I own nothing, PG-13 only for creepiness.
The Final Fate of Bootstrap Bill: Full Fathom Five Variant
by Christina K
"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange." (The Tempest)
Chains were shed along with sanity, a long time ago.
He wandered in the abyss, noticing the cold every once in a while as something that would have hurt if he could feel it. He didn't remember why there was no true pain, was simply distantly grateful for the lack, here in Hell.
Hell was frost on the ground, and loneliness, and darkness. Occasionally demons would pass by, tiny imps glowing with their own fire, illuminating the emptiness that surrounded him. That constant sense of pressure, the absence of air-- how else would Hell feel, other than this? Absence of God, wasn't that Hell enough? Absence of everything, though, that was clever. Whoever dreamed of fire for damnation was a fool. Fire was life, and food, and a gathering place for other souls, and here there was no one, no thing, no place.
He didn't remember his sin, but knew it was betrayal. Only traitors were condemned to the icy wastes, and that felt-- right. He betrayed someone, or some thing, and deserved this isolation. He kept expecting others to join him, knew the sin was not solely his own, but p'rhaps they were wandering in their own pits of despair, and even the solace of shared damnation was denied them.
(Occasionally, a name would float up from the depths. Will, his mind said. Jack. And once, Annie? But the names sank so fast he couldn't hold them, souls lost like his mind.)
One endless moment later he started walking, just to give himself a purpose. A dream in Hell, of reaching a destination. A horizon? An ending? He didn't know. But whenever he could, he walked in the dark. Stumbling, swimming, pain that was not-pain, chill beyond freezing that he couldn't feel, hunger that had nothing to feed on. Thirst quenched every moment, never fulfilled.
It became easier, after an indescribable length of time. He barely admitted it to himself. One step, another, one step, another; a rhythm that made the walking bearable. If it was easier, and Someone noticed him noticing that, it could not last.
O my Lord, I am heartily sorry...
Could you, was it possible... to leave Hell? If one was desperately, honestly sorry? But no, repentance wasn't enough. Not for the damned.
All things are possible with God, my child.
Whose voice was that? How was he hearing that?
An image floated before him, of a man dressed in the frockcoat of a priest, holding a Bible, pious and prim. But the eyes were neither forgiving nor condemning-- they were wicked, lined with kohl, and those beads in his hair didn't come from a Rosary. After unending dark, it made no sense that he'd finally see someone in this shadowed place.
Pastor? Was this a demon, come to torture him? Or just another damned soul?
Tell you what, mate, you tell me your name, and I'll tell you if I'm a priest.
That voice never belonged to priest or minister. That voice belonged to dreams of ale and women and golden treasure, that much was sure. Much more likely 'twas a demon, disturbing what little peace he had.
The phantasm flickered again, and now a seaman stood before him, boots and sword, rings and hat, and a grin as wide and delighted as the Devil himself.
I resent that. Ol' Scratch never bought me, tho' mebbe God never saved me. Still, I've always thought I'd like the old bastard, though I've no wish to be his minion.
Then why are you here?
'Tis an escape, m'boy. Follow the leader, and we'll slip out, easy-peasy, one-two-three. There's no guards at the gates, so no one will even see.
It couldn't be that simple. He was damned.
The image sighed in frustration. Look, if you can walk out of Hell, are you truly damned?
He stared at the demon/dream/man in front of him, and wished for a clearer answer. Weren't you supposed to accept your punishment, if you were damned? Weren't you only s'posed to be sorry, and endure what came?
That's never been our way. Who says you deserve this? D'you even remember why you're here?
No. He didn't remember.
So what have you got to lose?
Slowly, he took a step toward the apparition, who about-faced and began to stagger forward. It was a drunken swagger, a gait for strolling on a deck--
(And suddenly he remembered being on a ship, and chains, and the shouts and catcalls of those who betrayed him, and it makes him speed up his pace.)
--and it seemed, almost, as if... it was getting lighter.
Impossible. There was never any light in Hell.
But he was almost able to see now; sand beneath his feet, a demon (an eel?) swimming by. Far, far about him, there was light. Weak, and shimmering, but still.... Let the demons at the gates be away from their post. Let the Devil be busy in China, or Malay, or in Russia somewhere. Let no one notice ol' Bill Turner--
"Bill." Bubbles left his mouth, and he squinted upward, sure that wasn't supposed to happen and knowing his voice didn't sound right.
What's that you say, mate?
My name's Bill. Bill Turner. I think I have a son named Will and a wife named Annie, and I b'lieve I used to be a sailor.
Pleased ta meetcha, mate. I'm Captain Jack Sparrow. C'mon, we've only a hundred miles or so to the edge of the world.
When he finally stood above the water, breathing (breathing!), still hungry, still thirsty, but able to see.... oh, God, there was light and white sand and palm trees, and it might as well have been Heaven.
Okay, so, killingly unlikely. But I already did the He's-dead-Jim variation in the Moonlight story, and I completely skipped it in the Jack Sparrow Remix. Bill losing his mind and walking to South America, or Africa, is just as likely, given he had eleven or twelve years to
do it in.