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Peter Pan: Child Eater

Everyone had heard the story of the boy who could fly. For most, it was just a simple fairy tale, a story parents told their children before bed. For Wendy Darling, it was much more than that. She, along with her two younger brothers, John and Michael, believed in Peter Pan. Each night, she would tell tales of Neverland and the Lost Boys, while her brothers acted them out.

“What are we going to do with her?” Mr. Darling asked, buttoning up his best dress shirt. He glared down at the coloured paper he’d snatched from John earlier that evening. On it was a big red X to mark where the buried treasure was, that treasure being his diamond cufflinks. They’d searched the nursery high and low, but they had seemingly vanished. That had been the final straw for him.

“What are we going to do with whom, dear?” Mrs. Darling inquired absently, pinning back her long, brown hair. She thought the boys dressing up and pretending to be pirates was cute, and the idea of Peter Pan a fascinating one. In her mind, he was sort of like a guardian spirit.

“Wendy, of course,” Mr. Darling said, pulling out his favourite tie.

“Why, whatever could you mean?”

“Those stories,” he growled, battling with the tie in his frustration. “They’re filling the children’s heads with nonsense and I won’t have this continue under my roof for any longer. Something must be done to put an end to it, I say. All children need to grow up sooner or later.”

Mrs. Darling smiled and took over the tying of the tie. She was used to his outbursts, and they seldom bothered her. “George, dear, let’s not be hasty,” she suggested patiently. “Wendy is still only a girl, and girls dream.”

He shooed her hands away and stormed for the door. “No. It’s high time she had a room of her own! The sooner the better!”

Mrs. Darling followed her husband up to the nursery where the children were getting ready for bed. Nana, the dog, was doing her best to help put the toys away. At the sight of their father’s unhappy face, the boys stopped what they were doing immediately.

Wendy sat looking out the window, daydreaming.

“Wendy,” Mr. Darling called. When she did not respond he said again, louder this time, “Wendy!”

She jumped and turned to face them. “Yes, father?”

“Wendy. I believe it is time you―”

“Oh, mother, what a lovely dress!” Wendy exclaimed, running to her mother’s side, her face an expression of awe. “You look simply marvelous, just marvelous!”

“Why thank you, dear. It’s been hanging in the wardrobe for so long now, I never thought I’d get another chance to wear it. I bought it back when your father and I were first married, you know.”

“Mary, please,” Mr. Darling graoned, clearly frustrated at having been interrupted.

“I’m sorry, George. Wendy, listen to your father. He has something he wishes to tell you.”

Wendy turned her attention on Mr. Darling. “What is it, father?” she asked sweetly, her large blue eyes staring up at him in adoration and curiosity.

He cleared his throat and stood up just a little straighter. “There comes a time in the life of every child when they have to grow up. That time, for you, is now. It’s high time you had a room of your own, and I intend to see it happen. No arguing, my word is final. This is going to be your last night in the nursery.”

With those words, he left the room without so much as a backward glance.

“Oh, mother, he can’t be serious,” Wendy wailed in despair. “I’m not ready to grow up.”

“Don’t worry. Your father is just angry,” she reassured her calmly, tucking Michael into bed. “Once he has had time to clear his head, I’m sure he’ll reconsider.”


“Yes, Michael, dear?”

The youngest boy held out his hand. “I found the pirate treasure.” In his palm sat the diamond cufflinks.

She smiled at him and kissed his forehead. “So you have. Thank you. Now, get some sleep. Your father and I won’t be gone long. I will see you in the morning.” She turned down the lights and softly closed the door behind her, Nana having followed her out into the hall.

Wendy awoke with a start. It was only eleven o’clock, so she knew the thump she’d heard was not her parents returning home. Then she heard it again. Something was banging on the window. Cautiously, she got up and drew back the curtains. She nearly screamed at the boy she saw floating just outside. His face was mostly in shadow, but after a moment she realized she knew who he was.

“Peter Pan?” she queried, opening the window.

He bowed to her as he stepped lightly inside. “At your service, Wendy.”

She gasped. “How do you know my name?”

“I’ve been watching you,” he said, smiling. “I enjoy listening to your stories.”

“My stories?” she asked, quizzically. “But they’re all about you and Neverland.”

“Exactly! That’s why I like them so much.”

She giggled at that. “Why have you come here? I mean, why haven’t I seen you before?”

“You didn’t need me before. You do now, though. I heard what your father said about this being your last night in the nursery. It’s not fair that adults think they need to force their children to grow up. So, I’ve come to make sure that doesn’t happen.”


“Neverland. Come with me, Wendy. You’ll never grow up there.” He held out his hand, waiting for her to take it.

“I don’t know,” she said hesitantly. “Mother would be very worried if I disappeared. And what would father say? No, I don’t think I can.”

He looked outside and then back at her. “Would you rather stay here and have to grow up tomorrow?”

“I . . ..”

Again, he held out his hand to her.

“C-can John and Michael come too?”

He smiled. “If they want to, I don’t see why not!”

Quickly, she ran to John and shook his shoulder. “John, John, wake up. Peter Pan is here, and he’s come to take us with him to Neverland!”

“What?” John asked groggily as he slipped on his glasses.

“Michael, Peter Pan is here! Wake up!”

The boys blinked their eyes and then gaped at the other boy standing on their windowsill. Wendy just smiled, the light of the moon dancing in her eyes.

“Come with me,” Peter Pan urged tantalizingly. “I’ll take you to Neverland and you can stay there as long as you like.”

“But how do we get there?” John asked.

“You fly!” Peter told them, jumping into the air. He flew around the room twice, thrice, and then landed back on the windowsill. “It’s easy. Just think of something wonderful, anything at all.”

“Like Christmas morning?” John asked.

“Or dancing?” Wendy said, dreamily.

“Cake!” Michael shouted.

“Exactly!” Peter encouraged. “Now, take my hands. One. Two. Three!”

They leapt into the air as one, shouting with child-like glee, “We’re flying. We’re flying! We’re―” As one they fell, landing safely on Michael’s bed.

“Well, that’s not right,” Peter Pan said, scratching his head. “You were thinking of happy thoughts. Marvelous ones, too.” He placed his hands on his hips, his fingers brushing a small vile tied there. “Oh!” he gasped, grabbing the small tube. A bright smile lit up his face once more. “I forgot about this. Dust.”

“Dust?” Wendy asked.

“That’s right. Pixie dust. It’s the key ingredient. Lucky for you, I remembered to bring some with me.” He pulled the stopper from the vile and poured the sparkling contents on their heads.

Immediately, they began floating up toward the ceiling.

“Amazing!” John declared.

“Now, are you ready?” Peter Pan asked.

“Yes!” the kids shouted in unison.

“Then here we go! Off to Neverland. The second star to the right and straight on until morning.”

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