Night Kiss Serial: Chapter Twenty
The Curse of Blackbeard’s Chalice
Tiny grains of sand still held the day’s warmth beneath her, gritty against her unclothed skin. Each granule massaged and clung to her moist body, titillating her every pore. Her senses heightened, every sensation was vibrant and new as the grains stung her backside. She didn’t care. She wanted to feel. She wanted to live life to its fullest.
Pulling Jack down over her once more, she captured his lips in a soft alluring kiss, wet and wild, like the ocean surf pounding just inches from them in the night mist. Her body was open, willing him into her core, plunging into her very center.
She arched, her back rising off the sand, her head thrown back. She moaned, long and low and throaty.
Jack steadied himself above her. Thrusting once more deeply within her, he then rolled both their bodies to the side and flipped her over on top of him, throwing small sprays of sand. She straddled his firm hips and muscled thighs, sheathed him in her moist velvet, and reveled in the incredible fullness she felt. This time Jack moaned and called out her name.
She answered by running her fingers and hands up his lean chest and swaying into him, running her tongue lightly over one firm pebbled nipple. Jack then pushed upward, forcing her forward, sending shivers of ecstasy up her spine and spilling over onto her breasts, which peaked and blushed upon the sensation.
His mouth took one breast and then the other, suckling, licking, pulling her into his mouth, his tongue lavishly making love to them, his mouth devouring her.
Suddenly, almost erratically, he reached up and pulled her closer by grasping either side of her sand-encrusted hair. His hands played over her face and down her neck to her chest and belly, the roughness of the sand nodules only spurring her desire and passion further than she ever anticipated.
She kissed him then, wild and wanton, her tongue mingling with his. Jack’s hands grasped her buttocks and pulled her closer as he thrust deep into her core. Tidal waters rose with their passion, taking them to higher heights.
Wave after wave crested and lapped over them until they merged and reunited not only their bodies, but also their lives, and their souls.
Claire feathered a touch down Jack’s thigh to his wound and then leaned over and placed a gentle kiss there. After swimming to shore, they’d run as fast and as far as they could from the pirate’s lair. She knew Jack’s leg was hurting.
They’d watched from the beach as Maynard’s ships had moved into place and had witnessed the battle from afar. The cannons rumbled and shouts broke through the morning quiet. She knew Blackbeard was dead, or would be soon. And for the first time in a while, she let her fears slip away.
“How’s your leg?”
“Umm…better now.” She fell into his embrace, cradled against his chest. While rubbing some of the sticking sand off her back, he whispered, “Why don’t we take an early morning bath in the ocean and rinse off this sand?”
She nodded and then they rose. Jack stood away from her as they stepped into the ocean and looked at her in the early sunrise. “You’re so beautiful, Hannah Claire. Golden hair shimmering. Green eyes flashing. Ivory skin, so soft and precious. Yet you let me make love to you like a…a heathen in the sand. Why? I’m sorry, I just couldn’t…I just needed to have you....”
She grinned, stepped forward and placed the palms of both hands on either of Jack’s hips. “Sometimes I like to be a heathen, Jack.”
He smiled, but then a frown crossed his face.
“What is it?”
He looked into the water swirling around their feet. When he brought his gaze back to hers, she knew he was troubled. “Jack …?”
“I want you to know that I know you aren’t her. I know the difference.”
“I know that.”
“I know you are a different person…and I know that you have your duties elsewhere.”
She shook her head and laid a finger on his lips. “Shhh. No, we’ll not talk of that this morning, Jack. I am here. This is where I want to be. And I don’t know if I’ll ever want to go back. Right now, I can’t bear to think about it. I don’t want to leave your side again. I missed you so much, Jack Porter, I don’t think I could do it.”
She could see he understood.
They dressed and began walking toward their cabin.
“Was it difficult for you while I was…gone?”
“The most difficult thing ever.” He stopped walking and turned to her. “I pushed you away that night, Hannah Claire. I am a stubborn man. I was so afraid of losing you I could not speak. When I saw you begin to step on that stone, every living thing in me nearly died. I thought I would die.”
“Oh, Jack. I never intended—”
“I know. I just could not bear seeing you at that stone, thinking you were going to leave and never come back. But now, I understand, and…”
She stilled beside him. Placed a hand on his forearm. “Jack, oh my God.”
“What is it?”
She didn’t say a word but simply pointed.
They were standing a hundred feet or so from the stone.
And they weren’t alone.
The stone’s pulse beat bright red against the near dawn. It throbbed and hummed on the breeze, drawing them closer. A lone figure, that of a man, stood silhouetted against the flashing colors.
Someone else had discovered the magic of their stone.
They moved closer. He sensed their presence and turned.
“Rick,” she whispered. “What are you doing?”
Rick snickered, the pulsation of the stone reflected in his greedy eyes.
Jack pulled her into his side. “What do you know of this man?” It was not a question of whether she did, or did not know him, it was of how. “It’s the other pirate from the ship.”
Her startled gaze meshed with his. “I… We…” It was barely more than a whisper.
He looked back to the stone, to Rick, and then to her. “How well do you know this man?” he urged.
No words came as she stood before him. How could she tell him? What would she say?
He turned her fully to him, his hands on her shoulders, shaking. “Tell me! How do you know this man?”
Defeated, she simply let it go. “He’s the man I was running from in the lighthouse. We…we were engaged to be married.”
The wind suddenly burst against them, whipping her hair and skirts and clothing about.
Jack stepped back.
She reached for him.
A spray of sand kicked up into her face.
Rick shouted. “It’s not over, Claire!” Her attention shifted. He picked up an object.
His words landed heavy on her chest. She looked again to Jack’s puzzled face and then at the object in Rick’s outstretched hand.
“Look at me, Claire!” he yelled over the wind.
“Claire, what is this man to you?” Jack demanded.
She turned, grasped his shirt at his chest and crumpled it in her hands. “Nothing! He’s nothing to me!”
Rick laughed. “She’s mine, you backwoods farmer! What the hell can you offer her on this lowly piece of shit sandbar?”
“Don’t listen to him,” she begged, searching Jack’s face. “He’s an evil man. I want to be here, with you, on this piece of shit sandbar!”
“Look at me, Claire! Look at what I have! I told you I would get it. Power. Riches. Mine. All mine. And yours if you want it.”
He held up his treasure—his firm grip tightened further on the severed head of Blackbeard, his fingers laced through the thick unruly mat of hair. The eyes closed, a gash ran the length of the pirate’s forehead, his tongue protruded from his mouth. Thick ribbons of congealed blood hung from the gaping neck wound.
“The skull,” she said aloud.
The silver chalice. Oh my God. What the hell kind of evil thing would Rick do with something like that?
In the next instant, Rick stepped on the stone.
She rushed forward. Jack pulled her back.
Swirling lights danced around him. Reds and oranges and yellows webbed as one color. The humming crescendoed to an ear-splitting pitch. As Rick smiled through the haze, she and Jack watched as Blackbeard’s head began a frantic spinning while hanging from his hand.
Finally it stopped, facing them.
The eyes opened, yellow and glaring. The tongue slipped back into place. Claire shivered as she registered the deep belly laugh she’d heard so many times before as it exited the disembodied head’s mouth. She clutched at Jack, her heart vaulting in her chest, tremors traveling the length of her spine, fear gripping at her stomach in waves. The wind still thrashed about them. Jack wrapped his arms protectively around her, both of them mesmerized by the happenings before them.
Then the thing spoke.
Very slowly at first, building to a roar that echoed across the beach and into the ocean itself.
“Be cursed, the two of ye! I place the loss of me head on your shoulders. Until me head is returned to my rightful time, yer love will be damned to reside in separate centuries! And may the curse rest with ye and yer offspring throughout eternity!”
And with that, Rick’s body disintegrated, the throbbing slowed, the lights flickered.
But the head of Blackbeard remained intact until the end, suspended, until the last bit of flesh and blood and tissue melted from it, leaving only the bare and sinister skull suspended in mid-air above the stone.
And then it, too, disappeared.