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Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
Peter Pan is not what most people think he is… or I guess I should say, would be, but honestly, he’s real. I have not only seen him, but have also… felt him.
I met Peter Pan when I was about 11 years old. It had been a hard day with my family. I was playing outside with my siblings. They were both older than me. Sue was my 15-year-old sister and James was my 14-year-old brother. Of course, like most siblings their age, they didn’t want to be around me. They had dates and homework, and James had drugs and other stupid shit like that too, but they were forced to entertain me. I don’t specifically remember what we were doing, but I do remember noticing an animal on the road. My siblings noticed me looking at it and James told me to go see what it was. My brother always made me nervous, so I walked up to it and realized it was a dead cat.
From my view, I could see that the cat was missing at least one eye where a nest of maggots was beginning to form, and I could see various bald spots and scratches that seeped blood. It was also missing a leg and half of its tail. James told me to touch it. My sister argued that it was disgusting and could be infected. James smacked her hard. Naturally, she cried out in pain and he shouted at her, “Stay the fuck out of it!” Then he got right in my face and told me quietly that he wanted me to pick it up. I was hesitant, but after watching what he did to Sue, I had no choice. I reached around it and found that it still had an eye in the other socket. But it was also missing half of its chest and had all kinds of gross, traumatic stuff inside of it from days of lying on the street.
Next was even worse, and I wish I would have risked my brother hurting me, because he told me to put it on our neighbor’s lawn. She was an old widow. Although I don’t remember her name, she is long dead by now. James told me to put the cat on the porch, ring the doorbell, and run away as fast as I could… so I did. I set the cat down on the porch and wiped my bloody hands on my jeans. I looked at the doorbell. I probably wouldn’t have done it if my brother hadn’t shouted, “Hurry up, you little fucker!” Terrified of him, I rang the doorbell and dashed behind another neighbor’s bush. The widow opened the door and shrieked at the disgusting sight of the cat, and I looked for my siblings, who had both apparently run off. Obviously, my hiding spot was not very hidden, and I was easily spotted. She started shouting at me and I ran home.
That night I was scolded by both my parents while my other siblings were let off with a warning. James blamed me, saying I doorbell ditched with the dead cat even after he said to stay away from it, and because of the red mark on Sue’s cheek, he even said that I slapped my sister when she tried to intervene. My sister, out of fear of my brother, agreed. All of my attempts to defend myself were deflected and I was sent to bed early. I sat there waiting to get called down for dinner until I heard the table being set, and waited to be called down to eat, but never was.
I sat in anger and solace until midnight. That’s when he showed up. Of course, my room was very dark, but because my family was so poor I had holes in my curtains and light always peeked through. I could see shadows coming through, dissipating what little light was left. That’s when I saw a hand slowly open the curtain, and a boy about my age jump through.
It was Peter Pan. Peter was not exactly what I expected. I could barely make out what he looked like in the dark, and the moonlight behind him wasn’t much help. Even though I couldn’t see him, I could tell he was looking at me… I could feel it. He asked, “It’s been a hard day, hasn’t it?”
“Who are you?” I replied. I did not feel afraid. Rather, I felt comforted by this stranger’s voice.
“My name is Peter Pan,” he answered. “And what if I told you that you could go someplace where you would never… never have to worry about any of that sort of thing again?”
I couldn’t help it. I wanted to say yes, even though I knew I shouldn’t. I said, “You want me to go to… to…”
“To Neverland,” Peter finished. Despite what had happened that day I was still reluctant to leave. Despite the fact that my sister didn’t do much to help me, I knew that deep down she wanted to. She was just as helpless as I was in the situation. As if reading my thoughts, Peter added, “Don’t worry about your sister. We’ll bring her in soon, but first, we have to prepare.” After that, there was nothing to consider. Peter Pan stretched out his hand so that I could take it and said, “The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” And just like that, I flew.
Flying was amazing, like a dream you never want to wake up from. We went higher and higher, until we were just below the clouds and we could see the lights coming from the buildings. It was beautiful. The best part of this was that I wasn’t afraid of falling, not even for a moment. Considering I was hundreds of feet in the air – far too high for anyone to see, especially in the dark – you might imagine that I would have been terrified, but I wasn’t. Instead, I was overjoyed, bursting with a fearless excitement. It was pure joy.
After flying around the buildings, we took our leave and headed over the ocean, which took several minutes to traverse. The further we got from land, the darker the water became. I assumed it was part of the lights until I saw Neverland, which appeared as an abyss in the sea, even darker than the sky. There were no stars at all, and no clouds. Everything was pitch black. This is the first time I became nervous since I had met Peter Pan.
When we landed, the island seemed a little lighter but not by much. Then I realized something: I hadn’t seen Tinker Bell at all, so I asked, “Hey, Peter Pan, where is Tinker Bell?” Peter Pan looked at me, and although it was too dark to see his face I could tell he was smiling, and it was very sinister. Now I was no longer nervous. I was afraid. After staring for several seconds, he turned around and walked into what appeared to be a cave.
There was no light in the cave and the passage was lengthy. Every time we stopped, I could feel breathing on my neck. But after a couple of hours, I saw light. We walked into a new room and the light from the fire in the middle was blinding and hot.
“Sit down,” Peter commanded, “and give yourself some time for your eyes to adjust to the light.”
In no mood to argue, I did as I was told, and even before my eyes had a chance to adjust, Peter turned to me and asked, “Do you believe in fairies? If you believe, clap your hands.”
I again did as I was told, and instantaneously my vision returned to me. In the newfound light, and to my utter shock and dismay, I beheld the handiwork of a monster, a horror beyond my wildest imagination. A pile of corpses – many of which belonged to people who appeared to be just a few years older than me – lay before me, all of them horribly mutilated. I turned around to see that more than teenagers had been harmed. I saw cages filled with fairies. Some were dead, but most were alive and in pain. Some were missing limbs, legs, or arms. In some cases, even their wings had been torn off. Others had been impaled with sewing needles, repeatedly.
Once again I turned around to see Peter Pan, and it was like I was truly seeing him for the first time, as he truly looked. Peter was the worst sight of all. His skin was paper-pale. His eyes were completely black except for the pupils, which were red. He was bleeding from both his eyes and his gaping mouth, and he was smiling. Sincerely smiling. His hair was caked with a mixture of both fresh and dry blood. His clothes were a dark green type of cloth and were stitched together by human hair. Instead of sleeves, he had leaves over his shoulders, and his pants, which were hemmed just below the knees, were in tatters. To top it all off, he wore cloth shoes.
In terror, I ran, but soon realized that there was no way out. Not even the entrance through which I’d arrived was accessible. And all the while, Peter just stood there, smiling, and said to me, “I know I’ve made a mess, but you see, they grow up so fast. This way they’ll stay young forever, just like me, and they will always be in Neverland!”
I sat with my head tucked between my legs. Peter Pan grabbed me by my hair, lifted me up, and said, “I have a gift for you. I know you were worried about leaving your sister behind, so I brought her here with us.”
Then, with his fist still wound around a fistful of my hair, he forced me to look at a sad figure chained up on one side of the room. It was my sister Sue. She looked awful. Peter continued, “You see, she’s just a little too old to be in Neverland. But, you needn’t be sorry for her. She was the type who enjoys growing up, and in the end, she aged of her own free will.”
Then Peter Pan chained me across from her so that I could watch as he worked on her. Before long we were both in agony, sobbing uncontrollably. Peter grabbed Sue by the hair and tore out a handful. She screamed in anguish. He tossed the hair to the ground in front of me, put his hands on either side of Sue’s head, and shushed her, then dug his thumbs into her eyes as she shrieked. In moments, she was blind, and blood was pouring out of her sockets.
“I can’t have you sitting down,” Peter chided her. “You need to feel the excitement with me.”
He drew a knife and stabbed her in the shoulder, then twisted the blade. He then pulled a hook from the dark ceiling, sticking it through the fresh wound. Then he slowly cut her stomach with the knife, deep enough to ensure that she would bleed out. Then he worked his way up so he could watch himself cut her without blood getting in the way. He worked all the way up to her chest, at which point he stopped and said, “Sue, you don’t have to cry. I bet I have the solution to your tears.” Then he cut out her tongue out and tossed it in my lap. I was choking back sobs by then.
Next, he dug the knife between each of Sue’s fingernails. The first one came off clean, and the second one was just as swift. When it came to the third one, he slowly inserted the blade and twisted it. Finally, he took the knife and stabbed Sue in the stomach, giving the blade one final twist. Sue moaned one last time before succumbing to her injuries.
Then Peter turned around and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll never grow up.” But he didn’t kill me. I’m still here, and I watch Peter Pan do the same thing that he did to my sister to other kids, every night. I used to try and warn them, but he taught me that it was wrong to question him. Peter Pan taught me a lot of things… I still have at least a few years until he kills me. If I’m lucky, I’ll persuade him into doing it sooner.
I love you, Sue, and I’m sorry.
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