Peter Pan: A Novel

the continuation of Peter Pan, in which Peter is haunted by visions of growing up and falling in love

The End of Peter Pan continued…{4} November 4, 2007

Filed under: chapter one — snarkytea @ 6:35 pm
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{ 773 words }

            “…We have not seen you much in Neverland these past several weeks, so I imagine you have been to see her again.” Tiger Lily’s disdain for Wendy went slightly beyond the childish kind of competition for Peter’s heart where it had once remained, and had, since she knew Peter still visited the girl, turned to cold bitterness. It was her fault Peter would grow up like this and be miserable without her. Had she never told stories of Peter and Captain Hook, they would have never met, and had she never spun her Cinderella tales of princesses rescued and transformed, Peter would never have been so stupidly smitten. “Your silence says that you have.”

            “And so what?” Peter barked, jerking away from her again, though he didn’t move far. “I have been to see her several times.”

            “What has changed to make you so sad?”

            For once, Peter could keep up the happy façade and instead bowed his head in shame. “She has a daughter. She is old.”

            “And you wanted to grow old with her? What a silly thought, Peter; you who will never grow up here.”

            “I don’t want to grow up,” Peter said seriously, and indeed it was a strange thing to notice he was not playing any games. He was thoughtful and his face lost some of its twinkling boyishness. “I don’t. But I can’t help it. I visit her daughter as often as I can, even if I don’t talk to her. Sometimes I watch her. She is good at storytelling, too, but she is growing, quickly. The last time I saw her, she was a foot taller, nearly Wendy’s height.”

            Tiger Lily nodded. “She does not want to stall her growing up, does she?”

            “I think she is excited about growing up!” Peter exclaimed, now laughing in his usual manner. “I told her that was silly. Growing up is not exciting, nor is it wonderful or painless.” At the mention of pain, the clouds seemed to swell thicker and a bolt of lightning crashed in the distance over the vast sea. Pain had not often been introduced into the small Neverland.

            Tiger Lily hunched further into her furs and after a long moment of silence stood up. “I see only one answer to your dilemma, Peter, and that is to go to Wendy and stay there with her.” Dusting herself off, she frowned very beautifully, her eyes damp. “You should grow up, Peter. It doesn’t have to be painful. When you are in love, all should be happiness and contentment.”

            She began to walk away and, when Peter didn’t try to stop her, of course she was afraid. Peter’s absence for more than a few days would mean he would forget things from Neverland, just as a few days’ absence from the other realm meant he forgot their adventures as well. Peter’s absence from Neverland meant also that once he stopped believing in it, it would no longer exist, for Neverland was everything Peter had ever imagined as a baby and everything he ever wanted as an adolescent. It was adventure, romance, happiness, and games. Without his imagining it, darkness would overwhelm its green shores.

            Glancing over her shoulder at him, she smiled just enough to assure him her words were wise and rightful, and then whispered, “Please come back and visit now and again, Peter.” Tiger Lily sauntered into the mist, her arrows slung over her strong shoulders and her bow drawn, for she would never be without protection in case of danger, and when the skies were so dark, there was no telling who could be lurking behind a bend.

            The darkness of the sky was so dense it made Peter afraid. He could not see but an inch in front of his face, the Pirate ship over the ledge disappearing into the fog. Rain came in sheets and all happy thoughts had gone from his young body. For the first time in his life, he was forced to make a true decision about something that would change the course of his life forever, and it was so overwhelming and terrifying that he couldn’t move. It was as if a simple inhale would bring him down one path and an exhale might take him down the other.

            And somehow he already had made the choice.

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The End of Peter Pan continued…{3}

Filed under: chapter one,peter pan — snarkytea @ 4:28 am
Tags: , , , ,

{1,252 words}

            A buzzing in his ear told him the fairies wished he would come play with them, but he wasn’t in the mood and as he told them so, he swiped the girlish pixies away one-handed.

            Of course, Peter Pan not being in the mood to play was almost unheard of, so the pixie took offense to his words and bit his ear as she fluttered off in fury to tell the other fairies. By the time she returned to the celebration and saw the beauty of the moment, she only had room for her happiness and so let the anger fade, leaving Peter much more alone than he’d been before she’d been flipping her wings in his ear.

            Peter was sure he had never felt such a feeling before, for it was the first time that he had ever felt lonely in Neverland. That wasn’t entirely true, though he believed it to be, since he had forgotten what it felt like the first day without a mother and the first day without Wendy, but on those such occasions he had surely felt similarly heartbroken.

            Dark gray clouds began to glaze their way across the sky and a slow shower began to fall. The Pirates packed up their things and retreated to lower, safer levels, all sails limp in the breeze-less skies. The fairies, miles away it seemed, rejoiced in the soft patter of raindrops upon their treetrunk homes, and the Lost Boys covered themselves with giant fronds to keep the rain out and huddled in a warm mass in their hideout, waiting for Peter’s return.

            Neverland was a horrible place when Peter’s emotions were sore, as his sadness, anger, despair, or happiness seeped into the very soil underfoot and spread in fiery haste throughout the island, jungle, and beyond. As he was normally happy or afraid without much room for any emotion in between, the strange loneliness that enveloped his small form also enveloped the weather in Neverland and while it rained there was also a mist and even a bit of sporadic snowflakes that fell. Suddenly, it was so cold and flowers curled into their roots for warmth.

            It was several hours later, though nobody had a clock to know for sure, when Peter felt a soft, warm body beside his own.

            “You are wreaking havoc on our harvest,” Tiger Lily spoke, her words wise and brave in his presence, as she gazed out over the Pirate ship with him. Unlike other girls who could pass for her age, Tiger Lily was not petite, nor was she concerned with girlish things like playing with dolls or chasing boys. In fact, there was only one boy she would ever interest herself in and she was quite sure it was all merely a game to him. Her profile was strong, like her father’s, with a straight nose that came to a gentle and elegant point, and her eyes were pale but intense, full of the history of her family and the future she believed she held in Neverland. Unlike most of the Neverland inhabitants, Tiger Lily was quite aware that living here was more or less a dream that could end the moment Peter opened his eyes. She would have loved to tell him to remain asleep forever, but when the clouds rolled in like that, she was often afraid for him and the sadness he withheld on so many occasions for the sake of his strangled happiness. Tiger Lily was, perhaps, years older than she appeared.

            Peter refused to look at her but laughed anyway. “Am not,” he argued, grateful to have his silence interrupted and perhaps to start an adventure after all.

            “Oh? So you call this storm a welcomed insistence upon our happy spring planting season?”

            “Yes,” Peter said, nodding emphatically, “I would.”

            Tiger Lily wrapped the large bear fur her father had recently given her around her slender shoulders. Underneath, she was clad only in a simple deerskin hide, which she had sewn herself and beaded with gentle adornments. Barefoot, her hair long and raven to her waist, she huddled closer into the fur and shook her head, rustling the beads in her ears. “I am sure you would, though we don’t have such a sense of humor.”

            Peter snorted and stood up, hands on his hips, looking happier than ever though the clouds hadn’t shifted. “No sense of humor! I must be off to help that long then. The Lost Boys and –”

            “Why are you unhappy, Peter?” Tiger Lily’s question was frank and caught Peter off guard. With a knowing look, she continued to gaze out over the rocks. “There has not been such an odd tempest since Wendy left to grow up, and I am sure I have not seen any new mothers come and go since, so I am confused at your sadness.”

            Peter looked caught. “I’m…I’m not sad!” he argued, puffing out his chest. “I dare you to prove I am!”

            “The clouds are proof to all who occupy this small land,” Tiger Lily whispered, the sadness beginning to freeze her, so she was glad for the bear’s fur.

            “Did someone tell you I was sad? Peter Pan is never sad, for he doesn’t understand sadness or know its nature! You can tell that to Captain Cutthroat and he will learn his lesson for meddling in Pan’s rumors!”

            Tiger Lily looked up as she moved to kneel at Peter’s feet. Reaching up, she touched his hand and held it still when he skittishly tried to jerk it away. “Do you think me stupid, Peter?”

            “Of course not! Tiger Lily is one of the smartest girls I know,” Peter affirmed.

            “Then sit and talk with me. You are sad. There is no doubt of that. The only doubt is why, for you have everything at your feet, least of all the love of every single creature in Neverland and children in realms beyond. You have sunlight any time you call it, the wind at your back as you soar through it, clouds that taste of candy when you find you are hungry, food that never molds at your touch, and the adoration of an Indian Princess, more than a dozen Lost Boys, and even that of the Captain of the Pirate band. You will never grow old, you will never know the pain of death or of knowing death, and you –”

            “Stop it!” Peter cried, throwing her hand away and flying several feet away. “You are filling my head with nonsense!” He laughed, the sound dry and breathless, and he knew too he had lost the game of pretending he hadn’t an inkling of what she told him.

            Tiger Lily surveyed Peter’s pain-stricken face and knew instantly what the matter was and knew in the same breath she had lost her Peter, that he would never be the same. “You have grown older, Peter,” she whispered in despair. “How long has this been happening?”

            “I…I’m not older! I’m not!”

            “Then explain your emotions. You are crying. You have not cried in a very long time since.”

            “I am not crying!” Though when Peter felt his cheeks, he knew he was wrong and couldn’t pretend the wetness away. “I…I am crying? Why am I crying?”

            “You have been crying for hours, if the storm corresponds to your tears as it must.” The beautiful Indian leaned forward, took Peter’s hand, and led him back to her. “What have you done to make yourself grow so quickly?”

 

The End of Peter Pan continued… November 3, 2007

Filed under: chapter one,peter pan — snarkytea @ 6:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

{ 1,798 words – I’m updating total word count in the widgets)

 

            Of course, it was not the last time Peter visited Wendy or Moira, for in fact Peter Pan seemed to have remembered the joy of being around women or was too curious to keep himself away from the Darling house. But every time, he came in secret, and he felt entirely different than before. Instead of random whims which brought him soaring to see Wendy, he was now pulled by a desire to see Moira grow up, to watch her legs and hair grow long, to see the change on her face when she no longer remembered what fairies were.

            There were nights, endless amounts of them, where Peter hung by the open window and watched Wendy read Moira her bedtime stories. At times, Mr. Statson, or Joseph as Wendy called him for he was her husband, would join in and with a smile that looked ever so much like Peter’s, he even sang to them or fought with the boys like a pirate or helped them build a fort out of pillows and blankets. In fact, Peter noticed with much disdain that Joseph was very much a boy at heart during these evening playtimes. Though he did also notice with a sneer that Joseph was a man of business, and when the children were asleep, he talked to Wendy of work. Of business. Of real things Peter couldn’t understand. He spoke of sending Moira to a public school, and whatever that was, it appalled Wendy very much and she fought with him over it, saying things like “We can afford to send her to a private school!” and “Of all the things I never wanted for my child…”, none of which Peter truly understood.

            Then there were nights when Peter snuck in well after Wendy and Joseph had gone to bed, nights when Peter appraised Moira with a kind of knowing rage.

            She was beautiful, and he thought this to himself often. Somewhere in the back of his mind he remember that Wendy had been beautiful too, and he must have given her a kiss to keep, though he wasn’t positive such an event had ever really taken place.

            The Lost Boys had told him they read stories or overheard the Pirates talking about love and girls. The Pirates said women (and mothers especially) could only belong to one man and that love was a once in a lifetime chance, and when you fell in love with a woman it was because she was the most beautiful thing in the world to you and only you. Peter had asked for elaboration on the subject, and one of the smallest boys told him it meant that when you kissed the girl you were meant for, she would kiss you in return.

            Though Peter couldn’t quite understand it all, he knew that looking at Moira made him recall Wendy, and that Moira was as beautiful as Wendy had been when she was still perfect and young and living in Neverland as his wife and the mother of the Lost Boys.

            One night, he tempted faith and kissed Moira quietly in the dark. The small acorn he placed in her hand looked awkward there, and a merely instant after the nut had touched her palm, Peter had snatched it back from her, proud of himself for trying but angry that he’d nearly lost his one and only kiss to a girl it wasn’t meant for. But the next night, Peter once again found himself pressing the acorn into her palm. And the next. Until finally one evening, well after the boys and Wendy and Joseph had gone to bed, Moira’s fingers wouldn’t let go.

            Aghast, Peter slapped her hand and as she screeched, he gasped and pressed his palm over her mouth.

            “You’ll wake Wendy!” he said, and as Moira opened her eyes, she thought to herself that those should have been her words. “Give me back my kiss this instant!”

            “Your indignant attitude won’t make me give it back,” Moira whispered heatedly, cheeks flushed as she gripped the small acorn tightly, hiding it from the boy who hovered over her bed. “Besides, if you keep placing it my hand and expect me not to want it, you must be very foolish, boy.”

            Ruffled, Peter folded his arms haughtily and sat down in front of Moira on her bed. “Fine,” he said, “I’ll wait.”

            “Right there on my bed?” Moira giggled. “You’re awfully impolite.”

            “Am not.”

            “Are too. Why were you calling this a kiss? Don’t you know what a kiss is?”

            “Of course I do!”

            “Well then, why don’t you give me one?”

            Peter snorted with laughter and rolled back on the bed, holding his stomach. “You’re holding it right in your hand and you don’t even know what a kiss is! You must have never been in love! That’s why I couldn’t give the kiss to you after all. That’s why you mustn’t keep it.”

            This made Moira laugh harder. “You’re Peter Pan, aren’t you? My mother says I shouldn’t leave the window open for you, but I knew you’d come back.”

            “I’ve not come back at all,” Peter argued, laying on his back and staring up at her nursery ceiling, counting the ancient ducks on the wallpaper that jogged a memory of a different time.

            “Haven’t you?” Moira asked impatiently, leaning over him and smiling down at his handsome but elfish face. “Do you know that my mother tells stories of you and your adventures?”

            “Am I the hero?” Peter asked, gazing up at Moira with bright eyes, imaging his glory in the face of danger, of rescuing the Lost Boys and making peace pacts with the Indians. “Of course I’m the hero. I bet they’re lovely stories – can you remember any of them?”

            “I’m not as good of a storyteller, I’m afraid,” Moira said, looking downcast.

            “Of course you are! Tell me a story, girl.”

            Moira’s brow furrowed but she tried not to be offended. “I have a name, you know.”

            “Shall I use it?”

            “I would like that very much, Peter.”

            “I suppose you should tell it to me first then.”

            Staring down at Peter, her soft, short curls bouncing tenderly in the slight breeze that rustled through the open window, Moira felt overcome with sadness for Peter, who could not remember that he had learned her name several weeks ago. Perhaps it was easy to forget things, having such grand adventures and all, but it suddenly occurred to Moira that Peter might not remember anything at all of this event in several hours time, that her name, face, and words could be so easily erased from his thoughts as swiftly as the daylight overlapped the night.

            “My name is Moira,” she whispered and reached out, pressing her fingertips to his cheek. “Do you think I could give you a real kiss?”

            “You’re wet,” Peter said, cringing away from the look on Moira’s face and the tenderness of the moment shared between them. Shaking himself from it, he settled on the window’s ledge, staring out at the night. It was possible that he forgot Moira then as well, that her name would continue to escape him. After all, there had been many times he had forgotten Wendy and even some of the Lost Boys. It was simply that Peter only had time to remember the present moment. The past and future were foreign thoughts to him and had little place in his heart. They were unimportant because there was no urgency to them, whereas with the present moment, insistency was all there was to it.

            “I shall close the window then, if you’ll be leaving,” Moira said solemnly, standing beside Peter though below him at the base of the bay window he knew so well. “Since you shan’t be returning after all.”

            “Yes, I should think it a splendid idea,” Peter said, and flew away without a word, very hurt but a great deal full of pride and selfish.

 

            In Neverland, there were an unlimited number of possibilities to attend to. Firstly, Peter had to tend to the Lost Boys and count them all to make sure none of them had been eaten by wolves or captured by Pirates. There were often scares and hunts for a Lost Boy who never existed in the first place, since Peter far too often miscounted their ranks in his head and said there should have been one more than was present.

            Besides the daily head count, there were also precautions to be undertaken to assure there wouldn’t be any captures by said Pirates or even by Indians, for as often as there were peaceful times, mostly the Indians fed for themselves and didn’t wish to confide in or partner with the Lost Boys. Peter, of course, could easily wriggle into their ranks and win them over in seconds, though that was thanks mostly to Tiger Lily, whose love for Peter went beyond mere adoration. In fact, she someday hoped for marriage, though she knew very little of what it meant other than living with a man and raising children with him.

            Peter was also required to assist the fairies in their celebrations, which were as often as whims, though Peter didn’t notice their frequency but helped them happily clear the brush or decorate the inside of a tree or make up new dances.

            And at times, Peter was also needed to cook, clean, or do other manual chores meant for a wife but left to him, as he was their father.

            But mostly, Neverland was a land of adventure, and Peter’s favorite daily activity was getting into trouble and getting right back out of it. He often lounged with the mermaids, who vied for his attention and tried to kill each other to prove their love for him, and swam in their waters, while at other times he snuck aboard the Pirate ships and tormented the crew with crows and dark whispers into their ears. And at other times, he would hunt with the Lost Boys, finding imaginary beasts to kill and skin, and when they returned home, they often held celebrations for their outings which could last the entire night and nearly every time gave their location away to nearby Pirate or Indian spies who meant to do them harm. Of course the next day, the whole celebration was quite forgotten in the heat of a battle.

            On one fine evening in Neverland, Peter found himself alone on the edge of a large cliff that overlooked the Pirates. Unaware of his careful watch, several Pirates were talking amongst their shipmates, while others guarded the perimeter and even more played games at the helm. The ship had not moved or altered course in years, though Peter hadn’t noticed.

 

The End of Peter Pan November 2, 2007

Filed under: chapter one,peter pan — snarkytea @ 4:26 am
Tags: , , , ,

{1,424 words}

            It was lonely at times, though mostly Peter forgot. Daily adventures and swooping romances from various makeshift mothers and fathers had done little to taint Peter’s soft dreams of a happiness that was as yet intangible. If he had any kind of time for real thought, as normal children often did, he might have contemplated what he should do if Wendy grew up and left him. But as it was, he hadn’t bothered to notice her growing up and moving on.

            Wendy, of course, tried very hard to appear younger each time Peter came to see her, but the trouble was that sometimes Peter wouldn’t return for years at a time, thinking these absences mere days or hours. The real trouble with growing older was that she couldn’t quite manage to put age on pause for Peter, as she so prayed she could.

            Peter still believed her a child, even as she noticed wrinkles at her lips, laugh lines and crows feet littering her cheeks, until one day when it was impossible to hide.

            Peter Pan flew in, as always unannounced and called for her. Like the breeze through a cloud, Wendy’s dress rustled behind her as she entered the small nursery, where her own children were laying fast asleep. She was awfully glad it was dark, as she covered her face with her hands and gasped his name in a familiar whimsical tone.

            “Wendy!” Peter crowed, but as he rushed at her, he realized his manners and pulled back to wait upon the window’s ledge. He bowed handsomely, and grinned like a fox when Wendy curtseyed to him in response. “Oh Wendy, I’ve wonderful adventures to tell you! Captain Cutthroat has joined up an army and has captured every single fairy, and the Lost Boys and I, we took the ship by storm and even traveled with Indians and formed an alliance to save them!”

            As always, Wendy grew lost in Peter’s stories, but it was ten minutes into his tale before he noticed he hadn’t been invited to come further inside the small pale room.

            “Mother, may I come in?” he asked, playing the part of her son, and it was this that made Wendy cry.

            “Oh Peter, don’t!” she said, the first words she’d truly spoken to him in years. “Peter, please don’t come closer. I will not invite you in!”

            The sound of her voice was odd to Peter but as he thought everything a wonderful game, he thought perhaps she was tricking him.

            “Are you to tell me I can’t enter my own house, wife?” he asked, puffing his chest and looking at her incredulously, except he wasn’t sure what incredulousness was. Taking a large step in, arms folding, he flew across to her with a knowing look. “You wouldn’t even admit your loving…” With a start, he noticed the sparkle of tears glittering down Wendy’s face, and something tore inside him. He had not shed tears in a very long time and had quite forgotten what they meant. “Why, Wendy!” he said, trying to get closer to her, when at every turn she dodged him, “You…you’re wet!”

            “Peter, please,” she begged, shaking her auburn curls and shushing him as they neared the beds, which were full of her own children with another man. “Please don’t come closer – I’m afraid!”

            “Afraid?” he bawked, “Afraid of what?” Glancing at the beds Wendy was so careful to try to hide, Peter grinned wolfishly. “Oh, so you’re hiding Pirates here, are you Wendy?” Dying for a good game, Peter easily took on so many roles in one day that he was likely never really Peter Pan at all but a hero, ghost, captor, barbarian, husband, or father instead. And now, he wanted to be the hero that rescued Wendy, the man who freed the captive Indians and slaughtered the sleeping Pirates who had taken them hostage. “Beastly creatures!” Peter howled, “Out of your beds!”

            From the nearest bed, covers stirred and a small girl, nearly eight, sat up quietly, rubbing her blue eyes and brushing auburn hair from her face. “Mother?” she whispered, squinting at Wendy and the shadow. “Mother, what’s happening?”

            With a burst of terror, Peter flew backwards with a gasp, until his back hit the nearest wall. Shaking, he could feel his chest burning and knew something was amiss. It was the same feeling he had known when Wendy had left, though he was unable to remember it to connect the two events.

            “Who calls Wendy mother?” he asked.

            In the darkness, Wendy shrunk and took her daughter’s small hand. “Peter, this is Moira. She’s my daughter.”

            Always ready for a new game, Peter scoffed. “So she is my daughter too! We can –”

            “No,” Wendy said, so sternly it wiped the smile of Peter’s face. “No, Peter, she is not your daughter. This is not a game.” Moving out from the shadows, her middle-aged form coming into full view, she bowed her head, still as beautiful as ever but aged, old, worn. “Moira is my real daughter. Do you understand? She will grow up here, with me.”

            The silence that dragged along between the two of them was only broken with the quiet exhales of Moira in her wonderment and the inhales of Peter in slight hysteria. The idea of something not being a game was quite foreign to him, even if he had lived real moments in the past, and even worse was the idea of this girl, Wendy’s daughter, growing up. How could she possibly want to grow up here? The very thought made Peter ill, and when he did not understand something, he merely disengaged from it, made it not so.

            With a laugh, he shook the sadness from his face and tousled his hair with the movement. “Ha! She will not grow up! What a horrible thing to say, Wendy. What a –”

            “It’s true, though,” Wendy interrupted, imploring him by stepping forward another step, despite her best judgment.

            “No!” Peter snapped, and as his eyes fell on Wendy again, his stomach clenched and turned over time and again. With disbelief, he looked upon an aged version of the girl he had just met, though it had been some twenty years since. She was much taller, thicker, and the kiss at the corner of her mouth belonged to someone else.

            “I had tried to tell you last time,” Wendy apologized, “But you wouldn’t hear me, and truthfully, I almost didn’t want to spoil it for you. But…well there it is. This is Moira, my daughter, and over there is Marcus and over here in the crib is Benjamin.”

            “Mother, is that Peter Pan?” Moira asked, spellbound and in love.

            At the sight of the look in her daughter’s eyes, Wendy nodded but raised a hand in a hushing manner. “I will explain later, my darling.” She looked back up at Peter, who was no longer looking at her but instead at the ground, in despair. She had never seen such a look on him, as if his very soul had died. She expected it must have been a surprise to him, a shock, but she had not thought he would look so grave and listless. It was horrifying and sad, and as she approached she could see not only tears but anger in his eyes. It made her shrink away from touching him, though she never had reason to before.

            Folding his arms tighter around his small body, Peter Pan suddenly looked frail and helpless, finally appeared just as young as he was. Wendy would have guessed he was merely ten, maybe eleven at most.

            “You are,” Peter finally said, his voice the voice of a small child, “You are old, Wendy.”

            Years later, Wendy could look back fondly on the poor child’s innocence, at his disbelief and willingness to think one could not grow up, but right then, at that moment, she knew she had betrayed one of the people dearest to her heart.

            “Yes, Peter,” she replied, through choked tears, “I am old.”

            “I will never grow up,” he argued, more to himself and whatever thoughts were running through his head than to Wendy and her soft-spoken despair. “Never.”

            As he darted for the window to leave, Wendy caught his wrist, trembling. “Peter… Peter, will I see you again? Please, will you come back sometime? I’ll tell you stories – I have endless amounts of them!”

            “No, I don’t think I shall be interested.”

            And this was the last time Wendy saw Peter.