Full and Free PDF Download of Our Peter Pan – A contemporary tale of love and loss: A Modern Interpretation of a Classic Love Story (Written in Open Dyslexic Font – Helpful for those of us with wandering minds)
To the Reader—
Welcome to this modernized retelling of the timeless classic, Peter Pan. As we embark on this literary journey, we acknowledge the profound impact that the original story has had on countless generations. Its themes of adventure, imagination, and the eternal spirit of youth have captivated hearts and stirred the imagination for over a century.
In this new retelling, we seek to honor the essence of J.M. Barrie’s original work while infusing it with a contemporary lens. Just as Peter himself refuses to grow up, the story of Peter Pan has refused to fade into the annals of literary history. Instead, it has evolved, adapting to the changing times and capturing the hearts of new audiences.
Through the years, the character of Peter Pan has taken on different shades, resonating with diverse generations. We, the creators of this adaptation, have sought to recapture the magic that made Peter Pan an enduring tale, while adding our own unique twist. We hope to breathe new life into the beloved characters, exploring their complexities and motivations in a way that speaks to modern sensibilities.
While the core themes of adventure, friendship, and the yearning for eternal youth remain at the heart of this story, we invite you to embark on a fresh journey with us. Together, let us rediscover the wonder and enchantment of Neverland, as we witness the evolution of these beloved characters through a contemporary lens.
We hope that this modernized retelling of Peter Pan will inspire your imagination, ignite your sense of wonder, and remind you that the magic of childhood and the power of dreams are timeless treasures meant to be cherished.
So, dear reader, fasten your seatbelt, sprinkle a little fairy dust, and let us embark on this thrilling adventure to Neverland once again.
Yours in the spirit of eternal youth, Levi F. Barber
Childhood’s flower plucked, time’s swift train rolls, Mrs. Darling’s secrets, dreams it holds. Youth fades, desires in hidden veils, Wendy’s enchantment, her story unfolds.
All children, except one, grow up. They all learn that they will someday, or at least that was the case with Wendy. One day when she was six years old, she skipped through her parents’ garden, innocently plucking a flower. Her mother gasped in awe and admiration, crying out, “Oh, Wendy, if you could only remain like this forever!”
After that moment, Wendy realized her youth wouldn’t last forever. Six years old marked the threshold of a new chapter, where the inevitable march of time commenced, swift and relentless like a bustling train traversing a vibrant metropolis. The years seemed to whisk by, blurring into a whirlwind of experiences and growth, carrying Wendy further away from the carefree days of childhood.
Before Wendy came along, her beautiful mother was the center of attention. She had a dreamy quality about her, like a mysterious box from the Far East that always seemed to always have another secret hidden
inside. Her lips were always curled into a knowing smirk, as if she was holding a kiss that Wendy could never quite reach.
In her youth, Mrs. Darling garnered the admiration of many of her childhood companions that would then grow into suitors. Drawn to her radiant spirit and delightful arts and crafts, they’d eagerly declare their love and shower her with attention. Amidst this flurry of admirers, Wendy’s father, Mr. Darling stood out. A man of both caution and wit, he treaded carefully, revealing his affection through subtle gestures and tender moments to gradually capture her heart. On her wedding day, Mrs. Darling exuded a captivating glow as she walked down the aisle in her pristine white gown. Yet, while Mr. Darling thought he had won her over completely, the mystery remained.
In the early days of their marriage, Mrs. Darling assumed the role of the household orchestrator. Not a single detail escaped her meticulous attention, as she ensured that every aspect of their home was perfectly curated. From organizing shelves to arranging artwork, her keen eye for aesthetics transformed their house into a harmonious sanctuary. However, as time moved forward, her meticulous nature found new outlets, and she loosened the grip of perfectionism on their home, allowing for a more relaxed and lived-in atmosphere to take hold.
Mr. Darling took great pride in Wendy. He would often entertain her with tales of her mother’s deep affection and high regard for him. He was an astute financial analyst and would often utter phrases like “Stocks are soaring” and “Shares are plummeting,” while Wendy, although not particularly interested in stocks and shares, found herself captivated by her father’s passion for the subject.
But he did not just possess a selfish interest in the subject, for by the time Wendy entered the world, the Darlings grappled with concerns about how they would provide for their growing family. Sat perched on the edge of the bed, Mr. Darling held his wife’s hand, meticulously calculating every penny they possessed, deciding it was time to scale back on his multi-daily coffees, frequent golf outings, and extravagant travel plans, understanding that these lifestyle choices were no longer sustainable.
“Honey, do you think we could make some changes to our spending habits?”
“What did you have in mind?” returned Mrs. Darling.
Mr. Darling couldn’t think of any way to tell Mrs. Darling that he wanted her to quit spending their money on her arts and crafts, so he didn’t say anything.
“We’ve got this, George!” Mrs. Darling exclaimed with an infectious joy.
When Wendy’s little brothers John and Michael came, similar conversations convened. And even though there was always an initial wave of conviction to keep
on budget, slowly the determination always eroded, and spending continued to increase. With “shares down and stocks down,” Mrs. Darling soon realized that it would be necessary for her to work, and a nanny would be hired to take care of the children during the day.
Mr. Darling was hesitant to bring a stranger into their home. He had heard stories of nannies who were mean or indifferent. But Mrs. Darling assured him that she had done her research, and that she had found a nanny who was kind, gentle, and experienced. She also pointed out that though the nanny was only there to help, and that they would still be raising their own children.
The Nanny’s name was Nana and she was a six-year- old Newfoundland dog.
Nana proved to be quite an excellent nanny: meticulous at bath time, and quick to respond if one of the children stirred during the night. Her kennel was positioned in the nursery, and she quickly realized when it was necessary to wrap a child in blankets or give them cough syrup for a nasty cold. She stood by her traditional remedies of rhubarb leaf and expressed disdain for the modern talk about germs. She escorted the kids to school, walking alongside them and shepherded them back into line whenever they strayed off track.
On the days John had a football game, she never forgot his sweater and always carried an umbrella with her in case it rained.
No nursery could have been managed better than this one; Mr. Darling himself admitted it– yet deep down he still fretted over what neighbors would say about their situation.
Nana also troubled him in another way. He sometimes had a feeling that she did not like him. Mrs. Darling would reassure him that she was very fond of him and then would encourage the children to show extra love towards their father. The entire family would then dance around, and Mrs. Darling would get so carried away that all you could see of her was an occasional kiss, which if someone had acted quickly enough, they could have caught.
There had never been a happier family before Peter Pan arrived.
Mrs. Darling tended thoughts, a nightly chore, Peter’s name, new and unknown before. Dreams and wonders intertwined, secrets stored, A child’s mind, a map, a vibrant world to explore.
As Mrs. Darling prepared to settle her children’s thoughts for the night, she was introduced to the name Peter for the very first time. Like any caring mother, she had her own nightly ritual of tending to her children’s minds, gently organizing their scattered thoughts and nudging misplaced notions back into place. If one could manage to stay awake just a little longer, they would witness the dedication with which their mother embraced this important task.
Little did Mrs. Darling know that in the realm of dreams and moonlit adventures, the name Peter would soon weave its way into the fabric of her children’s lives, forever changing the course of their journey. A tale of love and wonder was about to unfold, written in the stars and whispered in the gentlest of breezes. But for now, in the warmth of their cozy bedrooms, Mrs. Darling’s loving touch would guide her children into a peaceful slumber, where dreams and reality intertwined, waiting to reveal their secrets.
I don’t know whether you have ever seen a map of a person’s mind. Doctors may draw maps of other parts of the body, but they often shy away from mapping out a child’s brain, as it is a tangled web of confusion. These Neverlands are also more or less an island, though it varies day to day, like a temperature chart, with twists and turns, complete with vibrant colors, shipwrecks, savages, unknown creatures, and secret tunnels. Everything changes so quickly that it can be hard to keep track of it all.
Then add school, religion, parents, ponds, sewing projects, mysteries, punishments, grammar lessons, favorite to the mix, and you have the makings of a unique world.
The Neverlands were so different for each child. It was on these magical shores that children never tired of play. We’ve all been there before and sometimes you can still hear the sound of the surf even though we can’t quite place it.
Of all islands out there, Neverland is probably the coziest — not too big and sprawling with the need to travel miles between each adventure. When you’re playing during the day it may not seem to be real but two minutes before falling asleep its reality will take over. That is why night lights exist.
Occasionally in her travels through her children’s minds, Mrs. Darling found things she could not understand, the strangest of all being the name: Peter. It was everywhere in John and Michael’s thoughts, and Wendy was even more obsessed with it than they were.
“Yeah, he can be quite cocky,” Wendy admitted sheepishly after her mother asked who this Peter character was.
“But who is he, sweetheart?” Mrs. Darling asked.
“Mom, he’s Peter Pan.” Wendy rolled her eyes.
Mrs. Darling had a faint recollection of Peter from her childhood; stories about him travelling with kids when they passed away to make sure they didn’t have to go alone. But now that she was an adult, those tales seemed too far-fetched to be true.
She believed in him back then, but now that she was married and mature, she seriously doubted whether he even existed.
“Plus,” she said to Wendy, “he’d be all grown up by now.”
“No way! He’s still the same size as me,” replied Wendy with certainty, although she wasn’t quite sure how she knew it, she just did.
Mrs. Darling asked Mr. Darling what he thought, but he shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Let me tell you something,” he said, “your Nana’s been putting silly ideas into their heads. It’ll pass soon enough if you stop talking about it.”
But it would not blow over.
Mrs. Darling stared, perplexed by some leaves on the nursery floor that hadn’t been there when the children went to bed.
Wendy offered a knowing smile. “I bet it’s Peter again! He never wipes his feet when he comes.”
She explained that she believed Peter sometimes came in the night and sat at the foot of her bed and told her stories of Neverland.
Unfortunately, she never woke up, so she couldn’t explain how she knew…she just did.
“This is nonsense,” Mrs. Darling said in disbelief. “No one can reach the window from outside.”
“But I saw him, mom,” Wendy replied with conviction. “Leaves were scattered at the foot of the window, remember?”
Mrs. Darling thought for a moment, then crawled around the floor looking for any sign of an intruder or unfamiliar marks. She lowered a measuring tape out of the window to check if anyone could manage to climb up; it was a 30-foot drop without anything to hold on to.
Certainly, Wendy had been dreaming. But, on the other hand there were still those leaves…
A Kiss to Build a Dream on
They soon realized it was no dream. The extraordinary events were set to unfold that very night. After the boys finished their baths, Mrs. Darling found herself in the nursery, engrossed in her phone. As she scrolled through the endless content, her gaze would occasionally shift to the sleeping figures of Wendy and Michael across the room, with John close by. Thoughts of Wendy stirred within her, leading her to quietly whisper her emotions.
O Wendy, dear, how time does swiftly flee, From nursery play to woman grown, I see. In your eyes, a world of wonders shine,
A spirit wild, a heart that’s truly thine.
Fly forth, embrace the unknown’s grand display, Yet know in my heart, you’ll forever stay near, A part of me, in Neverland, my dear.
As the words completed, Mrs. Darling quietly drifted off to sleep and slipped into a dream. A place where Neverland was all too close and a peculiar boy broke through the veil. He didn’t alarm her; he was familiar like the faces of countless women she’d seen before.
Women who had no children. Maybe his face could be found etched on some mothers’ countenance. In the dream, he ripped apart the curtain that hid Neverland from view, revealing Wendy, John, and Michael looking in.
It would have been just the remnants of a dream if it hadn’t been for the nursery window blowing open. Suddenly a boy dropped onto the floor with a strange light that was no bigger than a fist, darting about like a living creature. I believe it was this light that roused Mrs. Darling from her slumber.
She jolted awake with a scream and spotted the boy standing there, knowing instantly that he was Peter Pan. If you or I or Wendy had been there, they would have noticed that he looked very much like Mrs. Darling’s kiss. He was beautiful – decked out in skeleton leaves and tree sap– but what captivated her most was that he had all his first teeth. When Peter saw that Mrs. Darling was grown up, he clicked those little teeth at her menacingly.
Unbeknownst to them, a world of enchantment awaited just beyond the veil of their ordinary lives.
Mrs. Darling screamed in shock as Nana suddenly stepped back through the door. The old dog barked fiercely and lunged at a figure near the window – the boy! He nimbly leapt out of sight, and Mrs. Darling immediately ran out to search for his small body in the street below. But it was futile – all she could see in the midnight sky was a solitary shooting star.
Returning to the nursery, she saw Nana had something clutched in her jaws – it turned out to be the boy’s shadow! As he escaped the window, Nana had slammed it shut – too late to catch him, but quick enough to clip off part of his shadow.
Nana knew exactly what to do with the mysterious shadow. She hung it out of the window, in hopes that its owner would come back to get it without interrupting the children.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Darling couldn’t keep the shadow there; it would look too similar to the washing and drag down their home’s aesthetic. She almost showed it to Mr. Darling, but he had his hands full trying to
count winter coats for John and Michael, a wet towel wrapped around his head to keep him focused. And she knew precisely what he’d say: “It all comes from having a dog as a nanny.”
Instead, she rolled up the shadow and put it away safely in a drawer until she could tell her husband at an appropriate time. How unfortunate that that time came the very next week, on that fateful Friday—of course, it had to be a Friday. Afterwards, Mrs. Darling always said: “I should have been extra careful on a Friday.” Her husband disagreed, taking complete responsibility with a solemn “Mea culpa, mea culpa”.
They spent night after night recounting what had happened on that dreadful Friday, the memories were forever engrained in their minds.
“If only I hadn’t accepted that invitation for dinner” Mrs. Darling lamented.
Nana’s bark filled the void of the empty nursery, a chorus to each sorrowful lament- “It’s true, it’s true – We shouldn’t have employed a dog as a nanny!” Mr. Darling wiped away his tears with his handkerchief.
Mrs. Darling wasn’t one for verbal outbursts; instead a grimace tugged at the corner of her lips preventing her from lashing out and blaming Peter Pan.
The family sat there, recounting in detail the events of that fateful night; it had started off so mundanely, like any other evening – Nana carrying Michael to his bathtub on her back.
“I won’t go to bed”, he whined defiantly, “It isn’t even six o’clock yet! I won’t love you anymore if you make me take a bath Nana!”.
Mrs. Darling had come into the nursery, decked in a white evening gown and jewelry from her husband to see what the fuss was about.
“I guess I must have burst in like a tornado, huh?” Mr. Darling chimed in.
Maybe there was an excuse for him. He had been prepping for the party and was unable to properly tie his tie. It’s hard to believe, but this guy who understood stocks and shares couldn’t master his own necktie. Sometimes it complied without a fight, however there were instances when it would have been more prudent to buy a ready-made one.
This happened to be one of those times. He stormed into the nursery with the crumpled tie in hand.
“What now, Dad?”
“What now!?” he hollered in rage, “This blasted tie won’t cooperate! I can make it work around the bedpost twenty times over, but when I try it around my neck? It slithers!”
He thought Mrs. Darling didn’t appreciate the situation enough so he went on sternly, “I’m warning you mother, if I cannot get this knot round my neck we won’t leave for dinner tonight, and if I don’t go out to dinner tonight I’ll never make it back to the office again, which will lead us all down starvation alley and our kids into the streets.”
“Let me help,” Mrs. Darling said calmly, and he silently nodded in agreement. With her delicate hands she tied his tie just right as the kids watched their parents eagerly. Some men would’ve been embarrassed by her adeptness, but Mr. Darling was too kind to be mad. He thanked her before going off to dance around the room with Michael on his back.
“We had such raging fun!” Mrs. Darling recalled fondly. “Our last party together,” Mr. Darling sighed.
“Oh, George, I still remember the day Michael asked me, Mom, how did you and Dad meet?”
“I do too, darling.”
“Weren’t those days just so precious, sweetheart?”
“They were ours, and now they are gone. We will never forget them.”
Mrs. Darling tucked the kids into bed without a word. Nana’s angry barking rang from outside, and John quietly suggested it was because she was being chained up in the yard. But Wendy was more aware– “That isn’t Nana’s distressed bark,” she mumbled, not knowing what was about to go down. “It’s her bark when she smells danger. Danger!”
Michael was half asleep now but could tell his mom was scared. He asked, “Can anything hurt us when the night-lights are on?” he asked.
“Nothing can touch you,” she said softly. “They’re like a mother’s eyes watching over her children.”
She kissed each of them and sang soft lullabies before turning off the lights. As she left Michael’s room he whispered, “I’m glad I have you, Mom.”
Those were the last words she heard from her children.
Peter’s thoughts took flight, untamed and free, Shadow eluded, a dance of mystery.
In restless pursuit, their destiny they’d see.
For a moment after the Darlings left, the nightlights near the three children’s beds burned brightly. They were awfully nice little night-lights, and one cannot help wishing that they could have kept awake to see Peter. But Wendy’s light blinked, followed by yawns from the other two, until all three went out.
Then a new source of illumination filled the room, much brighter than the night-lights could ever be. In an instant, it had rummaged through all the drawers and upturned every pocket. A fairy no larger than your hand lit up the space so quickly it caused a blur of light. Her name was Tinker Bell, clad in a skeleton leaf dress fit to show off her lovely hourglass figure.
“Tink,” Peter whispered quietly, being sure not to wake any of the sleeping children. “Where are you?” He found her inside a jug, a place she had never been before but one which she enjoyed immensely. “Please come out of the jug and tell me, do you know where they put my shadow?”
Peter heard the most beautiful sound like golden bells filling the air. It was fairy language, something only certain children can hear but if you were to hear it you would know that you had heart it once before.
Tink said the shadow was in the big box, referring to the chest of drawers. Peter lunged towards it and threw its contents everywhere with both hands. Soon he had recovered his shadow and in his euphoria he didn’t realize he had locked Tinker Bell inside the drawer.
If Peter thought at all — and I don’t believe he ever thought, he just lived — but, if he did think, he thought that when he was near his shadow, when brought together, that they would join like drops of water. But, when they didn’t join, he got nervous. He tried to stick it on with soap from the bathroom, but that also failed.
A shudder passed through Peter, and he sat on the floor and cried.
The noise stirred Wendy awake, she looked at Peter on the nursery floor crying and wasn’t threatened by the sight of a stranger, just curious.
“Boy,” she said courteously, “why are you crying?”
Peter could be exceeding polite also, having learned the grand manner at fairy ceremonies, and he rose and bowed to her beautifully. She was flattered and bowed back from the bed.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Wendy Moira Angela Darling,” she replied with some satisfaction. “What is your name?”
She was already sure that he must be Peter, but it did seem like he had a short name.
“Is that all?”
“Yes,” he said rather sharply. He felt for the first time a little embarrassed by his short name.
“I’m so sorry,” said Wendy Moira Angela.
“It doesn’t matter,” Peter gulped.
She asked where he lived.
“Second to the right,” said Peter, “and then straight on till morning.”
“What a funny address!”
Peter felt a sinking feeling and for the first time he felt that perhaps it was a funny address.
“No, it isn’t,” he said.
“I mean,” Wendy said nicely, remembering that she was hostess, “is that what they put on the letters?”
He wished she had not mentioned letters. “Don’t get any letters,” he said dismissingly.
“But your mother gets letters?”
“Don’t have a mother,” he said. Not only did he have no mother, but he didn’t have the slightest desire to have one. He thought them very overrated. Wendy, however, felt at once that she was in the presence of a tragedy.
“O Peter, no wonder you were crying,” she said, and got out of bed and ran to him.
“I wasn’t crying about mothers,” he said rather indignantly. “I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn’t crying.”
“It has come off?”
Then Wendy spotted the ragged shadow on the floor and felt so sorry for Peter. “That’s dreadful!” she said, a slight smirk playing on her lips as she noticed he had tried to glue it on with soap. How very typical of a boy!
She knew what to do immediately. “It must be sewn on,” she said, her tone slightly condescending.
“What does sew mean?” he asked.
“You’re really quite ignorant,” she replied.
“No, I’m not!” he protested.
Though Wendy thought his lack of knowledge was quite amusing, she decided to help him out. “Let me do it for you, little man,” she said, though he was nearly her height. She got out her sewing kit and stitched the shadow onto Peter’s foot.
“I’m afraid that might hurt a bit,” she warned, yet Peter remained resolute – he had never cried before and wasn’t about to start now! Sure enough, after Wendy finished with her needlecrafts, his shadow stuck perfectly, albeit creased in places.
“I should’ve ironed it first,” Wendy mused quietly.
However, Peter failed to make this connection and was already leaping around ecstatically. Sadly, he’d completely forgotten that Wendy made his joy possible. He proudly took the credit for himself: “How smart I am! Oh wow – the brilliance of me!”
It is humiliating to confess that this conceit of Peter was one of his most fascinating qualities. To put it with brutal frankness, there never was a cockier boy.
But for the moment Wendy was taken aback. “You
dare,” she said scathingly; “of course I did nothing!”
“You did something,” Peter replied nonchalantly, and kept on dancing.
“Something!” she retorted haughtily; “if I’m of no use I may as well leave.” She jumped into bed in an indignant fashion before burying her face in the blankets.
Attempting to make her look up, he pretended to walk away and when this failed he sat on the bed’s edge and gave her a gentle tap with his foot. “Wendy,” he said, “don’t go. Can’t help feeling victorious, Wendy, when things turn out alright.” Still she wouldn’t raise her head, although she was listening attentively. “Wendy,” he went on, in a tone that no woman can ever resist, “Wendy, one girl is more effective than twenty boys.”
Now Wendy peeked out from beneath the covers. “Do you really think so, Peter?”
“Yes, I do.”
“You’re so sweet,” she said, as she got out of bed and joined him. She offered to give him a kiss, but Peter had no idea what she meant and he held out his hand
“Surely you know what a kiss is?” she asked, a little surprised.
“I’ll only know when you show me,” he replied curtly. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, she gave him a thimble.
“Now can I give you one?” He asked.
Slightly embarrassed, she nodded and moved her cheek closer to him, but he merely placed an acorn button in her hand. She raised her head again and told him that she’d keep this ‘kiss’ on a necklace, which would turn out to be quite useful later.
In modern times, people ask each other their age when they are introduced. Wendy, not wanting to be rude, asked Peter how old he was. Peter didn’t seem too pleased with the question, but Wendy wanted to stay polite.
“I don’t know,” he replied uneasily, “but I am quite young.” He really knew nothing about it, he merely had suspicions. “I ran away when I was young.”
Wendy was quite surprised, but interested. She motioned towards her nightdress to signify it’d be okay for him to come a little closer.
He spoke in a muffled tone. “I heard my parents talking about what I’m supposed to do when I become an adult.” His words came out rushed and tense. “I don’t ever want to grow up. I want to keep enjoying life as a kid, so I ran away and have lived with the fairies for a long long time.”
She gave him a look of the most intense admiration, and he thought it was because he had run away, but it was really because he knew fairies. Wendy had spent so much time inside, kind of sheltered, that any knowledge of these magical creatures captivated her. She had a million questions she wanted to ask him, but he had grown used to having fairies around him. Nonetheless, he still enjoyed her attention and told her all about how the story of fairies.
“You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
Laughable conversation this was turning into, but leaning into the possibilities, Wendy listened with enthusiasm.
“And that’s why,” he went on, “there should be a
fairy for every kid out there.”
“Should be? Isn’t there?”
“No. You see kids learn so much these days about sensations and beliefs and superstition and rationalities, they stop believing in magical beings, and any time a child says, ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ a fairy somewhere drops dead.”
Really, he was starting to feel they’d talked enough about fairies, and it occurred to him that Tinker Bell had gone silent. “I wonder where she disappeared to,” he said, standing up and calling out her name. Wendy felt a sudden surge of excitement in her chest.
“Peter!” she exclaimed, grabbing his arm. “You don’t mean there’s an actual fairy in this room?!”
“She was just here,” he said urgently. “You don’t hear her, do you?” and they both focused all their attention.
“The only sound I can make out,” Wendy said, “is like a chime of bells.”
“Ahh, that’s Tink. That’s the language of the fairies. I think I heard it too!”
The noise seemed to be coming from the dresser and Peter grinned cheerfully. No one looked as happy as Peter did, and his laughter was an absolute joy to hear. He was still capable of laughing innocently. “Wendy,” he chuckled happily, “I’m pretty sure I locked her up in there!”
He opened the drawer and released Tink, who flew around the nursery roaring in outrage. “That’s not cool,” Peter retorted. “Sure, I’m sorry, but how was I supposed to know you were in there?”
Wendy wasn’t paying attention to him. “Oh Peter,” she exclaimed, “if only she would stop moving so I could get a good look at her!”
“They’re never still for long,” he said. But for an instant Wendy was able to make out Tink’s figure perched atop the cuckoo clock. “She’s beautiful!” Wendy shouted, even though Tink’s face was twisted with rage.
“Tink,” said Peter amiably, “this lady says she wishes you were her fairy.”
Tinker Bell answered rudely. “What does she say, Peter?”
He had to translate even though he didn’t want to.
“She is not very polite. She says you are a silly ass.”
Both Wendy and Peter enjoyed a nice laugh about that and Tink disappeared into the bathroom.
Wendy sat with Peter, and she bombarded him with questions.
“So where do you normally hang out?” “I mostly live with the lost boys now.”
“Who are they?” Wendy asked, her eyes scanning the darkness from the window in the distance.
Peter shrugged. “They are like me,” he said.
Wendy looked at him in surprise. “What do you mean?”
Peter turned his gaze to the window again. They were walking in circles, aimlessly, as if they had no sense of direction or purpose. “I was one of those boys,” he said softly. “I left home, and I’ve been wandering ever since. I’m not sure why I came here, but I think this might be the home I was looking for.”
Wendy frowned. “But why are they here? What are they looking for?”
Peter shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said. “They all have different stories, I’m sure. I think some of them are just trying to escape the world they left behind. Some may have been hurt in the past or searching for something they couldn’t find. Others may just be looking for something new, something that can make them feel alive.”
Wendy’s heart felt something.
Peter continued, “I think it’s important for them to find a place where they can belong, where they can be themselves. A place where they can express themselves without judgment or fear of ridicule.”
Wendy nodded in understanding. “That sounds like a wonderful thing,” she murmured.
Peter smiled. “It is. Maybe that’s why I’m here. He looked out of the window, his eyes distant and thoughtful. “It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it in the end. We can all find a place we can call home, if we just keep looking.”
Wendy smiled. She was beginning to understand Peter’s purpose in Neverland. He’d come to help these boys find their way, to lead them to the home. She felt a deep admiration for him, and she knew she wanted to help, too. “I want to help,” she said firmly.
Peter smiled at her. “I know you do,” he said. “And you may.” He put a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You can help them find their home, Wendy. You can show them that they do belong.”
In Wendy’s trembling voice, curiosity stirred, Peter’s mischievous grin, an adventure offered.
“Where are you going?” Wendy asked, her voice wavering with trepidation.
Peter’s eyes lit up with excitement as he answered with a mischievous grin, “Why Wendy, I’m going on an adventure! Care to join me?”
Wendy hesitated for a moment, tempted by the thought of an unknown journey with this mysterious boy. She had heard stories of fantastical creatures and distant lands, and here was an opportunity to see it all for herself.
Despite her fear of the unknown, she couldn’t help but be intrigued. “What kind of adventure?”
“Oh, the best kind,” Peter replied, his voice quiet and full of promise. “A voyage to the stars, full of stories and mermaids. Imagine flying under the stars, the wind in your hair, the salty sea air on your face, and the horizon in the distance. We could seek out ancient ruins and discover long lost civilizations. Anything is possible with a little courage and a good imagination.”
Wendyfeltherheartswellwithanticipationandcourage, and in that moment she knew her answer. “Yes,” she said. “Let’s go! But what about Michael and John?”
“They will come too!” “But we can’t fly”
“Yes, you can,” said Peter. “You just don’t believe that you can.”
And with that, under the moonlit sky, Peter Pan took on the role of their fearless mentor, eager to teach them the ancient art of flight. With unwavering patience and a mischievous sparkle in his eyes, he shared the secrets of soaring through the air. He taught them to let go of their doubts, to trust in the magic of their dreams, and to embrace the childlike wonder that resided within them.
As Wendy, John, and Michael embarked on their individual attempts to fly, Wendy and Michael seemed to catch on quickly, effortlessly gliding through the air. However, John struggled immensely, stumbling time after time and unable to find his footing in the realm of flight. Frustration and self-doubt began to consume him, leading him to question his abilities and consider giving up on the dream of soaring through the skies. Despite Wendy and Michael’s encouragement and support, John’s relentless failures took a toll on his spirit, and he found himself on the verge of surrendering to his limitations.
Understanding John’s struggles and recognizing the weight of his doubts, Peter took a different approach. Instead of urging John to ignore his doubts, he encouraged him to confront them directly. Peter advised John to listen to his doubts attentively and ask himself if they held any truth. If they held truth, acknowledge it and change your belief. Release yourself of the weight of expectation and certainty and be free.
With each encouraging word and gentle push, Peter guided John and the others to find their wings and harness the power of their imagination. He showed them how to ride the invisible currents of the wind, to dance among the stars, and to believe in the extraordinary. Through Peter’s guidance, they discovered a newfound sense of freedom and exhilaration as they soared higher and higher, leaving behind the weight of their troubles and embracing the boundless possibilities of the sky. Together, they experienced the sheer joy of floating, flying, their laughter mingling with the wind as they became masters of flight.
And with that, Peter, Wendy, Michael and John began their journey together. They made their way out of Wendy’s bedroom window, and soon they were soaring through the night sky, the stars twinkling above them like silver dust.
The air was cold and filled with a sense of adventure. Wendy’s hair billowed behind her as they flew, and the breeze felt like a thousand tiny fingers gently caressing her skin.
They flew over cities and forests, passing by a magical kingdom that was lit up with a thousand twinkling lights. Wendy marveled at the beauty of it all, the colors and the shapes, and a feeling of awe and wonder filled her heart.
Eventually they made it to the shoreline, and Wendy’s eyes widened as she saw the glimmering reflection of the moonlight dancing off of the waves. Peter pointed out a grotto nestled amidst the rocks, and they flew towards it.
Inside, they found a small boat, just big enough for four. Peter helped them aboard, and soon they were setting sail, the night breeze carrying them further and further away from the safety and comfort of home.
Wendy looked out across the endless water, the sea alive with the sound of ocean waves and singing mermaids. She knew that they were entering a world full of danger, but the thought filled her with a strange exhilaration. She had never felt so alive.
As the night wore on, the stars shone brighter and brighter in the sky, and Wendy’s sense of adventurous excitement grew. She was on the edge of something new, and she couldn’t wait to see what the future would bring.
Having returned from their party and hearing the commotion upstairs, Mr. and Mrs. Darling rushed into the nursery. But they were too late.
The birds were flown.
Eternal dance of fleeting moments, entwined in endless skies.
“Second to the right, and straight on till morning.” That’s what Peter had told Wendy, the modern way to reach Neverland. However, those directions were as confusing as trying to navigate with birds using GPS. Peter had a tendency to make things up as he went along.
Initially, Wendy and the others placed unwavering trust in Peter’s words. The sheer joy of flying led them to indulge in playful detours, circling around tall buildings and structures that caught their fancy.
John and Michael engaged in races, with Michael always having a head start. They couldn’t help but scoff at their earlier sense of accomplishment when they could only manage to fly around a room.
But as they flew over the vast expanse of the sea, Wendy’s mind began to question the passage of time. How long had it been since they embarked on this journey? It felt like they had already encountered multiple bodies of water and spent several nights in the air. A lifetime of flight felt like a moment, lost in the pleasure of presence.
Sometimes the skies turned dark, sometimes bright, and the temperature fluctuated between bone-chilling cold and uncomfortably warm. They occasionally felt hunger, or perhaps they simply pretended to be hungry because Peter had devised a peculiar method of feeding them. He would chase after birds that carried food suitable for humans in their beaks, snatching it away. Then, the birds would pursue Peter, snatching it back in a playful chase that continued for miles. Eventually, they would part ways with friendly gestures. Wendy couldn’t help but feel a gentle concern, as Peter seemed unaware that this was an unconventional way of obtaining sustenance, not to mention the existence of alternative methods.
Naturally, exhaustion caught up with them, and their drowsiness posed a danger. The moment they dozed off, they plummeted downwards. The troubling part was that Peter found this amusing, finding humor in their sudden falls.
“There he goes again!” the cry of delight would escape from their lips as Michael plummeted towards the ground like a stone.
“Save him, save him!” Wendy cried out, her eyes filled with horror as she glanced at the merciless expanse of the sea far below. Eventually, Peter would swoop through the air, catching Michael just moments before he would crash into the water. It was a beautiful sight, the way Peter executed the rescue with such grace. However, he always waited until the very last moment, reveling in his own cleverness rather than genuinely caring about preserving human life. Peter’s fondness for variety meant that he could quickly lose interest in a particular game or sport, leaving the unsettling possibility that the next time someone fell, he might just let them go.
Peter possessed the remarkable ability to sleep while suspended in the air, effortlessly floating on his back. This was partly due to his lightness, so much so that if someone positioned themselves behind him and blew, he would accelerate even faster.
In Peter’s fleeting absence, lonely skies embrace, Lost in adventures beyond their mortal trace, Uncertain paths unfold, as they search for grace, Caught between longing and the fear
of infinite space.
Peter flew so much faster than they did that he would suddenly disappear from view, embarking on adventures in which they had no part. He would return laughing, having shared something incredibly amusing with a star, but he had already forgotten what it was. Other times, he would emerge with mermaid scales clinging to him, unable to recount with certainty what had taken place.
Peter’s momentary absence left them feeling rather lonely up in the sky. Michael suggested going back, but Wendy countered, stating that they wouldn’t know how to find their way without him. John proposed continuing forward, but Wendy expressed her concern, realizing that they hadn’t learned how to stop.
It was true, Peter had forgotten to teach them how to halt their flight. John assured them that if all else failed, they could simply continue in a straight line since the world was round, eventually circling back to their own window.
“And if he forgets us so easily,” Wendy argued, “how
can we expect him to guide us through Neverland?”
Indeed, sometimes when he returned, he didn’t remember them well, if at all. Wendy was certain of it. She saw recognition flicker in his eyes as he was about to greet them and move on. Once, she even had to remind him of her name.
“I’m Wendy,” she said anxiously.
He felt remorseful. “Oh, Wendy,” he whispered, “if you see me forgetting you, just keep saying ‘I’m Wendy,’ and I’ll remember.”
With trepidation they drew closer to Neverland. After countless nights and days, they at last closed in on their long-awaited destination. It wasn’t solely Peter or Tinker Bell’s guidance that brought them there; there was a remarkable sense that the island itself was reaching out for their presence. It was as if Neverland was calling out to them, drawing them closer with an irresistible allure. Such extraordinary circumstances granted them a fleeting glimpse of those enchanting shores, where magic and wonder awaited their arrival.
“There it is,” said Peter calmly.
An iron hook for a hand
They had been flying apart, but now they huddled closely around Peter. His carefree demeanor had vanished, replaced by a sparkling intensity in his eyes. A tingling sensation coursed through them whenever they touched his body. They found themselves soaring above the menacing island, flying at such a low altitude that trees occasionally brushed against their feet. Although there was no visible danger in the air, their progress became slow and arduous, as if they were pushing through hostile forces. Sometimes they remained suspended in the air until Peter fiercely pounded his fists against an unseen barrier.
“They don’t want us to land,” he explained.
“Who are they?” Wendy whispered, shuddering.
But he either could not or would not say. Peter awakened Tinker Bell, who had been asleep on his shoulder, and sent her ahead of them.
At times, Peter would hover in the air, listening intently with his hand to his ear, while other times he would peer down with such bright eyes that it seemed as if he could bore holes into the earth. After performing
these actions, he would resume their journey.
His courage was nearly terrifying. “Would you like an adventure now?” he casually asked John, “Or would you prefer to just go to sleep?”
Wendy quickly interjected, “Go to sleep,” and Michael squeezed her hand gratefully. However, the bolder John hesitated.
“What kind of adventure?” he asked cautiously.
“There’s a napping pirate just beneath us in the pampas,” Peter informed him. “If you’d like, we can descend and kill him.”
“I don’t see him,” John said after a long pause.
“But I do.”
“What if he wakes up?” John asked, his voice trembling.
Peter spoke indignantly. “You don’t think I would kill him while he’s sleeping! I would wake him up first, and then kill him. That’s how I always do it.”
“I say! Do you kill many?”
“Loads of them.”
John exclaimed, “How exciting!” but ultimately, he also decided to have tea first. He asked if there were many pirates on the island presently, to which Peter replied that he had never seen so many.
“Who is the captain now?”
“Hook,” Peter answered, his face turning stern as he uttered that detested name.
At that moment, Michael burst into tears, and even John could only speak in choked words, for they knew of Hook’s reputation.
“He was Blackbeard’s boatswain,” John whispered hoarsely. “He’s the worst of them all. He’s the only man Barbecue was afraid of.”
“That’s him,” said Peter.
“What is he like? Is he big?”
“He’s not as big as he used to be.”
“He has an iron hook in place of his right hand, and
“What do you mean?”
“I chopped off a piece of him.”
“Yes, me,” Peter replied sharply.
“I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.”
“Oh, it’s alright.”
“But, say, what piece did you chop off?” “His right hand.”
“So he can’t fight now?”
“Oh, but he can!”
“Is he left-handed?”
he claws with it.” “Claws!”
“I say, John,” Peter called.
“Say, ‘Aye, aye, sir.’” “Aye, aye, sir.”
“There’s one thing,” Peter continued, “that every boy who serves under me must promise, and you must promise too.”
John turned pale. “What is it?”
“If we encounter Hook in open combat, you must leave him to me.”
“I promise,” John said loyally.
In an island’s dance, players roam with different stance, Lost boys chase Peter, pirates pursue their toy, Indigenous people hunt the pirate’s ploy, And animals guard, a delicate balance in
Feeling that Peter was on his way back, the Neverland had again woke into life. And of course, we should employ the past perfect tense and say “wakened,” but oh, isn’t “woke” just so much better? It’s the term Peter always used, after all. How delightfully trendy, and linguistically accurate!
In his absence things are usually quiet on the island. The fairies take their sweet time waking up in the morning, the animals attend to their little ones, the indigenous folks enjoy a hearty feast for six days and nights, and when the pirates and lost boys come across each other, they simply exchange some not-so- friendly gestures. However, with the arrival of Peter, who despises idleness, the island springs back to life. If you were to press your ear against the ground right now, you’d hear the entire island buzzing with activity.
Now, let’s take a look at how the key players on the island are positioned this evening. The lost boys are out searching for Peter, the pirates are out hunting for the lost boys, the indigenous people are on the prowl for the pirates, and the animals are on the lookout for the indigenous folks. They’re all circling the island, but they haven’t crossed paths because they’re all moving at the same pace.
While everyone on the island seems to have a fierce appetite for adventure, the boys, on the other hand, have put their thirst for blood on hold tonight as they eagerly anticipate the return of their beloved leader. The number of boys on the island tends to vary over time, influenced by unfortunate incidents and other factors. When they start to grow up, which is not encouraged, Peter takes it upon himself to guide them. Currently, there are six boys in total, including the twins as distinct individuals. So, let’s imagine ourselves lying among the sweet sugar cane, quietly observing them as they stealthily move in a single-file line, each with a hand gently resting on their daggers.
Peter has made it quite clear that the boys should avoid resembling him in any way. Instead, they wear the skins of bears they have hunted themselves. Clad in these furry outfits, they appear plump and adorable, to the point that when they stumble, they end up rolling around playfully instead. This unique skill has allowed them to master the art of maintaining their balance.
Tootles, the first to pass by, is not the least brave but rather the most unfortunate among the courageous group of boys. He seems to have a knack for missing out on the grand adventures that occur just when he turns a corner. While everything is calm, he seizes the chance to gather firewood, only to return and find his companions dealing with the aftermath of thrilling encounters. This string of bad luck has cast a gentle melancholy upon his face, but instead of making him bitter, it has added a touch of sweetness to his nature, making him the humblest of the boys. Poor Tootles, tonight there is an ominous air hanging over you. Be cautious, for there may be an adventure offered to you that, if accepted, will bring you great sorrow. Tootles, mischievous Tinker Bell is on the lookout for someone to manipulate, and she believes you to be the most easily deceived among the boys. Beware of Tinker Bell’s tricks.
If only he could hear our warning, but we are not actually present on the island, and he passes by, nervously biting his knuckles.
Next in line is Nibs, the cheerful and charming boy, followed by Slightly, who fashions whistles from the trees and joyfully dances to his own tunes. Slightly
is the most self-assured of the group. He fancies that he remembers the days before he got lost, with their customs and manners, and this has given his nose a rather haughty tilt. Curly comes fourth; he’s mischievous and often finds himself in trouble, as whenever Peter sternly declares, “Step forward, the one responsible for this act,” Curly automatically steps forward, whether he’s truly at fault or not. Lastly, we have the Twins, who are quite challenging to describe accurately as we would surely end up describing the wrong one. Peter himself never quite understood what twins were, and his followers were forbidden from knowing anything beyond his knowledge. As a result, these two boys always maintain a sense of vagueness about their own identities, sticking close together in an apologetic manner in an attempt to provide satisfactory answers.
The boys fade into the darkness, and shortly after, but not too long of a wait because things move swiftly on the island, the pirates arrive, tracing their steps. We hear them before we see them, and it’s always the same dreadful chant.
“Avast belay, yo ho, heave to, We’re off to plunder and steal, And if we’re separated by a shot, We’re certain to reunite beneath!”
A more menacing-looking crew never stood in a row on Execution Dock. Leading the pack, a little ahead, occasionally lowering his head to listen with his powerful bare arms, sporting pieces of eight as earrings, is the handsome Italian, Cecco. He carved his name in letters of blood on the back of the prison governor in Gao. The enormous black man behind him has been known by various names since he abandoned the one that still sends shivers down the spines of dark-skinned mothers as they warn their children along the banks of the Guadjo-mo. Here we have Bill Jukes, his entire body covered in tattoos, the same Bill Jukes who endured six dozen lashes on the Walrus from Flint before he would release the bag of moidores. Then there’s Cookson, rumored to be Black Murphy’s brother (although this was never confirmed), and Gentleman Starkey, once a teacher in a public school, whose method of killing remains refined and delicate. We also have Skylights (Morgan’s Skylights), and the Irish boatswain Smee, an oddly affable man who had a way of stabbing that seemed almost harmless. He was the only non-conformist in Hook’s crew. There’s Noodler, whose hands were strangely twisted backward, and Robt. Mullins, Alf Mason, and many other notorious ruffians well-known and feared throughout the Spanish Main.
Amongst them all, the darkest and largest figure in that somber scene was James Hook, or as he preferred to be known, Jas. Hook. It was said that he was the only man whom the Sea-Cook, Long John Silver, feared. He reclined comfortably in a crude carriage pulled and pushed by his men. Instead of a right hand, he possessed an iron hook, which he used from time to time to urge his men to quicken their pace. He treated and addressed them like dogs, and they obediently followed his every command like faithful hounds. His appearance was gaunt and heavily tanned, and his hair was styled in long curls that resembled dark candles from a distance, lending a distinctly menacing expression to his handsome face. His eyes were as blue as forget-me-nots, radiating a profound melancholy, except when he thrust his hook at you—then, two fiery red spots would emerge, illuminating them in a horrifying manner. There was still a touch of the grand seigneur about his manner, even when he ripped someone apart, and it was said that he was quite the storyteller. He was never more sinister than when he was at his most polite, which, in my opinion, is the truest measure of breeding. The sophistication of his language, even when he swore, and the refinement of his demeanor distinguished him from his crew. He possessed indomitable courage, although it was rumored that the only thing he feared was the sight of his own blood, which was unusually thick and colored. In his attire, he somewhat imitated the fashion associated with Charles II, having heard at some earlier point in his life that he bore a strange resemblance to the ill-fated Stuarts. And he had a self-fashioned holder in his mouth that allowed him to smoke two cigars simultaneously. But undoubtedly, the most chilling aspect of his appearance was his iron claw.
Silently following the pirates’ trail, concealed from untrained eyes, approach the Natives, their gazes sharp and alert. Tomahawks and knives adorn their hands, while their oiled and painted bodies glisten. They proudly display scalps, taken from both boys and pirates, for they belong to the fierce Piccaninny tribe, distinct from the more compassionate Delawares or the Hurons. At the forefront, crawling on all fours, is Great Big Little Panther, a brave with so many scalps that they slightly hinder his movement. Bringing up the rear, the post of greatest peril, is Tiger Lily, standing tall and regal, a princess in her own right. She is the epitome of dark beauty, captivating and alluring, shifting between flirtatiousness and aloofness. There isn’t a brave who wouldn’t desire her as a wife, but she fends off suitors with a hatchet. Watch as they traverse fallen twigs without making a sound, save for their slightly labored breathing. Currently, they are all a bit plump from their recent feast, which poses temporary danger.
The natives fade away like elusive shadows, swiftly replaced by a diverse array of creatures—a grand procession of lions, tigers, bears, and countless smaller savage beasts fleeing in their presence. All manners of creatures, particularly the carnivores, coexist on this favored island. Their tongues hang out, their hunger evident tonight.
Once they pass, the final figure emerges—a colossal crocodile. We shall soon discover whom it seeks.
The crocodile glides past, and before long, the boys reappear. The procession must continue endlessly until one party halts or alters its pace. Then, they will swiftly converge upon one another.
Everyone remained vigilant, scanning the front for any signs of danger. Little did they know that the real threat was creeping up from behind, highlighting the island’s eerie reality.
The boys were the first to break away from the group, dropping to the grass near their hidden underground hideout. Anxiousness filled the air as they expressed their longing for Peter’s return.
“I wish Peter would come back,” each of them nervously whispered, despite their larger stature compared to their captain.
Soon, a faint sound reached their ears. While you or I, not being creatures of the wilderness, might not have noticed anything, they certainly did. It was the chilling melody of a pirate song:
“Yo ho, yo ho, the pirate life, The flag of skull and bones,
A merry hour, a hempen rope, And hey for Davy Jones.”
In an instant, the lost boys were gone. They’d vanished like rabbits, leaving no trace behind.
But fear not, for I will reveal their whereabouts. Except for Nibs, who darted off to scout, they have already sought refuge in their underground abode—a truly delightful residence that we will soon explore. But how did they enter? No entrance is visible, not even a large stone that, if moved, would reveal the mouth of a cave. Look closely, however, and you’ll notice seven towering trees, each with a hollow trunk hole big enough for a boy. These are the seven gateways to their subterranean home, which Hook has tirelessly sought but failed to find. Will he discover it tonight?
As the pirates advanced, the sharp-eyed Starkey caught sight of Nibs vanishing into the woods, prompting him to swiftly draw his pistol. But an iron claw seized his shoulder.
“Captain, let go!” he cried, wriggling in pain.
Now, for the first time, we hear Hook’s voice. It was a menacing voice. “Put down that pistol first,” he said, full of threat.
“It was one of those boys you despise. I could have shot him dead.”
“Aye, and the sound would have alerted Tiger Lily’s tribe, the natives. Do you wish to lose your scalp?”
“Should I chase after him, Captain?” asked the pitiful Smee. “And give him a tickle with Johnny Corkscrew?” Smee had whimsical names for everything, and his cutlass was known as Johnny Corkscrew because he twisted it in the wound. One could highlight many endearing qualities in Smee. For instance, after committing a killing, he would wipe his spectacles instead of his weapon. “Johnny is a silent companion,” he reminded Hook.
“Not now, Smee,” Hook said with a dark tone. “He’s just one of them, and I want to cause trouble for all seven. Scatter and search for them.”
The pirates vanished into the trees, leaving their captain and Smee alone. Hook let out a heavy sigh, and for some inexplicable reason, perhaps due to the tranquil beauty of the evening, a desire arose within him to confide in his loyal boatswain about the story of his life. He spoke at length and with great earnestness, but Smee, who was rather dim-witted, had no clue about the subject matter.
Suddenly, he caught the name Peter.
“Above all,” Hook declared passionately, “I want their leader, Peter Pan. It was he who severed my arm.” He brandished his hook menacingly. “I’ve waited a long time to grip his hand with this. Oh, I’ll tear him apart!”
“And yet,” Smee interjected, “I’ve heard you say that the hook is more valuable than a dozen hands, for combing your hair and other everyday uses.”
“Aye,” the captain replied, “if I were a mother, I’d pray for my children to be born with this instead of that.” He glanced proudly at his iron hand while casting a scornful gaze at his other hand. Then his expression turned grim. “Peter flung my arm,” he said, wincing, “to a passing crocodile.”
“I’ve often noticed,” Smee remarked, “your peculiar fear of crocodiles.”
“Not all crocodiles,” Hook corrected him, “but that particular one.” He lowered his voice. “It took a liking to my arm, Smee, and it has pursued me ever since, across seas and lands, salivating for the rest of me.”
“In a strange way,” Smee commented, “it’s almost like a compliment.”
“I have no use for such compliments,” Hook snapped irritably. “I want Peter Pan, who introduced that beast to the taste of me.”
He settled onto a sizable mushroom, his voice trembling. “Smee,” he spoke huskily, “that crocodile would have devoured me long ago, but fortunately, it swallowed a ticking clock. So, whenever it approaches me, I hear the ticking and escape.” He chuckled, though his laughter carried a hollow tone.
“One day,” Smee remarked, “the clock will wind down, and then it will catch you.”
Hook moistened his parched lips. “Aye,” he admitted, “that’s the fear that plagues me.”
A jealous fairy
Nibs stood up from the ground, and the others assumed his wide-eyed gaze was still fixed on the distance pirates. But it wasn’t pirates that had captured his attention.
“I’ve witnessed something incredible!” he exclaimed, drawing their eager attention. “There’s a magnificent white bird. It’s heading this way.”
“What kind of bird do you think it is?”
“I’m not sure,” Nibs replied, filled with awe. “But it flies so awkwardly, and as it flies, it murmurs, ‘Poor Wendy.’”
“Poor Wendy?” Slightly instantly recalled, “There are birds called Wendies?”
“Look, it’s approaching!” Curly cried, pointing towards Wendy in the sky.
Wendy was now almost directly above them, and they could hear her plaintive cries. But even more distinct was Tinker Bell’s shrill voice. The jealous fairy had abandoned any pretense of friendship and was swooping at her victim from every direction, viciously pinching each time she made contact.
“Hello, Tink,” the bewildered boys greeted her.
Tink’s response echoed loudly, “Peter wants you to shoot Wendy.”
Questioning Peter’s orders was not in their nature. “Let’s do as Peter wishes!” the naive boys exclaimed. “Quick, bows and arrows!”
All the boys, except Tootles, leaped down from their trees. Tootles had brought a bow and arrow with him, and Tinker Bell noticed, gleefully rubbing her little hands together.
“Hurry, Tootles, hurry!” she screamed. “Peter will be so pleased.”
Tootles eagerly fitted the arrow to his bow. “Clear the way, Tink!” he shouted, and with that, he let the arrow fly, striking Wendy in the chest, causing her to flutter down to the ground.
Tinker Bell’s cry pierced the sky, then vanished from sight, Silent forest mourned Wendy, her heart no longer alight. Caps removed, heads bowed low, remorse cast in the fading light.
Nibs stood up from the ground, and the others assumed his wide-eyed gaze was still fixed on the distance pirates. But it wasn’t pirates that had captured his attention.
Foolish Tootles stood triumphantly over Wendy’s lifeless body when the other boys armed themselves and leaped down from their trees.
“You’re too late,” he proudly declared. “I’ve shot Wendy. Peter will be so pleased with me.”
Tinker Bell flew overhead, shouting, “You idiot!” and swiftly disappeared into hiding. The others didn’t hear her, as they had gathered around Wendy, and a profound silence fell upon the forest. If Wendy’s heart had still been beating, they all would have heard it.
Slightly was the first to speak, his voice trembling with fear. “This isn’t a bird,” he said. “I believe she’s a lady.”
“A lady?” Tootles exclaimed, trembling uncontrollably. “And we’ve killed her,” Nibs choked out.
They all removed their caps, their heads bowed in remorse.
“Now I understand,” Curly murmured. “Peter was bringing her to us.” He sorrowfully collapsed to the ground.
“A lady to take care of us, finally,” one of the twins lamented. “And you’ve killed her!”
They felt sorry for Tootles, but their sorrow for themselves was greater. When he approached them, they turned away.
Tootles’ face turned pale, but there was a newfound dignity about him.
“I did it,” he said, reflecting on his actions. “When ladies used to appear in my dreams, I would say, ‘Pretty mother, pretty mother.’ But when she finally came in reality, I shot her.” He slowly walked away.
“Don’t go,” they called out with pity.
“I must,” he replied, trembling. “I’m so afraid of Peter.”
It was at this tragic moment that they heard a sound that made their hearts leap into their throats: Peter crowing.
“Peter!” they cried, as his crowing always signaled his return.
“Hide her,” they whispered, hastily gathering around Wendy. But Tootles stood apart.
Once again, Peter’s crow resounded, and he descended in front of them. “Hello, boys!” Mechanically, they saluted, but silence followed.
He scowled. “I’m back,” he said with frustration. “Why aren’t you cheering?”
They opened their mouths, but the cheers wouldn’t come. In his eagerness to share the joyous news, he overlooked their lack of response.
“Great news, boys!” he shouted. “I’ve finally brought a mother for all of you.”
Still, there was no sound except for a soft thud as Tootles dropped to his knees.
“Haven’t you seen her?” Peter asked, growing concerned. “She flew this way.”
“Ah, me!” one voice murmured, while another said,
“uh-oh, this is bad, really bad.”
Tootles rose and spoke calmly, “Peter, I’ll show her to you.” And when the others tried to keep her hidden, he insisted, “Step back, twins, let Peter see.”
So they all stepped back, allowing Peter to see, and after he observed for a brief moment, he didn’t know what to do next.
“She’s dead,” he said, feeling uncomfortable. “Perhaps she’s frightened because she’s dead.”
He considered hopping away in a comical manner until he was out of sight from her, and never returning to the spot again. They all would have been relieved if he had chosen that course of action.
But there was the arrow. Peter took it from Wendy’s heart and faced his companions.
“Whose arrow is this?” he demanded sternly.
“It’s mine, Peter,” Tootles confessed, still on his knees.
“Oh, you wimpy coward,” Peter uttered.
Tootles stood his ground, displaying unwavering bravery. He bared his chest and boldly declared, “Go ahead, Peter, strike me.”
Peter raised the arrow twice, but each time his hand faltered and refused to strike. “I can’t do it,” he said in awe, his hand held back by an unseen force.
Everyone stared at him in astonishment, except Nibs, who happened to be gazing at Wendy.
“It’s her!” Nibs exclaimed, pointing at Wendy’s arm. “Look, she’s moving!”
To their amazement, Wendy had lifted her arm. Nibs leaned closer to her and listened with reverence. “I think she said, ‘Poor Tootles,’” he whispered.
“She’s alive,” Peter stated briefly.
Slightly instantly cried out, “Wendy is alive!”
Then Peter knelt beside her and found his acorn button on a chain around her neck.
“Look,” he said, holding it up, “the arrow struck against this. It’s the kiss I gave her. It saved her life.”
“I remember kisses,” Slightly chimed in eagerly. “Let
me see it. Yep, that’s a kiss.”
Peter didn’t hear him. He pleaded with Wendy to recover quickly so he could show her the mermaids. Of course, she couldn’t respond yet, as she was still in a frightful faint. But from above, a sorrowful sound echoed.
“Listen to Tink,” Curly said. “She’s crying because Wendy is alive.”
Then they had to tell Peter about Tinker Bell’s misdeed, and never had they seen him look so stern.
“Listen, Tinker Bell,” Peter cried out, “I’m no longer your friend. Leave me forever.”
Tinker Bell flew to his shoulder and pleaded, but he brushed her off. It was only when Wendy raised her arm again that he relented, albeit reluctantly, saying, “Well, not forever, but for a whole week.”
Did Tinker Bell feel grateful to Wendy for raising her arm? Oh no, she had never wanted to pinch her more. Fairies can be quite peculiar, and Peter, who understood them best, often scolded them.
But what were they to do with Wendy in her current delicate state of health?
In the midst of the bustling scene, John and Michael noticed that Wendy seemed unwell. They exchanged worried glances, realizing they needed to do something to help her. Just as they were about to voice their concerns, Peter Pan, in his typical oblivious manner, appeared before them.
“Hullo, Peter!” they exclaimed, relieved to see him.
Peter, preoccupied with measuring Wendy’s size with his feet, responded absentmindedly, “Hullo!” He had completely forgotten about the boys until that moment. Curiosity piqued, John and Michael watched as Peter continued his unusual measuring activity.
“Is Wendy asleep?” the brothers inquired, concerned for their sister’s well-being.
“Yes,” Peter replied, his attention still focused on his peculiar task.
An idea struck mischievous Michael. “John, let’s wake her up and convince her to make supper for us!” he proposed eagerly. However, their plan was interrupted by a group of boisterous boys rushing in, carrying branches for the construction of a house.
“Look at them!” Michael exclaimed in surprise.
“Curly!” Peter commanded in his most authoritative voice, “Make sure these boys help in building the house.”
“Ay, ay, sir,” Curly obediently responded.
“Build a house?” John questioned, bewildered.
“For Wendy,” explained Curly matter-of-factly.
“For Wendy?” John gasped, astonished. “But she’s only a girl!”
“That,” clarified Curly, “is precisely why we serve her.”
“Serve her? Us?” John stammered in disbelief.
“Yes,” Peter chimed in, “and you too. Away with them!”
With a mix of astonishment and protest, the bewildered brothers were dragged away by the enthusiastic boys to chop, saw, and carry materials for the house. “Chairs and a fender first!” Peter directed. “Then we shall build a house around them.”
“Ay,” chimed in Slightly, suddenly struck with recollection, “that’s how houses are built! It’s all coming back to me.”
Peter, always thinking ahead, called out to Slightly, “Fetch a doctor.”
“Ay, ay,” Slightly responded promptly, disappearing momentarily and returning wearing John’s hat, trying to appear solemn and professional.
“Please, sir,” Peter approached Slightly, “are you a doctor?”
Slightly, with his knuckles still sore from Peter’s previous admonishments, anxiously replied, “Yes, my little man, I am.”
“Please, sir,” Peter explained urgently, “a lady lies very ill.”
Wendy lay on the ground beside them, but Slightly tactfully chose not to acknowledge her presence. He played along, wanting to please Peter.
“Tut, tut, tut,” Slightly feigned concern, “where does she lie?”
“In yonder glade,” Peter responded, gesturing toward
Slightly, playing the part of a doctor, decided to go along with the charade. “I will place a glass thing in her mouth,” he declared, pretending to do so while Peter observed eagerly. The suspense built as the imaginary glass object was extracted.
“How is she?” Peter anxiously inquired.
“Tut, tut, tut,” Slightly replied, “this has cured her.” “I am glad!” Peter exclaimed with relief.
“I will call again in the evening,” Slightly declared, trying to appear professional. “Give her beef tea from a cup with a spout,” he advised, relieved to have escaped the challenging situation. He returned John’s hat, then blew big breaths to release the tension that had built up within him.
Meanwhile, the sound of axes filled the air as the other boys tirelessly worked on the construction. Almost everything needed for the dwelling already lay at Wendy’s feet.
Peter, thinking it was a brilliant idea, immediately pretended it was his own. The house appeared quite beautiful, and they imagined Wendy must be very comfortable inside, although they couldn’t see her anymore. Peter paced back and forth, giving orders for the finishing touches. Nothing escaped his keen eyes. Just when they believed it was absolutely complete:
“Hey, there’s no doorknocker,” he remarked.
They felt embarrassed, but Tootles offered the sole of his shoe, which made an excellent substitute.
Now they thought it was truly finished. But no, Peter exclaimed, “We need a chimney.”
“It definitely needs a chimney,” John added importantly. This sparked an idea in Peter’s mind. He snatched John’s hat, knocked out the bottom, and placed it on the roof. The little house was delighted to have such a splendid chimney that, as if to express its gratitude, smoke immediately began to billow out of the hat.
Finally, it was really and truly finished. There was nothing left to do but knock.
“Everyone, look your best,” Peter cautioned them. “First impressions are incredibly important.”
He was relieved that no one asked him what first impressions were. They were all too busy making sure they looked their best.
Peter knocked politely, and at that moment, the woods grew as silent as the children. Not a sound could be heard except for Tinker Bell, who perched on a branch, openly sneering.
The boys wondered whether anyone would answer the door. If it was a lady, what would she be like?
The door swung open, and a lady stepped out. It was Wendy. They all removed their hats.
She looked genuinely surprised, just as they had hoped. “Where am I?” she asked.
Naturally, Slightly was the first to speak up. “Wendy, my lady,” he said quickly, “we built this house for you.”
“Whoa, this house is incredible!” Wendy exclaimed, using the exact words they had anticipated. “But seriously, who was behind that arrow attack earlier? They really tried to take me out!”
Everyone dropped to their knees, extending their arms eagerly. “Oh, Wendy, join our crew.”
“Hmm?” Wendy pondered, her face glowing. “Well, it’s incredibly thrilling, but you know, I’m young and lack the experience that you guys have.”
“That doesn’t matter,” Peter interjected confidently, acting as if he knew it all, despite actually knowing the least. “What we need is a brave and capable partner.”
“Oh, really?” Wendy sighed, her voice tinged with a mix of surprise and self-discovery. “You know what? I think I might just be that person after all.”
“It is, it is!” they all cheered in unison. “We knew it from the start.”
“Very well,” she agreed. “I’ll give it my all. Come inside right away, we have a lot to talk about.”
They all entered the house, although it’s a mystery how they managed to fit, as you can squeeze very tightly in Neverland. And that was the first of many delightful evenings they spent with Wendy. Eventually, they all dozed off, some on the ground, others sharing a couch. However, that night she herself slept in the little house while Peter stood guard outside with his sword drawn, as the pirates reveled in the distance and the wolves prowled nearby. The little house appeared cozy and safe in the darkness, with a warm light peeking through its blinds and the chimney emitting beautiful smoke.
Peter, the master of trees, measured them all, For their hollow homes, snug and tall. Wendy blushed as their hearts shared a whisper, A dance of breaths, ascending with grace, forever.
One of the first things Peter tackled the next day was measuring Wendy, John, and Michael for their very own hollow trees. As you recall, Hook had scoffed at the boys, thinking it absurd that each of them needed a tree. But that was just plain ignorance on his part. Going up and down smoothly was no easy feat unless your tree was a perfect fit. And let me tell you, no two of the boys were exactly alike in size. Now, here’s the kicker—Wendy was the first girl ever to be fitted into a tree. As Peter measured her, a faint blush painted both their faces. Once you found your perfect fit, you could breathe in at the top and descend with impeccable speed. And when it came to ascending, a skillful dance of inhales and exhales, combined with some deft wriggling, would propel you upward. With enough practice, these movements became second nature, embodying a gracefulness that was simply unparalleled.
But the key was finding the right fit. Peter measured them for their trees as meticulously as he would for a tailored suit, except in this case, it was the person who had to adapt to the tree. Usually, it was a simple process, like adjusting your clothing, but if you had odd bumps or the available tree had a peculiar shape, Peter would perform some adjustments until you fit. Once you fit, great care was taken to maintain that fit.
I suppose it was all particularly thrilling for Wendy because the rowdy lost boys kept her incredibly busy. There were entire weeks when she hardly surfaced from her adventures, except maybe to catch her breath at night. Instead of tending to domestic chores, she was immersed in training, learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, hide away from pirates and capture her meal. Cooking was a skill she picked up, not to be a homemaker, but to ensure the sustenance needed for their daring escapades. Whether it was a real feast or an imaginary one depended on Peter’s whimsical nature. He could devour a meal with gusto if it was part of their game, but he had no interest in mindlessly stuffing himself like most of the lost boys. He maintained his stoic nature, especially when Wendy was around. Wendy sensed in him a maturing process, ironic though it seemed, considering his condition as a Neverland boy.
Peter found great delight in discussing the wondrous meals they could experience in the outside world. His imagination was boundless, and as he painted vivid pictures of delectable feasts, his spirit soared. In those moments, Peter allowed himself to wander into the realm of what could be, away from the enchantments of Neverland. Wendy, eager to keep pace with his vibrant imagination, embraced the challenge. She understood that if she could demonstrate her bravery and readiness to partake in their daring adventures, Peter would eagerly indulge in these satisfying banquets of make-believe. It was demanding, but Wendy knew that by joining Peter in his musings, she was catching a glimpse of the yearning he harbored for a life beyond the confines of Neverland.
As time went on, Wendy’s began to notice a sadness in her brothers, Michael and John. Though they reveled in the adventure of Neverland, surrounded by adventure and freedom, Wendy saw an instability creeping into their attitudes. Despite her own fearless spirit and the exhilarating exploits they shared, she began to worry about their well-being and development. Deep down, Wendy knew that her brothers deserved a sense of structure and guidance that her parents provided. And while she embraced the thrilling life of a Lost Boy, she couldn’t shake off the responsibility she felt towards Michael and John, hoping to provide them with the nurturing they needed amidst the chaos of Neverland.
In Neverland’s time, elusive and free, Wendy embraced a newfound liberty. Her parents, distant in her mind’s sway, Burdened growth, she chose to stay. John’s memories faded, like distant haze, While Michael’s love embraced her always.
It’s hard to grasp the passing of time in Neverland, where moons and suns mark its peculiar rhythm, far more abundant than in the mundane world. Wendy, however, didn’t fret over her parents. She slowly felt herself blossoming into an independence of thought and action that made it easier to live on her own. She felt returning to her parents would burden her growth. She also held a continuing belief that they would always keep a window open for her if she ever found a way to return. What did occasionally trouble her was John’s hazy recollection of their parents, as if they were distant acquaintances, and Michael’s willingness to accept Wendy as his true mother. These uncertainties unsettled her, and in her noble endeavor to fulfill her duty, she attempted to anchor their memories to their former life. She devised examinations, reminiscent of the ones she once tackled in school, and urged the other boys to participate. They eagerly joined in, fashioning slates for themselves and huddling around the table, engrossed in answering the questions Wendy had inscribed on another slate, which circulated among them. These questions were commonplace, such as “What was the color of Mother’s eyes?” or “Which parent was taller?” and “Was Mother a blonde or a brunette?” They were instructed to answer as many questions as possible, marking a cross if they couldn’t recall the answer. John, in particular, accumulated numerous crosses. Slightly, always brimming with optimism about his chances of triumph, answered every question (by just guessing), yet his responses were utterly absurd, and he ended up at the bottom of the list.
Peter chose not to participate. First, he held disdain for all mothers except Wendy (a psychological protective mechanism from his life prior to Neverland), and secondly, he was the sole inhabitant of the island who couldn’t write or spell a single word, not even the simplest. Such matters were beneath him, he would say, knowing that he would give just about anything to read or write.
It’s worth noting that all the questions were framed in the past tense, asking about the color of Mother’s eyes and so forth. Wendy, you see, had also started to forget.
Adventures, as we’ll soon discover, were a regular occurrence. However, during this period, Peter, with Wendy’s assistance, invented a new game that captivated him to no end—until he suddenly lost interest, as always happened with his games. This game entailed pretending not to have adventures, engaging in the sort of mundane activities John and Michael had been accustomed to all their lives: sitting on stools, tossing balls in the air, playfully shoving one another, going for walks, and returning without having slain a single grizzly. Observing Peter idly perched on a stool was an extraordinary sight; he couldn’t help but appear solemn during those moments, finding it utterly comical to be still. He boasted about going on walks for the sake of his health. For several suns, these mundane endeavors became the most remarkable adventures for him. John and Michael had to feign enthusiasm, for them it was just commonplace behavior, everyday living.
Amidst their escapades, a subtle undercurrent of affection began to blossom between Peter and Wendy. Though their relationship was built on camaraderie and shared adventures, there were fleeting moments when their gazes lingered a little longer, their smiles held a touch more warmth. It was as if the thrill of danger and the exhilaration of their escapades had woven a unique bond between them—one that went beyond friendship.
During those stolen instances of tranquility, when Peter’s mischievous spirit was momentarily subdued, he found himself captivated by Wendy’s presence. He couldn’t help but notice the way her eyes sparkled with determination, and the way her laughter danced through the air like music. Wendy, in turn, admired Peter’s fearlessness and his ability to conjure enchanting tales out of thin air. There was an unspoken understanding between them, a connection that went beyond words.
Their budding affection remained an untold story, hidden beneath the surface, known only to the mischievous glances they exchanged and the stolen moments when their hands brushed ever so slightly. It was a delicate dance of hearts, a secret chapter within their shared tale of courage and imagination.
Peter would often venture out alone, returning with an air of mystery that left you guessing whether he had truly embarked on an extraordinary escapade. Sometimes he would be so absorbed in the adventure that he wouldn’t utter a word about it, leaving you to stumble upon clues and evidence as you ventured out yourself. Other times, he would burst out in stories with vivid accounts, his head wrapped in bandages as Wendy doted on him, soothing his wounds with towels soaked in warm water. Yet, despite her tender care, Wendy couldn’t help but harbor a trace of doubt.
You see, Peter had a way of blending reality and imagination, making it challenging to discern the true nature of his tales.
But there were countless adventures that Wendy knew to be genuine, as she herself had been an active participant in those thrilling exploits. And then there were the ones that, while perhaps embellished, held grains of truth, supported by the testimonies of the other boys who claimed they were entirely authentic. In Neverland, where reality intertwined with the fantastical, certainties and uncertainties danced together, leaving Wendy perpetually intrigued and forever questioning the boundaries of their extraordinary world.
In the lantern’s glow, danger drew near, Wendy’s heart trembled, overcome by fear. Peter, unaware, basked in his conceit,
A marvel they both were, their love discreet.
If you close your eyes and are fortunate, there may be moments when you see a shapeless pool of lovely pale colors floating in the darkness. As you squeeze your eyes tighter, the pool begins to take form, and the colors become so vibrant that they seem to ignite like fire. But just before that dazzling moment, you catch a glimpse of the lagoon. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to it on the mainland, a fleeting heavenly experience. If there were a second moment, you might witness the crashing surf and hear the mesmerizing songs of the mermaids.
During the long summer days, the children would often find themselves on this lagoon, spending hours swimming and floating, immersed in mermaid-inspired games and other aquatic adventures. However, don’t assume that the mermaids were friendly companions to them. In fact, one of Wendy’s enduring regrets from her time on the island was never receiving a kind word from any of them. When she approached the lagoon’s edge with utmost care, she could observe them in great numbers, particularly on Marooners’ Rock, where they delighted in lounging and lazily combing their hair—an irritating sight for Wendy. At times, she would even dare to swim silently, tiptoeing closer to them, almost within arm’s reach. But as soon as they caught sight of her, they would dive beneath the surface, intentionally splashing her with their tails, not by accident but with purpose.
It was one such day, and they were all on Marooners’ Rock. The rock was not much larger than their great bed, but of course the boys knew how not to take up much room, and they were dozing, or at least lying with their eyes shut, enjoying the simple pleasures of a day at the lagoon. Wendy was sitting close by, observing.
As Wendy sat looking at the boys, she felt something shifting in the atmosphere of the lagoon. A sudden ripple coursed through the water, causing the sun to retreat and casting chilling shadows across its surface. The once vibrant and cheerful lagoon now appeared daunting and inhospitable. Wendy’s raised her gaze and the familiar laughter that had echoed through the air was replaced by an unsettling air of hostility.
It wasn’t the arrival of night that Wendy sensed, but something much darker, more foreboding. It hadn’t arrived yet, but it had sent a shiver through the sea to announce its impending presence. What could it be?
In that moment, all the tales of Marooners’ Rock flooded Wendy’s mind. Legends spoke of wicked captains who stranded sailors on that treacherous rock, leaving them to perish as the rising tide swallowed them whole.
Wendy knew she should awaken the boys immediately. Not only because an unknown danger lurked nearby, but also because sleeping on a cold, desolate rock was no longer safe for them. However, though fear gripped her heart and she yearned to hear the voices of the boys, she resisted waking them. Even when she heard the muffled sound of oars, her anxiety growing, she refrained from disturbing their slumber. She stood watch over them, allowing them to sleep undisturbed. Wasn’t that courageous of Wendy?
Fortunately, among those boys, there was one who possessed an instinct for danger, even in his sleep. Peter leaped to his feet, instantly alert like a vigilant dog. With a single warning cry, he awakened the others.
He stood still, hand cupped to his ear. “Pirates!”
The others gathered closer to him. A peculiar smile played upon Peter’s face, causing Wendy to shudder at the sight. As long as that smile adorned his features, no one dared to address him; all they could do was stand ready to obey. His command came forth, sharp
In an instant, the lagoon became empty as legs swiftly disappeared. Marooners’ Rock stood isolated in the ominous waters, as if abandoned.
The boat approached, revealing a pirate dinghy with three individuals aboard: Smee, Starkey, and their captive, Tiger Lily. Her hands and ankles were bound, and she knew her grim destiny. She would be left on the rock to perish—a fate more dreadful than death by fire or torture, according to the tribe’s ancient writings. Nevertheless, her expression remained stoic. As the daughter of a chief, she would face death with the dignity befitting her status.
They apprehended her as she attempted to board the pirate ship, a knife clenched between her teeth. No sentries guarded the vessel, as Hook boasted that his name alone protected it within a one-mile radius. Now her fate would contribute to its protection. Another mournful cry would mingle with the nightly winds.
In the darkness they brought along, the two pirates failed to notice the rock until they collided with it.
“Ease up, you incompetent fool!” exclaimed Smee to the other. “We’ve reached the rock. Now lift the girl onto it and abandon her to meet her watery end.”
In a single ruthless moment, they forcefully placed the beautiful girl on the rock. She was too dignified to offer much resistance.
Not far from the rock, though unseen, Peter and Wendy’s heads bobbed up and down. Wendy was in tears, witnessing her first tragedy. Peter had witnessed many tragedies before, but he had forgotten them all. He felt less sorrow for Tiger Lily than Wendy did. It was the injustice of two against one that angered him, and he was determined to save her. Waiting until the pirates had departed would have been an easier choice, but Peter was never one to take the easy way out.
“Ahoy there, you bumbling fools!” Peter called out, performing a marvelous imitation.
“The captain!” exclaimed the pirates, staring at each other in surprise.
“He must be swimming toward us,” Starkey suggested when their search for him proved fruitless.
“We’re placing the girl on the rock,” Smee shouted.
“Release her,” came the astonishing reply. “Release her?”
“Yes, cut her bonds and set her free.” “But, captain—”
“Do it now, or I’ll thrust my hook into you,” Peter cried.
“This is strange!” Smee gasped.
“It’s best to obey the captain’s orders,” Starkey said nervously.
“Aye, aye,” Smee agreed, and he severed Tiger Lily’s restraints. Like an eel, she swiftly slid between Starkey’s legs and into the water.
Wendy was naturally thrilled by Peter, but she knew he would be thrilled too and likely scream in triumph, thus giving himself away. So, without delay, she reached out to cover his mouth. However, her hand froze mid-action, for the voice of Hook rang across the lagoon, shouting, “Boat ahoy!” This time, it wasn’t Peter who had spoken.
“Boat ahoy!” the voice came once again.
Now Wendy understood. The real Hook was also in the water.
He was swimming towards the boat, and his crew illuminated a light to guide him. Soon, he reached them. In the lantern’s glow, Wendy witnessed his hook gripping the side of the boat, his wicked swarthy face emerging from the dripping water. Trembling, she wished she could swim away, but Peter remained unmoving. He was buzzing with vitality and overflowing with conceit. “Am I not a marvel? Oh, I am a marvel!” he whispered to her. Although she thought the same, she was secretly relieved, for the sake of his reputation, that no one except her heard his words.
He gestured for her to listen.
The two pirates were consumed by curiosity, eager to discover the reason behind their captain’s arrival. However, he sat with his head resting on his hook, displaying an air of profound melancholy.
“Captain, is everything all right?” they asked hesitantly, but he responded with a hollow groan.
“He sighs,” remarked Smee.
“He sighs again,” added Starkey.
“And yet another sigh,” noted Smee. Then, at last, he spoke with passion.
“It’s all over,” he cried, “those boys have found a mother.”
Although frightened, Wendy swelled with pride.
“Oh, what a dreadful day!” exclaimed Starkey.
“What is a mother?” asked the ignorant Smee.
Wendy was so astonished that she blurted out, “He doesn’t know!” From then on, she always felt that if she were to have a pet pirate, Smee would be the one.
Peter pulled her underwater as Hook abruptly stood up, exclaiming, “What was that?”
“I heard nothing,” said Starkey, lifting the lantern over the water. As the pirates looked, they witnessed a peculiar sight. It was the nest I mentioned earlier, floating on the lagoon, with the Never bird perched upon it.
“Look,” said Hook in response to Smee’s question, “that is a mother. What a lesson! The nest must have fallen into the water, but would the mother abandon her eggs? No.”
There was a slight tremor in his voice, as if for a moment he reminisced about innocent days when… but he swiftly brushed away this vulnerability with his hook.
Smee, deeply impressed, gazed at the bird as the nest drifted by. However, the more suspicious Starkey suggested, “If she’s a mother, perhaps she’s lingering here to aid Peter.”
Hook winced. “Aye,” he said, “that is the fear that haunts me.”
Smee’s eager voice interrupted his despondency. “Captain,” said Smee, “couldn’t we capture these boys’ mother and make her our own?”
“What a splendid plan!” exclaimed Hook, and immediately it took practical shape within his brilliant mind. “We’ll seize the children and take them to the boat. The boys will walk the plank, and Wendy shall become our mother.”
Once again, Wendy couldn’t restrain herself. “Never!” she cried, and bobbed underwater.
“What was that?”
But they saw nothing. They assumed it must have been a rustling leaf in the wind. “Do you agree, my brutes?” asked Hook.
“I’m in,” they both said.
“And I’m in with my hook. Let’s swear.”
They all swore. By that time, they had reached the rock, and suddenly, Hook remembered Tiger Lily.
“Where is the Native girl?” he abruptly demanded.
He possessed a mischievous sense of humor at times, and they assumed this was one of those moments.
“It’s all good, captain,” Smee replied complacently. “We let her go.”
“Let her go!” exclaimed Hook.
“It was your own command,” the boatswain stammered.
“You called out to us over the water, instructing us to release her,” Starkey explained.
“What trickery is happening here!” thundered Hook, his face turning black with rage. However, he noticed that they genuinely believed their words, and it startled him. “Boys,” he said, his voice trembling slightly, “I never issued such an order.”
“It’s quite peculiar,” Smee remarked, and they all squirmed uncomfortably. Hook raised his voice, but there was a quiver in it.
“Spirit that haunts this dark lagoon tonight,” he cried,
“can you hear me?”
Naturally, Peter should have remained silent, but naturally, he did not. He promptly responded in Hook’s voice, saying, “Odds, bobs, hammer and tongs, I hear you.”
In that critical moment, Hook did not flinch, even though Smee and Starkey clung to each other in terror.
“Who are you, stranger? Speak!” demanded Hook.
“I am James Hook,” replied the voice, “captain of the Jolly Roger.”
“You are not; you are not,” Hook hoarsely exclaimed.
“Brimstone and gall,” the voice retorted, “say that again, and I’ll anchor in you.”
Hook attempted a more conciliatory tone. “If you are Hook,” he said with an almost humble tone, “then tell me, who am I?”
“A codfish,” responded the voice, “just a codfish.”
“A codfish!” Hook repeated in a daze, and it was at that moment, but not until then, that his proud spirit shattered. He saw his men draw away from him.
“Have we been led all this time by a codfish!” they
murmured. “It’s a blow to our pride.”
They were his followers snapping at him, but despite becoming a tragic figure, he hardly paid them any attention. In the face of such damning evidence, it wasn’t their belief in him that he needed; it was his own. He felt his ego slipping away. “Don’t abandon me, bully,” he whispered hoarsely to himself.
Within his dark nature, there was a touch of femininity, as with all great pirates, and it occasionally granted him insights. Suddenly, he resorted to a guessing game.
“Hook,” he called out, “do you possess another voice?”
Peter couldn’t resist a game, and he cheerfully replied in his own voice, “I do.”
“And another name?” “Yes, yes.”
“Vegetable?” asked Hook. “No.”
To Wendy’s dismay, the answer that echoed this time
“No!” This answer was filled with disdain. “Boy?”
“Just an ordinary boy?” “No!”
“A remarkable boy?”
“Are you in England?” “No.”
“Are you here?”
Hook was utterly perplexed. “You ask him some questions,” he instructed the others, wiping his sweaty forehead.
Smee pondered. “I can’t think of anything,” he regretfully admitted.
“Can’t guess, can’t guess!” crowed Peter. “Do you give up?”
Naturally, in his arrogance, he had taken the game too far, and the villains seized their opportunity.
“Yes, yes,” they eagerly replied.
“Well then,” he exclaimed, “I am Peter Pan.” Pan!
In shadows deep, Peter’s trust was lost, Betrayed by grown-ups, a bitter cost.
His heart, burdened by pain and despair, Flies through Neverland with wounds laid bare.
In this moment Hook was himself again, and Smee and Starkey were his faithful henchmen.
In an instant, Hook regained his composure, and Smee and Starkey faithfully stood by his side.
“Now we’ve got him,” Hook exclaimed. “Smee, into the water. Starkey, guard the boat. Bring him back, dead or alive!”
He leaped forward as he spoke, and at the same time, Peter’s lively voice rang out.
“Are you ready, boys?”
“Ay, ay,” came the response from different parts of the lagoon.
“Then let’s attack those pirates.”
The fight was brief but intense. The first to draw blood was John, who bravely boarded the boat and engaged Starkey. They struggled fiercely, causing the cutlass to slip from the pirate’s grip. He tumbled overboard, and John followed suit. The dinghy drifted away.
Amidst the chaos, heads popped up in the water, and blades gleamed, accompanied by cries and shouts. In the confusion, some even mistakenly struck their own comrades. Smee’s corkscrew grazed Tootles’ rib, but he swiftly met his own fate at the hands of Curly. Further from the rock, Starkey relentlessly pressed Slightly and the twins.
Where was Peter during all of this? He sought out a larger adversary.
The other boys were all brave, and it was understandable that they hesitated in the face of the pirate captain. His menacing hook created a deathly perimeter, causing them to scatter like frightened fish.
Yet, there was one who did not fear him, one who was willing to enter that dangerous circle.
Strangely enough, it was not in the water that they crossed paths. Hook ascended the rock to catch his breath, while Peter simultaneously climbed up from the other side. The rock’s surface was slippery, and they had to crawl rather than climb. Unaware of each other’s presence, they reached out to steady themselves and unexpectedly grasped each other’s arms. Surprised, they lifted their heads, their faces nearly touching—a fateful encounter.
Some of the greatest heroes have admitted that just before their downfall, they experienced a sinking feeling. If that had been the case with Peter at that moment, I would acknowledge it. After all, he was the only man whom the Sea-Cook (Hook) had feared. However, Peter felt no sinking sensation; he felt only gladness, and he joyfully gnashed his pretty teeth. Swift as a thought, he snatched a knife from Hook’s belt and was about to strike when he realized that he was higher up on the rock than his foe. It wouldn’t have been a fair fight. Instead, he extended a hand to help the pirate up.
It was then that Hook bit him.
It wasn’t the pain that stunned Peter, but the unfairness of the act. It left him completely helpless. Every child reacts this way the first time they are treated unfairly. All they expect when they come to you is fairness. Once you’ve been unfair to them, they may love you again, but they will never be the same. No one ever fully recovers from the first experience of unfairness, except for Peter. He encountered it many times, but he always forgot it. I suppose that was the
real difference between him and everyone else.
So, when he encountered it now, it felt like the first time, and he could only stare, helpless. Twice, the iron hand of Hook clawed at him.
The other boys spotted Hook thrashing wildly in the water, desperately trying to reach the ship. Gone was the triumphant expression on his pestilent face; it was now replaced with sheer terror as the relentless crocodile pursued him. Normally, the boys would have swum alongside, cheering and laughing, but this time they were filled with unease. Peter and Wendy were missing, and the boys searched the lagoon, calling their names. They found the dinghy and rowed back home, shouting “Peter, Wendy”. The boys speculated that Peter and Wendy must be swimming back or flying.
As their voices faded, a cold silence settled over the lagoon, interrupted only by a feeble cry.
Two small figures struggled against the rock; the girl had fainted and lay in the boy’s arms. Summoning his last ounce of strength, Peter pulled her up onto the rock and collapsed beside her. Even in his state of unconsciousness, he noticed the water steadily rising. He knew that they would soon be engulfed, but there was nothing more he could do.
As they lay side by side, Peter felt Wendy slipping from his grasp into the water. Startled awake, Peter reacted just in time to retrieve her. But he had to share the grim reality with her.
“Wendy, we’re on the rock,” he said, his voice weak. “But it’s getting smaller. The water will soon cover it.”
Even now, she struggled to comprehend.
“We have to go,” she replied, her voice summoning hope.
“Yes,” he answered faintly.
“Should we swim or fly, Peter?”
He had to confess.
“Do you think you could swim or fly all the way to the island, Wendy, without my help?”
She reluctantly admitted that she was too exhausted.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, immediately concerned for him.
“I can’t help you, Wendy. Hook wounded me. I can’t fly or swim.”
“Does that mean we’ll both drown?”
“Look how the water is rising.”
They covered their eyes with their hands, shutting out the sight. They believed their time was running out.
Bound by love, they took a chance to fly, but only one could reach the sky
While they sat there, a gentle brush against Peter felt as light as a kiss, lingering as if timidly asking, “Can I be of any use?”
It was the tail of a kite that Michael had crafted a few days prior. It had slipped from his grasp and floated away.
“Michael’s kite,” Peter remarked disinterestedly, but in the next moment, he grabbed hold of the tail and began pulling the kite toward him.
“It lifted Michael off the ground,” he exclaimed. “Why shouldn’t it carry you?”
“Both of us?”
“It can’t lift two; Michael and Curly tried.” “Let’s draw lots,” Wendy bravely suggested.
“And you, a lady? Never.” He swiftly fastened the tail around her. She clung to him, refusing to go without him, but with a bittersweet “Goodbye, Wendy,” he gently pushed her away from the rock. Within a matter of minutes, she vanished from his sight. Peter was left alone in the expanse of the lagoon.
The rock had diminished in size, and it would soon be swallowed by the rising water. Pale rays of light danced delicately upon the surface, and in the distance, a sound emerged—a melody both enchanting and melancholic—the mermaids calling out to the moon.
Peter was not quite like other boys, but at last, he felt fear creeping in. A tremor coursed through him, akin to a shudder traversing the sea. Yet, unlike the sea where shudders multiply, cascading one after another, Peter experienced only a single shudder. In the next moment, he stood tall on the rock again, wearing that characteristic smile and hearing a drumbeat within him. It whispered, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
Peril loomed, Peter’s spirit wavered,
A fading flame, his strength beleaguered. The lagoon hushed, a prelude to despair, Yet hope lingered, suspended in the air.
In the midst of dire peril, Peter found himself teetering on the precipice of surrender, his battered body aching and his spirit flickering like a fading flame. The weight of his injuries bore down upon him, threatening to extinguish the indomitable spark that defined him. The once vibrant lagoon now lay cloaked in an eerie stillness, as if holding its breath in anticipation of the impending tragedy.
With each passing moment, Peter’s consciousness ebbed and flowed, his grip on reality slipping as waves of pain washed over him. The world around him blurred into a hazy tableau, colors bleeding into one another, and sounds becoming distant echoes.
Yet, even in the midst of this encroaching darkness, a tenacious thread of life clung to Peter’s being. Through sheer force of will, he managed to maintain a tenuous hold on the rock beneath him, his trembling fingers digging into its rough surface. It was a feeble lifeline, his only connection to the world of the living as he drifted in and out of consciousness.
As the clutches of death tightened around him, Peter felt the weight of mortality pressing upon his battered body. His once unwavering resolve wavered, and a poignant acceptance settled upon his soul. The glow of eternal youth that had enveloped him for so long dimmed, revealing the stark reality of life’s fragility. In that somber moment, he maintained his poise, but the veil of youthful ignorance was lifted, and he recognized that life, with all its joys and sorrows, was undeniably real, just as death loomed as an inevitable companion.
As Peter teetered on the edge of existence, memories of his own parents flooded his consciousness, their presence etched deep within him. The pain of their neglect resurfaced, tugging at him emotionally. He resisted these feelings, drew back from them. Amidst his impending departure, a curious release accompanied his fading spirit. With each step closer to the embrace of death, the burden of resentment gradually lifted, dissipating like the fading storm clouds. In these moments, a profound understanding washed over him, granting solace and forgiveness in his soul.
In this moment of final clarity, Peter’s emotions threatened to overwhelm him, bringing him on the verge of tears. He felt the weight of his unresolved emotions, tangled with the bittersweet longing for a family that could never truly exist. The tears welled up within him, a silent acknowledgment of the intricate layers of his feelings and the unspoken desire for a sense of belonging. But Peter, in his own way, demonstrated resilience by holding back those tears, shielding himself from the vulnerability they represented. It was an act of self-preservation, a defense mechanism that shielded him from the pain that threatened to consume him.
The grip of despair tightened around him, whispering alluring assurances of liberation from the agonizing pain that engulfed his body. He stretched out his hand towards his mother, but no one reached back, no one was able to.
Wendy’s voice pierced the fog, resolute and clear, Igniting Peter’s spirit, banishing his fear.
With desperate determination, he clung to the kite, Their destinies intertwined, soaring to new heights.
In the midst of his failing consciousness, a flicker of Peter’s weary mind deceived him momentarily. Through blurry vision, he thought he saw the silhouette of his mother coming towards him, a glimmer of hope in his despair. But as the haze cleared, the figure become more recognizable. It was not his mother, but Wendy, her presence filling the void that his mother’s absence had left behind. It was Wendy who came to save him, a source of loyal strength and rescue in his darkest hour.
Wendy exerted all her strength to maneuver the kite toward Peter, who was struggling. Her voice, filled with a mix of fear and determination, pierced through the fog that surrounded him. The sound jolted him back to consciousness, infusing him with renewed determination and inner strength.
Peter clung to Wendy’s kite, that lifeline with desperate determination. His injured body trembled with exhaustion, his muscles protesting against the strain. The kite weakening with the added weight. Through gritted teeth and eyes clouded with pain, he fought to remain conscious, to hold on to the sliver of hope that Wendy’s presence represented.
As Wendy descended upon him, their destinies intertwined, Peter’s body gave way to a mixture of relief and renewed struggle. His grip on the rock faltered, his body a vessel tossed upon the tumultuous sea. Their bodies fused as one, their weight harmonizing with the kite, defying gravity and allowing it to soar through the air with their combined determination.
Together, they defied the grip of gravity, their intertwined spirits forging a lifeline amidst the encroaching darkness. Peter’s consciousness, once on the precipice of surrender, now clung to the tail of the kite, a resolute belief that survival was within reach.
With Wendy’s embrace, Peter found solace and a renewed sense of purpose. The pain that ravaged his body became a testament to his endurance, a reminder of the resilience that had carried him through countless battles.
In that fragile moment, as they stood united against the tempest, Peter finally wept, silently.
Hook’s scheme unfurls, exploiting loyalty’s tether, Fracturing unity, striking when weakest, together.
It was Pan Hook wanted, Pan and Wendy and their band, but mostly Pan.
One can’t help but question the depths of the man’s animosity towards Peter, who was but a small boy. Admittedly, Peter may have sent Hook’s arm flying straight into the waiting jaws of that relentless crocodile. Yet, even considering the subsequent constant unease it caused, courtesy of the crocodile’s unyielding pursuit, it’s difficult to fathom the justification for such an unyielding and venomous vendetta against a mere child. It’s important to note that Peter acted in self-defense, as Hook intended to do away with him. In fact, Peter displayed remarkable restraint, withholding the final blow.
The truth is, there was something about Peter that drove the pirate captain to the brink of madness. It wasn’t his bravery, nor was it his charming looks— it wasn’t any of that. No need to dance around the issue, my friend, for we know exactly what it was and we’ve got to spill the beans. It was Peter’s damn cockiness.
Oh, how it grated on Hook’s nerves, causing his iron claw to twitch with annoyance and buzzing around his head like a pesky insect during his sleepless nights. As long as Peter roamed this earth, the tormented man couldn’t escape the feeling of being a majestic lion confined within a cage, while an insufferable sparrow hopped about, pushing him to the edge.
Hook meticulously devised a plan to ensnare Peter, keenly aware that the boy’s unwavering loyalty to his friends was both a strength and a vulnerability. Peter’s undying commitment to his Lost Boys and his deep bond with Wendy made them prime targets for Hook’s scheme. Exploiting the fractures in their unity, Hook aimed to dismantle the camaraderie that fortified Peter’s spirit. Moreover, knowing that Peter himself was still nursing the wounds of their previous encounters, Hook intended to strike when the boy’s physical and emotional defenses were at their weakest.
Peter’s pencil danced, his sorrows to quell, Sketchbook refuge where his dreams could dwell. Yet each stroke revealed what he couldn’t retrieve, Unfinished echoes of loss, his unspoken grief.
Hook cunningly crafted a plan to ensnare Peter, adopting a modernized strategy to exploit the tree system utilized by the Lost Boys. He carefully observed their behaviors, meticulously mapping their entrances and exits from each tree. With this acquired knowledge, Hook orchestrated a merciless ambush, flawlessly timing his actions. One by one, the Lost Boys were forcefully plucked from their leafy hideouts, passed along like parcels through a heartless chain of pirates. There was no room for mercy or camaraderie in this method, as Wendy experienced firsthand. Hook, donning a veneer of ironic politeness, escorted her towards the defenseless group. His devilish charm momentarily captivated her, stifling any cries for help.
The children, tightly restrained to hinder escape, contorted with their knees pressed near their ears.
Unaware of the tragedy unfolding above, Peter was attempting to block his own hidden sorrows and physical pain. He sought solace in a familiar refuge—his sketchbook. With each stroke of his pencil, he poured his creativity onto the pages, sketching scenes of whimsical adventures and distant lands. The graphite traced the contours of his imagination and captured the essence of his desires. As he carefully shaded the lines, he longed for an escape from the burden of his thoughts. But as the images took shape, they served as a reminder of what he had lost. Overwhelmed by a sense of melancholy, Peter closed his sketchbook, leaving his unfinished creations as a testament to his unspoken sorrow.
Sometimes, though infrequently, he succumbed to troubled dreams that pierced his imagination. These dreams were unanswerable questions and unresolved yearnings, causing him to wail in anguish. In those moments, Wendy would gently wake him from his tormented slumber, embracing him. Then, ever so gently, she would whisper words of comfort to him until he slept silently again, shielding him from the knowledge of the vulnerability she had witnessed. However, on this particular night, Peter surrendered to a dreamless sleep. One hand dangled off the bed, fingertips brushing the floor, while the remnants of a fleeting smile lingered on his lips.
Unbeknownst to Peter, Hook had finally tracked him down. Standing silently at the foot of the tree, the pirate captain studied his unsuspecting adversary. Did a flicker of empathy cross his hardened countenance? Hook, though consumed by his dark ambitions, possessed fragments of humanity within him. He appreciated the beauty of nature, finding solace in the delicate petals of flowers. He had a knack for coaxing sweet melodies from the strings of a guitar, his fingers dancing across the fretboard with practiced elegance. And, for a fleeting moment, the serenity and innocence of the sleeping Pan stirred a long-forgotten longing within his soul. But the veneer of his villainy quickly resurfaced, hardening his resolve.
It was Peter’s vulnerable appearance that triggered Hook’s simmering rage. The tousled hair, the peaceful slumber, the faint crease on his forehead—all embodied a self-assuredness that taunted Hook’s wounded pride. These visual affronts ignited a fury within the pirate captain. Despite the feeble light emanating from a nearby lantern, Hook himself stood shrouded in darkness. Hook’s hand fumbled in the shadows, desperately searching for the latch. His knuckles whitened with anger, while his mind fixated on Peter’s infuriating presence. The door rattled under the force of his relentless assault. Would his elusive foe slip through his fingers once more?
In the dark of night, Peter’s senses alert,
A tapping, mysterious, made his heart exert. With dagger in hand, he called out in might, “Who dares disturb this realm of eternal flight?”
Peter slept on, his exhausted body and soul attempting to repair from the previous day’s near death experience. It must have been close to ten o’clock, indicated by the crocodile’s elusive ticking, when he jolted upright in his bed, awakened by an inexplicable disturbance. A gentle, deliberate tapping echoed from the door of his tree.
Soft and cautious, it held an eerie undertone in the stillness. Peter’s hand instinctively reached for his dagger, clutching it firmly. He spoke up, his voice cutting through the silence.
No response followed, only the persistent knock. “Who are you?”
Thrilling sensations raced through him, exhilarating in their intensity. In just two strides, he reached the door, its imposing presence obstructing his view, just as he remained hidden from the visitor’s sight.
“I won’t open unless you speak,” Peter declared.
Finally, the visitor’s voice chimed in, its timbre resonating like a bell.
“Let me in, Peter.”
It was Tink, and with a swift motion, he unbarred the door, allowing her to fly in, her flushed face and mud- stained dress betraying urgency.
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t believe it!” she exclaimed, presenting him with three guesses. “Spill it!” he exclaimed, and in one continuous, grammatically flawed sentence, as lengthy as a magician’s ribbon, she divulged the capture of Wendy and the boys.
Peter’s heart fluttered with a mix of emotions as he listened intently. Wendy bound and aboard the pirate ship—she who cherished order and precision!
“I’ll rescue her!” he declared, leaping toward his arsenal. In that moment, a thought sparked—an act that would surely bring relief. He could take his medicine.
His hand clasped the vial.
“No!” Tinker Bell shrieked, having overheard Hook’s murmurs about his sinister plot as he sped through the forest.
“Poisoned? Who could have poisoned it?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. How could Hook have made his way down here?”
Alas, Tinker Bell had no explanation, nevertheless, Hook’s words left no room for doubt. The cup contained deadly poison.
“But, hey,” Peter exclaimed, fully convinced of his own claim, “I never even dozed off.”
He lifted the cup, realizing there was no time for words, only action. With one of her lightning-fast movements, Tink swiftly positioned herself between his lips and the drink, downing it completely.
“Why, Tink! How dare you drink my medicine?” Peter protested, taken aback.
No response came from her. She was already staggering in mid-air.
“What’s wrong with you?” Peter cried out, suddenly gripped by fear.
“It was poisoned, Peter,” she whispered softly, her voice barely audible. “And now I’m going to die.”
“Oh, Tink, did you drink it to save me?” “Yes.”
“But why, Tink?”
Her wings struggled to support her as she landed on his shoulder and playfully nipped his nose. She murmured in his ear, “You silly ass.” Then, teetering towards her room, she lay down on the bed.
Peter knelt beside her, filled with distress as his head nearly touched the room’s fourth wall. Her radiant light was fading rapidly, and he knew that if it vanished, she would be gone forever. She delighted in his tears, extending her delicate finger and allowing them to trickle over it.
Her voice was barely audible at first, making it difficult for him to comprehend her words. Eventually, he understood. She believed she could recover if children still believed in fairies.
Peter extended his arms in a wide gesture. Though there were no children present and the night enveloped them, he spoke to all those who might be dreaming of Neverland, closer to him than one might think: boys and girls in their nightclothes, and even infants nestled in baskets suspended from trees.
“Do you believe?” he exclaimed.
Tink sat up in bed, her demeanor suddenly more alert as she awaited her fate.
She thought she heard affirmative responses, but then again, she wasn’t entirely certain.
“What do you think?” she asked Peter.
“If you believe,” he shouted to them, “clap your
hands! Don’t let Tink die.”
Many hands clapped in response. Some remained still.
A few creatures hissed.
The applause ceased abruptly, as if countless mothers had hurried to their nurseries to investigate the commotion. However, Tink had already been saved. Gradually, her voice grew stronger, then she leaped out of bed, darting around the room with even more mischief and cheer than before. She never thought of expressing gratitude to those who believed, but she would have relished the chance to confront those who had hissed.
“And now, it’s time to rescue Wendy!”
He swore this terrible oath: “Hook or me this time.”
A masked past, traditions cloaked, Contradictions in the figure evoked. Hook.
A faint green light peered over Kidd’s Creek, close to where the pirate river meets the sea, signaling the location of the brig called the Jolly Roger. The ship sat low in the water, looking rough and unpleasant, with its beams resembling a scattered ground littered with torn feathers. She was the cannibal of the sea, The mere mention of the infamous vessel sent shivers down the spines of even the bravest souls.
Wrapped in the cover of night, the ship remained hidden, its presence unknown to those on the shore. The air was still, broken only by the soft whir of the ship’s sewing machine, diligently operated by Smee. He was a hardworking and accommodating soul, embodying simplicity and a touch of sadness. Though he seemed unaware of his own pitiable state, even the strongest individuals couldn’t help but turn away when faced with his presence. On countless summer evenings, his mere presence managed to unlock Captain Hook’s sorrow, bringing forth tears from deep within. Yet, Smee remained oblivious to his effect, as he did to most everything else.
A handful of pirates leaned over the ship’s railing, absorbing the mysterious essence of the night. Others lounged near barrels, engrossed in games of dice and cards. The four exhausted crew members, who had just retrieved the lost boys, lay flat on the deck, even in their slumber skillfully evading Captain Hook’s grasp, instinctively knowing to move out of his reach.
Lost in thought, Captain Hook paced back and forth on the deck. He was an enigmatic figure, unfathomable to those around him. This was his moment of triumph. Peter Pan had been permanently removed from his path, and the rest of the boys were locked in the brig, awaiting their fateful walk off the plank. This was Hook’s most sinister accomplishment since the days when he had harpooned Moby Dick, harnessing the whale’s oil to illuminate the ship’s deck.. Given the fleeting nature of human existence, it wouldn’t have been surprising if he had stumbled unsteadily across the deck, puffed up by the gusts of his own success.
Yet, there was no trace of jubilation in his movements. His solemn stride mirrored the workings of his troubled mind. Captain Hook was profoundly despondent.
He often found himself in this state of introspection on the ship, during the calm of the night. The reason for his deep melancholy was simple, loneliness. This inscrutable man never felt more isolated than when surrounded by his loyal crew. They were socially beneath him, leaving him yearning for genuine connection.
Hook was not his true name. To disclose his real identity would ignite chaos across the country even to this day. However, those aware enough to read between the lines may have already guessed that he used to be a renowned and respected public figure, and the traditions of propriety still clung to him, deeply entwined with his very being. Even now, it displeased him to board a ship dressed as he did when he thought of it. His gait, too, remained faithful to his distinguished history. Above all, he held internally to an unwavering devotion towards tradition and values, yet outwardly reflected the opposite.
Ah, envy not Hook.
An unsettling premonition of his impending doom washed over him. It felt as if Peter’s ominous oath had taken physical form and stepped onto the ship. Hook felt a somber urgency to deliver his final speech, fearing that time would soon slip away.
“If only Hook,” he cried, “had been less ambitious!” It was during his bleakest moments that he referred to himself in the third person.
“No little children adore me!”
Strangely, this thought occupied his mind, although it had never troubled him before. Perhaps the sewing machine had triggered it. For a long time, he mumbled to himself, his gaze fixed on Smee, who calmly continued his stitching, convinced that children feared him.
Feared him! Feared Smee! Every child aboard the brig that night already cherished him. Despite saying dreadful things and striking them with an open hand (since he couldn’t bring himself to use his fist), they only clung to him more. Michael even tried on his spectacles.
To inform poor Smee that they found him lovable! Hook yearned to do it, but he felt excessively jealous to do so. Instead, he pondered this perplexing riddle: why did they find Smee endearing? He delved into the puzzle like a relentless detective. If Smee was truly lovable, what was the quality that made him so? A chilling answer suddenly emerged— “Good form?”
Could it be that Smee possessed good form unknowingly, making his the finest form of all?
With a cry of fury, he raised his iron hand above Smee’s head, but he did not strike. What stopped him was this realization:
“To harm a man because he possesses good form,
what would that be?” “Bad form!”
The wretched Hook was as powerless as he was damp, collapsing forward like a severed flower.
With Hook momentarily out of the picture, discipline among his crew instantly relaxed, and they indulged in a wild, raucous dance. This sight jolted Hook to his feet, erasing any trace of human frailty, as if a bucket of water had been poured over him.
“Silence, you pitiful wretches!” he cried. “Or I’ll punish you harshly.” Immediately, the uproar ceased. “Are all the children securely restrained so they cannot escape?”
“Yes, yes,” came the reply.
“Then bring them up.”
The wretched prisoners were hauled up from the hold, except for Wendy, and lined up before him. For a while, he seemed oblivious to their presence. He reclined comfortably, humming snippets of a crude song with surprising melody, and toying with a deck of cards. Every now and then, the glow from his cigar cast a hint of color upon his face.
“Now then, you worthless pond scum,” he said briskly, “six of you will walk the plank tonight, but I have space for two cabin boys. Which of you shall it be?”
Wendy’s instructions in the hold had been clear: “Don’t provoke him unnecessarily but be brave.” Consequently, Tootles stepped forward bravely, defying his own inner turmoil. The mere thought of serving under a heartless man like Hook filled him with such abhorrence that he would sooner embrace the depths of the ocean swarming with sharks, than subject himself to such callous authority.
Tootles spoke wisely, “You see, sir, I don’t believe my mother would approve of me becoming a pirate, or working for one. Would your mother approve of you being a pirate, Slightly?”
He gave Slightly a knowing wink, who responded with a mournful tone, “I don’t think so,” as if he wished things could be different. “Would your mother approve of you being a pirate?” He asked the next one in line.
“What about you—-”
“Enough!” roared Hook, and the pirates were forcefully pulled back. “You there, boy,” he said, addressing John, “you seem to possess a bit of courage. Have you ever desired to be a pirate, my lad?”
John had occasionally entertained this notion during his math lessons, and Hook’s attention surprised him.
“I once thought of calling myself Red-handed Jack,” he replied hesitantly.
“A fine name indeed. We shall christen you as such, my brave lad, if you join us.”
“What do you think, Michael?” John asked.
“What name would you give me if I joined?” Michael demanded.
Michael was naturally impressed. “And what say you, John?” He wanted John to make the decision, and John wanted the same.
“What about Peter Pan, could we still be his friend?” John inquired.
Through gritted teeth, Hook answered, “You would
have to swear, ‘Down Peter Pan.’”
Perhaps John had not behaved impeccably thus far, but he shone brightly now.
“Then I refuse,” he exclaimed, slamming the barrel in front of Hook.
“And I refuse,” cried Michael.
The furious pirates struck them across the mouth, and Hook bellowed, “That seals your fate. Bring forth girl. Prepare the plank.”
They were only boys, and their faces paled as they witnessed Jukes and Cecco preparing the dreaded plank. However, they endeavored to appear brave as Wendy was brought forward.
Wendy’s words cut through, resolute and clear, Equality and valor, the message sincere.
No mere motherly figure, she stood tall, Urging honor and bravery to conquer all.
No words can adequately express Wendy’s disdain for those pirates. While the boys found a twisted fascination in the pirate life, all she saw was a decaying ship that reeked of neglect and filth. The putrid stench of unwashed bodies and the grime caked on every surface were mere reflections of the pirates’ abhorrent nature. Their repulsive appearance was only a testament to their vile deeds and twisted souls.
“Well, my beauty,” Hook said, his voice dripping with false sweetness, “you are about to witness your boyfriends walking the plank.”
Despite his refined appearance, the intensity of his scheming had tarnished his collar, and suddenly he became aware of Wendy’s gaze fixed upon it. He made a quick attempt to hide it, but it was too late.
“Are they going to die?” Wendy asked, her expression filled with such profound contempt that it nearly caused Hook to faint.
“They are,” he snarled. “Silence!” he called triumphantly, “for a mother’s final words to her children.”
In that pivotal moment, Wendy revealed her immense courage. “These are my parting words,” she declared with unwavering determination. “I believe I carry a message from your true mothers, and it is this: ‘We hope our sons will face their destiny with the same honor as noble English gentlemen.’” Wendy refused to be seen as a mere motherly figure, for she understood the importance of equality and valor. She stood not above them, but alongside them, urging them to embrace their own bravery and meet their fate with unwavering dignity.
Even the pirates were silenced, and Tootles cried out in a state of hysteria, “I will do as my mother hopes. What about you, Nibs?”
“I will do as my mother hopes. And you, Twin?”
“I will do as my mother hopes. John, what about—” But Hook had regained his voice.
“Bind her!” he shouted.
As Smee bound Wendy to the mast, he whispered his twisted proposition, “See here, honey, I’ll save you if you promise to be my mother.”
Wendy’s eyes blazed with fiery indignation. Fueled by a surge of courage, she unleashed her fury upon Smee, spitting in his face with a shocking display of disgust and offense. The other pirates, witnessing this defiant act, were momentarily stunned, their eyes widening in astonishment at Wendy’s fearless defiance.
It was a moment that etched itself into their memories, a stark reminder that Wendy was not a helpless captive, but a force to be reckoned with. The defiance in her actions sent a clear message: she would not yield, she would not bow down to the likes of Smee, Hook or any pirate aboard that ship.
In the midst of the chaos, as Wendy’s act reverberated through the air, the atmosphere grew tense. The pirates exchanged uneasy glances, their confidence faltering. Wendy’s defiance had shattered their illusions of control and exposed the depths of her resolve.
Hook, trying to regain control of the situation, clenched his teeth as he advanced towards Wendy. His intention was to force her gaze upon the boys, to ensure she witnessed their harrowing march towards the plank.
But fate had other plans. Before he could reach her, before he could relish in her anguished cry, a different sound pierced the air.
It was the dreaded tick-tock of the relentless crocodile, its presence a chilling reminder of imminent danger and the unpredictable turns of destiny.
Every ear strained to catch the ominous sound— pirates, boys, and Wendy all turned their heads in unison, their attention fixed on Hook. It was clear to everyone that whatever was about to unfold concerned him alone, transforming them from active participants into mere spectators.
A dreadful transformation overcame Hook, as if his very limbs had been severed. He crumpled into a small heap, his once formidable presence reduced to a quivering mass.
The sound drew nearer, growing steadily louder, and with it came a chilling realization: “The crocodile is about to board the ship!”
Even Hook’s iron claw hung motionless, recognizing that it held no significance to the imminent threat. Left in a state of terrifying solitude, any ordinary man would have remained motionless, eyes shut, where he had fallen. But Hook’s colossal intellect continued to churn, guiding him to crawl on his knees along the deck, desperate to put as much distance as possible between himself and the approaching danger. The pirates respectfully cleared a path for him, until he reached the bulwarks and found refuge.
“Conceal me!” he croaked hoarsely.
They huddled around him, their eyes deliberately averted from the impending entity that was boarding the ship. They had no thoughts of resisting it; they recognized it as the hand of Fate.
Only when Hook was shielded from view did curiosity release its grip on the boys, allowing them to rush to the ship’s side and witness the astonishing sight of the creature scaling the vessel. But it was not a crocodile that had come to their aid on this Night of Nights—it was Peter.
With urgent signals, Peter implored them not to utter any cries of admiration that might raise suspicion. He resumed his ticking, silently orchestrating the unfolding events.
In the stillness of night, Peter’s senses awakened.
Life, oh life, a kaleidoscope of enigmatic moments that elude our grasp, slipping by unnoticed until their significance dawns upon us. It is within these fleeting instances that Peter discovered the unexpected, the realization that he had dwelled in partial deafness, oblivious to the symphony of sounds for an indeterminate period—perhaps a mere half an hour (if calculated by the world outside of Neverland). As the moon cast its ethereal glow, Peter scoured the island, every movement veiled in secrecy. With a finger pressed against his lips and a dagger poised for action, he ventured forth. The passing crocodile, seemingly ordinary at first glance, had failed to stir his curiosity. Yet, as the minutes waned, a recollection surfaced—the absence of its rhythmic ticking. An eerie sensation seized Peter, only to be swiftly replaced by comprehension: the clock had wound down, its mechanism drained of vitality.
Without considering the possible anguish of a fellow creature suddenly bereft of its closest companion, Peter contemplated how he could exploit this calamity to his advantage. He resolved to imitate the ticking, hoping that the untamed beasts would mistake him for the crocodile and allow him to pass unharmed. His mimicry of the ticking was flawless, yet it had an unforeseen consequence. The crocodile, among those who heard the sound, started to follow Peter. Whether it did so with the intent of reclaiming what it had lost or merely as a companion, believing it was ticking once more, remains a mystery. Like a captive to an unyielding fixation, the crocodile was a dull- witted creature.
Peter reached the shore without incident and continued onward, his legs submerging into the water as if oblivious to their transition into a new element. While many animals adeptly transition from land to water, I am unaware of any other humans who possess this ability. As he swam, he held but one thought in his mind: “It’s either Hook or me this time.” Peter had ticked for so long that he continued doing so unconsciously. If he had been aware, he would have ceased, for the notion of boarding the brig with the aid of ticking, though ingenious, had not yet crossed his mind.
Contrary to his own expectations, Peter believed he had scaled the ship’s side with the utmost stealth, as silent as a mouse. However, what he beheld left him astonished—a sight that made the pirates cower before him, with Hook himself appearing as abject as if he had encountered the dreaded crocodile.
Ah, the crocodile! The moment Peter’s memory was jogged, the familiar ticking sound reached his ears. Initially, he suspected it originated from the crocodile lurking nearby and swiftly glanced behind him. But in a sudden revelation, he realized he was the source of the ticking, a result of his own cunning plan. “How clever of me!” he thought, suppressing the urge for the boys to erupt in applause with a subtle gesture.
Just then, Bill Jukes, the quartermaster, emerged from the forecastle and made his way along the deck. Dear reader, mark the time with your watch, for what occurred unfolded swiftly. Peter struck with precision and depth, while John swiftly silenced the ill-fated pirate’s dying groan by covering his mouth with his hands. The fallen pirate was caught by four boys to prevent a loud thud. Signaling to his comrades, Peter acted decisively, casting the lifeless body overboard. With a splash, silence befell the ship. How many seconds had elapsed?
“One!” (Slightly had begun to count.)
Peter, quick on his feet, disappeared into the cabin without a moment to spare. The tension among the pirates grew, as some summoned the courage to glance around. They could now hear one another’s distressed breaths, indicating that the more menacing sound had subsided.
“It’s gone, captain,” Smee declared, wiping his spectacles. “All is quiet once more.”
With great care, Hook gradually revealed his head from his ruffled collar, his senses acutely attuned, as if he could catch even the faintest echo of a tick. No sound could be heard, and he composed himself, standing tall and resolute, fully aware that the immediate threat had passed.
“Here’s to Johnny Plank!” he exclaimed boldly, his animosity towards the boys intensifying as they witnessed his momentary vulnerability. With a touch of malice, he began singing the wicked refrain:
“Yo ho, yo ho, upon the plank we tread, With every step we take,
Until it sinks and we descend,
To Davy Jones’ watery bed!”
John approached the edge of the plank, each step becoming heavier and heavier, as if weights were being dragged behind him. The fear of impending doom loomed over him, a dark cloud threatening to consume his every thought. Yet, amidst the trepidation, an unexpected calmness washed over his being. It was in that moment, a vivid recollection emerged from the depths of his mind. He remembered a moment with his father, a figure often distant but not unkind, reaching out to him with a genuine request for help. It was a simple matter, a question about operating a device that John had knowledge of. In that instance, John felt a surge of significance. His father’s reliance on him made him feel appreciated and valued, forging a connection built on equality and mutual respect. It was a rare moment of being on equal footing, where their roles blurred and a genuine bond formed. Now, as he teetered on the edge of the plank, that memory became his ultimate solace, a final reservoir of strength to face his impending fate.
With one more step, he would plunge off the ship’s edge, liberated from the confines of life’s grasp.
CAW! CAW! CAW!
The echoes of a crowing sound reached their ears. The boys, well acquainted with the significance of that distinct call, recognized it instantly, understanding its meaning in their secret world. But to the pirates, unfamiliar with such mystical nuances, the crowing was an unsettling enigma, stirring a sense of unease that surpassed even the unsettling screech that had preceded it. It hung in the air, an ominous omen that left the pirates on edge, their imaginations running wild with fearful possibilities.
“What’s wrong with Bill Jukes, you wretch?” Hook hissed, towering over him with menace. “He should be manning the watchtower.”
“What’s wrong with Bill Jukes, you wretch?” Hook hissed, towering over him with menace.
“He’s dead, stabbed,” replied Cecco in a hollow voice.
“Bill Jukes is dead!” cried the startled pirates.
“The cabin is pitch-black, like a bottomless pit,” Cecco said, his voice almost trembling. “But there’s something dreadful in there, the thing you heard crowing.”
The boys exulted, while the pirates wore a somber expression, and Hook took notice of both.
“Cecco,” he said in a chilling tone, “go back and bring me that crowing creature.”
Cecco, known for his bravery, cowered before his captain, pleading, “No, no.” But Hook’s claw seemed to have a persuasive effect.
“Did you say you would go, Cecco?” Hook mused.
Cecco reluctantly obeyed, throwing his arms up in despair. The singing had ceased, and everyone listened intently. Then came a screech of death and another crow.
No one spoke except Slightly, who said, “Three.”
Hook rallied his crew with a gesture. “By God and all that’s holy,” he thundered, “who will bring me that crowing creature?”
“Wait until Cecco comes out,” growled Starkey, and the others echoed his sentiment.
“I believe you volunteered, Starkey,” Hook purred, approaching him. “I wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to comply with the hook’s wishes?”
“Never! I’d rather hang than enter there,” Starkey replied firmly, finding support from the rest of the crew.
“Is this mutiny?” Hook asked, his tone surprisingly pleasant. “Starkey is the ringleader!”
“Captain, have mercy!” Starkey whimpered, now trembling uncontrollably.
“Shake hands, Starkey,” Hook said, extending his claw with an air of false kindness.
Starkey frantically looked around for support, but found himself abandoned by all. As he retreated, Hook advanced, his eyes burning with a fiery intensity. With a despairing scream, the pirate lunged at Long Tom (the cannon extended near the plank) and hurled himself into the unforgiving sea.
“Four,” Slightly counted.
“And now,” Hook said courteously, “did any other gentlemen mention mutiny?” He seized a lantern and raised his claw in a menacing gesture. “I’ll retrieve that crowing creature myself,” he declared, and swiftly entered the cabin.
“Five.” Slightly yearned to utter the number. He moistened his lips in anticipation, but Hook emerged from the cabin, his lantern extinguished.
“Something extinguished the light,” he said, a hint of unsteadiness in his voice.
“Something!” echoed Mullins.
“What about Cecco?” Noodler demanded. “He’s as dead as Jukes,” Hook replied curtly.
His evident reluctance to reenter the cabin left a negative impression on all present, reigniting the mutinous murmurs among the pirates. Superstitious by nature, Cookson exclaimed, “They say the surest sign of a cursed ship is when there’s an unaccounted presence on board.”
“I’ve heard,” muttered Mullins, “he always boards the pirate vessel last. If he had a tail, captain?”
“They say,” sneered another pirate, casting a malevolent gaze at Hook, “that when he arrives, it’s in the form of the most wicked man among us.”
“Did he have a hook, captain?” Cookson insolently asked, and the cry was taken up by others, “The ship is doomed!” Unable to resist, the children let out a cheer. Hook had nearly forgotten about his captives, but as he turned his attention back to them, his face once again lit up with anticipation.
“Lads,” he exclaimed to his crew, “I have a splendid idea. Open the cabin door and force them to confront the crowing creature. Let them fight for their lives. If they manage to kill it, we’ll be better off. And if it kills them, we’re none the worse.”
His loyal dogs, once again admiring their captain, eagerly carried out his orders. The boys, pretending to resist, were shoved into the cabin, and the door was closed behind them.
“Now, listen!” Hook cried, and all fell silent to hear. Yet, not a single soul dared to face the door, except for Wendy, who had remained bound to the mast all this time. It was not a scream or a crow she awaited; it was the reappearance of Peter.
Memories suspend, Peter returns sublime, Key to freedom, armed children, unbind. Whispered vow, “Hook or me,” echoes true, Wendy concealed, Peter sets out, anew.
There are moments suspended from time where memories do not fade. The reemergence of Peter Pan was such a moment for Wendy. She had not long to wait. In the cabin, he had found what he sought—a key that would release the children from their shackles. They crept out, armed with whatever weapons they could gather. Peter motioned for them to hide while he freed Wendy from her bonds. Flying away together would have been effortless, but a vow stood in their path: “Hook or me this time.” Thus, after setting Wendy free, Peter whispered for her to hide with the others. Taking her place by the mast, draped in her cloak, he would pass as her. He drew in a deep breath and set out to Hook.
Lads, it’s the girl. A pirate ship has never known fortune with a woman on board. We’ll set things right once she’s gone.”
Some of them recalled that this had been one of Flint’s sayings. “It’s worth a try,” they murmured uncertainly.
“Throw the girl overboard!” Hook shouted, and they
lunged at the figure in the cloak.
“There’s no one who can save you now, missy,” Mullins sneered.
“There is,” came the reply from the figure.
“Peter Pan!” The words carried a terrible weight, and as they were spoken, Peter cast off his cloak. At that moment, they all recognized who had been thwarting them in the cabin. Hook attempted to speak, but the words eluded him twice. In that horrifying instant, I believe his fierce heart shattered.
Finally, he cried, “Cut him to the core!” but his voice lacked conviction.
“Charge, boys! Attack!” Peter’s commanding voice echoed through the air, and in an instant, the clash of weapons reverberated throughout the ship. If the pirates had maintained their unity, victory would have surely been theirs. However, they were caught off guard, scattered in disarray, each believing themselves to be the sole survivor. While the pirates were individually stronger, they fought defensively, allowing the boys to team up and strategically select their targets. Some of the miscreants jumped into the sea, while others sought refuge in dark corners, only to be discovered by Slightly. Armed with a lantern, he dazzled them, blinding their vision and making them easy prey for the other boys’ gleaming swords. Amidst the chaos, the air was filled with the clanging of weapons, occasional screams, splashes, and Slightly’s monotonous counting—five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.
I believe all the pirates had fallen when a pack of fierce boys encircled Hook. He appeared to possess an inexplicable charm that kept them at bay within that fiery ring. His loyal dogs had been defeated, but he alone seemed a match for them all. Time and again, they closed in on him, yet he skillfully cleared a space with each swing of his weapon. With his hook, he lifted a boy, using him as a shield, when suddenly, another boy who had just dispatched Mullins leaped into the fray.
“Lower your swords, boys,” the newcomer cried. “This man is mine.”
Thus, Hook found himself face to face with Peter. The others stepped back, forming a ring around the two adversaries.
For a long moment, the archenemies locked eyes, Hook shivering slightly, and Peter wearing a peculiar smile.
“So, Pan,” Hook finally spoke, “this is all your doing.”
“Yes, James Hook,” came the resolute reply, “it is all my doing.”
“Proud and insolent youth,” Hook sneered, “prepare to meet your doom.”
“Dark and sinister man,” Peter retorted, “have at thee.”
Without exchanging another word, they engaged in a fierce duel, each blade seeking advantage. Peter displayed masterful swordsmanship, parrying with breathtaking speed. He cleverly followed feints with swift lunges, evading his opponent’s defense. Yet, his shorter reach proved a disadvantage, preventing him from delivering a decisive blow. Hook, almost equal in brilliance but lacking Peter’s agility, pressed forward with the weight of his attacks, hoping to end it all with a favored thrust he had learned from Queequeg in Nantucket. To his astonishment, his attempts were repeatedly thwarted. Desperate to finish the fight, he aimed to strike with his iron hook, which had been menacingly hovering in the air. However, Peter evaded it, swiftly lunging and piercing Hook’s ribs. At the sight of his own blood, which held a repulsive hue for him, Hook’s sword slipped from his grasp, leaving him at Peter’s mercy.
“Now!” cried the boys eagerly, but Peter, with a grand gesture, invited his opponent to retrieve his fallen sword. Hook complied instantly, yet a sense of tragedy washed over him as he realized Peter was displaying good sportsmanship.
Until now, Hook had believed he was battling some devilish creature, but now darker doubts began to assail him.
“Pan, who are you? What are you?” he huskily
“I am youth, I am joy,” Peter responded, taking a chance. “I am a little bird that has hatched from its shell.”
Of course, this was utter nonsense, but it convinced the miserable Hook that Peter had no clue about his true identity—an embodiment of impeccable decorum.
“Let’s continue,” Hook cried, his voice filled with despair.
He fought like a whirlwind, his sword sweeping with devastating force that could slice any man or boy obstructing its path. Yet, Peter danced around him, as if the very wind it created pushed him beyond the reach of danger. Again and again, Peter darted in, delivering quick jabs.
Hook fought now without hope. His passionate heart no longer sought life, but it yearned for one final wish: to witness Peter display a lapse in good sportsmanship before his soul turned cold for eternity.
Abandoning the fight, Hook hastily made his way to the powder magazine and set it ablaze.
“In two minutes,” he exclaimed, “the ship will be
blown to smithereens.”
Now, he thought, the true nature of his adversary would reveal itself.
Yet, Peter emerged from the magazine, holding the explosive shell in his hands, and calmly tossed it overboard.
But what kind of form was Hook displaying himself? Though misguided, we can at least appreciate that, in the end, he remained true to the principles of his lineage. The other boys circled around him now, mocking and scornful. He stumbled across the deck, swinging his weapon impotently at them. His mind had drifted far away, wandering the playing fields of his youth, reminiscing about times when he excelled or got into trouble, or watching the game from a renowned wall. His shoes were impeccable, his waistcoat was impeccable, his tie was impeccable, his socks were impeccable.
James Hook, though not entirely devoid of heroism, we bid you farewell.
For we have reached his final moments.
Observing Peter slowly approaching through the air, dagger poised, Hook leaped onto the ship’s bulwarks, intending to hurl himself into the sea. Unbeknownst to him, the crocodile awaited his descent. We purposely halted the ticking clock so that he would be spared this knowledge—a small token of respect from us as his journey came to a close.
He had one last triumph, one we need not begrudge him. As he stood on the bulwark, glancing over his shoulder at Peter soaring through the sky, he gestured for him to use his foot. It prompted Peter to kick instead of stab.
At last, Hook had achieved the satisfaction he craved.
“Bad form,” he jeered, and contentedly ventured into the jaws of the crocodile.
And so, James Hook met his demise.
In slumber’s embrace, Peter’s weary steps ceased, Dreams weaved emotional landscapes, emotions released. Tears flowed, subconscious weeping deep and true, Wendy, understanding, clasped his hand, love imbued.
“Seventeen,” Slightly proclaimed, though his count was not entirely accurate. Fifteen paid the price for their misdeeds on that fateful night, while two managed to escape: Starkey, who fell into the hands of the natives, becoming a reluctant caretaker for their young ones—a pitiful fate for a once proud pirate; and Smee, who wandered the world wearing spectacles, eking out a precarious existence by boasting that he was the only man whom James Hook had ever feared.
They all reveled in their hard-fought victory, basking in the exhilaration that permeated the air. Together, they realized the lateness of the hour, a collective awareness dawning upon them. With weariness tugging at their bodies, they followed Wendy’s lead, entering Hook’s cabin in search of respite. It was a moment of shared triumph and relief.
Wendy’s gaze fell upon the pocket watch nonchalantly hanging from a nail in the cabin, its hands pointing to the hour: “half-past one!”
After swiftly tucking John and Michael into the makeshift beds of the pirates’ bunks, Wendy’s attention turned to Peter, who roamed the deck with an air of restlessness. The adrenaline of the battle
now subsided, leaving behind a lingering weariness in his form. Wendy approached him silently, her presence a gentle anchor amidst the vastness of the night.
As Peter’s steps gradually slowed, fatigue finally overcame him, and he collapsed, surrendering to sleep beside Long Tom. In the realm of dreams, his subconscious led him through emotional landscapes, evoking subconscious tears that streamed down his cheeks. Wendy, recognizing the emotions, held his hand in hers.
Through mystical realms, their journey did roam, From Neverland’s grasp, they found their way home. Whispers of adventures, secrets untold, Returned they, transformed, their essence enfold.
Mrs. Darling sat in the night-nursery, her eyes filled with a certain melancholy. As we observe her closely, reminiscing about her vibrant spirit from bygone days, it becomes clear that we cannot hold any ill will towards her. The loss of her beloved children casted a shadow over her, dampening the joy that once radiated from within. In this moment, as she rested in her chair, sleep found her, and a fleeting smile graced her lips. It’s as if her dreams held a glimmer of hope, a yearning for something more.
Her hand stirs uneasily upon her chest, as if it carries a pain that lingers. While some may favor Peter, and others may adore Wendy, I find myself drawn to Mrs. Darling. Perhaps it’s because she is a kindred spirit, burdened with a deep love for her children that she cannot shake. If only we could bring her solace, whisper to her slumbering soul that her precious ones are on their way back. Even now, they soar through the night sky, mere miles away from the window. All it takes is a gentle murmur, an assurance that they are returning. Let us do just that.
But, alas, our words have stirred her from her sleep. She awakens abruptly, calling out their names in a mix of desperation and longing. Yet, there is no one in the room except for Nana, the faithful canine companion. A wave of sadness washes over us, realizing that the children are not yet here to ease the ache within Mrs. Darling’s heart.
Mr. Darling’s world had undergone a profound shift since the departure of his children. The loss had left a void in his heart, a void that even his demanding job couldn’t fill. Day after day, he wrestled with conflicting emotions. The weight of societal expectations whispered in his ear, urging him to bury his grief and embrace the relentless pursuit of productivity. But amidst the noise, a quieter voice emerged, reminding him of what truly mattered. It whispered of the joy he once found in the laughter of his children, the warmth of their embrace. Slowly, Mr. Darling began to see that his true purpose lay not in the office, but in the nurturing of his own blood. It was a subtle transformation, a subtle shift in priorities. He fought against the tide of productivity obsessiveness, realizing that there was more to life than achievements and status. He learned to embrace the simple joys, the tender moments shared with his family. In this quiet battle, Mr. Darling discovered that fulfillment came not from the relentless pursuit of success, but from the quiet, heartfelt connections that breathed life into his soul.
Amidst the ebb and flow of their lives, Mr. and Mrs. Darling had navigated a complex and ever-changing relationship. It had its fair share of tumult, yet beneath the surface, something profound was taking shape. One sunny day, they found themselves strolling through the park, as they held hands, something they hadn’t done with the children around. They felt the weight of their history woven between their fingers. The soft breeze carried whispers of shared memories and unspoken regrets, as they walked in a gentle cadence, rediscovering life alone, but together. Later that evening, they cozied up on the couch, a quiet comfort settling over them. Words were unnecessary as tears often welled up, spilling over the brim of their hearts. The nursery was filled with a tender embrace of nostalgia, as they journeyed back to a time when their children were by their side.
“Nana, I had the most vivid dream that my loved ones returned,” Mrs. Darling whispered, her eyes misty with longing.
Nana, the faithful canine companion, could only offer a gentle paw on her mistress’s lap, understanding the depth of her sorrow. They sat together in that tender moment when the sound of footsteps approached.
As Mr. Darling leaned forward to tenderly kiss his wife’s cheek, it was impossible to overlook the signs of weariness that etched lines upon his face. Time had taken its toll, leaving its marks in the form of creases and shadows, reminding us of the burdens he had carried. Yet, amidst the weariness, there was a subtle transformation in his countenance—a gentleness that seemed to have emerged from within. The harsh edges that once defined him had softened.
“Should I close that window? I wouldn’t want you to catch a chill,” Mr. Darling inquired, his concern evident in his tone.
“Oh, George, let’s leave it open. The window must always be left open for them, always, always,” Mrs. Darling responded.
As George and Mrs. Darling succumbed to slumber, oblivious to the unfolding events, a cool breeze swept through the open window.
Wendy, John, and Michael discovered that fate had granted them an open window, an unexpected invitation back into their home. Their guilt was but a fleeting thought as they landed on the floor, unabashed by their audacity. The youngest, Michael, already lost in the haze of adventure, questioned his surroundings.
“John,” he hesitated, casting a doubtful glance, “I
think I’ve been here before.”
“Of course you have, you silly. Look, there’s your old bed,” replied John, dismissing any doubts.
“You’re right,” Michael muttered, lacking conviction.
Unaware of the passage of time, it felt as though not a single night had passed since their departure, yet at the same time years seemed to have lapsed. Contemplating their next move, a quiet notion emerged—perhaps they should slip into their beds unnoticed, waiting until morning to reunite with their parents. After all, there was a lingering uncertainty about whether their mother and father even realized they had embarked on such extraordinary adventures.
When Mrs. Darling returned to the night-nursery to check if her husband was asleep, she discovered all the beds occupied. The children eagerly anticipated her joyful exclamation, but none came. Mrs. Darling’s gaze fell upon them, yet she couldn’t believe they were truly there. You see, she had often seen them in their beds within her dreams, leading her to believe that this was merely the remnants of a lingering dream.
She settled into the chair by the fireplace, the very spot where she had once nursed them. The children couldn’t comprehend her confusion, and a chill of
apprehension crept over them. “Mother!” Wendy cried out.
“That’s Wendy,” Mrs. Darling acknowledged, yet still she remained convinced it was part of her dream.
“That’s John,” she replied.
“Mother!” Michael exclaimed. He knew it was her.
“That’s Michael,” she confirmed, and she reached out her arms, longing to embrace the three little ones she thought she would never hold again. But hold them she did. Wendy, John, and Michael had slipped out of their beds and rushed to her side.
“George, George!” she called out, finding her voice. Mr. Darling awoke, sharing in her joy, while Nana hurried into the room. It was a sight of pure beauty, though there was no one there to witness it except for a teenage boy who peered through the window. He had experienced countless joys that other children could never fathom, but now he gazed longingly at the one happiness forever out of his reach.
Peter and Wendy, a fleeting reunion,
Eyes locked in a moment of bittersweet communion. Their destinies diverged, yet memories would stay, In that farewell gaze, emotions danced
I hope you want to know what became of the lost boys? They patiently waited below, giving Wendy time to explain their presence. After counting to five hundred, they made their way up, choosing to ascend the stairs to make a better impression. Arranged in a line before Mrs. Darling, they removed their hats, secretly wishing they weren’t dressed as pirates. Though they remained silent, their eyes pleaded with her to accept them.
Overwhelmed by a tumultuous mix of emotions, Mr. Darling, who had been quietly observing the commotion, could no longer suppress his feelings. Tears welled up in his eyes, cascading down his face like a gentle stream. In that raw and vulnerable moment, the truth spilled forth from his lips, carried by a trembling voice. He confessed, with utmost sincerity, that there was nothing he desired more than to have the boys be a part of their lives, to embrace them as his own.
All the boys eventually went off to school, each finding their place in different classes. Slightly, being the mischievous one, found himself in Class IV and then Class V. The top class was Class I. As they attended school for the first week, they realized that leaving the island behind had been a significant change. It wasn’t a mistake, but rather an adjustment they needed to make. They had to adapt to the ordinary life of school, just like any other child.
Sadly, as time went on, their ability to fly gradually faded away. Nana, their faithful dog, would tie their feet to the bedposts at night to prevent them from flying away. During the day, they would pretend to fall off buses as a playful diversion. However, they soon discovered that letting go of the bus and attempting to fly only resulted in pain. Their bonds in bed were left untouched, and even chasing after their hats became an impossible feat. They attributed it to a lack of practice, but deep down, they knew it was because they no longer believed.
As the years went by, the boys faced their fair share of challenges in the real world, but they had each other and their newfound family bond to rely on. John, Michael, and their father became an inseparable trio, supporting and guiding one another through life’s ups and downs.
The Lost Boys embraced their adventurous spirit, bravery, and unwavering loyalty, channeling these qualities into their professional lives as successful businessmen. Each of them pursued different paths, utilizing their unique strengths and talents. Yet, their shared experiences in Neverland forged a special connection that remained unbreakable.
Every Sunday, as tradition called, the Lost Boys would gather for their weekly conference call. Though the demands of adulthood had pulled them in different directions, this cherished time allowed them to reconnect, sharing the triumphs and tribulations that life had bestowed upon them. as time passed, the extraordinary tales from their childhood began to fade, replaced by the realities of adult life.
Yet, there was one reminder that remained steadfast— their personalized ringtones. With a touch of whimsy, the crow’s caw echoed through their phones, signaling an incoming call from one of their Lost Boys brethren.
As for Peter, he saw Wendy once again before he flew away.
Instead of directly approaching the window, he casually brushed against it, giving Wendy the opportunity to open it and call out to him. And that’s exactly what she did.
“Hey, Wendy, goodbye,” Peter greeted her.
“Oh no, are you really leaving?” she asked, her voice filled with concern.
Wendy hesitated before speaking again, her words faltering. “Peter, don’t you feel like saying something to my parents about something very special?”
“About me, Peter?” “No.”
Mrs. Darling, who had been keeping a watchful eye on Wendy, approached the window. She informed Peter that she had adopted all the other boys and would be more than happy to adopt him as well.
“Would you send me to school?” Peter asked, his tone crafty.
“And then to an office?”
“I suppose so.”
“Eventually, I’d become a man?” “Very soon.”
As Wendy observed Peter, she noticed a rare seriousness settle upon his features, replacing his usual carefree demeanor. It was clear that the decision to stay or leave weighed heavily on his mind.
Wendy sensed that Peter was leaning towards the idea of leaving, as a bittersweet realization washed over her. A bittersweet mix of emotions welled up within her, as she recognized the irresistible pull of adventure and perpetual youth that had captured his spirit. Yet, deep down, Peter also understood the weight of responsibility, knowing that there would always be new boys, lost.
Wendy’s voice quivered with vulnerability as she mustered the courage to ask, “Peter, don’t you love me?” Her heart ached for reassurance, hoping against fear that his answer would provide solace and affirmation.
But she knew that it wouldn’t.
As the years went by, the visits from Peter became less frequent. Responsibilities and the demands of adulthood took hold, pulling Wendy further away from the magical realm of Neverland.
Wendy walked down the aisle, adorned in a white gown with a delicate pink sash. Surprisingly, Peter did not make a dramatic entrance at the church to object to the marriage announcement.
As the years unfolded, Wendy joyfully welcomed a daughter named Jane into the world. Jane possessed a perpetual inquisitive gaze, as if her curiosity had ignited the moment she set foot into this world. When she grew old enough to talk, most of her inquiries revolved around Peter Pan. Wendy delighted in sharing every memory she could recall from the nursery where the extraordinary flight had taken place. That very nursery had now become Jane’s, as her father had purchased it from Wendy’s father, who had grown weary of climbing stairs. Mrs. Darling had long since passed away, fading into forgotten realms.
Now, the nursery housed only one bed—Jane’s. The kennel that once belonged to Nana was no more, as the faithful canine had also reached the end of her days. Nana’s departure was marked by the challenges she presented in her final years, firmly believing that no one but herself possessed the knowledge and ability to care for children.
Once a week, as part of their cherished tradition, Wendy would tuck her daughter Jane into bed, creating a magical atmosphere for storytelling. It was during this special time that Jane, brimming with imagination, devised an inventive idea to transform their surroundings into a cozy tent. Together, they would lift the sheet over their heads, enveloping themselves in a realm of enchanting darkness.
From within their makeshift tent, Jane would softly inquire, “What do we see now?”
Wendy, feeling a tinge of hesitation as if Nana’s spirit lingered disapprovingly, replied, “Tonight, I don’t think I see anything.”
“But you do,” insisted Jane, her voice conspiratorial. “You see yourself as a little girl.”
“That was a long time ago, my sweetheart,” sighed Wendy. “Oh, how swiftly time passes!”
“Does it pass like the way you used to fly when you were a little girl?” Jane cunningly asked.
“The way I flew? You know, Jane, sometimes I wonder
if I truly ever flew.” “Yes, you did.”
“The cherished days when I could soar through the air!”
“Why can’t you fly now, Mother?”
“Because I have grown up, my dearest. When people grow up, they forget the way.”
“Why do they forget the way?”
“Because they are no longer carefree, innocent, and without a care in the world. It is only the carefree and innocent who can take flight”
“What does it mean to be carefree and innocent? Oh, how I wish I could embody those qualities!”
Or perhaps Wendy would admit that she does see something after all.
“I do believe,” she would say, her voice tinged with wonder, “that it is this very nursery.”
“I do believe it is,” Jane would affirm eagerly. “Please,
go on with the story.”
They were fully immersed in the thrilling adventure of the night when Peter made his entrance, searching for his lost shadow.
“The silly boy,” Wendy recounted, “attempted to stick it back on with soap, and when he failed, he burst into tears. That’s what woke me up, and I sewed it back on for him.”
Jane, now well-versed in the story, interjected excitedly, “And when you saw him sitting on the floor crying, what did you say?”
“I sat up in bed and asked, ‘Why are you crying, boy?’” Wendy recalled.
“Yes, that’s it!” Jane exclaimed, taking a deep breath.
“And then he whisked us away to Neverland, where we encountered fairies, pirates, redskins, mermaids’ lagoon, and the cozy underground home,” Wendy continued.
“Yes! Which part did you like the most?” Jane eagerly inquired.
“I think the home under the ground was my favorite,”
“Me too!” Jane agreed. “What was the last thing Peter ever said to you?”
“The last thing he said to me was, ‘Always be waiting for me, and one night you’ll hear me crowing,’” Wendy replied with a wistful smile. She had grown up since then.
“What did his crow sound like?” Jane asked one evening.
Wendy attempted to imitate Peter’s crow, but Jane solemnly corrected her, saying, “No, it sounded like this,” as she mimicked the crow much more accurately than her mother.
Wendy was startled: “My darling, how do you know?”
“I often hear it when I’m sleeping,” Jane confessed.
“Ah yes, many girls hear it in their dreams, but I was the only one who heard it while awake,” Wendy said.
“Lucky you,” Jane remarked, a touch of envy in her voice.
Jane, a witness to their ethereal connection,
In reverent silence, observed the scene’s perfection. Wendy’s final words echoed with grace, “Peter, take me back, to Neverland’s embrace.” Hand in hand, they soared, a departure profound, A new chapter unfolding, their journey unbound.
And then, one fateful night, reality and fantasy finally collided. It was springtime, and the bedtime story had come to an end.
As Jane tended to her own child, Wendy lay quietly, her breathing shallow and weak. The nursery was filled with a bittersweet air, a mix of cherished memories.
In the dimly lit room, Peter suddenly appeared at the window, just as he had done so many times before. But this time, his arrival carried a different weight. His eternally youthful temperament now showed traces of age, matching Wendy’s own.
“Hullo, Jane,” Peter greeted, his voice tinged with a hint of sadness.
“Hullo, Peter,” Jane replied, her voice filled with both warmth and sorrow. She sensed the weight of the
moment and understood the significance of Peter’s presence.
Peter approached Wendy’s bedside, his eyes filled with a mix of longing and regret. He reached out and gently held Wendy’s frail hand, his touch conveying years of unspoken emotions.
“Dear Wendy, do you remember the adventures we shared?” Peter asked softly, his voice trembling.
A faint smile appeared on Wendy’s tired face. “Of course, Peter. How could I ever forget? We flew to Neverland, danced with fairies, and battled pirates. Those were the days of magic and wonder.”
Jane, overwhelmed by the emotional scene unfolding before her, watched in silent reverence. She knew the depth of her mother’s connection with Peter, a bond that transcended time and mortality.
As the room fell into a hushed stillness, Wendy mustered the strength to speak her final words. “Peter, my dear friend, the time has come for me to leave this world. I’m ready to go back with you.”
Peter nodded solemnly, holding back tears as always. “Anything, Wendy. You have but to ask.”
And so, hand in hand, Wendy Darling, the girl who dared to fly, embarked on her final flight, guided by Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up.
AND THE BEGINNING