Off to Neverland: A modern day Peter Pan story
To never grow old. To never grow up. Thats what I thought I wanted, until I had the option. The faritytale of my dreams, that I'd had read to me what felt like a hundred years ago, was becoming my reality. A boy who I'd grown up believing was just another character in a story book turned out to be the realist thing in my life. But when you're given the chance to turn your back on everything you'd ever known what do you learn about yourself?
It Falls Apart
I sat shaking in my little prision as I waited for Peter to get here. The blade was clutched in both of my hands and the cool metal was soon warmed up by my heated skin, and slick with my sweat. I could feel the burn behind my eyes and the lump in my throat as I thought of just how slim the prospect of me making it out of this alive was.
I was gonna die on the beautiful island that I had dreamt of so often. I was going to die here, surround by the pretty things of my imagination, and I think that was what hurt the most. I had spent so many hours holed up in my room with music blaring out of my headphones and thoughts floating out of my head of a place like this one. A place where I would fit in and shine. Now it was a place like this where I would make my grave.
I heard a pair of footsteps headed for me and I clutched the knife tighter. One was shuffling and the other was the sound of rain on a roof. It wasn't hard to guess with belonged to Peter.
With a clang my prision door swung open and a dirty man shoved Peter into my roomy cell. I caught my breath.
Peter, peter, peter. Poor, poor Peter. Covered in blood and bruises.
He stumbled and fell into a heap on the floor at my feet. But I didn't realize just how broken he was until he looked up into my eyes. It was gone. The glittering happiness he carried everywhere was gone. Long gone. He wasn't so young anymore it seemed and that was what chased the sob up my throat. The knife in my hand clattered to the floor as I dropped it.
Neverland. The place where no one grew up. Where Peter Pan and his band of Lost Boys stayed forever young and forever adventurous. The poor soul at my feet was aged much beyond his years and I couldn't help but reach for him. Reach for his hand and pull him practically into my lap.
"No, Baby, no." I whispered brokenly into his hair. His chest rocked with his building wail. I swayed us side to side as he cried into my bloody t-shirt.
"I'm so, so sorry. I so sorry." he whispered to me and I shook my head, my cheek rubbing into his hair. What had this done to us.
"He wants me to kill you." I blurt and he nods into my chest. "I should kill you." I continue and he nods again. "I'm not going to." I whisper in his ear and his sobs cease for a moment. I stop rocking us and he looks up into my teary eyes with his teary eyes.
"You should." he whispers even lower than I had, and I shake my head. I lean into his ear again.
"We're going to kill him, Peter." I whisper fiercely and I feel him shiver. Before I know it his lips, raw from biting, are covering mine, which are covered in my own blood, and I kiss back. Not caring for a moment, because this is the boy of my dreams. Even if those dreams turned out to be nightmares.
"I love you better than her." he says and I blink. Knowing, somehow, exactly who he was talking about. I push a cinnamon strand of his hair away from his eyes and lean into his ear again.
"I've got a plan, just please tell me you have some pixie dust on you." His eyes and hands go immediately to a worn leather pouch on his waist and I grin. "Good."
The stars were soon falling away, being replaced by a glowing light to what I assumed was the east. Beside me Tommy was practically sleep-flying. Which I found a bit impossible and a lot humourous. I turned my eye back to the fluttering fairy leading us to Neverland.
A smudge on the horizon caught my eye and I squinted hard. Palm trees and a waterfall were soon becoming visible and I sucked in an awed breath.
I'd known Audrey since before I could walk. I, more than anyone probably, knew how often she dreamed of just getting up one day, packing a bag, and leaving. I never understood it. What could be so great out there? What could beat the familiar ground beneath my feet?
I think I understand it now. If places like this exsist, how could anyone settle on mundane?
"Tommy." I whisper nudging his arm. A snore breaks free of his lips and I roll my eyes. "Tommy!" I say while shaking his shoulder. His eyes fly open and his chin dips down causing him to start rushing towards the open water still below us for a moment before leveling out and I chuckle at his shocked face.
"What the hell Josh. I coulda died!" I scoff and point towards the smudge thats shape is becoming more and more defined. Tommy's face drops the glower and turns to wonder. "Is that?" he asks and I nod my head.
"How in the Sam Hell are we supposed to find her in all that?" he asks me sounding a little panicked. I shurg and start flying again. After a windy sigh Tommy starts after me, grumbling like a toddler all the while.
After a few more minutes I point to an out cropping of rocks.
"Lets land there." I shout back over my shoulder and Tommy grunts in agreeance. We slowly touch down on the hot rocks and I wobble. My legs seem to have forgotten how to hold me up in the time I was flying. Tommy touches down and crumples into a heap of gangly limbs and fiery curses.
"Dammit legs! Get it together." he hear him growl under his breath as he teeters to his feet. I chuckle into my hand and he sends me a glare. "Shut up, Josh." he says and I smile back at him.
"What ever you say, Dollface." I quip as I take a look around me. Only a fool could miss the beauty of a place like this. The water was an almost unearthly blue and the sand littered with colorful shells. I turn my back on Tommy as I look off into the distance, taking in the our beautiful setting.
"Uhmmm, Josh." whispers Tommy and I ignore him. "Josh, you might want to, uhh turn around." he whispers again and I roll my eyes before slowly turning.
"What Tommy? What is so damn --" I cut off when I face him completely and notice the two men. One has a knife to Tommy's throat and the other is pointing a rusty pistol at me. "Oh." I whisper.
"Yeah." replies Tommy with a hint of a terrified smirk.
"I suggest you two come with us." says the one holding Tommy. I lock eyes with Tommy and he winks.
"Oh yeah?!" shouts Tommy. "And what if we don't want to come with you?" he asks in a cocky voice. The guy holding him scoffs and tightens his hold.
"What do you think, pretty boy."
"These guys must be a bunch of idiots, Joshy." he winks again and I catch his drift. I scoff and start walking towards the one with the gun.
"Don't you recognize us?" I ask raising an eyebrow as the goon points the gun at the middle of my chest. I step forward a few more feet until my sternum is flush against the gun. "Pull the trigger, buddy and you're gonna make a lot of important people real angry." I promise.
"Oh really? And who exactly are you two?" says the one holding Tommy, who seems to be the more talkative of the bunch.
"We work for a friend of Hook's, a couple islands over. We were put in charge of making sure his crew were up to shape, and making sure that the members who aren't," Tommy pauses dramatically and looks to me "are . . . taken care of, is a good way of putting it, I guess, Right Joshy?" I smile menacingly
"A perfect way of putting it, Tommy boy." I say and I listen as the gun against my chest is uncocked and lowered.
"Smitty! They could be lyin'!" says the one holding Tommy.
"Yeah, but just in case they aint. I'm not takin' any chances Sue!" Says Smitty and I fight back a grin. "We'll take 'em to see Cap'n. See what he says." I look over at Tommy and try not to look so panicked. The guy holding him sighs but lets him go.
"Fine." Sue shoves Tommy towards me and Tommy, whos legs are still a bit wobbly, falls to his hands and knees. Smitty gasps and Sue's eyes go wide.
"Oh you're gonna wish you hadn't done that Sue." Says Tommy in a gravelly voice. "Tell my Sue, who gave you a name like that? Was it ya daddy. Did he give you that name before he left you and your worthless mommy, to live the life of some crackpot old ex-sailor?" asks Tommy as he pushes to his feet and stalks towards the hairy pirate. Sue's mouth is flopping around like a fishes and the gleam of tears is in his eyes.
I see Tommy's footwork falter when he sees just how much his words affected Sue, but he doesn't ease up.
"Now you two give me and my associate a moment to speak and you sure as hell better not let those tears fall, boy. We can't have weak men at sea. We don't have time for weaklings." says Tommy before he turn back towards me and gestures for me to follow him around to the other side of the rock.
I wait until we're out of sight before I yank his arm so he'll turn to face me.
"Jesus Christ, Tommy, was that necessary? Poor guy was practically sobbing." I whisper-yell and Tommy bites his lip and looks up at me.
"I know, Josh. I'm sorry, I mean, how was I supposed to know the man had daddy issues! He deserved it anyway, for threatning me with the stupid knife!" He says as he runs a hand through his golden hair. I shake my head.
"Okay what are we gonna do?" I ask and Tommy looks at me with a 'duh' expression.
"Well now we know for sure that Hooks here, right?" he asks and I nod. "Well who is Hooks enemy?" he asks and I look at him blankly before he sighs. "Do you even know the story of Peter Pan? Nevermind, Peter is Hooks biggest enemy. And if you were Hook, and you wanted to lure your biggest enemy into a trap wouldn't you use something he wanted?" he asks and I nod again. "Well in this case the 'something' that Peter wants is actually as 'someone'." he pauses as he waits for me to catch on. I shake my head in confussion. "Audrey! Audrey is what Peter wants, you dipshit! Audrey is on that bastards ship!" he whisper yells and it finally clicks.
"Hook has Audrey!" I say and Tommy mimes a light coming on above his head.
"Alright lets find some rocks." he says and I watch as he drops to the ground, looking for a good-sized rock. I raise an eyebrow at him.
"Why do we need rocks?" I ask and he sighs like my cluelessness is bringing him actual pain.
"We're gonna knock those two idiots back there out with a couple rocks, steal their clothes, sneak onto Hook's ship, find Audrey, and get the Hell outta dodge." he answers and I look at him like the crazy person he is before dropping to the ground and searching for a rock.
"You're crazy, Tommy." I whisper to him and he chuckles.
"Your mom likes it."
"Okay, Peter, lets run through the plan one more time. We've got about thirty-five minutes until our hour is over." I say rubbing my temples.
"Okay, so Hook is gonna walk though that door" he pauses to point towards the door ", and see you 'passed out' on the floor. He'll step through the door. All the while I'm hovering on the ceiling, with the knife. When he gets into range I'll drop from the ceiling, onto his back and stab him with the knife. And uhm, then he dies, and we somehow get off this ship, with all of the lost boys, without being caught by any of the other pirates." he says, sounding a bit snarky near the end. I ignore the sass and nod my head.
"Alright, I think you've got it." I say while fiddling with a stray piece of hair.
"You know this is one of the most reckless, and far-fetced plans I've ever heard of?" he asks in a stern voice. I bow my head and pick at a stray thread on my shirt
"Well yeah, but I don't see you coming up with anything better, Peter!" I say sounding defensive.
"If we live through this --"
"If we live through this Peter, I'm kicking your scrawny behind for kidnapping me in the first place. I mean who does that?" I ask and he blushes.
"Right well, uhm, I'm gonna go sit in that corner okay?" he asks sounding a bit shamed and I smirk and nod. I lean my head back against the moldy wall behind me and sigh.
How did I get into this mess?
I'm about to go into a deep internal monologue when I hear one set of footsteps slowly making its way down the hallway. My eyes fly open and without thinking I throw the knife to Peter who somehow cleanly plucks the knife out of the air in the same motion as pouring a handful of fairy dust on to his head. I can feel my heart beat in my throat and I realize that its time. Its now or never.
Peter zooms to the ceiling right above the door. The footsteps are getting closer and closer and I can feel myself about to pee, like in a good game of hide-n-seek. A scuffed boot comes into my line of sight and I peek up at Peter who seems to be praying silently under his breath.
Hook dies today.
I situate the large, stolen, pirate hat on my head and clear my throat.
Tommy and I had taken out the two pirates on the beach without a problem. The pirate I had taken out was carrying a ring of keys and I silently thanked a higher power. Getting onto the boat was extremly anticlimactic. No one seemed to suspect a thing when Tommy asked some random guy where Captain Hook's cabin was, and I questioned the location of the holding cells, although I was told it was refered to as a 'brig'.
We split up as I headed down to the underbelly of the ship in a hope to find Audrey and he headed towards the front of the boat that has some special name that I can't remember.
After you got out of the sun the ship became quite cold. As I peeked into cell after cell, trying my best to be quiet just incase some other pirate was lurking about, I realized just how crazy this whole situation was. I almost laugh out loud when I here a small shuffling. I look to the side and notice a limp body bent into a small ball.
Even broken, small, and covered in dirt I'm able to recognize her. I lunge for the bars and shove the largest key into the lock. The door swings open and I surge forward.
"Audrey!" I shout as I drop to my knees infront of her. Her head snaps up, eyes wide just as I feel a blinding pain stab through my chest. A sound like waves crases through my ears and I can feel myself gasping and shuddering.
I look down and see a blade sticking through where my heart should be. I look back up into Audrey's perfect, dawn colored eyes and cough.
"Josh, no. No no no no no. Not you, baby. Stay with me sweetheart. Listen to me." I cough again and little drops of red coat her face. "Josh please." I almost laugh. I close my eyes for a moment and am surprised when I cant seem to remember how to open them again. The pain is gone now.
I watch in shock as the boy infront of me slowly dies by my hand, and Audrey slowly falls to pieces. Sobbing and shaking, even after the boy has clearly passed on.
"JoshJoshJosh." she says it over and over like a chant or prayer. She's covered in his blood. Literally covered.
"Audrey?" I whisper but it doesn't seem to get through to her. "Audrey."
"No Peter! Just, no. You killed him, you killed Josh." her eyes are burning. Blue fire. I gnaw on my lip as she looks at me. My own eyes are tearing up, just from being in proximity with someone so broken.
With shaking hands she strokes the sweat soaked strands of his hair out of his face and seems to be singing softly to him under her breath. A lullaby of sorts.
"I can save him." I whisper more to my self than any thing else but her reaction is instant.
"How?" her eyes, like always read her emotion like a book, and in that moment she sings with desperation.
"Remember when I healed your back?" I ask and she nods fiercely. "I'll do the same thing but with him." I say like its the simplest thing in the world. She doesn't seem sold though.
"Just like that? No consequences. You can bring him back?" she asks and I swallow.
"Just like that."
On the inside though I'm scared. Scared as all Hell. When the mermaids taught me how to heal people they gave me only two rules.
Never heal someone who isn't hurt; they'll probably turn into a superhero.
Never try to bring someone back to life; you'll probably take their place as dead.
But the look on Audreys face as she stares done at the boy in her arms takes my fear away. Makes me into the brave boy I've always been. I clear my throat and lift her chin.
"I love you." I whisper to her and she blinks in surprise. "I love you Audrey, and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I got you into this."
I put my hands on the boys chest and center myself.
I'm ready to die.