Funny thing about this was that I meant to post it on Halloween but...I...forgot. Oops. But you know what, as far as I'm concerned, Halloween is a two month event anyway, so...

Happy late Halloween and happy NaNoWriMo and Merry Christmas too while we're at it.

The Third Night

On the first night, clouds obscured the sky.

On the second night, the moon appeared from behind the clouds and the crew of the Black Pearl knew they were cursed. Many hid in the shadows below deck while their captain swore, realizing their mistake.

By the third night onward, being undead was simply a part of life.

"That's just unnatural, that is."

"Why don't it hurt though?"

"I'd think it would."

"Really unsettling."

Pintel and Ragetti took turns commenting as they extended an arm each, exposing them to the moonlight. It didn't hurt. It didn't feel like anything, really. Like the flesh and blood and everything was still there only it wasn't.

Pintel steeled himself and stepped fully into the moonlight and the affect was instantaneous.

"I don't feel nothin'," Pintel said, looking down at himself, at skeleton hands still with leathery bits of flesh attached and down at his open chest, ribs showing beneath his faded coat. "Ha!"

"How are you breathin' though?" Ragetti said.

"I dunno! It's a curse!" Pintel went to the rail and peered over the side. It was a chilly night but he didn't feel the cold at all. The dark water glistened below. He wondered what would happen if he were to go overboard. Would he drown like a normal man? He thought about Bootstrap, forced overboard for his loyalty to Jack, but not before he, too, had taken a piece of the gold.

"Oi." Ragetti tapped him on the shoulder and he turned and almost jumped at how large Ragetti's eyes looked in that skeletal face. It was more than a little disturbing.

Ragetti even seemed excited for the first time since they'd discovered the curse.

"What do ya think'd happen if we take a bottle a rum and drink it while out in the moonlight?"

It was the stupidest idea Pintel had ever heard but he found himself laughing at the absurdity of it and their own strange predicament.

"Haha! Drink more of it!" Pintel exclaimed. In the shadows of the fo'c'sle and thus away from the influence of the moonlight, he couldn't help the tears that streamed down his face as he laughed.

Rum stained the deck and dripped from Ragetti's ribs as he guzzled and finally stopped as if for breath though whether or not they actually needed to breathe, neither of them knew.

"It all goes right through! My stomach's gone." Ragetti examined himself, not quite as horrified as a normal person should be upon turning into a skeleton.

"Here, try this next." Pintel handed him a piece of hardtack which Ragetti obediently took and swallowed whole. It landed on the deck in the middle of the rum stain.


Pintel only laughed again. Maybe this curse wouldn't be so bad after all. Leaping to his feet, he lurched into the moonlight and snatched up the bottle of rum and took a swig. It didn't taste like anything and all of it ended up on the deck anyway.

Ragetti guffawed. "Oi, do ya think we're immortal now?"

"Well it'd be a stupid useless curse if we wasn't."

"We should find out though, just in case."

Before Pintel realized what had happened, Ragetti vanished over the side with a yelp and a splash.

"Oi!" Pintel ran to the rail and peered over at the dark water. Ragetti was nowhere to be seen. And the lad couldn't swim.

Pintel reflexively went to remove his coat before remembering he couldn't swim either. Stupid!

"M-man overboard!"

"This is amazing, I didn't need to breathe or nothing," Ragetti said, no worse for wear and wringing the water out of his coat.

"It was bloody stupid," Pintel said.

"But we can't die. We're like gods now, ain't we? Look at this."

Pintel rubbed his bald head and turned to find Ragetti with a short sword in his hands.

"See?" he said, sliding the sword in and out of his ribs. "Oh! I am slain!" he gasped and made an elaborate show of dying while holding the sword up under his sternum, like an actor in a play. Only the sword really was between two of his ribs.

Watching Ragetti lying there like a corpse with one hand on the hilt of his sword so it wouldn't fall out, Pintel couldn't help bursting into laughter. He grabbed up the bottle of rum from where they'd left it. "Yeah, maybe 's not so bad." He took a swig. Bland. That might be a problem.

When he lowered the bottle, the laughter died in his throat.

Captain Barbossa was not amused in the slightest and as a skeleton, he seemed even more terrifying.

Ragetti leaped to his feet, letting the sword fall to the deck with a thunk.

Barbossa sized up the situation, the spilled rum, Ragetti's wet clothes, and snorted. "If ye have nothin' better to do, I suggest ye start swabbin'," he said and turned. "Idiots," he added as he walked away.

Pintel and Ragetti exchanged a glance, all joviality gone.

"It's not that fun," Ragetti said. "Not even in the water. It's actually really dark down there."

Pintel shrugged. "We'd better get a move on, you heard 'im and you don't want 'im to come back."

That was enough to get Ragetti moving and they both ran off, the rum and the sword and their games forgotten.

It was dark beneath the sea. And after a while, it was cold and it was painful. And after longer even than that, there was nothing at all.

For Bootstrap, it became no more than a dream. The crushing dark, the crowding silence. He was nothing more than an idea floating in a vast void with only the echoing thud thud thud of his heart though he didn't know whether it was even still beating or if he was hearing the memory of it.

There was a sudden rush of water around him, barely perceptible. But it was enough. He opened his eyes.

And drowned in the ghostly glow of the ship of the dead.