FlipFlopFiction #2: Hooked
I hit the ground hard, my backside smarting and my sword almost impaling me as I bounced into the middle of a room.
Standing, I adjusted my floppy tricorne hat with my good hand and took in the opulence of the room. It was a castle for sure where the staircase was wide enough to sail a ship through and my buccaneer boots boomed against the polished marble of the foyer. I strode toward the block of impressive paintings that hung side by side on the walls but stepped back in mild revulsion as a small gray mouse dressed in clothes (was he really wearing an orange shirt and green cap?) skittered over the toe of my boot and then vanished behind the walls.
Yes, yes, the furnishings were opulent but the castle itself was quiet, almost eerily so. I listened for the constant chatter of a busy household or the silent hum of a hovering staff but I was greeted with an empty silence instead.
“Where in the blazes am I?” I shouted as my voice echoed in the cavernous room. It seemed like it was just moments ago when I had been putting the finishing touches on a new plan to bring the Pan down for good and drinking the world’s finest rum with Mr. Smee when all of a sudden I was tumbling and bumbling through a black tunnel of time until I landed here.
Wherever this was.
Ah yes, now I remembered. There had been that odd man in colorful clothing and a tall black hat accompanied by a cat that suddenly appeared on the starboard side of the ship. The man looked at a tiny clock on his wrist, pulled a dainty teacup from within his hat, and sipped while the cat had all but disappeared leaving just the flimsy ghost of his smile.
“Tea time. Mmm, delicious!” the little man said.
“Where did you come from? How did you get aboard the Jolly Roger?” I remembered asking.
“Tea?” he said, offering me a sip from his cup. The last thing I remember before falling onto this floor was feeling the earth and sea being ripped from under my feet.
Adjusting my sash and the hook that sat where my right hand used to be (Damn that Pan!) before the Pan sliced it and the Croc made a meal of it, I began to whimper softly at this latest turn of events; I’d lost my ship, I’d lost my crew, and my water logged treasure chests of gold coins.
“O woe is me,” I whined as I wandered over to a tiny corner of the room. I’d spotted a small clear box perched on a pedestal. Hand resting on the hilt of my blade, I examined its contents. The pair of tiny shoes twinkled in the sunlight that streamed in through the windows cut into the ceiling of the castle. They were as dainty and as see-through as the glass that housed them. A deep intake of breath followed as I twirled my silky mustache between my long dirty fingers, “A treasure…” I breathed out as an evil smirk curled on my lips.
Hesitating only a moment, I pushed my saber aside and prepared to pillage the glorious booty. But just as I reached out I leapt back in surprise as I was greeted with the scurrying of mice again as they chattered back and forth, tumbling over my boots on their way to the small hole in the wall. Rubbing my eyes to made sense of what I was seeing, I was astonished to see that those little creatures were wearing clothes, tiny shirts and hats that seemed tailor made for them.
“Did I just hear them say “Cinderelllly,” I said to myself as I turned my attention back to my prize, “who on earth is that?”
“I am,” a sweet voice said from the landing above me.
Astonished at the intrusion, I looked upon a girl making her way down the staircase dressed in a simple blue dress the color of the ocean on a clear day. Her hair reminded me of the sandy shores of a beautiful island; so blonde it was nearly white. Used to women having a mane as long and deeply curly as mine, it was fetching to have an unobstructed view of the fine arch of her cheekbones and the deep azure of her eyes. The shorter cut framed her lovely countenance.
Not being able to tear my eyes from her, I flustered and stammered as she reached the bottom of the steps and walked over to me. She smiled and cocked her head toward the box, “Were you going to take my glass slippers?”
A nervous chuckle was all I could muster, “Oh no, madam, just, umm, admiring them.”
The girl flipped her hand through the air, “Take them! All they do is sit in that stupid box.”
“But surely, miss, they mean something to you?”
“Oh sure! My Godmother gave them to me a long time ago. I wore them to a ball where the prince danced with me until midnight and we fell in love. I left one on the steps just outside and that is how he and his footman found me days later.”
My heart was crushed with the notion of this woman loving another.
“So why do they sit in the box? You don’t wear them anymore?”
“Oh heavens, NO!” she said, “They hurt and are actually quite dangerous. The last time I wore them was on my wedding day to Charming and I couldn’t wait to take them off.”
An uncomfortable silence enveloped us as we stared at one another. “Where is your Prince now, ma’am? Is it possible that I could request parley of him?” I asked, looking around for another surprise entrance or more running mice until I came back to the blue eyes that were filling with tears.
“No, he’s gone!” she squeaked, burying her face in her hands, “I have no idea where Charming is. He left unannounced weeks ago for a hunt in the woods and hasn’t been home since. He’s sent no word of his safety, either.”
She righted herself quickly and went on. “I guess I should be worried, but, honestly, he was so consumed with keeping the castle clean and ignoring me the rest of the time that I don’t miss him as much as I should.”
Her eyes widened at this omission and her small, delicate hand covered her mouth. “Oh my! I have said too much!” The rosy tone that crept over her cheeks only made her more appealing to me. My heart leaped a bit with the thought that the prize I might collect here today was going to be more than a pair of glass shoes.
I lifted my hat from my head, sweeping it in front of me as I bowed low in front of her, “Captain James Hook at your service, ma’am.”
The girl offered her hand to me and I trembled as I placed a solitary kiss on her velvety skin.
“I am Cinderella,” she answered, a grin bringing a light to her face that countered the sun.
“Cinderella?” I repeated rolling the name around my tongue, “may I call you Cindy?”
She blushed again, this time for me, and it was at that moment that I began to believe that I might capture her heart. “Yes you may, as long as I can call you Jimmy,” she said. Her words seemed to float through the air like little arrows that aimed straight for my heart.
A sharp clacking on the castle floor rudely interrupted our exchange. A comely woman with dark brown hair and sharp eyes, dressed in drab green entered the room. She stopped in her tracks as she set eyes on me. I groaned inwardly as I imagined giant hearts leaping out of her eyes. She batted her eyelashes quickly. It was clear that she was taken with me.
A loud gasp expelled from her large lips as she spoke. “OH!” I began to think her eyes might be stuck with the way she kept blinking. “Hi!” she said, stepping close enough I could smell the foul scent of her perfume. It was such a contrast to the sweet, fresh flower scent of Cinderella.
A shadow fell across Cinderella’s face. “Drizella, this is Captain James Hook.” Her introduction was simple, yet held defeat. I wondered why such a beautiful creature should feel defeated.
“Oh?” Drizella cast a look out the window to the ocean beyond the castle. Funny that I hadn’t noticed it before. “There’s no ship at the dock. How did he get here?” The nasal tone of her voice made me cringe. She didn’t even pause long enough for an answer before she crossed the room and wrapped her arms around me. “Never mind. You’re here and that’s all that matters now.” She purred. I must say it sounded more like an angry jungle cat than any domesticated cat I knew. She tossed a wicked smile Cinderella’s way. I watched the love of my life visibly retreat and it angered me. I pulled this ugly woman from my body roughly.
“Is that anyway to treat your future wife?” she said, snidely. I could feel my nostrils curling in contempt. The foul stench that left this woman’s mouth every time she opened it almost knocked me right out of my boots.
“I beg pardon. The future wife I see in my future looks and smells nothing like you!” While I am not known for my pleasantries, perhaps I’d gone a bit far in my chastisement. Cinderella gasped. Drizella’s face fell to the floor and she ran from the room crying.
“That wasn’t very nice,” Cinderella said. Her rosebud lips frowned and, for the first time in my life, I felt ashamed of my behavior. What I was feeling was new to me. Every nerve ending within my body tingled. I had never let anyone correct me before, why now.
“She isn’t very nice,” I returned. Her sunny smile returned to her face and my heart leapt once more.
“Well, that’s true. I’ll give you that one. I do wish I didn’t have to endure them, but Charming insisted that they be allowed to live here, too. Funny how I ended up being a maid in my own home once more.”
Sadness filled those blue eyes I’d fallen in love with and I couldn’t bear it. I didn’t have time to dwell on it as yet another woman, not quite as comely as the first, ran into the room and slammed into me with full force. This one literally did knock me off my feet, once again almost being impaled by my own sword.
“OH! I’m so sorry!” She said, her wine colored locks falling on either side of me. She had fallen on top of me. I found her flustered state amusing. At least this one didn’t smell like overripe forest moss. She quickly righted herself and held a hand out to help me up. Crimson colored her cheeks as I accepted it. I had no interest in this woman, but it was becoming clear to me that either she was very unschooled in the ways of men, or she was entertaining untoward thoughts about me. How did I ever end up in a castle where so many desperate women dwelled? Were it not for my affection for Cindy, I would surely turn this into a game. Perhaps I still could. My ship could use a good swabbing and a good cook.
“My dear, it’s no trouble. It isn’t the first time a woman has run me over,” I said graciously. She rewarded me with a smile. At least this one didn’t beat her face with her lashes. “I am Captain James Hook. You may call me ‘Hook’.” I raised my hook and waited. There, a flash of fear crossed her face, just as I expected. She took three steps backwards.
She curtsied clumsily. “I am Anastacia. I am the princess’s stepsister.” The enthusiasm had left her voice and I knew that whatever thoughts she had been entertaining were gone. I found this even more amusing. “I, um…I just came to see what Drizella was carrying on about. Now I understand.” She paused. She bent her head sideways, letting her hair hit the floor on one side. Her hair was the one beautiful thing about her. “Why…why are you here?”
Let the game begin, I thought.
“I am here to find me a wife.” I kept the laughter that bubbled up inside my belly well hidden.
Her eyes widened. Cinderella’s eyebrows furrowed into her cute, pixie nose. I realized that my game could backfire in winning her heart, but I had to do it. She deserved better, and if I could rid her of these step-monster sisters she had, and something the Prince had failed to do, (Stupid Prince!) I would be her hero.
Captain James Hook, Hero.
Oh how sweet that sounded!
Anastacia’s mouth moved though no sound came out. I realized she was chewing her tongue. My nostrils curled again. Perhaps I should abort the game. I didn’t know if I had the steel gut required to follow through.
“Would it get me out of this castle?” she asked.
“But of course, my dear. A captain is not a captain without his ship.”
A sharp voice battered my back. An older woman, dressed in fine silk, with a bitter countenance had entered the room from the stairwell behind me. She pushed herself rudely past Cinderella. “So it is. Captain James Hook, I am Lady Tremaine, and I am prepared to marry now. In fact, I demand it. We need a real man to run this castle, not that wimp of a Prince that one married.” I could hear the disdain dropping from her heavily painted lips. She poked her finger in Cinderella’s chest. Cindy quivered and I saw red. I shuddered. This woman was not only ugly, but she was evil. Evil as I was, I suppose. Ordinarily, she would have been my ideal mate, but after meeting Cindy, no one else could compare. I didn’t care if it took the rest of my life, I would win Cindy as my bride, Prince or no Prince. The game was over.
“No,” I said simply. I tasted metal as my teeth sunk into my tongue.
“How dare you refuse! Guards!” she screamed.
To be continued….
This week’s Flip Flop Fiction is brought to you in collaboration with SAM and Kirsten of The Kir Corner. Kirsten can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog where she weaves romance and balances on high heels on a daily basis. Kirsten asked that we leave this story open-ended so we can write the conclusion together later this summer. Now you have something else to look forward to!
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