple flowers began to spout instantly before them.
"What is this?" Sarah asked.
"Don't you see, Sarah?" said Nowah. "They are are how we escape!" Then, Nowah grabbed Sarah's arms and looked at her with the same expression he did during their fall. "On the count of three, we jump."
"On the flowers?" she said, shocked. Nowah nodded, and Sarah knew better at this point than to argue with him. Though she still did not like the idea of stomping on flowers. It just felt wrong to her. As if she were breaking some sacred, ancient pact.
"One. Two. Three!"
Together the children jumped and when they landed on the bed of flower, they sprung up a little ways into the air just like one would on any other bed. That was when Nowah let Sarah onto the secret. These were not just any daisies, but the rare and elusive Upsie Daisy! Nothing has ever better for getting back from rock bottom.
The children bounced upon the flowers, higher and higher, until finally their heads began to peek out the hole. Once more go at it, and they were back above ground, freed from their grounding. The camp was lively as the men were now howling drunk, sitting around the cook's tent, waiting for the cook to bring out supper. Tonight was bone soup and sea biscuits. Sarah thought to flee straight away, but Nowah would not leave without enacting some form of revenge. Also, the Governess still had his dagger.
This event, was perhaps Sarah's most memorable moments on the island. The two of them sneaked through the camp, out of sight, and made their way to the Governesses tent. There Nowah had the grand idea to plant more daisy seeds near the entrance. Then, silently snickering, Nowah plucked Wrong-For-You berries from a bush, and slipped a handful of them into the large pot of bone soup boiling in cook's tent while he wasn't looking. Lastly, came a short wait. They stalked the encampment safely from the bushes, holding in their giggles.
Perhaps you can guess what came next.
Within minutes the men began expelling their midnight supper in a terrible event forever known to them as The Day We Killed The Cook. This, of course, caused the Governess to run out of her tent, but when she reached the front, she was confronted with a bed of flowers that sprung her high into the air with the blue moon smiling behind her.
Sarah clapped excitingly while Nowah bowed with that grin of his. "Bravo!" she said. "Bravo!"
"Thank you, my lady," he replied. "Now let us retrieve my dagger and make way before they find that we've escaped."
True enough, all the pirates were up in arms, trying to hold in their supper while the Governess was lying in a pile of broken wood, drenched in rum. With a scowl on her face she glanced down the hole and saw the children had escaped. "Step to you dogs!" she shouted. Hunt down those wretched tykes and bring me their heads!" This was an order that they would not obey. Even Mr. Foolery was lain on the ground holding his stomach and moaning.
Either way, by that time, it was much too late. Sarah and Nowah had long gone. Into the moonlit woods they ran; their eyes gleaming toward future adventures just waiting to be had.