The promise of a kiss sits lightly on the corner of Red-Handed Jane’s mouth, right where her lips start to bloom.
There are flowers, still, on the island, lying dormant in a long sleep. The mermaids tell of a someday, when the world will be bright once again, instead of painted in hues of darkness and grey. A clock ticks, somewhere in the distance, marking off the hours since he has been gone.
She looks into the sky at night, her feet anchored on the deck. The stars paint pictures of futures that could have been and still could be. Far off in her periphery, the glimmer of faeries in the forest illuminates the night, casting a glow upon the dark water. In another place, another time, there are mothers and fathers and brothers. Red-Handed Jane will never forget how it is to be tucked in, to have her hair brushed.
The hidden kiss. She will remember this.
The Captain stands behind her, his heavy boots upon the boards marking his steps, her naked feet padding gently over the wood.
He calls her Wendy in the shadows, in the darkest of corners. His one hand pulling back her hair, stroking her flesh with the flats of his fingernails, tucking at the snarls like they are silk, and a hook cold from the winter air like a caress at her neck. Captain Hook has never frightened her. Her body is hard against his.
The movement of his hand along her body, finding the shape of it, and the heat. His hook at her throat, the stillness there. The noise she doesn’t make when he finds her, hotter than the sun in springtime, and ready.
He calls her Wendy, then, and she says nothing in return, parting her lips. The blood beating beneath his warming metal part says enough.
They gather around her, her new lost boys, eager to hear about the adventures of a boy and a girl flying through the night skies of London. The Captain sits at a distance, swilling his rum, taking slow, measured drinks in the pauses between her words. He runs a sharpening stone along the edge of his hook, the noise slicing across the ice. “The boy had a grin as devilish as an imp, and his hands were as warm as summer. His shadow kept pace with them, marking the progress along the thick clouds. The boy cut paths for them through the fluff, gutting the air.”
She takes deep breaths, finds her own dagger at her cinched waist, whips it free. “There! Follow me. Don’t look back. Never, ever look back.”
And so, she lowers her weapon. The Captain takes his drink.
“She never did, you know.”
There exists one single, solitary, story that Jane refuses to tell. The story, however convoluted and tragic, of how a Wendy bird became a pirate. She’s not sure if it ends happily ever after. Though it does end with a man, not a boy, and a kiss.