Every lonely boy dreams of Neverland. They traded stories of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys like baseball cards, and, in the orphanages of London, every boy wished to be a part of that family.
I was barely ten years old when I got my wish. It was just past midnight when I heard the faint tune of pipes float in through the open window. I opened my eyes and saw the figure of a boy sitting at the foot of the bed. He was playing a pipe made of reeds, and his bright eyes shone with mischief. I knew at once that this boy was Peter Pan.
When he saw that I was awake, he smiled and lowered his pipes.
“How would you like to come and join the Lost Boys?”
My heart pounded as I sat up. “But, why me?”
Pan grinned. “I like you, Jimmy, and I think you’ll be a nice addition to my family. Are you interested?”
He didn’t need to ask me twice. I had wished for this moment a hundred times, never once dreaming that it would come true. Now that it has, I wasn’t about to pass it up.
“Yes! Please, take me with you.”
Pan’s smile widened as he lifted the pipes to his lips and played a quick little jingle. Before the last note disappeared, a small light appeared and flitted around his head. It landed in his outstretched hand, which he then shook over my head. I sneezed as the pixie dust entered my nose, but that just made him smile more. Releasing the fairy from his grasp, he stood up and held out his hand.
“Take my hand, and I promise you a lifetime of adventures as one of my Lost Boys. Are you ready?”
There was a look in his eyes that did promise adventures, but there was something dark lurking just beneath. I felt it prickle along my spine, but I had nothing to lose. So, I took his hand, and we flew to Neverland.
Neverland was everything I had dreamt of and more. The fresh air was so much better than the London smog I grew up in, and the freedom from authority was both liberating and terrifying. We landed on a sandy beach surrounded by jungle, and Pan gave out a long whistle.
“Come on, Lost Boys! Come and meet your new brother!”
A group of boys quickly surrounded us on the beach and embraced me as one of their own. There were maybe thirty boys in various states of undress, and I noticed that some seemed older than others. The older ones took me under their wing and gave me a tour of the island, introducing me to the wonders of the island. That night, we bedded down inside a massive oak tree that had been hollowed out. Small candles lit the inside, and beds were an assortment of clothes, furs, and springy ferns. The air was heady with the smell of young boys, and I fell asleep in perfect contentment.
Finally, I had a real family to call my own.
Neverland was a wealth of adventure and opportunity. I swam with mermaids, cavorted with fairies, and listened to the natives. The Natives intrigued me the most, for their women were the only adults on the island. I loved to sit by the fire and listen to their wisdom, and it was through this interaction that I learned the truth about Neverland.
“Time is different here,” Grandmother Wolf once told me, “eighty years I’ve lived on this island; but, in my homeland, I’d be over four hundred years. That’s how Neverland works, and why you boys don’t age as quickly.”
I was fascinated. “How did your people come here, Grandmother?”
She stirred the fire before replying. “Stories say that a great storm blew our ancestors off course and marooned them on this island. After adjusting to the change, they made peace with their fate and lived in harmony for many generations. Then, Pan arrived.”
Grandmother wouldn’t tell me more, but I gathered from her expression that Pan was not someone they talked of lightly.
Later that evening, I told Grandmother’s story to the other boys, who listened with rapt attention because new stories were rare on the island. After the story, the other boys went off to play while I returned to my bed.
Why would the Natives be afraid of Pan? Was there something about him that I didn’t know?
I soon fell asleep and dreamt about my first meeting with Pan. Everything was the same, except that his shining eyes were full of darkness. His smile was also sharper than I’d remembered, and I awoke in a cold sweat as my spine began prickling again.
That dream was an omen of what darkness lay beyond the horizon.
This is a story I wrote last semester in fiction class. It’s large, so expect more parts coming soon!