The water started to rise so slowly no one even noticed until the docks began to flood. Soon after, though, the rain started and just never stopped. By the time they realized the island was flooding, that high ground wouldn't be high enough, it was too late. There wasn't enough room on the ships still in port, certainly not enough room for one woman and a fatherless child. No matter that Elizabeth had plenty of experience on ships and could keep her head in any crisis.
Cursing the stupidity of the people she'd lived with for the past four years, Elizabeth set about finding a way to avoid drowning. She was all for seeing Will again, but she'd kindly wait the next six years to do so if at all possible. At least with the town abandoned, either safe on ships or heading towards what little high ground the island offered, there was no one to gawk as she put on trousers and rolled the legs up to wade through the water; little William behind her. She'd emptied a small powder keg, strapped it to his chest, and tied the tail end of the rope to her belt. He could swim well enough for a three year old, but she wasn't taking any chances.
It was simple if tiring work in the rising water to find the last few boats in town. They were small things left behind because they couldn't carry much. She tied them and nailed them and did everything to make them stick together short of taking them apart and rebuilding them from scratch. One would be too small, but three might give her something to work with. She filled the boat on the right with all the food and water supplies she could scavenge throughout the town and the one on the left with clothing, books, and some toys for William. That left the middle one for her and William to live in the best they could. It wasn't perfect, but it might just get them to somewhere safe. She hoped.
By the time she finished the water had risen to waist high and the rain was still coming. She didn't know if the ocean was still inexplicably rising or not, but she suspected it was. It would be hard to navigate in her makeshift craft, but she had a compass and knew how to find her way with the stars, if the clouds ever cleared, so she figured they should be able to make it to the American continent. Hopefully. She stayed close to the island at first, in case the rain did stop and the water retreated, but by the end of the week the houses were underwater and only treetops could be seen further in.
It wasn't that hard to get pointed in the right direction with the help of some nautical charts and her compass, and she managed to distract William by letting him steer with the rudder when the wind wasn't blowing too hard. The rain made it impossible for him to play and he'd finally cried himself out after the first two days. She couldn't even blame him for being upset; she was upset, but at least she had something to do. She tried to make the best of it, though, and she told him stories of her days as a pirate while they rode through the never ending storm.
It was days later, long after she'd given up hope of ever being dry again, when she saw her first sign of life. A ship seemed to appear out of nowhere, sailing practically on top of them before she even noticed it. She didn't have a chance to call out to them before a rope fell down from the side and a familiar voice called out, “Tie yourself up, Mrs. Turner, and we'll work on getting you and the boy up here.”
“Mr. Gibbs? Is that you?” She couldn't get the disbelief out of her voice even as she did as he asked. “Where's Jack? And the Pearl?”
“Jack's here,” he yelled down to her as rope ladder fell down the side of the ship. “As for the Pearl, that's a funny story.”
A funny story that would have to wait until they were on the ship. Quicker than she would've thought possible they'd gotten herself, William, and all of their supplies onto the ship. Sometime later, sitting in Jack's cabin, she marveled at how amazing being dry felt. William had long since fallen asleep, exhaustion finally catching up to him, and she tucked him into Jack's bed. She heard the door open and close behind her and turned quickly to motion for Jack to stay quiet. He peered at the bed and nodded in acknowledgement before leaving the room.
Stepping outside she did her best to stay out of the rain and under the overhang of the deck above. “How did you find me, Jack?”
“Luck,” he replied immediately, but she saw him touch the compass hanging off his belt and smiled to herself.
She stood watching the rain with him. “What's happening?”
He looked at her and gestured out at the rain. “The whole world is drowning. Haven't been able to find a port anywhere, they're all underwater.”
“Why?” She knew she was asking impossible questions, but she was tired and had been for what seemed like forever by that point.
“Who knows love,” Jack said as he put an arm around her. “Gibbs thinks it's God cursing us like he did in the Bible. Personally, I heard tell of the ice in the north and south melting.”
For a second she let herself lean into Jack and accept the comfort he was offering before standing back on her own, “Melting ice doesn't explain the rain.” She wasn't even sure if she was arguing or not.
“No, but a whole world covered in water doesn't sound too bad.” It was hard not to laugh at the tone in Jack's voice. He'd always loved the ocean more than anything else, even the Black Pearl.
She suddenly found her humor returning. “But land is important too. Repairs, supplies, rum.”
He looked horrified as the implications of that sunk in. Without land, no one could make rum. The thought of being sober was enough to send him marching back into the rain, headed no doubt for the wheel. Jack called over his shoulder while waving his compass at her, “Right, once this bloody rain stops we set sail for any land that's left.”
“Sounds like a plan.” She managed to stifle her laughter, just barely. “Oh, and Jack? I get to be First Mate.”
He paused and looked back at her. “Of course. And young William will make an excellent cabin boy.”
She watched him stride off, calling out orders to the crew still on deck, before going back into the cabin. William wasn't the only one exhausted by events. Tomorrow was another day, and sooner or later it had to stop raining.