Tuesday, 12 April 2011
11:35:25 AM (GMT)
I'm trying to cure my writing block, dammit. This is a little something that
accompanies a longer piece I'm working on at the moment, about sky pirates. Maybe it
won't make much sense. But I haven't written anything substantial on here in a while,
and there's a lot I need to get out of my system. I feel the two characters featured
in this piece still need some further development, but as far as creation of my
imaginations go, I think this pair are something special. I've tried very hard to
stray from my comfort zone of dark, brooding bitchy women; here I present you with
the gallant and slightly satirical Captain Hark and his childhood sweetheart, Eponine
Time That Doesn't Stop
I told myself that I would sail the seven skies, that I would parry swords with the
most fearsome of bandits, that I would find the very edges of the known Earth and
reach the four cardinal points of the compass before I would remember her face
Her heart-shaped face. Her pursed, pinkened lips. Her supple, waving hair; cascades
of luscious caramel and molten gold. Her breathtaking beauty; her words would never
fail to warm my soul on the bitterest of winter nights.
I would tell myself that she would appear different in the days of late - no longer
the innocent child I had once known. She would have grown into those doe eyes of
hers, filled out those corsetts of hers. She would be a woman now, disinterested in
the ambitious, yet unachieveable dreams of a rogue pirate. She would have a husband,
a family - she would be surrounded in a life of wealth and good fortune, so great
that the sun itself would be envious of her. She would not remember such a rugged
figure as I from her youth.
She would have changed, beyond my imaginings. And I, forever held by the talons of
time, would be untransient, unmoving. A pained, lonely existence.
I told myself I could no longer love her, but the resolve of a man is always weak.
And the resolve of an immortal? Weaker still.
One last goodbye, I told myself. For old times' sake. I could permit that, surely?
One last meal for my greedy, tattered soul. She wouldn't even notice me there.
The tavern was the same as it had ever been, decrepid, rotten and unkept, though
loved all the while. Its atmosphere, still warm and welcoming, was aided by the merry
chants of drunkards and the aged whirring of the gramophone. I recalled the pleasant
times when we would dance all night to those jittering tunes, fulfilled and content,
lavishing the deepest desires of our hearts. So pure, untainted. Did she care to
remember that, I wondered.
The place was unchanged, wrapped inescapably in decades gone past, trapped in time.
It rung bells far too close to the truth for my liking. That drunkard looked
familiar, did I know him? Did I put that scratch on the door frame? Was that the
stool I would waste my many hours upon? There are far too many hours to waste now.
There was one thing that had surrendered to the transience of time however - so much
so that it wrenched my frozen heart to look upon it. She was there, the flower of my
youth, now the blossomed woman she had wished away the years to be. My darling, my
Where was the happiness that had once resided in those topaz eyes? Why did her smile
feel so fragile, her facade forced? Why did she keep her longing gaze fixed on the
door. This place, it had become a cage to her now.
"That seat is taken, sir," she spoke out amongst the rabble of intoxication, her tone
a hollow shell of her once youthful optimism. I did not wish to hear such weary words
leave her gentle lips.
"No'ne's sat there all evenin'," the man, to whom she addressed, slurred, his
fragmented sentences coated in a drunken glaze. His knees threatened to buckle - he
gripped the counter and leather bar stool with each strained, white fist. Was that
not the stool where I used to sit?
"No-one has sat there for seven years, sir, it's true, but I've gotta just keep
hopin'," she smiled pleasantly, ushering the dillusioned man to the next, unoccupied
seat. "Have another drink, it's on the house."
Before, she would have been cheery, teasing almost. The customers loved their
barkeep's daughter - each and every one would demand to be served by the fresh faced
maiden, a rare glimpse of true beauty in their sorryful lives. Yet, she dwindled on
words too long ago spoken. Why did she still wait? When had those sprouting wings
Seven years, had she said? Was that the last time I had stepped upon this threshold?
I could not recall, time holds no meaning anymore. But it did for her. Time had left
her gaunt, miserable, longing for the freedom I had once promised her. Where was her
husband, her family? Why was she all alone now?
This was not how I had wanted it, not how I had envisioned it. I didn't want these
feelings of remorse and regret - I had wanted her to move on, so that I could close
that chapter of my life, lock away the heart I had once given to her. A pirate has no
use for a heart of compassion.
I would not leave now, however hard I tried to place one leather-bound foot in front
of the other. I could not.
"Is this seat taken?" I queried, in a voice barely my own, not that of the
adventurous adolescent I had once been. Timid, me? I would never have placed the two
words together until that very moment.
"Yes, it is," Eponine replied harshly, her words sharp and cutting as they rolled so
freely off her tongue. Did she have to say these things often? She dismissed my voice
without even looking up and sparing a glance - her hope, once excessive and blinding,
"Perhaps a glass of brandy then," I requested, hoping my prefered liquor might
trigger some recognition - it was all that I ever drunk, and I could so easily
remember how often her father scolded me for consuming all of the precious, amber
spirit. "I don't suppose Mister Heartlily is around, is he? I would very much like to
speak with him, if there is a free moment."
I wanted her to look at me, to remember the nights we had spent enveloped and
consumed in each other's company. Just one look.
"Mister Heartlily is no longer with us," she responded quickly, her quivering back to
me as she searched the shelves for the golden brandy. The decanter was pushed to the
back, out of reach, out of sight. It had gathered dust. "Sadly, he passed on last
"Oh, that is too bad," I murmured, genuinely sorrowful for the loss of the man
closest to what I could call a father figure. Her had proclaimed me a nuisense and a
troublemaker more than once, but his kindness was like his daughter's - he could not
bare to see someone go hungry. "... I don't suppose you know if the family moved out
of town? I was actually hoping to catch up, they were dear friends of mine."
I could sense her unease - she knew something was out of the ordinary, something just
slightly obscure, though she couldn't place it. Her shoulders tensed, her hand
"In fact, it was the youngest daughter I was especially fond of," I continued,
"Though I suppose she must be a mighty beautiful woman by now. I regret that I missed
those precious years."
The brandy trickled steadily from the decanter into the crystalline glass - each
tentative drop rippling loudly in my ears.
"What did you say your name was, sir?"
Despite the backround lull and drone of voices, there was silence. It was not a
golden silence by any means; instead, a more hesitant quiet of a dream-like state. I
had blurred the line between her reality and an all too distant desire; her slender
fingers quivered, and then slackened.
The glass of brandy smashed on the tiled floor, spewing its topaz inners across her
shoes and mine.
"Why?" she stated dumbly, her beautiful face still cast away from mine. "Why do these
damn spectres still plague me? Hark... why can I not forget?"
She believed I was a ghost, a mere phantom of her imagination, and it pained me to
learn that she believed I had so willingly abandoned her those seven years ago. I had
wanted to return, countless times, but how could I possibly have presented myself to
her like this? Forever the reminder that I would never grow old with her, that I
would continue to live on without her, without our children, and our grandchildren,
and all those that would come after. Alone. Isolated.
But this? She was so lost, like a child clinging to my right hand in the darkness.
This pain I had caused, this selfish pain, was the worst form of torture.
"I would like to see a spectre as dashing as I," I chuckled dryly, coming to rest my
rough chin on my palms. "These dreams of yours sound quite pleasant, do go on. It is
not often that a pretty lady devulges her inner most fantasies unto me... it must be
my handsome face!"
It was transparently clear of her inner turmoil - if she turned, would I be gone,
dissolved like dust into the air? If she stayed frozen, would this dream continue
just a moment longer?
"Eponine," my voice rang out, "Please, look at me. You can trust that I am not a
"If you are Hark, then why do you choose to return now, out of the blue?" she replied
courtly, "Why today? Why, after seven years, should I believe that you have come
crawling back to me like the dog you truly are? I am quite alright, I'll have you
know, so please feel obliged to leave me alone, for I have many customers to serve."
There was a trace of the old Eponine in her choice of words - I restrained a
bellowing laugh that brewed in my chest. Time was something I had luxury in, but she
obviously did not realise how much I truly had; she was the one stalling the
inevitable. Oh, how I wanted to reach out and embrace her, and kiss her, and absorb
the faint smell of ale and perfume mingled in her hair.
But seven years was a long time.
"I am a Captain now," I spoke aloud, ignoring her pleas for my ghost to leave her be.
I wanted her to know. All those days of longing and staring at the sky, of her
dismissing my ideas as ludicrous, but all the while wishing with every fibre of her
being to stand on deck along side me... those days now meant something. She needed to
"It's a mighty fine ship, a beauty if I ever saw one. She moves through the winds
faster than anything I have ever seen, and her crew is loyal. Sparse on the ground,
but loyal none the rest. And she didn't cost me a penny--"
"It sounds like you're married to the damn ship," Eponine retorted, relapsing into
the memories of her young self, and the hours she would spend listening to Hark's
swashbuckling tails of sky pirates. His head was always in the clouds back then. "Why
are you wasting your time in here? Shouldn't you be sailing the skies, chasing some
sort of bounty or treasure, or whatever it is that pirates are supposed to do?"
Where her voice had initially held amusement, it was becomming quiet now. I knew her
little mannerisms well enough to guess that her bottom lip would be quivering with
the onset of tears. Perhaps I had spoiled any happy memories she still held onto by
coming here? Again, selfish.
"I should leave," I muttered, placing a few gold coins on the counter, even though I
had not tasted a drop of brandy. "It seems that I am only causing more pain for you,
Eponine. I am sorry."
The steel heels of my boots clacked on the stone cobbles as I took a few paces
backwards, my eyes still intent on her. The bond between us would never be broken,
however hard she tried to push me away, or however far I sailed towards the sun, but
now it was nothing more than a question of her own resolve. Should she look back, she
wouldn't like it. My face had barely changed since those distant days
Minutes passed, she didn't look. I smiled, propping my feathered hat back atop my
head. She had made a choice far more sensible that mine.
The wind that greeted me outside was Northern, bitter and chilling - a mockery of the
rash actions undertaken that night. The ruckass of the tavern was obscured by its
howling cry, whistling through the eaves of the rooftop and tormenting the mighty
patchwork sails of my ship. Lanterns flickered on deck, indicating the irritation of
the crew who wished to set sail. That ship didn't deserve to be moored, just as
But seeing her face again... it had soothed my soul. Just the idea that she was still
waiting, even if she would never acknowledge it, was comforting - at least those long
lost days of childhood weren't some pleasant dream I had once had. This was the
reality I had signed on for, and it was about time I accepted the bitter solitude.
I had received the ship. I was a Captain. It was enough. It should be enough.
Door slamming. Footsteps. Running. Her haggard breath.
Warm arms around my waist.
Huh. I'll be the only person that made any sense to then. Oh well, it was nice
to write something... though there are so many other things I wanted to put into that
encounter - though I can't imagine Hark saying any of the corny lines in my head, so
I think I'll leave it. I want to write the next scene, but I think it goes
unspoken... she goes with him.
It's probably not clear, but the character of Hark is... well, figure it out
yourself. I shan't say because it's a key plot point for the longer piece I'm writing
at the moment. But it is the reason he went missing for seven years after courting
Eponine... and it involves the ship, and one of the crew members. ;D This is probably
a lot of crap to anyone reading this hurhur.
Last edited: 11 January 2012