Authors: Jones, Andrea
Tags: #Fantasy, #Fiction, #General, #Literary, #Pirates, #Folk Tales, #Never-Never Land (Imaginary Place), #Adventure Fiction, #Peter Pan (Fictitious Character), #Fairy Tales, #Legends & Mythology, #Darling, #Wendy (Fictitious Character : Barrie), #Wendy (Fictitious Character: Barrie)
Hook & Jill
Copyright © 2012 by Andrea Jones
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system— except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper— without permission in writing from the publisher.
The Reginetta Press
Cover design by Erik Hollander
E-book design by Donnie Light
The ever-after end of Once upon a time…
“The Neverland of
Hook & Jill
is not the place of fancy-free fun and abandon many of us like to recall. Jones explores Wendy’s feminine power, Hook’s duality, and the various dimensions of the Lost Boys. This is not your nursery room Pan.”
—Brooks Sigler, author of Five Finger Fiction
Hook & Jill
is an amazingly insightful Jungian allegory. Jones explores the dark side of Peter’s character and develops the characters of Wendy and Captain Hook in ways I would not have imagined… shocking… riveting… Jones’s work is very definitely grounded in themes of adult life, so… ‘Readers, ye be warned.’”
—Deena Sherman, Sun-Times News Group
“Striking accord with the Captain’s philosophy, this tale knows no shame.”
—Stephan Solberg, author of The Last of One
“Edgy and heretical… The sacred icon of childhood has finally grown up, and controversy and cultural debate must follow. What
The DaVinci Code
did for mystery-thriller,
Hook & Jill
does for the fairy tale.”
—Michael Neff, author of Year of the Rhinoceros
For those who harbor pirates in secret coves.
Once Upon Never-Time
When she woke, she was the woman in the bed on the ship in the sea, and she used to be Wendy Darling, who dreamt in the bed in the nursery of Number 14.
Now, the rhythm of the waves had overtaken the rhythm of her dreams. But when? When had she become accustomed to the swaying of the ship? At what point in time had she grown used to the bed that mocked the rocking surface of the sea?
She knew now that the presence behind her, cradling her, would bind her forever. How had she become one with that presence, possessing it and possessed by it? By the arm thrown to rest across her own. The heavy arm that protected and confined her. That powerful, handless arm ending, hideously, at the wrist.
Her eyes flew wide and it happened again. The reality of the man seized her breath and tore it away. Waves of shock rushed up her body, panic gripped her heart. The girl she had been was swept away, her shell refilled with surging waters, assaulting her from within.
Even now, Hook, made real, ripped her to pieces and recreated her, all at once.
She tried to breathe.
Even now he afflicted her, when she was sure so much time had passed.
. When had she called him into being? First spun his tales? Ages ago. Lifetimes.
. But in the Neverland, time had no reckoning. Her custom of keeping it lost to its lack of regulation here. Yet she had clung to it, while other familiarities fell away to lie derelict at the bottom of Neverbay.
Remember to breathe
. Where were the boys now? With her parents, becoming gentlemen. Wendy alone had chosen, been chosen, to stay. Wendy alone had arrived in the land of eternal childhood only to find she was already growing up. It was here she had escaped the bonds of uncaring youth. In her new freedom, she had begun fully to live here, as a woman. The woman she had chosen to be.
The woman in the bed on the ship in the sea.
Breathing evenly at last, she lifted her hand to his mutilated stump, caressing it, once. Her eyes fell closed and she slept again, swaying in his arms to the perpetual timelessness of the rocking sea.
* * *
Hook was awake. He was always awake when she was. He knew her thoughts; he never feared them. She was thinking about time again, as he used to do. One day his own thoughts would be as open to her as hers were to him. In time. Time, which ticked on forever here, and simultaneously held no meaning at all.
True to his own code of chivalry, Hook allowed her the illusion of solitude. But he would never allow her to be utterly alone. For all his buccaneering, it was being alone that had corrupted him. He had ensured that he wouldn’t be alone again.
He was intensely aware of her reaction to him, the shock she endured in those moments when his reality struck roughly. Really, it was quite gratifying. Now she was relaxed, once more at rest under his arm— his gashed, ghastly arm. Interestingly, it was the hand that was no more, not the hook, that had caught and closed the door to her escape. And opened a new way.
It was said of Hook that he flinched only at the sight of his own blood. In sheer nerve she was fast becoming his match. How could she be otherwise, who had dreamt life into a man like him? It often amused him to think how thorough she had been. He was a perfect Pirate: flawlessly ruthless, cutthroat, arrogant, without shame. All these things, and crowning the lot, the jewel of his nature, that refinement which won success where more crudely-made men might fail.
In innocence she had created him, a tale to frighten children. Too late she discovered his truth, and once begun, his story had continued. Now, completed, he was returning the favor.
Her courage made the effort at once easier and more difficult, but he didn’t care. He was a man who didn’t care— about a great many things. Thus, his one-handed grasp closed more firmly upon the few things he did hold dear. Winning. Living. His ship. Jill.
Always, now that he had taken her, Jill.
Then he woke her, and moving in Time to the rhythm of the sea, they began their dance.
The Enchanted Queen
This moment was Wendy’s once-upon-a-time, when she believed Peter Pan was her dream come alive.
She spiraled as high as she dared in the air, dancing above the Island. Her hair whirled with her, and she laughed when it caught up to her face, tangling in her eyelashes and hiding the kiss that hung waiting at the corner of her mouth. Peter would find it today. She was sure of it.
But neither Wendy nor her kiss would be captured. She turned toward the wind and it helped her fingers shoo the snare away. The wind shared her passion— to fly was joy. Danger, too, of course, but she had only to beware the cannon, Long Tom, wherever it played dark games with pirates, and to avoid arrows loosed by Indians among the trees. After that, the sky was her own, and she shouted to it of her happiness.
Once upon a time, when she believed.
Peter had taken her on impulse. Unmeasured months ago, he lured her from home at Number 14 in London with the double temptation of adventure and domesticity. He taught her to fly as he guided her here. Peter liked to portray his theft as a triumph, but his ‘Wendy-bird’ had followed wholeheartedly, eager to taste both pleasure and peril. That first night— under fire from Long Tom— Wendy tamed her fright with a spirit that made Peter’s eyes gleam, and she trusted no matter where on the Island he led her, Peter would never let her come to harm. While he was just a boy he might not admit it, but with an inkling of woman’s intuition, Wendy understood; from the very beginning, she was more to him than just a girl.
Whatever the risks, now it was second nature to her to soar above the Neverland’s flamboyance, loving it. The sea circumnavigated the Island, hoarding secret coves of emerald and sapphire, stowing waterfalls and languid lagoons. Wendy’s isle anchored mountains, forests, creeks and encampments. And her own little house, built by the Lost Boys at Peter’s command. She could just see it below, its tiny roof flickering with sunlight as the breeze agitated its leaves. Appraising the Neverland like a jewel, Wendy could as yet only guess at the complexity of its facets. With her new perspective of inhabitant, she divined both haven and hazard. But what was benign, and what was sinister? In spite of Peter’s reassurances, Wendy had begun to wonder.
She felt safe for the moment as a familiar blur rose up to meet her, formed into Peter, and rose higher to eclipse her. Peter often moved so swiftly one couldn’t distinguish his features, which in themselves fascinated Wendy. In appearance Peter was both boyish and aristocratic. Whenever he held still, the first things to catch her attention were the bright green eyes almost covered by his golden hair, and the bright silver dagger at his belt. Now he checked his ascent to look down from his eminence and beam on her.
“Peter, were you in the forest?” A quick inspection answered the unspoken half of her question. Wendy’s shoulders relaxed, and the sudden dread that had gripped her retreated. His blade was still shiny. He hadn’t been hunting.
Peter descended, hanging almost near enough to touch. Hiding one hand behind his back, he smiled in his most intriguing manner. “Wendy…!”
She sparkled. “What is it? Oh, Peter, what now?”
Pushing himself backward, he launched into a somersault. As he righted himself, he stretched out an arm and offered her a garland woven of perfect roses, trailing ringlets of green tendrils. “Yellow roses for your yellow hair. I cut the thorns off. Do you like it?”
Wendy didn’t, in fact, particularly care for flowers; they tended to wither and die too soon to suit her eternal tastes. Nor did she desire to touch rose barbs again, that pierced her skin and caused her fingertips to blossom, too, with blood. But Peter had gone to some lengths to please her, and she
pleased. “It’s lovely. Did you make it yourself?”
“Of course! And while I was there at the Fairy Glade, I showed the fairies how to make one, too.” Peter drifted nearer and, taking the wreath in both hands, held it reverently over her hair, an earthy halo. Wendy breathed in the fragrance. The blooming circle smelled dewy, almost cloying. She stifled a cough.
Peter crowned her. “Queen of the Lost Boys! Your Majesty.” And he bowed, as only Peter could bow. He was a superb make-believer, the most wonderful boy Wendy knew. But of course, she admitted in her truthful way, he’d had much more time to practice than other boys. She curtsied in return, as grandly as possible in a nightdress and without benefit of flooring, then floated toward him. Regal, she ignored the pricking of the thorns, which, as usual, he’d missed among the roses.
“You shall be rewarded, Sir.” Disguising her longing, Wendy extended her arms in what she hoped was a commanding fashion. “I grant you the honor of a dance.”
With the knight’s deed accomplished, the boy Peter grinned again. “I don’t dance.” His voice was bold, unashamed to be heard. “I fly!” He promptly rushed away, escaping into a cloud.
Grateful now for the snagging thorns that secured her garland, Wendy sped after him, her viney ribbons fluttering and the cloud shredding in her wake. As she grabbed for Peter’s heels, he veered into the next puff, surprising two boys. Wendy narrowly dodged them all and pulled herself upright, halting her flight to laugh as ordinary Michael and John tumbled out of the froth exclaiming, “Peter, Wendy! Oh…!”
Wendy’s laughter ended when her brothers lost control and shot down toward the Island. Nightshirts riffling in the wind, the two boys struggled to regain flight, kicking, flailing, and yelling, but all the while falling. As she realized their predicament, Wendy’s eye caught the flash of movement among the trees. Indians!
“Peter, an arrow!” She dove after her brothers.