The Grimm Diaries Prequels 19
The Fisherman’s Son
A bonus Prequel
This is a limited and special edition for fans of the series.
Not available for sale.
by Cameron Jace
Copyright ©2015 Cameron Jace
All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All facts concerning publication dates of fairy tales, scripts, and historical events mentioned in this book are true. The interpretations and fantasy elements are not. They are products of the author’s imagination.
Table of Contents
The Fisherman’s Son
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“This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, except only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof.”
- Neil Gaiman
Two hundred years ago, the Brothers Grimm altered the true fairy tales, hiding the fact that the characters we thought we knew were Immortals, secretly living among us.
The Brothers Grimm placed a curse upon Immortals, burying them in their own dreams, in hopes that they would sleep forever. The Immortals’ bodies would appear as if in a coma, buried in their secret graves, in the present-day world. Their sleeping minds created a world of their own imagination, though, in a realm called the Dreamworld.
The Brothers Grimm once mentioned this curse. Remember the glass coffin? In the original scripts, Snow White’s state of unconsciousness was called the Sleeping Death.
Long story short, the Immortals broke the curse by intertwining their dreams, and were able to wake up for a brief time every one hundred years. The good characters wished to tell the truth about fairy tales. The bad characters planned to bring wrath upon our world, and keep the truth hidden at all costs.
Since Immortals do not die, descendants of the Brothers Grimm summoned the Dreamhunters, a breed of angels that kill Immortals in their dreams. The confrontations between the Dreamhunters and the Immortals didn’t end very well.
Everything that happened in that period was documented in a Book of Sand—or what mortals call the Grimm Diaries. Different fairy tale characters wrote each diary, telling part of the story.
My name is Sandman Grimm, and my job is to seal the final edition of the Grimm Diaries every one hundred years, using a magic wand that writes on pages made of sand. After I seal the diaries, which is once I gather enough evidence to prove these stories are true, they will dissolve into sand that I pour into children’s eyes every night to create their dreams.
What follows are mini-diaries I call the Grimm Prequels, scattered and buried pages that didn’t make it into the main volumes of the Grimm Diaries. There are seven main diaries, each told by a famous character. You might want to read the prequels before the first full-length diary, called Snow White Sorrow. They will give you an idea of what this world is like.
The prequels don’t necessary hold the truth. Some characters might want to manipulate the truth in their favor. You’ll understand why later. And since the prequels don’t give away much of the story, some matters could seem confusing at times.
It’s better to think of the prequels like snapshots of a magical land you’re about to visit soon. I like to think of them as poisoned apples … once you taste them, you’ll never see fairy tales in the same light again.
The Grimm Prequels #19
The Fisherman’s Son
As told by the Fisherman’s Son
My name is…
I better not let you know. There is a reason why. The only way to know is if you read on.
There is a reason why. You’ll soon understand.
I want to tell you a story about a boy. An important boy. Why this boy? Because he is larger than life. He knows a lot. Things that most people in the Kingdom of Sorrow don’t know. Things that happened even before the kingdom came into existence. Things made of mysteries. About the origins of how everyone came to be.
You need to listen carefully though, or you’ll miss the beauty of the ending of my diary. Even the middle of my diary is an art of storytelling. I hate it when people don’t pay attention. It’s the number one reason why they don’t fully comprehend the meaning of some of the greatest stories in life.
And because I want you to inhale each and every word, because I want you to pay attention, let’s start with your favorite cliche…
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved his mother so much he was willing to die for her. The boy was thirteen years old. He and his mother lived on a far away island, farther than most sailors could reach on the Seven Seas.
It was a small island, filled with palm trees, so tall he thought they were the earth’s hands reaching out for the sky. But that had been earlier, when he was about ten. Growing up he learned that the island rested on the back of a whale. A small one that had been silent for years. Everyone on the island prayed the whale stayed forever asleep, or it would be the end of them.
Years later, the boy was told that the whale had no intentions of turning sides or letting out gas, not before the boy grew up to become a man and sailed away on the quest he was destined to embark upon.
The boy always wondered about this quest. Was he really destined for greatness? Would he ever sail away from here? What about his mother? He couldn’t just leave her behind.
Days passed, and the boy grew curiouser about the sea and the mysterious quest.
Some of the few sailors who made it to the island told the boy stories about the world beyond the seas. He liked to hear them, more than anything in the world. Stories brightened his mind and opened up doors to his insatiable imagination.
Stories were life.
The sailors told him about other islands on the Seven Seas. Islands he’d never heard of before. From Murano Island in Italy where magical mirrors were made, to the famous Treasure Island where the most precious pearls in the world were kept. They said that each island on the Seven Seas had a purpose. One which very few people knew of. And once each island fulfilled that purpose, it was destined to sink deep into the abyss of the sea.
How? The whales. Their purpose was to eventually flip over the islands, so no one would ever find the island. One of those islands had once been called Atlantis. A famous one the Greek Philosopher Plato wrote about. What Plato didn’t know was that Atlantis was where mermaids first came from.
“Mermaids?” the boy wondered. “What’s a mermaid?”
“Stop talking to strangers,” his mother interrupted. “And go finish your work.”
Sometimes his mother didn’t want him to talk to sailors. Strangers, she called them. Sometimes she deliberately didn’t want him to know about the world outside, and he hardly questioned why.
But the boy listened to his mother and went back to work in the only Inn on the island, which he and his mother inherited from his deceased father.
The boy’s mother took care of him, and the Inn. She was an honorable and hardworking woman. She loved her son and her job. She fed the birds on the tower next to the Inn whenever she had time.
She worked in the Inn by day, prayed for her boy to become the best in the world by night. In between, she prayed angels would protect him from the darkness and temptations of the Seven Seas.
The boy’s father had been a fisherman, killed on a fishing trip, while optimistically — some would say foolishly — searching for a precious faerie inside a fish in the Seven Seas. A faerie that knew the whereabouts of a treasure everyone was looking for.
It had been a known story on the Seven Seas that some fish swam around with pearls inside their guts. The remnant of an immense treasure that had belonged to the Gods themselves – the treasure which had been known to be buried on Treasure Island.
One day a vicious faerie killed all the fish, ripped their guts open and took the precious pearls. And now, chased by forces of darkness, she hid inside one of the gutted fish in the Seven Seas. A fish of enchanting and never seen before colors.
The boy had always believed in the story. Even more so after his father died on that quest. But the boy’s mother always digressed. She said that fairy tales were figments of imaginations of children’s nightmares. Nothing more.
Which upset the boy, because it meant his fisherman father died for nothing.
The boy never believed his father died for nothing. So he had to ask around.
Some sailors rumored the boy’s father was killed by a whale. One that wanted the faerie, and the pearls, more than anything. A whale that swam fearlessly throughout the Seven Seas. A whale called Moby Dick.
Other sailors said he was killed by Captain Hook, a terrible man with a long beard and a hook for a hand, who wandered the sea, delusional about believing he was Fate itself. Hook killed whomever he wanted and pardoned whomever he believed deserved to live.
A third group of sailors said the boy’s father had been killed by the sirens, the vicious mermaids of the seas, the ones his mother didn’t want him to know about. The boy once heard the sailors talk about the tempting songs the mermaids hymned. The kind of songs no man could resist. Once men weakened to the songs, mesmerized by the sirens’ beauty, the mermaids of the lost Atlantis ate them alive.
Lastly, there was a group of sailors who claimed his father never went looking for the faerie inside the fish. But something else. Something larger than life.
But the boy had no means of knowing for sure. How could he without sailing into the Seven Seas himself?
The boy’s father was called Admiral Benbow. They had the Inn named after him. A catchy name of a foolish sailor, once thought of as brave in the eyes of the islanders.
Admiral Benbow. Remember that name.
Like I said, sailors from all around the world were always tempted to stop their ships at the Inn. Something about the small island — and Inn — drew their sails close. None of the sailors knew why. Some claimed they were escaping the vicious songs of the mermaids in the sea. Others said they heard voices calling them from the island.
They’d arrive and try to tell the boy more stories, but his mother wouldn’t let him listen.
So the boy’s life went on as boring. The island had a poor education system, few residents, and one abandoned church. The boy would work and help his mother all day, doing his best to impress her and fill his father’s void. He cleaned the barns, the toilets, and fed the birds. He wasn’t fond of doing the dishes, unless he had a view out to the sea while he did. He slept in his father’s room, overlooking the wide and endless sea, and wondered about its endlessness.
Did the Seven Seas really run forever, like the skies above? Was the ocean as endless as the rest of the universe?
Each night the boy wondered what it would be like to sail the world. But even if the unlikely chance presented itself, he still couldn’t leave his mother. His father had told him to take care of her, in a dream that felt more real than the air he breathed right now.
Each night the boy hummed a little prayer — one he had invented, for the lack of a priest in the church who’d died in a thunder and lightning storm. The boy was grateful in his prayers, for the bread he ate, the mother he had, and even his father who’d died. It had been a tradition to be thankful for whatever the ocean sent them on that island. Regret, anger, and dissatisfaction were unforgiven sins.
But at the end of the prayer, the boy asked for a fair opportunity to present itself. One where he could sail away, just for a few days, find his father’s fish and the faerie, and return home rich enough that his mother could stop working at the Inn.
Then the boy fell asleep.
In his sleep, he dreamt about a place he liked to call the Dreamworld. He never knew why the name stuck with him. It just did. His mother, when he told her, would argue it was all in his head. But he knew better. The Dreamworld was real.
In fact, the Dreamworld was huge, as endless as the ocean. There were a lot of people there. Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses. Heroes and villains. Love and pain.
But he didn’t know anyone there, and no one cared for him. He was just a lanky thirteen-year-old boy with freckles on his cheeks. He had no certain talents and owned nothing of importance, except a hand knife his father had given him to cut the fish and carve his name on trees.
The boy was a stranger in this world of adults, even in his dreams.
However, there was this girl he saw in the Dreamworld. She was pretty, and a bit feisty. He’d usually see her at a Swan Lake, combing her hair, but could hardly remember her face when he woke up to the sound of his mother, urging him to go fishing and help her at the Inn for another day.
The boy worked harder and harder, always looking out at the wide and endless sea. Until the day when everything changed. And this my friends, is where the real story began…
One day, a sunburned sailor came to the island. He was singing, “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!”
The sailor burst through the front door of the family’s establishment. He was a middle-aged man, dirty, unshaven, and tanned. The boy had seen many sunburned sailors before, but this one’s tan was unusually dark.
The sailor called himself a ‘captain.’ He demanded a room. The boy told his mother he would like to personally take care of the guest’s needs. His mother was reluctant, but crammed with so much to do, she approved.
As much as the boy was fascinated with the captain, he also thought of him as a strange man.
After only a day’s stay at the Admiral Benbow Inn, the man began drinking tons of whiskey each night. The boy worried of the effect on the captain, as he began hallucinating things that made no sense. Then he began telling the boy terrifying stories about life on the Seven Seas, about men who lived inside whales, and about the same beautiful mermaids that were incredibly evil.
He told him about a place the boy had seen in the dreams. It was called the Kingdom of Sorrow.
The man told the boy about seven teenagers who would change the world. About a princess who had split her heart among them to defeat her own mother. About wolves, forests, and a girl who was Death itself and wore a red cape.
The stories whetted the boy’s appetite to sail the seas. He knew it would be full of wonders, if not a little bit scary as well. Each night, the boy spent more time at the drunk captain’s room, listening to the amazing stories of the sea.
The captain seemed to like the boy, enough to ask his name instead of always calling him ‘young sailor.’
“Hawkins,” the boy said eagerly. “Jim Hawkins!”
“But your father was Admiral Benbow, wasn’t he?” The drunk captain said with a slurring tongue.
“Benbow Hawkins,” Jim said. “And he was never an admiral,” Jim looked embarrassed. “What’s your name, sir?”
“You talk too much,” the captain lost his temper suddenly, and showed Jim outside.
The boy stood outside, confused. Why had the captain gone angry all of a sudden?
A few days later, when the autumn tides had relaxed a bit, another ship came. A smaller one. Another old man came into the Inn asking about a ‘captain.’
“Who should I tell him asked for him?” Jim said. The captain had taken a walk to the beach.
“Black Dog,” the man said. He snickered, showing a silver tooth. Jim didn’t like Black Dog. He looked evil and stank of seaweed.
“Is that your name, Black Dog?” Jim said. Never had he met someone with such a silly name.
“You talk too much, boy,” Black Dog said.
“I guess I do,” Jim rolled his eyes. “The captain said the same. Well, he just took a walk to the beach.”
“I love the beach,” Black Dog growled, showing a row of silver teeth, and walked out.
That night the captain came back late, blood staining his outfit. Jim’s mother was asleep, so she didn’t see it, but Jim began to worry.
“Have you seen Black Dog?” Jim asked enthusiastically. “He was looking for you.”
“I assumed you told him I was by the beach,” the captain’s face knotted. “Anyways, Black Dog took his boat and sailed away. You won’t be seeing him again.”
“Such a short stay,” Jim said. “My mother would’ve been happier if he’d stayed the night. One more customer, more money.” Jim chuckled innocently.
The captain said nothing, and continued climbing the stairs up to his room.
“So no more stories tonight?” Jim was disappointed.
“Later, Jim,” the captain said gruffly, and walked on.
Jim spent the night looking outside his window, looking out at the sea. The moon was full that night. It reflected peacefully upon the water. But then Jim saw something that worried him. Captain Black Dog’s small ship was still by the beach. He hadn’t left like the captain had told him.
The next day, the captain spent in his room. When Jim entered to see him, the captain had become ill with scarlet fever, a sickness that few people managed to survive at the time.
Jim spent the day mending the captain and taking care of him. He even brought him exotic plants from up the hill, which should have helped the captain survive the fever.
But it only got worse.
The captain started hallucinating and raving about his old life on the sea again. This time, he didn’t’t call himself a captain or sailor, but a pirate.
Jim was taken aback. He had never met a pirate, but only heard about them from his mother. She’d told him how evil and immoral they were, stealing and killing.
But the notion made Jim curious. Pirate or not, Jim had to help a sick man. He had to take care of his guest somehow.
“Forget about the mermaids or the wonders of the sea,” the captain said, coughing and vomiting. “Forget about the whales and the fish,” he continued, while Jim wiped the man’s sweat from his brow. “There is only one thing you should fear if you ever sail the seas, Jim,” the man grabbed Jim on his sleeve. “One man!” he coughed in Jim’s face. Jim looked away so he wouldn’t catch the fever. “A man with one leg.”
“One leg?” Jim’s eyes widened. “Why would I fear a helpless man with one leg?”
“He has a substitute leg for it,” the captain said. “It’s made of whale bones. Don’t let his appearance ever fool you. With that one leg, he can run, hunt, and kill faster than anyone you have ever seen.”
“Why are you telling me about him, captain?” Jim felt uneasy.
The pirate contemplated in silence, and then said, “My real name, Jim, isn’t Captain.”
“Of course it isn’t,” Jim chuckled with closed eyes. “No one’s real name is Captain.” And probably no one’s real name is Black Dog.
“My real name is Billy Bones,” the captain didn’t let go of Jim’s sleeve. “I was second in command to someone named Captain Flint on a huge ship. Remember those names, Jim!”
Jim was utterly confused. Who were those pirates, and why had Billy Bones even cared to come to Jim’s small and abandoned island?
And who was the man with one leg?
Before Jim could ask, Billy Bones lost consciousness and fell asleep. Jim hoped the man hadn’t died from the fever. He puffed the gas lamp to a sleep and closed the door, hoping tomorrow he’d get the whole pirate story straight.
The next morning Jim went out to the beach, thinking about all the things the captain had told him. Jim, who once was overly naive, began putting the puzzle together. Black Dog didn’t just sail away. His small ship still rocked to the waves by the shore. The captain must have killed him, and buried him somewhere near the beach — or worse, buried him in the endless sea.
If that was true, then there was something big happening on the island. Not only was Billy Bones a pirate, but all of the sailors who came to the island probably were.
They wouldn’t come to Admiral Benbow’s Inn to rest. They were planning something. Or something had already been planned and was about to be executed.
As much as Jim loved the sea, he felt something wicked was about to happen. He didn’t want to put his mother in danger. He was supposed to take care of her after his father’s death.
Jim, the fisherman’s son, decided to confront the captain, and if necessary, ask him to leave the island.
As Jim stood up and was walking back to the Inn, he stumbled over something and fell. Picking himself up, he checked what it was. Then he saw it. Black Dog’s dead corpse half-buried in the sand.
Jim ran back to the Inn, hoping his mother hadn’t been harmed in any way. Once he reached it, he picked up his father’s rifle, which he had no idea how to use, and pointed it ahead as he climbed up the stairs to Billy Bone’s room.
Jim kicked the room’s door open, waving the heavy rifle, and shouted. “Billy Bones! You have to leave!”
But Billy Bones said nothing. His head had fallen over the table where he sat, still gripping the bottle of whiskey in one hand. Jim approached him, determined to wake the drunk pirate. He shook him twice, but Billy Bones didn’t wake up. The third time Jim poked the man, Billy Bones fell off the table.
The pirate was dead.
Did someone kill Billy Bones, or did he just die from the fever?
Jim realized he had little time. Whoever had sent Black Dog after Billy Bones was going to send another pirate… and another.
What was it that the other pirates wanted from Billy Bones, and what was it he had killed Black Dog for?
Jim rummaged through the room until he found a chest underneath Billy Bones’ bed. He hadn’t seen it before. The man must have snuck it in at night. Jim tried to pull it open, but it just wouldn’t budge. And it was heavy. It seemed like it would hold something precious.
Jim spent the day trying to open it again and again but couldn’t, until it occurred to him to look in Billy Bones’ pockets. And there it was. A key. A golden one. A bit oversized, and with many zigzags.
Jim tucked the key into the chest’s keyhole. This time it cranked open.
The chest was full of things, none of them were gold or silver – or pearls. Nothing precious, really. Only a map that Billy Bones had tucked carefully at the bottom.
Jim rolled the map open and stared at it. He’d never seen a real map before, and could hardly read it. But it wasn’t hard to spot the ‘X’ marked in red. It had to mean something. Then there was a small slip of paper. It said: Beware of the man with one leg.
The following day, Jim stood atop the Inn, looking for pirate ships that might be looking for Black Dog or Billy Bones. Jim hadn’t told his mother about any of this, and let her consider the captain’s death an unfortunate coincidence.
But then he had to tell someone about the map, or he wouldn’t have the chance to use it. A man named Squire Trelawney, who was the head of the Council on Jim’s small island, listened eagerly to him. The man owned a few ships and was the wealthiest on the island.
“You know what kind of map this is, Jim?” Trelawney said.
Jim shook his head. All he knew was that X marked the spot. But the spot for what?
“This is a treasure map,” Trelawney said.
“Treasure map?” Jim’s eyes widened.
“Yes, Jim,” Trelawney clicked his fingers. “If we sail across the sea and follow those lines of latitude and longitude, we will end up on an island with a great treasure. A treasure of gold, pearls, and the rarest of jewels.”
“What are lines of latitude and longitude?” Jim wondered.
“They are lines that guide us through the sea,” Trelawney said. “Like the alley and hedges you have memorized to find your way back home from the beach.”
“There are lines drawn on the sea’s surface?” Jim shrugged.
“No, Jim,” Trelawney said. “They are imaginary. We use a certain instrument to find those lines. Sailors know all about them.”
“I didn’t know there was a map of the sea,” Jim considered. “So can we sell that treasure when we find it?” Jim wondered again. “Can I renovate my mother’s Inn if we get that treasure?”
Trelawney laughed and brushed his hand through Jim’s hair. “You won’t need the Inn anymore if we find that treasure,” then he stopped, his facial features dimming. “But we can’t be sure it’s a true map. So many treasure maps have been found, most of them faux and misleading.”
“Are you saying we won’t go after the treasure?” Jim moaned.
“Sailing is expensive, Jim,” Trelawney said. “I need more proof that this map is authentic.”
“Proof?” Jim was about to scream and pull his hair. “Two pirates died for the map, and you still think it’s not real?”
Trelawney thought it over. He was an old man with no wife or children, eager for one last adventure before he died. He just needed proof of the map’s authenticity. He was a practical man. But now that Jim seemed to have convinced him, he worried about something else, “If pirates are looking for this map, then it’s even worse. This map could get us killed, Jim.”
Jim couldn’t argue this time. As much as he was dying to sail away, he had experienced two killings in a few days. It seemed really hard surviving among pirates. But then, if the pirates really needed the map, they would be coming to the island looking for it anyways.
It was a confusing matter. Jim decided to go back and help his mother for now. Trelawney promised him he would look into it. He said that if he found a strong and reliable crew, he might change his mind and go after the treasure. Right now, he had to sail into the sea, looking for brave sailors who weren’t afraid of pirates.
Thirteen days later, Trelawney returned with the news. He was so excited for the treasure hunt, claiming he’d found a hell of a crew. Brave men who were experienced with the sea. Men who feared no pirates.
“I’m so excited as well,” Jim said. “When will we go after the treasure?”
“I’m not sure you should come, Jim,” Trelawney said. “Your mother needs you.”
“No. No!” Jim said. It was true his mother needed him, but she would understand, especially if he told her he would return with a piece of the treasure, enough to better their lives and fix the Inn. “I have to come, Mr. Trelawney. Please.”
“I don’t know about that…” Trelawney didn’t finish his words, as a man burst laughing into the room. Jim stood looking at him with his mouth and eyes wide open.
The man was tall. He wore a black beard. He was muscular and his laugh shook the portraits on the walls. He seemed to know Trelawney well as he gestured at him. Jim was about to like this flamboyant man right away. Only one thing turned everything upside down and sent shivers into Jim’s spine. The man had one leg.
“Meet Long John Silver!” Trelawney said to Jim. He was proud and fascinated with Long John.
There was a long moment of silence, Jim staring at Long John and his substitute leg—made of a whale bones.
Long John seemed aware of Jim’s reluctance. A thin smirk curved his lips, too thin for Trelawney to notice, but enough to make Jim realize that Long John and Jim recognized each other, although they had never met before.
Had Billy Bones or Black Dog managed to tell someone about the little boy in the Inn before they died?
Jim was about to expose the man with one leg to Trelawney, as he had never told him about his part of the story, but Long John interrupted first. “And who’s this young and brave boy?” he said, still laughing.
“That’s Jim,” Trelawney introduced him. “The boy who found the map.”
“Jim!” Long John hailed and pulled the boy with one hand in the air. He was definitely a strong man. Momentarily, this move reminded him of his father who used to lift him up in the air when they caught a big fish. “You have to come with us and find the treasure.”
“Really?” Jim squinted. Suddenly he had second thoughts about exposing the one-legged man. He was his only hope for getting on that ship now.
As much he had been warned of him, the man looked too merry to be evil.
“But – “ Trelawney began.
“Don’t say anything,” Long John shushed him. “The young boy found the map. He should come and have the lion’s share when we find it. Right, Jim?”
“What’s the lion’s share?”
“A big fat piece of the treasure,” Long John laughed.
Jim said nothing. It was hard to argue with Long John’s glowing spirit.
“Well, if you say so,” Trelawney said. “Meet Long John, Jim. He is our brave sailor who doesn’t fear pirates.”
“Really?” Jim eyed him.
“And I’m also the cook,” Long John said. “I love to cook. What would you like to eat, Jim?”
“Can you cook a whale, Long John?” Jim’s eyes glittered.
“Don’t call me Long John,” he laughed. “Only strangers call me that. You’re my new friend, young man. Call me what my friends call me.”
“And what do your friends call you?”
“Captain Ahab.” Trelawney interfered.
“Just Ahab,” Long John said. “And don’t ask me why. It’s a long story. And I can cook a whale, but not now, Jim. One day I will cook that whale who took my leg away, and we’ll eat it together.” He laughed again. It was a strong man’s laugh, not trying to lighten up or sweeten the talk. He seemed to be just a happy one-legged man with a flamboyant posture. It was impossible not to admire the man for being so merry about his own misery. Jim was sure this couldn’t be the man Billy Bone had warned him about.
Jim was infatuated with the man.
“A whale bit your leg?” Jim asked.
“A bad, bad whale,” Captain Ahab winced a little. “I have given him a name. Moby Dick.” He laughed louder, pain shaping his curving lips.
Jim didn’t digest most of this. All he knew was that he was about to go back home and tell his mother that he was about to embark on the greatest adventure in his life. He was about to sail with Captain Ahab’s crew on his Pequad whaler, looking for the most sought after treasure in the world.
Trelawney explained how he was going to sail next to them on his own ship the Hispaniola, as Captain Ahab’s ship was what they called a whaler, a smaller ship only made to hunt whales.
Jim couldn’t believe his life was about to change. He was about to become a real man, like his father.
Back at the Inn, his mother needed a lot of persuading by Trelawney to let Jim sail along. Like usual, she resisted the idea of Jim leaving the island. He began to understand that she knew something about Jim’s destiny. A future he began to slightly worry about.
Surprisingly, it was Captain Ahab’s charming attitude that convinced her. She even went as far as telling him he reminded her of her deceased husband. Captain Ahab cooked for her and told her not to worry. Jim was the brave fisherman’s son who would soon return to her with gold and pearls.
Everything was set, and Jim was about to embark on an adventure that would be repeatedly mentioned in both fiction and history books alike later in life. Historians, and fiction writers would later tell the story, calling it Treasure Island. A book that children loved and scholars loved to teach in school. A larger than life adventure about a brave young boy, a one-legged man, and an ensemble of pirates.
Except that all of them got it wrong. Few people in the world know the true events of this adventure. One of them is me. I think it’s time to continue this story in first person.
Why? Because from here on I’ll be telling the story no one else knows about. My story. The boy you were told is called Jim Hawkins. It’s not my real name. But it’s too soon to talk about now.
Now it’s time to continue the story, which is about to get personal.
The ship I embarked on was huge. I had never seen anything like it on the shores of my island. So many men, much taller and stronger than me, were on board. They were all tanned like Billy Bones. Scruffy, dirty, with long beards and piercings in their ears and nose. Their bodies buried in Tattoos.
They almost looked like I had imagined pirates would look. Trelawney said that was because they had been pirates in the past, and now have repented and become good people. Those were the only members who’d be strong enough to stand up to the real pirates looking for the treasure.
The first few days I suffered from sea hallucinations and dizziness. I couldn’t walk on board or be of any help, although I loved the sea tremendously.
But it wasn’t for long. Soon I got used to sailing the sea.
One day, I found my new obsession on the ship. Apples.
It turned out that part of the ship’s voyage, and also to help raise more money, was trading apples and selling them at the shore of far away lands.
The thing was that these weren’t just ordinary apples. They were so delicious, so red from inside, juicy and sweet. The sailors called them Blood Apples. And I loved them so much.
Each night I’d climb out of my bed after midnight and steal out on board, on my way to the barrels where they kept the apples. All barrels were labeled, ‘Styria,’ which I came to learn was the name of a mysterious city in Austria. A city where a family called the Karnsteins came from. None of the sailors ever explained why this family was so important, so I let it go. After all, we were here for the treasure, weren’t we?
One night I spent all night gorging on the delicious apples. I sat atop one of the barrels, dangling my legs and staring at the endless sea. The moon shone full that night. It didn’t look like the moon I used to see on my home island. It looked… well… It looked alive.
Then I began to hear melodies. Soft hymns, like a distant song carried on the wings of breezes. Beautiful ones actually. I stopped midway from biting on an apple, my mouth agape and my ears focused.
What was that song?
Was it actually a song?
It baffled me that no matter how many times I listened to the song, I couldn’t remember it. Like some kind of a dream. One that affected me, but I could never recall when I woke up.
“Hey,” a female voice called.
I dropped the apple, looking around me. There wasn’t anyone with me on this part of the ship.
I realized the voice came from the sea. My mother had once told me about ghosts and apparitions. She said they hide behind the curtains of mist surrounding travelers’ ships.
I began to sweat, clinging to the barrel I sat upon.
“Don’t be afraid,” the voice said. “We love you.”
Squinting, I saw a silhouette of a girl rising from the sea. Only the upper part of her body was visible. She was naked, but her long hair dangled down over her chest.
“We’re the mermaids of the Seven Seas,” she said, her eyes twinkling in the dark. “We know who killed your father.”
I was afraid of her, but curiosity had the best of me. I let go of the barrel and stepped forward. If I could really see how she looked.
“We do,” she whispered. “Do you want to know, Jim?”
“Then come closer.”
I took another step.
“Not close enough.”
My feet dragged me toward her, although I knew I’d regret it. I reached a point where she was an arm’s length away. A place where the moon lit her face. What a beautiful girl she was.
“Look at you,” she said. “A young brave boy who has no idea who he is, or what he’s destined to do.”
I didn’t quite understand, but didn’t have the guts to speak. I hadn’t seen such a beautiful girl before.
“We will take care of you,” she said.
A number of other mermaids rose from beneath the sea. All as beautiful as her.
“Who are you?” I said again.
“I told you. We’re the mermaids who’re going to guide you on your journey.”
“To Treasure Island?” I know I sounded eager.
They snickered. “If you want to call it that.”
“It’s not called Treasure Island?”
“That’s one of its names. It’s known by another, and more important name,” she said. “But it doesn’t matter now. What matters is how your father died.”
“Was it a whale?”
“Far from it.”
“Did he drown in the sea?”
“We wish that were true.”
“Then who killed my father?” I fisted a hand.
“The real question is: what are you going to do about it if we tell you?”
“I will…” I fisted the other hand.
“Kill him?” the mermaid snickered.
I shrugged. The thought had never crossed my mind before. All I cared about was to know who killed my father. It never occurred to me what I was going to do about it. “Just tell me who.”
“What’s the point of knowing, if you’re not going to do anything about it?”
“What do you suggest I do?” I found myself asking.
“Slit his throat, maybe?” she snickered.
“Hang him from a noose,” another one said behind her.
“Or maybe,” a third said. “stab him with that knife your father gave you.”
I found myself grabbing for the knife, the only thing my old man ever bothered giving me.
“Maybe he knew,” the mermaid in the front suggested. “He knew he’d get killed and wanted you to avenge him.”
“Are you saying the knife is a clue?”
“Why else would he give it to you?”
I didn’t know what to say but, “Who killed my father?” I tensed.
This made the mermaids laugh in unison. One of them summersaulted in the sea, feeling festive about my anger.
“What is this?” I said. “Why are you happy I’m angry?”
“Anger is beautiful,” they said. “Anger propels one to achieve things.”
“I’m leaving,” I said, hoping I was hallucinating them. A tickle of evil had started to rise in me, and I didn’t like it.
“What now?” I turned back.
“We’ll tell you who killed your father, and how to kill him, only if you do something for us.”
Now things made sense. My mother had always told me that nothing on the Seven Seas was free. That everything had a price. And I was dying to know what happened to my father.
“What do you want?”
“The one-legged man.” Their tone darkened.
“Or Long John Silver, whatever his real name is.”
“What about him?”
“We want him,” the mermaids hummed as if in an unholy prayer. “We want the man with the one leg.”
“Why?” I squinted. Curious.
“Because she wants him,” a mermaid in the back said. “She who will rule the world.”
“Shhh,” the mermaid in front stopped her. “He doesn’t need to know that much,” she turned back to me. “Listen, Jim. We love you. You must know that.”
I stepped back. “I don’t believe you. How am I supposed to give you Captain Ahab? He is a big man.”
They laughed. “You don’t need to bring him, Jim. Just bring us his pipe.”
“Yes, the one he smokes day and night. The one he sometimes plays music with.”
I had seen him use this pipe occasionally. I’d also heard sailors say it produced melodies as much as smoke. “Is that all you want?”
“That’s it,” the mermaid said. “But don’t think it’s easy. A big whale tried to take this pipe from him and couldn’t.”
“Is that the whale who took his leg?”
“That’s the one, Jim. It failed to take the pipe, but not his leg,” she laughed again.
“Why is this pipe important?”
“It makes beautiful melodies,” she said. “And as you can see, we’re all about melodies. We sing while swimming in the sea. Men can’t resist our songs, and once they’re tempted, we appear to them. We’re so beautiful we bring tears to their eyes, and then, once they approach us, we…”
“Eat them.” I said, stepping back. “But you haven’t tried to eat me. Why?”
“Because you’re important, Jim. So important you don’t know it.”
“Everyone says that. Is that because I found the treasure map?”
“No, Jim. You were destined to find the treasure anyways,” she said. “You’re going to be the most famous boy in the world. Captain Ahab knows this. That’s why he took you on board. Don’t trust him.”
It made sense. Everyone warned me of him.
“I need to know more about the pipe,” I demanded, out of curiosity.
“It once belonged to a God named Pan,” she said. “He used it to build a world, woven out of melodies, but someone stole the pipe from him.”
“And if I bring it to you, you will tell me who killed my father?”
I didn’t much believe them, but the possibility of knowing who killed my father drove me mad. I left them, promising I would do it. I was going to get the pipe from Captain Ahab.
Spying on Ahab wasn’t as hard as I thought. I was the youngest boy on the ship, and practically useless. No one paid attention to me. I didn’t find it hard to hide and follow him around without anyone seeing me. I even hid in a closest inside his room and overheard a conversation between him and Captain Smolett, one of his men.
“Are we close?” Captain Ahab asked, smoking his pipe.
“No. We’re still lost at sea,” Smolett said. “The map is deluding us. We’re not sure we’re reading it properly.”
“Are you saying Billy Bones tampered with it?”
“I think there is some kind of code we can’t read. The X-marks-the-spot isn’t right.”
“Explain yourself, Smolett.” Ahab didn’t sound as friendly as I knew him to be before.
“The X is meant to send us nowhere, to a place where no island exists,” Smolett explained. “I sent my men in a smaller boat to the destination. They found nothing.”
“So the map is false?”
“I don’t think so. It’s just that we’re not reading it the way it’s supposed to be read.”
Ahab stared at the map with intent. “Do you think the boy knows?”
“You know that’s not his real name,” Ahab said. “Just call him ‘the boy’ now.”
I was about to throttle out of the closest and ask him what he meant. How was Jim not my real name?
“I don’t think the boy knows,” Smolett said. “He doesn’t look bright to me.”
Now I was going to burst out and kick this Smolett in the groin. But I kept calm, gritting my teeth. I needed the pipe to know about my father. I didn’t care much about the treasure anymore.
“That’s what puzzles me about him,” Ahab said. “If he is who I think he is, how come he is so naive?”
Even Ahab thought I wasn’t bright? I realized I was disappointed. I realized I had begun to like Ahab.
“Maybe it’s not him,” Smolett said.
“I know it’s him,” Ahab said. “I know he is our key to the island. Maybe we should give him time to examine the map. Billy Bones may have left a clue, one that only the boy can read.”
I fumbled with the idea in my head. Did Billy Bones hint to something unusual about the map? I don’t remember him telling me about how to read the map.
“I will take care of it,” Ahab said. “Let me talk with the boy.”
“I hope you do, or we’ll lose the treasure,” Smolett said. “This sack means the world to your men outside.”
“I know,” Ahab puffed his pipe. “But why are you sure it’s a sack?”
“Legends says it is,” Smolett said. “A sack with seven items that are as precious as the sun and moon combined.”
“It’s just a myth, Smolett,” Ahab said. “I’d prefer the treasure to be pearls – that, we can sell.”
“Believe what you want. It’s the quest we all have to take that matters.”
“Of course,” Ahab nodded. “Now get back to your men, and don’t forget to remind them of Moby Dick. I know we’re here for the treasure. But whoever helps me kill this whale will have my share of the treasure.”
“Understood,” Smolett said on his way out. Then he stopped. “Why is it so important you kill that whale, Ahab. You still have your pipe.”
“The whale still has my leg,” Ahab said. “I’m not used to being taken from. I will always hunt you and kill you and drink your blood from a boot if you dare take anything from me.”
I shrugged, so loud I risked being exposed.
Smolett left, and then Ahab went to sleep, leaving the pipe on the table. It was my only chance.
I will always hunt you and kill you and drink your blood from a boot if you dare take anything from me.
I waited until Ahab slept. But then I was too scared to reach for the pipe, although it was only strides away. To be play it safe, I waited until Ahab began snoring. That’s when people were in deep sleep, right? Or was it that he just had breathing problems? My mother once told me about a demon called Snore who was short and stocky but extremely heavy. Snore sat on people’s chests while they slept. It was the reason why people snored.
So, I couldn’t bring myself to reach for the pipe. I had to wait until Ahab turned and faced the other way. That was when I felt I could do it.
Slowly I pushed open the closet’s door and tiptoed into the room. Ahab wheezed out a loud snore all of a sudden.
I had to stop in an awkward position, one foot off the ground and one hand almost reaching for the pipe. I looked like a Greek statue, only with worried eyes looking sideways.
Ahab’s snores slowly diminished to rugged waves of breathing.
Carefully, I stepped down and reached for the pipe. It was heavier than it looked. I tucked it in my pocket. All I needed was to leave the room out of the open window and go find the mermaids.
“Why not use the door?” came the voice behind me.
I stopped. Not turning around, reminding myself of Ahab’s words about being unforgiving about betrayal.
“I—” I was thinking of an explanation.
“Needed the pipe to practice your musical talents?” Ahab said. I could hear the bed creak underneath him. He was coming for me. “Relax boy. I won’t hurt you.”
This made me turn around. The big man sat on a chair next to the table, pouring himself a drink.
“Really?” I grimaced.
“Come over here,” he said. “Have a drink with me.”
“I’m too young for drinking, sir.”
Ahab shot me a look and gulped down his whiskey. “You really have no idea who you are, do you?”
I wondered why he asked me that. The mermaid had mentioned a similar statement. “I know who I am, sir. I am Jim Hawkins. My father is Admiral Benbow. He died trying to find a fish.”
“All of this is true,” Ahab laughed. The things that hung on the walls shook again. “But only until we reached the island.”
“Treasure Island? Why? What happens on the island?”
“The island is a scary place, Jim.” Ahab said. “Not only does it contain a treasure, but it has the power to change us.”
“Change us how?”
“That’s what no one knows for sure.”
“But you said I will have a different name there.”
“How do you know that?”
“A woman who lives in a high tower amidst the sea.”
“How is there a tower amidst the sea?”
“You talk too much, Jim,” Ahab stood up. I immediately realized his connection to Billy Bones and Black Dog. The one-legged man they both feared. But it puzzled me why he was so nice to me. “Come closer. Sit. I’m only joking.”
I did. Reluctantly. Still clinging to his pipe in my hand. “What will be my name on the island, and how do you know I will have a different name?”
“It’s an old prophecy,” he said. “Could be wrong though.”
“You seem to believe it.”
“I do, Jim,” he tapped his glass. “I do.”
“Why do you believe in it?”
“Because I believe in the treasure on the island,” he leaned forward. “And part of the prophecy dictates that only you Jim, can find it.”
“The prophecy said that an orphan boy who lives with his mother in an Inn on a far away island will be given the map to the treasure. And here you are, Jim. The boy must be you.”
I didn’t know what to say. It explained why others told me the same thing back on the island. It explains why mother didn’t want me to leave. But to be honest, I’ve felt attached to this journey from day one. It felt like my destiny. I couldn’t explain why.
“What else did the prophecy say about me?” I asked.
This is when I saw the powerful captain Ahab shrug, like I have never seen him before. He tapped his glass, evading my eyes. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tell me why you took the pipe.”
Even though I hadn’t planned on telling him earlier, I began speaking. Something about Ahab made me do it. “The mermaids told me to.”
“Why are you smiling?”
“At the fact that the mermaids didn’t eat you already. It proves you’re the special one.”
“Aren’t you going to ask me why I agreed on doing it?”
“I know, Jim. You want to know who killed your father.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because I know how the mermaids think.”
“So are they telling the truth?”
“There is nothing so mysterious about your father’s death. Even the sailors on this ship know who killed your father.”
I furrowed my eyebrows for the lack of words.
“You see, Jim. The man who killed your father is vicious and feared. That’s why no one dared to tell you. They don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
“He believes he has the right to kill who he likes, and spare who he dislikes.”
“Is it you?” I rapped a hand on the table.
Ahab laughed again, my hand shaking on the table. “No it’s not me, Jim.”
I sat down, not sure if I believed him. “So why do the mermaids want your pipe?”
“The pipe of Pan is a precious thing,” he said. “But the mermaids want it because they want to kill me with it.”
“There is a certain song that, only if played on my pipe, will kill me.”
I stared at the pipe in my hands, and realized I may have the instrument to kill him if he killed my father.
“Don’t bother, Jim. You don’t know the melody,” he tapped his wooden leg on the floor.
“Why do the mermaids want you dead?”
“Moby Dick sent them.”
He nodded. “He wants to kill me before I kill him. And the mermaids love chaos and blood anyways.”
The world in the Seven Seas seemed complicated to me. Back home all we cared about was the salt and bread we put on the table by the end of the day.
“So what now?” I said.
“Now you have a choice, Jim,” he said. “Either give the pipe to the mermaids, or take my side against them. Either way I will tell you who killed your father right now.”
“But I don’t even need you to tell me now. I could ask any of the sailors about my father’s killer.”
“No one will tell you but me. They’re too scared, remember?”
I had to think it over. Who did I trust, the mermaids or captain Ahab? It seemed like I couldn’t trust any of them.
But Ahab needed me for the treasure, so he was going to tell me. Slowly, I handed him his pipe back.
“Thank you, Jim,” he put his drink away and began to smoke the pipe. “You don’t know what it means to me.”
“Now tell me who killed my father.”
“A man who thinks he is Fate, killing people and sparing others left and right.”
“Where can I find him?”
“Why do you want to find him?”
“I will kill him.” I grabbed my knife. A strange lust for blood was growing inside my thirteen-year-old soul.
Ahab looked impressed. He brushed his beard with his hand. “You can’t kill Fate, Jim.”
“You said he thinks he is Fate.”
“But he has proven nothing but being Fate itself so far. It’s puzzling, I know.”
“Are you saying I can’t avenge my father?”
“I said you can’t kill Fate. I didn’t say you can’t use him.”
Ahab smiled, evil shaping the features of his face. I smiled back, evil crawling under my skin.
Ahab’s offer was a devious one for a thirteen-year-old. Right now, I can openly describe it as my first step into evil doing — something I cured myself from years later, but after I’d caused a lot of damage.
What happened was that I went back to the mermaids. I waited by the barrel of apples until they began to sing again. Slowly they appeared to me.
“Did you get it Jim?” the mermaid said.
“I have it,” I said, biting on a blood apple. “But I want something in return.”
“We promise you we will tell you who killed your father.”
“I already know that. It’s Captain Hook.”
The mermaid looked upset. “Who told you that?”
“It doesn’t matter who,” I said. “What matters is that I know.”
“I’m afraid someone is messing with you head, Jim. We had a deal.”
“The deal changed.”
“I hope you didn’t talk to Ahab. He is a devious man.”
“I didn’t,” I lied. “It has nothing to do with him. Besides, I got his pipe.”
The mermaids exchanged looks. I could see how ugly they could turn if I upset them further. I could smell their hatred in the air. “So what do you want in return, Jim?”
“The way to Treasure Island.” That was my deal with Ahab. He told how the mermaids were Fate’s ears in the sea. They practically worked for him. Why kill Captain Hook when his mermaids whom he cherished could point me to where the treasure was? Ahab had convinced me that my father would have liked me doing; finding the treasure and making my mother rich, That it was the best revenge.
“It’s not called Treasure Island,” the mermaid puffed. “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“Whatever it’s called, I need to get there.”
“To get rich. I know you know how to get there.”
“We do,” she said. “But haven’t you asked yourself why we didn’t get the treasure ourselves?”
“Because you’re mermaids. You love the sea.”
They laughed, calling me naive.
“Look, Jim,” she said. “The price you’re asking for is too high for the pipe.”
“Really?” I stood up threw the unfinished apple away. “Is killing Ahab not enough of a price?”
“Now we know you must have talked to him.”
“How did I talk to him if I have his pipe?” I raised my hand, showing it to them. “He wouldn’t just give it to me.”
Thy way they shrieked upon seeing it was indescribable. I wondered what it really meant to them. Was it that important?
“All right, Jim,” the mermaid in the front said. “Calm down. Whatever you do, don’t whistle the pipe, understand?”
“Why would I? I have no interest in it.”
“You just think so. It can control you in ways you have never seen.”
“This pipe?” I stared at it and laughed, unbeknownst to me that by giving me the pipe, Ahab had led me on the first road of evil. I didn’t know it had already begun to control me.
“We’ll show you the way to the island,” she agreed, “just hand it over.”
“Not before you tell me. Point at it on the map.”
“Forget the map,” the mermaid said. “The way to the island isn’t the map.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m sure Ahab told you they’ve been sailing to the right coordinates and never finding the island.”
“Yes.” I remembered the conversation between Ahab and Smolett.
“You know why they couldn’t find it?”
“It’s the wrong map?”
“No, Jim. Think. You need to use your mind more.”
“What do you mean? The coordinates must have been wrong.”
“No, they’re right. But none of the pirates ever found it.”
“That’s puzzling. How so?”
“Because the island doesn’t want them to find it.” she said.
“What kind of nonsense is that?” I began to lose my temper.
“The island has a soul.”
“You’re playing with my head. I will not tolerate this any longer.”
“I’m not lying,” she said. “Use your mind and think of the only soul in the sea that is as big as an island and still can disappear in a flash of an eye.”
“I hate puzzles,” I said. “And I’ve never seen a soul as big as an island.”
“But you have heard about it.”
The mermaids behind her began splashing their tails onto the water. It took me a while, but I finally got it. “Are you saying the island is a…”
“A whale, Jim. Yes. That’s why it disappears whenever one of those pirates on your ship try to find it.”
“They’re not pirates. They’re sailors.”
“So they let you believe,” she said, nearing the edge. “See? I told you things you have never thought were possible. Now hand me the pipe.”
“No,” I insisted. “I want to know more. I still want to find the whale. If it’s the island and has my treasure on its back, I want to find it.”
“There is only one way to find it, Jim.”
“Tell me. What is it?”
“If you kill Ahab.”
“What?” I grimaced. “Why?”
“Because the whale is Moby Dick, Jim,” she said. “Captain Ahab, also known as Long John Silver, isn’t after the treasure. Sure he wouldn’t mind finding it, but he is after…”
“Moby Dick,” I said. Things began to make sense now.
“No ship with Ahab on board will find the island,” she said. “That’s why he has you on board. Because the whale will show itself to you but no Ahab.”
“Because you’re special, Jim.”
“Everyone keeps telling me that and I don’t understand why.”
“Once you know your real name and the real name of the island you will understand.”
“Why don’t you tell me then?” I was getting frustrated.
“We can’t. The island won’t let us. The island — and you — have a greater purpose in life.”
“So what now? How do I get there?”
“If you kill Ahab, the island will show itself to you. But you can’t kill him because you don’t know the song you need to play on the pipe,” she said. “This is why you have to give it to us, so we can kill him.”
Everything became too confusing all of a sudden. What was I really doing here, I kept asking myself. At first I wanted to avenge my father, then Ahab messed with my head and persuaded me to look for the treasure. Which wasn’t so bad, because I thought my father must have been looking for the treasure as well. The faerie with the pearl hiding inside a fish must have been part of that treasure on the island.
But how come the trail of events led me to me having to kill someone?
“What are you waiting for?” the mermaid said. “You give us the pipe, we kill Ahab, then you lead this ship toward the island, and you get the treasure your father had been looking for.”
I wondered if the mermaids read people’s minds. This was what I was just thinking. “Who said my father was looking for the treasure?”
“Don’t you know your father died chasing a faerie inside a fish?”
“Why do you think he wanted to catch the faerie?”
“Because she’d swallowed one of the most precious pearls in the world.”
Now the mermaids laughed again. A laugh that scared me.
“You’re so naive, Jim,” the mermaid said. “The faerie knew the way to the island. That’s why your father hunted it.”
More things began to fall into place. With every new revelation, I realized how naive I was. “Then why did Captain Hook kill my father?”
“We can’t answer that, Jim,” the mermaid said. “Not now. There’s a lot you will know later.”
“I want to know now!” I waved the pipe in the air, threatening to throw it away.
“As you wish,” the mermaid surrendered. “The faerie wasn’t inside a fish, Jim. It hid inside Moby Dick himself, only sailors and fools thought it was inside a small fish in the sea.”
“So Captain Hook killed my father because he thought he found the faerie. Thus he found the island?”
“Now you get it. Everyone is looking for the island.”
“Even Captain Hook? Isn’t he Fate?”
“He is, but he only knows so much.”
I thought about all the rumors I heard in the past. “Is this island the Kingdom of Sorrow?”
“We can’t say, Jim,” the mermaid waved a hand in the air. “Even if you threaten to throw away the pipe. Now, just give it to us so we can kill Ahab and you find your island. Your destiny.”
“No,” I said.
“No?” the mermaid growled.
“If the island is my destiny, then I will find it anyways.” I stepped back near the barrels full of apples. “You just said that.”
The mermaids began to moan and curse my name. The transition from beautiful mermaids to beastly sirens was horrible. I was almost going to wet my pants. I stumbled back and fell.
Throngs of sailors woke up and came to wintess the wailing mermaids. They lit all kinds of fires to light up the night. Some of them were as scared as me. The mermaids began to hum their songs. And the men began to weaken, tempted to touch them.
“Don’t!” I screamed. “They will eat you alive.”
But I was too late.
I couldn’t comprehend how strong men like these fell to their knees and crawled on the ship’s floor toward the mermaids. They just couldn’t resist them.
One by one, blood spattered all over the edges of the ship. I watched Ahab’s men die one after the other.
“Ahab!” I shouted. “Come help the men. Do something.”
Ahab only came when everyone was already dead. The mermaids had sunk deep underwater, and the smell of blood in the ship was sickening.
Ahab laughed aloud. “All this blood.” the one-legged man didn’t seem to care.
“Are you laughing at your dead men?” I burst out.
“Not men, but traitors,” he said, kicking what was left of them out to the sea. “Smolett and his men were planning to throw me off the ship. They got what they deserved.”
“Throw you off?” I couldn’t take the surprises anymore. The world outside my home island was really a strange place.
“Come on, Jim. Don’t tell me the mermaids didn’t tell you about the island being Moby Dick and hiding from me.”
“Ah,” I moped my head, realizing what was going on. “Your men were going to kill you for the same reason the mermaids wanted you dead.”
“Everyone is after the treasure on the island,” he snatched his pipe back from my hands and lit it. “All but me. I’m after the island itself.”
“And you used me to get to it.” I grunted.
“You’re still young, Jim,” he smoked his pipe. “You should start to get used to being used. Everyone in this world is using everyone else. It’s how the tides roll in this world.”
I sat down, leaned back against a barrel, and pulled my knees to my chest. Suddenly I wanted to go back to my mother. Why had I ever left home?
“Don’t give up on me, Jim,” Ahab said. “We need each other. You need to find your destiny. I have to find my whale.”
“I don’t want the treasure anymore,” I began to sob. “I want to go back home. I want to go back to my mother.”
And then, there, in this very dark hour of my life, Ahab told me something that changed me forever. Something so horrible that even now my hands tremble as I write the words. Captain Ahab, Long John Silver, the one-legged man whom Billy Bones warned me of, said, “Your mother is dead, Jim. I killed her with my bare hands before we left, just to make sure you have nothing to go back to. Now get ready to sail with me. Where else will you go?”
It’s hard to explain the following three years, trapped with a one-legged man, who might be the optimum of all evil, in the same ship. Those years will need another special diary, so you could understand who I have become.
All you need to know is that for three whole years we never came across another ship — not with people still alive on it. Most ships had been robbed by pirates, or Fate himself. Its passengers murdered; you could smell the blood across the ocean waves.
Ahab and I had to resist the mermaids so many times, although both of us seemed immune to their songs. We fought a few whales — none of them was Moby Dick. We survived harsh weather when the ship should have sunk. Ahab smoked his pipe and stared at the moon for long nights. I ate all the apples in the barrel until there was nothing left.
For so many nights, I thought of killing him in his sleep. But I was afraid. Not of him, but of loneliness. A lonely paradise was worse than a hell with enemies. Ahab was a crazy man, obsessed with the whale that took his leg. So obsessed, he easily tolerated the boredom of the sea for three years.
As for me, I worked and learned how to navigate by day, cried myself to sleep, and tolerated the nightmares of my dead mother by night.
It was an awfully long journey that I may detail in that another diary. What should interest you dear reader is the night I met the faerie.
She was tiny, the size of my palm. And she had wings and a funny way of speaking. One night she knocked on my window. I was so scared, until she started swearing at me in her squeaky voice, which made me laugh and realize how tiny she was.
“You weren’t going to open the window for me?” she squeaked. “It’s cold outside.”
“Normally I’d throw you out,” I said. “You’re nothing but a big insect to me.”
“Then why haven’t you?” she rested her tiny hands on her waist and pouted.
“Me too,” she said. “I’ve been inside the whale for too long. You don’t want to know what happens inside when he burps.”
I laughed. “Are you for real? A fly that talks?”
“I’m not a fly. I’m the faerie your father was looking for, stupid boy.”
I sat and stared at her. “Are you serious?”
“Of course I am,” she said. “And I’m here to show you the way to the island.”
I shut the door to my room and shushed her. Ahab could be listening. “Why haven’t we found you long before?”
“I had to wait for you to turn sixteen.” she said.
“I turned sixteen?” I hadn’t counted the days. I hadn’t known I spent so much time with the vicious one-legged man. “Why sixteen?”
“Rules of the island.”
“I’m fed up with all this talk about the island,” I said.
“I know. But it’s time for you to realize who you are and what the island is.”
“Are you going to tease me like everyone else?”
“No, I’m going to tell you, but we have to save a girl first.”
“A girl?” I furrowed my eyebrows. “Haven’t seen a girl in years. Except for the mermaids, if they count as girls.”
“You didn’t ask me who the girl is or why. You talk too much.”
“I know.” I rolled my eyes. “Who is the girl?”
“The price you have to pay to get your treasure.”
“The price? I thought I paid my debt to the sea already.”
“You haven’t,” the faerie said. “The universe will grant you a most precious island. And the universe demands balance.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“The universe will give you access to an incredible treasure, and will ask you to do good things for the boys and girl you will find on the island.”
I didn’t swallow that universe concept, but I kept listening.
“If the universe gives you good, it has to give you bad as well. That’s the balance.”
“Are you saying the girl is the…”
“The bad,” the faerie nodded. “She is a troubled girl. Very troubled. And the universe will demand that you take care of her. In return, you get to find the island without Ahab and anyone else chasing you.”
I stood up and sighed. I was tired of mermaids, pipes, melodies, islands, and secrets. I just needed to get off the boat and start a new life somewhere. I didn’t care much for the treasure anymore. “Anything to get to the island,” I said. “Just tell me where the girl is.”
“On a ship called Demeter,” the faerie said.
“I haven’t seen a single ship with people alive on it for years.”
“This one is no different. But those on it aren’t dead. They’re sleeping. A long sleep.”
“The girl is sleeping too?”
“Yes. Now follow me.”
The faerie helped me leave the boat. I swam in the cold water after her, risking death. But I trusted her, and I still don’t know why I did, until today.
She took me to another ship which I couldn’t have seen without her glow in the mist.
The Demeter was silent. Finding the girl in a coffin hadn’t been hard. The faerie asked me to open the coffin to make sure it was the girl we were looking for.
The girl took my breath away. Even asleep. Looking pale and dead. It wasn’t beauty that drew me toward her. Something else I couldn’t explain. As if she were my destiny, too.
“Why is she sleeping?” I whispered.
“Don’t ask,” the faerie said. “Don’t even ask her about her past when she wakes up. She needs a new life, just like you. Now pull her out, gently.”
I did, noticing a lot of teeth scattered in the bottom of the coffin. I didn’t comment though.
“Where to now?” I said.
“Look.” the faerie pointed ahead.
And there I saw it. Finally, after all these years. I saw a whale rising up from the sea, water rocking the ocean around us. It felt like the end of the world. But then the whale settled down to floating calmly in the water.
I could see palm trees, forest, and even wooden houses from where I stood. “Am I going to be all alone with her on this island?” I asked.
“No,” the faerie said. “Others will arrive. You will be their leader.”
We took a small boat from the ship toward the island. Soon we arrived at one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my life. The island itself. I didn’t even need to find a treasure on it. The island itself was a treasure. So beautiful it brought a tear to my eyes.
“The island is yours,” the faerie said, about to flutter away.
“Wait!” I said, holding the girl in my arms. “I want to know more.”
“Like what?” the faerie said.
“Who is this girl?”
“Her name is Wendy. Wendy Darling,” the faerie said. “Some call her Sleeping Beauty, but trust me she is hard to live with. You will take care of her as promised, or the universe will curse you.”
“What kind of deal is that?”
“The kind of deal you have to take, or I’ll send you back in the ship with Ahab, and let you relive you hell.”
I said nothing. It was clear I’d succumbed to my fare away from this evil man.
“And the island?” I asked.
“What about it?”
“Is this the Kingdom of Sorrow?”
“No, but this girl in your hands is from the kingdom,” the faerie said. “I believe she will show you how to get there one day. She has unfinished business to take care of there.”
“And this island? You didn’t tell me. What’s its real name?”
“It’s called Neverland, although we prefer to let people think it’s called Treasure Island. Better let people think it’s a myth.”
“We?” I grimaced.
“Later. You don’t need to know this now,” the faerie said, about to fly away again.
This time she stopped on her own and turned around. “And your name isn’t Jim Hawkins.”
“So I have been told.”
“Your mother wanted to protect you so she named you Jim Hawkins. And your father’s name isn’t Hawkins nor Admiral Benbow. They did it all to protect you.”
“From the like of Captain Hook and Ahab. You have a lot of enemies, but you could only face them when you found the island. The prophecy says so.”
And I’d be waiting for them. One killed my father and other killed my mother. “What does the prophecy say exactly?”
“That Neverland will be the birthplace of good boys and girls who will stand up to the evil forces in the world,” the faerie said. “And it will be led by a boy named Peter.”
“Peter? Is that my real name?”
The faerie nodded and flew closer. She kissed me on the cheek. “It’s a long war you have ahead, Peter. You’re the one. And Ahab knew it. Now I really have to go.”
“And leave me alone?”
“You’re not alone, Peter,” she nodded at Wendy. “Didn’t your mother tell you about Adam and Eve? This is a similar story. An even better one,” she flew away.
“But-“ there was too much to comprehend at once. “But I am afraid I can’t take care of her.”
“You will.” she said from afar.
“How about my last name?”
“The prophecy didn’t tell,” the faerie yelled from behind the mist. “How about Peter Piper, as in Ahab’s pipe?”
And that’s the moment when I gave myself a name. “No, it’s Peter Pan,” I said. “Ahab said the pipe belonged to a God named Pan.”
“So you want to be strong as Gods, Peter Pan?” she laughed and said her last words. “Just remember, the Gods aren’t all about power, but about love too.”
The faerie, whom later I knew as Tinker Bell, left. She told me one last thing before she did; that to wake up Wendy I had to kiss her. That was how Sleeping Beauty woke up.
I kissed Wendy, and slowly she opened her eyes. She looked so beautiful in my arms.
Gods are not only about power, but love!
It was an incredible feeling, knowing I had to take care of Wendy. I couldn’t explain. After a long and terrible journey, I was able to give love instead of wanting to take things, like everyone else I met on the journey. No more pipes, mermaids, treasures, hatred and revenge.
This was me finding the power to give and take care of someone after a series of terribly dark events.
“Where am I?” Wendy said.
“Neverland.” I said.
“An island far away. I will take care of you.”
“Really?” she looked so pale. “I heard your name is Peter Pan?”
“Yes.” I grinned.
“You seem like a nice boy, Peter.”
Now, I felt on top of the world.
“Please don’t take this personally,” she said.
“What are you talking about?”
“This.” Wendy craned up her neck and bit me.
It was my first vampire bite. It has pretty much summed up our relationship in Neverland.
END OF The Grimm Prequel 19
Don’t forget to join my Mailing List if you’re interested in more prequels.
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Thank you for downloading this prequel. I’m so happy to publish more and more prequels again. The Grimm Diaries universe is my first love, and always will be. In many of your emails you wondered if I’ve abandoned the series. Which is far from the truth.
I spent the last year learning and studying the craft, so I hadn’t had the chance to write a lot. Of course, there is another series I have been also fascinated by, and that maybe why I published more books in it. Fresh ideas sometime consume a storyteller and posses him until he his only possible exorcism is to spill them out on paper – and then the story hopefully posses other readers all around the world.
So back to the Grimm Diaries and what to expect of the series in 2016. Let’s begin with the release of Blood, Milk, & Chocolate part 2 on January 4^th.^ A pre-order for it is available on amazon Here.
Later we’ll be entering the Piper Diaries, featuring Ladle Rat, Wendy, Peter, Jack, Marmalade and some of the earlier characters. The Piper Diaries will not take place in the modern world. It will only take place in the fairy tale world. And it will be more of a high fantasy that should satisfy reader of the Prequels more than anything else.
Speaking of the Prequels, which I have great plans for. A boxset of new four prequels is coming your way. In case you’re curious about some of the titles. Here are the next three: Lady Bluebeard, To Live Forever, and the Storykiller. I will not say who is writing those diaries now.
Last but not least, you should know that I have around ten prequels I’d written in the past year but never published because they were mainly origin stories to me.
And about the delays in my writing, as I know you peeps reads so fast, I’ve learned to write faster and clear my mind to produce the ideas I really want to pass on in the books. So expect speedy releases in 2016. It took me two years to learn how to do it.
In the end, I can’t thank you enough, not just for reading my books, but for enriching my life with your presence and feedback. It may seem to you that you’re enjoying my books (and I really hope you do) but the truth is that none of you is enjoying this as much as I do.
Cam, the Storykiller
Available books in the Grimm Diaries and Prequels so far:
Other Books by Cameron Jace
The Grimm Prequels
The Grimm Diaries Prequels 1-6 (Free)
The Grimm Diaries Prequels 7-10
The Grimm Diaries Prequels 11-14
The Grimm Diaries Prequels 15-18
The Grimm Diaries Main Series
Snow White Sorrow (book 1)
Cinderella Dressed in Ashes (book 2)
Blood, Milk & Chocolate Part 1 (book3)
Blood, Milk & Chocolate Part 1 (book4)
What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?