The city was more lively than usual tonight. Or maybe it was just my agitation that made the blaring horns sound louder, the glaring lights shine brighter. Even that wretched whistle from the overhead vent seemed to climb in pitch and volume as the vent blasted ice-cold air straight down the collar of my starched-stiff professional button-down. And only one thing ran through my mind as I sat hunched over that cursed computer screen, pounding away endlessly at the keys, stopping occasionally to shove my drooping glasses back up the bridge of my nose.
We never had to deal with this in Neverland.
I smiled a little. That felt good. I couldn’t remember the last time I had smiled – had I even smiled at all since we left? I definitely wasn’t smiling when Pan learned the news.
We weren’t going to tell him. The plan had been to slip out at night while Pan was out and about. We tried not to think about the way he would feel when he discovered we were gone. We already felt enough like deserters.
But Pan caught us. Said something about how he had known this day was bound to come. All those kids he had brought over from the other side – one of them was eventually bound to convince us to leave. We didn’t even do a good job of keeping our plans a secret, he said. He had been onto us from the beginning.
Chaos ensued among the boys. Blame was tossed about like a hackey-sack as pointed fingers flew in every direction. I stood amidst the chaos, head hanging low as I dug my toe into the dirt and tried not to look at the pained look on Pan’s face.
I shook my head and returned my thoughts to the report growing on my computer screen. Choppy, professional, technical phrases. Anyone reading it aloud would be mistaken for a robot. I rubbed my eyes and blinked at the screen again. My eyes were going out again. Guess that meant it was time to call it quits for the night.
Shutting down the PC, I slipped into my coat and donned my cap. The clock on my desk read 1:25 AM. My back was killing me. That definitely never would have happened in Neverland. As I limped towards the door, my thoughts wandered unbidden back to the days of endless escapades in jungles, dances with Indians, crossing swords with a clutzy crocodile-fearing pirate captain. That mustache of his always got me. I smiled again.
And then the smile slowly dissolved.
I wonder how Pan’s doing? Word had it Tinkerbell had fluttered off in a tiff and had yet to return. Poor Pan – he really loved that little gnat. I don’t know what he’d do without her. He was a mess when Hook got hold of her that one time. Guilt burned deep in the pit of my stomach.
Were we wrong in leaving him?
My eyes moved to the skylight. There it was. Shining right through the window. “Second star on the right.” It looked so far away now – farther than it ever had since our return so long ago. It seemed like it got farther away with every passing year, like a reminder that we had long since passed the point of return. Even if we wanted to go back, or see Pan, we couldn’t. We were grown-ups. We were forever bared.
My heart ached as it sank to my feet.
Pan had become a memory. Neverland was nothing more to us now than a mere star.
Disclaimer: I am in no way attempting to claim the Lost Boys’ return from Neverland as an original concept. This piece was simply written for fun and the enrichment of my creative writing skills.
Photo credit: Pexels.com
Sidenote: I’ve never actually read the books about the boys leaving Neverland, although I’d certainly like to. If you’ve read them, feel free to comment with what you thought about them : )