Her family exiled her.
Her friends betrayed her.
The ocean embraced her.

She glides through the frigid water with ease, all shark-smile mouth and long, pale limbs that seem to shift as they sway, maybe arms and legs one moment, maybe tentacles the next, maybe both. The waves whisper to her as they break against the moonlit shore and she replies with a bubbling giggle and a fluid gesture toward land. All around her sinuous body she feels the water respond, heaving and fluctuating as the waves gain momentum until their roaring breakers bury the beach and smash against the road beyond.

She surfaces, looks for her next target. Grins.

The lighthouse.

She is small and yet her tentacled limbs seem endless as they snake through the water and wrap themselves around the weathered tower. Fluid muscles tense and tug; old brick groans and cracks beneath the force. Then with a thunderous grinding the entire structure splinters and collapses, falling outwards into the water in a shower of stone and dust. She gleefully rides the resulting tidal wave as it overtakes the beach, then the road, and smashes into the little town beyond. She then rides the wave as it sucks back out to sea, weaving between thrashing bodies and tumbling debris.



They have forgotten much about her since she first came to the island. How she did not wash up on the beach, like so many others, but walked straight out of the waves like a queen from her throne. How when she arrived her hair had been so long it trailed on the ground, and she cut it only later when she took up ship and hook. How she told them what she was called, in other lands, but they gave her the name she bears now. How she had never been young, there on that island of perpetual youth, and thus had never truly belonged. How she had not needed the island – not its promises of friendship and family, safety and solace, redemption and rebirth – and therefore she saw through its glamours to the bare bones beneath. They have forgotten these things, and imagine her story to be like all the others’. Yet she needed no home, she wanted no king, and if any had asked the cards they would have foretold her arrival in crumbling towers and falling swords.


“Well, well, well… isn’t this a surprise. Hello, Alice. How nice of you to visit my little prison in the sub-sub-sub basement. I hope it wasn’t too far of a walk for you.”

“I don’t have time to swap antagonism wrapped in false pleasantries, Mage.”

“Funny, because I have all the time in the worlds.”

“This was a terrible idea. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You need my help, hmm?”


“Things must be bad, then, very bad. Who is it? Or what?”

“We don’t know yet. It leaves no useful evidence at the… scene. Just remains.”

“Ooh, a mystery. I’m intrigued.”

“This isn’t a game! People are dying–”


“–and you might be able to help. As nauseous as it makes me to say it. So… will you?”

“Quid pro quo, ‘Ah-leese’. You haven’t said what’s in this for me.”

“I guess it’s too much to hope you just feel like doing something good for a change?”

“Aww. That’s cute. No. This place is boring.”

“I can see about getting you some books, maybe–”

“I want a shark. With legs. I want a crocodile shark.”


“Just a regular shark?”

“No sharks!”

“What about just a crocodile, then, only it has a machine gun strapped to its–”

“Again, this was a terrible idea. What a waste of time. Have fun being alone in your prison.”

“Wait, wait. Fine, show me what you’ve got there and I’ll see if it’s interesting enough. We can talk trades later. I am pretty serious about the crocodile shark though.”

“I hate you so much.”



mad daughter of a hungry empire
loveless and lightning-souled
if darkness be your only companion
then let darkness be your crown

broken child of a tainted bloodline
motherless and fueled by rage
if fear and awe be your only shield
then let fear and awe be your blades


Hook didn’t listen to the ship. He saw only wood and canvas, not the wild spirit within. Thus during that final battle the ship broke beneath him and gave its skeleton up to the waves, a skilled horse lead by a headstrong but foolish rider. Yet it did not perish like its captain, only sank to the depths to sleep in sea salt. The ship remained slumbering until another rose it from its watery grave and bound its bones back together with silver and silence, replaced its torn sails with cloth of shadow, threaded its frayed ropes with cords of jetstream. This new captain understood the soul of a ship must be tended as much as its body and she fed that soul with gunpowder, blood, and freedom. Beneath her hands the ship shuddered awake and tasted the storm winds again.

Hook had taken no delight in the ship; it was merely a means of conveyance, a mobile weapon. She appreciates every nail and knot, though, knows every curve and edge, and so the ship responds in kind. Racing over the waves, they are one, horse and rider, and in battle the ship knows its dance without needing any instruction. It sails faster and fires harder than it ever did for its last captain. It is a wolf of water and air, darkness and speed. She delights in its strength and it delights in her hunger.

Hands on the polished rail, she closes her eyes and opens herself to the sounds of snapping sails, splashing waves, groaning wood and rope. She listens to the ship, feels it move beneath her and around her. She knows what final, fatal mistake Hook made. He didn’t listen to the ship. Riding into war, he trusted himself more than his steed. She will not make the same mistake.

She will not make any of his mistakes.


No one ever asks why the wicked queen craves a young girl’s heart or why the evil fairy would curse a baby. No one wonders what makes a man take up piracy or plot his brother’s death. The reasons don’t seem important, I guess. Certainly no one’s ever asked me mine. People like simple villains; villains they don’t have to question or understand beyond the surface of stereotypical evil. Vanity, greed, jealousy, pride, they think these things just spring from our hearts fully formed. Do they think we were never children? Do they think we never had friends, families, dreams? I’m not asking for pity – I couldn’t give a fuck about pity. The lack of logic is just irritating, that’s all. If you’re going to hear a story, don’t you want to be told the whole thing? Contrary to popular belief, we villains didn’t wake up one morning and decide to dedicate our lives to terror for no reason. No, the story starts way before the hero comes in; once upon a time really begins back with what drives someone to become the antagonist. And let me tell you, that story is much more interesting than the hero’s.