Peter Pan: Child Eater
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Everyone had heard the story of the boy who could fly. For most, it was just a simple fairy tale. For Wendy Darling, it was much more than a story. 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 gold cufflinks. They’d searched the nursery high and low, but they had seemingly disappeared. That had been the final straw for him.
“What are we going to do with whom, dear?” Mrs. Darling said, 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. “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 helped him finish tying his tie. “George, dear, let’s not be hasty.”
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. Wendy was 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 said, running to her mother’s side, her face an expression of awe.
“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 said, clearly frustrated at having been interrupted.
“I’m sorry, George. Wendy, listen to your father. He has something he wishes to tell you.”
“What is it, father?”
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. 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 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 said, 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 buried treasure.” In his palm sat the golden cufflinks.
She smiled at him and kissed his forehead. “So you have. Thank you. Now, get some sleep. You’re 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 blinds. She nearly screamed at the boy she saw floating just outside. His face was mostly in shadow, but after a moment she knew who he was.
“Peter Pan?” she said, 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.”
“Exactly! That’s why I like them.”
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 boy standing on their windowsill. Wendy just smiled, the light of the moon dancing in her eyes.
“Come with me,” Peter Pan said. “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 said, jumping into the air. He flew around the room twice, thrice, and then landed back on the windowsill. “It’s easy. Just think of a wonderful thought.”
“Like toys at Christmas?” John asked.
“Or dancing?” Wendy said, dreamily.
“Cake!” Michael shouted.
“Exactly!” Peter said. “Now take my hands. One. Two. Three!”
They leapt into the air as one, shouting with child-like glee, “We can fly. We can fly! We can―” As one they fell, landing safely on Michael’s bed.
“Well, that’s not right,” Peter Pan said, scratching his head. “All it takes it faith and trust.” He placed his hands on his hips, his fingers brushing a small vile tied there. “Oh!” he said, grabbing the small tube. A bright smile lit up his face once more. “And something I forgot. Dust.”
“Dust?” Wendy asked.
“Yup. Just a little bit of pixie dust. 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 said.
“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.”
“Oooooooh, a pirate’s life is a wonderful life, while roving over the sea. Give me a career as a buccaneer. It’s the life of a pirate for me. Ooooooh, buck up me hearties, yo ho!”
The song drifted over the bay. A pristine ship with mahogany rails and rolled up sails sat at anchor in the calm water. A black flag hung limp from the mast.
Mr. Smee stood looking out over the railing at the crystal blue water. “How long, Cap’n?”
“Until they’re found, Mr. Smee,” Captain Hook said, pacing the upper deck. He wore dark red robes with white lace at the cuffs. Where his left hand ought to be was instead a glistening metal hook. His sleek black hair had been tied back in a sailor’s knot at the base of his neck by a dark red ribbon. A wide brimmed hat sat atop his head with a large white plume trailing the left side. “Until they’re found and no sooner.”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n.” Mr. Smee was a short, round man who never seemed to have clothes that fit properly. His white beard was only slightly dishevelled.
“Peter Pan, ahoy!” the lookout called. “Three points off the starboard bow!”
Captain Hook pulled out his golden spyglass and searched the sky. He spotted the boy and a low growl emitted from his throat. “So, he returns with more of those scurvy brats.
All hands on deck, Mr. Smee! We’ll get him this time. Load the canons and fire at will!”
“Oh, look John, there’s Mermaid Lagoon,” Wendy said, eyes sparkling.
“And the Tiki encampment,” John said.
“And there’s Captain Hook, the pirate,” Michael laughed.
A loud explosion rocked the airwaves.
“This way!” Peter Pan shouted.
They dodged the canon ball in the nick of time.
At that moment, a glowing creature appeared in front of them.
“Tink!” Peter said, glancing over his shoulder at Wendy. “Take them back to the hideout. I’ll draw Hook’s fire.”
Wendy gasped as the tiny creature buzzed in front of her face, tinkling energetically. “Oh, she’s beautiful!”
“No time,” Peter said with a laugh. “She’ll lead you to safety. Go, now!”
Tinkerbell saluted and then motioned for Wendy and the boys to follow her. She led them at a rapid pace away from the continuing sounds of canon fire. Down into the trees she took them until they came to one that looked as though it had been burnt.
“Is that it?” John asked.
The glowing pixie tinkled her response, which none of them understood, and disappeared through a trapdoor on the side of the tree.
Wendy glanced at her brothers before following after her. Inside, she saw that it had been furnished with hammocks and woven blankets. “It’s wonderful,” she said scrunching her nose at the smell. She could tell the place had not been cleaned in a while. “Where are the Lost Boys?” she asked.
“Just where you’d expect them to be,” Peter Pan said, stepping down into the surprisingly large space. “Lost.”
“Oh, Peter, are you alright?” Wendy asked.
“I’m fine,” Peter laughed. “Old Hook will never catch me.”
“If the Lost Boys are lost, shouldn’t we go find them before Hook does?” John asked.
Peter grinned. “What an excellent idea, John!”
The pixie buzzed in front of his face, tinkling aggressively.
“What’s that, Tink? You think you know where they’re hiding? Then how about you take John and Michael to go check it out? I’ll take Wendy to go see the Mermaids. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Wendy?”
“John, I’m putting you in charge of this mission,” Peter said.
John saluted. “Aye, aye, Sir!”
Tinkerbell flashed out the door, followed by an eager John and Michael.
“Come on, Wendy.”
Peter took Wendy by the hand and lifted her into flight once more.
“Yes?” he asked, looking at her over his shoulder as they flew through the forest.
“How long have you lived here?”
He laughed. “Does it matter?”
She smiled at him sadly. “Don’t you ever miss your mother and father?”
His smile turned thoughtful. “I don’t remember them. I’m not even sure I had a mother. All I know is here. Neverland is my home, and it can be your home, too. You can stay with me forever. I know the secret to staying young. If you want, I can teach you. You’ll never have to grow up.”
“Never,” she breathed. “That sounds like a dream.”
He smiled at her again and suddenly the forest opened up to a lagoon with a sparkling waterfall on the one end.
Her eyes widened in awe. Down on the rocks, the most beautiful women she had ever seen were singing and splashing in the water. She gasped when she realized their breasts were exposed.
“Want to get a closer look?” Peter asked.
She nodded dumbly. Embarrassment coloured her face at the indecency before her.
“Oh, look!” one of the mermaids said, pointing up at them as they flew in closer.
“Hello, Peter!” they all shouted.
“Hello ladies,” Peter said with a roguish grin.
“Who is she?” one mermaid asked with a pout.
“This is Wendy,” Peter said.
Wendy waved and smiled politely.
“What’s she doing here?” another asked.
“And in her nightdress, too.”
“Come on darling, join us for a swim.”
The mermaids began to cluster around the rock where Wendy stood. They grabbed at her skirt and splashed water in her face.
“Stop!” Wendy cried. She could hear Peter laughing. Through the water getting in her eyes, she could just make out his face. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes that suddenly made a chill run down her spine. “Please,” she wailed, shuddering. She fell to her knees and a cold hand grabbed her wrist. With a scream, she was dragged under the waters. Most of it went into her mouth and she found herself drowning.
“You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.
Now that he has you, firm in his grasp.”
The Mermaids were singing, their beautiful voices filling the water. Wendy was amazed at how clearly she could understand them.
“Run if you can. Don’t try to stay.
Run as fast as you can. Get far, far away.
He tells children lies. He feeds them false dreams. Nothing in Neverland is as good as it seems.
You’re his next victim. It’s part of his plan. You had best learn to fear the one called Peter Pan.”
She gasped at the air as her head broke the surface. Above her, she could still hear Peter laughing.
“Hook’s coming!” a mermaid shouted.
“Wendy, take my hand!” Peter shouted.
She reached for him, but the mermaids drew her back under the water with them in their haste to flee. Looking up, she could just see Peter’s face. There was a dark glower there; one she hoped was only a trick of the water.
“Are we lost?” Michael asked. “It feels like we’ve been walking in circles.
“Buck up, Michael,” John said. “Tinkerbell knows where she’s going, don’t you Tink?”
The pixie tinkled and her light flickered with confidence.
They walked until the trees opened up into a small clearing.
“Tiki!” John shouted.
“Where?” Michael asked, leaping around to see if anyone was behind him.
“Very interesting,” John mused. He was kneeling on the ground studying a set of footprints.
Tinkerbell tugged at his sleeve.
“Not now, Tink. We need to plot our course carefully. We don’t want to be caught now, do we?”
Michael crouched down beside his brother. “What do we do?”
“Simple,” John said. “We stick to the trees; tread carefully. We must make sure that we aren’t taken by surprise.”
On the last word, masked men jumped out of the trees and grabbed them. They weren’t wearing much other than animal hide tied around their waists and mounds of straw which hung down their backs. The straw was attached to their masks. Tufts of the stuff had also been tied around their ankles. Tattoos had been painted on their bodies and each one carried a spear.
“Tink! Go find Peter!” John shouted.
With their hands bound in front of them, John and Michael were led away. They were marched up a hill until they could make out thin trails of smoke in the sky. Soon, they were walking through the Tiki encampment, their jaws hanging down to their chests in awe. It was like nothing they had ever seen before.
John looked up at the man who had spoken. With a gulp, he held up his bound hands. The man cut the ropes and then pointed to one of the animal hide homes. It was a squat little hovel with a hole at the top to allow for ventilation.
Looking down at his younger brother, he took Michael’s hand and stepped into the tent. He was shocked when he saw two other boys stuffing their faces with fruit. “What?”
The boys paused in their eating. “Who are you?” the elder asked. He looked as though he could be close in age to Wendy.
“I’m John. This is my brother Michael. Who are you?”
“I’m Sam. This is my brother Nathaniel. Did Peter bring you here?”
“What? No. We were taken by the Tiki,” John said.
Sam sighed. “I meant here as in Neverland. Did Peter bring you here? Second star to the right and straight on until morning?”
John looked at Michael.
“I thought as much,” Sam said. “You’re in danger. Peter, he’s not who you think he is. You’re safe as long as you stay within these tents. Pan doesn’t come here.”
“What is he talking about?” Michael asked.
“Pan’s a monster,” Nathaniel said.
“You’re crazy,” John said.
Sam shook his head. “He only makes you think he’s your friend. He entices children and steals them away from their families.”
“That’s his game,” Nathaniel added.
“He kidnaps them and brings them here. No one can leave Neverland. There’s no place he can’t find you.”
John squeezed Michael’s hand. “What happens when he does?”
“He eats you,” Nathaniel said.
“No!” Michael shouted.
“It isn’t true,” John said.
“It is,” Sam said. There was a heaviness in his voice. Even his eyes somehow seemed like they lacked peace. “We’ve seen it. When we first came, we weren’t the only ones. There were more of us. But soon everyone began missing their families. When they tried to leave he just. . ..”
“You’re the Lost Boys,” John breathed. “Wendy.”
“Wendy, she’s our sister. She’s still out there.”
“Where are you going?” Nathaniel asked.
John stopped with the tent flap half raised. “If Peter’s a monster, then Wendy is in danger. I’m going to rescue her.”
“That’s not possible. The Tiki may be protecting us, but they also won’t let us leave,” Sam said. “Trust us. We’ve tried.”
“But why?” Michael asked.
“Tiger Lily,” Nathaniel said.
“Who?” John asked.
“Their princess,” Sam explained. “Peter has her hidden somewhere. Until they get her back, we’re hostages.”
John let the tent flap fall closed. “Then what?”
“Then they make a trade,” Nathaniel said. “They get their princess back and Peter gets us.”
“Why hasn’t Peter given her up?” John asked.
Sam shrugged. “So long as he can entice other kids to come, he doesn’t need us. I think he feeds on children to keep himself young. I thought he was around sixteen when we first met him. After he . . . you know . . . the others, he seemed more like twelve. We’re his backup source.”
“He knows the Tiki won’t give us up until they get their precious princess back so he doesn’t bother coming here,” Nathaniel said.
John crossed his arms in thought.
“John?” Michael asked tugging his sleeve. “What do we do? Wendy.”
“What?” Sam asked.
John grinned. “We went on a family camping trip one year and our grandfather – he spent several years as an explorer, you see – he taught us about smoke signals. If Wendy sees them, she’ll know to come find us.”
“If she’s still alive,” Nathaniel muttered.
Wendy gasped and began coughing up all the water she’d swallowed.
“Welcome aboard, my dear.”
When her coughing subsided, she was able to open her eyes. She flinched away from the man before her. “Captain Hook!”
He smiled at her in a way not unkind. “Are you alright? Did he hurt you?”
She shook her head. “What happened?”
“Mr. Smee, get her a blanket and a cup of warm cocoa.”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n!”
He turned to her again. “The mermaids took pity on you and saved your life.”
She laughed. “They tried to drown me.”
Captain Hook smirked. “Are you sure about that? From where I stood, they were the ones who pushed you up to the surface so we could pull you out of the water.”
Her memories floundered back to her time in the water. Mostly, she remembered choking and thrashing helplessly. “They did sing a song. A warning, perhaps?” Then there was his expression. She shuddered. “Is it true? Was it all a lie?” she whispered fearfully.
“Here, my dear,” Mr. Smee said placing a blanket over her shoulders. “Drink this.”
She took the steaming cup of cocoa and sipped gratefully.
“Is it okay?” Mr. Smee asked.
“Yes, thank you,” Wendy said with a soft smile. “He said he would teach me the way to stay young forever, so we could be together forever.”
“That’s a secret you don’t want to know,” Hook said. “Trust me.” He offered her his hand and helped her to her feet. “Did he bring you here alone?”
“Pan. Were there others with you?”
“My brothers. Why?”
He sighed. “Pan kidnapped my children several years ago. I managed to steal enough pixie dust to follow them here, but they were lost to me. I’ve searched and searched, but to no avail. His hideout is nowhere to be found.” He walked over to the railing and stared out at the island. His brow furrowed. “What is that?”
Wendy moved to stand beside him and shaded her eyes. “Smoke?” She gasped. “John and Michael! They’re sending smoke signals. Oh, bravo!”
“What?” Mr. Smee asked. “How do you know?”
She pointed toward the smoke. “That’s a distress signal. They’re in trouble. Do you think Peter has done something to them?”
Captain Hook shook his head. “If he’d done something, they wouldn’t be able to do that.”
“Can we get to them?”
He pulled out his spyglass.
“Cap’n? That looks like it be coming from the Tiki.”
“It is. Good news for you. If your brothers are with the Tiki then it means they’re safe. For now, at least.”
“Why would they be there?” Wendy asked.
“Mr. Smee, I believe it’s time we make another try at searching Skull Rock.”
The first mate began quivering nervously. “Are you sure, Cap’n?”
“What’s Skull Rock?” Wendy asked.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to find out,” Mr. Smee said.
“The last time we were there, all that could be found was a cave floor littered with bones. Not the prettiest of sights, I must say,” Captain Hook explained. “I think he has something hidden there.”
“We heard the most awful of wailings,” Mr. Smee shuddered. “It’s haunted, see?” he whispered. “The souls of all the kids he’s took there.”
She felt her jaw drop open. “You mean. . ..”
“He kills them.”
The first mate flinched as Captain Hook rounded on him. “Sorry, Cap’n. Didn’t mean to open old wounds.”
Wendy looked at the Captain’s face and saw the pain there. “Your sons,” she said sadly. “Were they taken there?”
He glanced down at the hook where his left hand should have been. “I saw him take a few children there. I tried to stop him. That was when I lost my hand to him.” His eyes narrowed to a glower. Fire blazed behind his retinas. “But I was too late. Blast that Peter Pan! I’ll have my revenge if it’s the last thing I do!”
Mr. Smee wrung his hands. “I’ll tell the crew.”
Wendy watched him leave, not sure what to do. She took another sip of the cooling cocoa. At least it still tasted good. The blanket was warm in comparison to her wet nightdress. If only she had a change of clothes.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Captain Hook said. “You must be terribly uncomfortable in those wet things. I’ll show you below deck. I’m sure we can find something to fit you.”
She grinned at him. “That would be lovely.”
“So, the Tiki got them,” Peter Pan said thoughtfully. “Good. They’ll be safe there.”
Tinkerbell spoke to him in her usual way. After so long together, he understood her as easily as if she’d used words.
“I’m not sure what happened to Wendy. The mermaids dragged her under the water when Hook came.”
Her glow darkened.
“I know, I know,” he sighed. “It needs to happen soon. That’s why I brought them here.”
The dark rock with its leering eye sockets loomed over them, its massive form blocking out the light of the sun. Everything about the place was eerie.
Wendy shuddered. “That’s Skull Rock?”
Captain Hook nodded. “You may stay here, if you wish. It’s not a place for young ladies.”
Her jaw tightened and she stood a little straighter. The trousers and shirt he’d found for her were too big, but the belt holding them together at her waist at least kept them from drowning her. Her golden ringlets were tied back in a blue ribbon and her blue eyes held a tiny glint of determination. “I’m coming,” she said.
He smiled down at her. “If you wish it.”
She nodded. When it was time to leave the ship, she allowed Captain Hook to help her into the tiny rowboat. She fell when the boat lurched as it was lowered.
“Careful,” Captain Hook said, easing her onto the seat.
“Thank you,” she said. Though she held her chin high, it quivered with fear as they pulled up beside a rock ledge within the skull’s mouth. It was on shaking legs she stepped out of the boat.
“Keep a sharp eye,” Captain Hook said.
The two other men, Mr. Smee being one of them, saluted. “Aye, aye Cap’n.”
Wendy followed Captain Hook closely. It was cold in the cave. At the first crunch under her foot, she looked down. She nearly screamed, her eyes growing as wide as saucers. Bones lay scattered across the floor; the remains of children. She thought she might sick up when Captain Hook placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
“Just don’t look,” he said, placing her hand on his arm. “Stay close.”
She nodded, trying not to weep.
Then, the wailing began. The sound echoed off the rock walls and was startling enough to make the two pirates behind her jump. That, in turn, finally released the scream in her throat.
“It’s alright,” Captain Hook said calmly. “I’ll go check it out. You men stay here and protect the little lady.”
She grabbed the Captain’s cloak. “You just told me to stay close,” she said fearfully.
He smiled and patted her head. “So I did.” He walked along the ledge, gently kicking bones out of the way to make it a little easier for the girl clinging to his arm. The ground sloped up, taking them up to the eye sockets. The determination in the girl’s eyes made him smile. She was about the age of his eldest son.
“What were their names?” she asked.
He could tell from the tremor in her voice that she was trying to distract herself. “My eldest was named Sam. He would be about your age. Nathaniel was the younger.”
“Do you miss them?”
“Every second of every day.”
“I miss my mother. She must be worried sick.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you see her again.”
She smiled up at him.
He paused as the cave opened up. “What have we here?” he said. His men had searched this part of the cave so he had never seen it before.
“What is it?” Wendy asked.
“I think I see something down there,” he said pulling out his spyglass.
She peered over the ledge to see.
“No. Not something. Someone. That must be Tiger Lily.”
“Tiger Lily. The Tiki Princess. What’s she doing here?”
Wendy followed Captain Hook down to where they could see that there was a young girl sitting on a small rock in the middle of the water. The girl was moaning which resulted in the wailing they had heard. Her arms had been tied to her sides and the waters were lapping at her feet.
“High tide is coming,” Hook said. “We’d better free her before then.
“How will we get to her?”
Captain Hook took off his cloak and sword and handed them to Wendy. He also gave her his spyglass. “Hold these. I’ll swim out to her and free her,” he said taking off his boots. “Be ready to wrap her in my cloak.”
She nodded and watched him dive into the water. In a matter of moments, the pirate captain returned with a spluttering princess. She helped the girl out of the water and quickly put the cloak around her shoulders. “Are you alright? Who did this to you?”
“Pan!” the girl snarled. Her black eyes blazed with hatred.
“Let’s get out of here,” Captain Hook said, strapping his sword to his side and taking back his spyglass. “Before he comes back.”
“Are you going to return me home?” Princess Tiger Lily asked.
Captain Hook nodded.
“Are you going to make Pan hurt?”
“I intend to make him bleed.”
John sat by the fire, watching the flames dance. “Do you miss your parents?” he asked Sam. “Mom died shortly after Nathaniel was born. I don’t really remember her. But I’m sure dad is worried sick.”
“What is your dad like?”
Sam shrugged. “He wasn’t around lots. He’s a ship captain, you see? But he promised that when Nat and I got old enough he’d take us with him. When he was back from a voyage he would take us out to practice our sailing. I want to be just like him when I grow up.” His face became grim. “If I ever do grow up.”
Nathaniel and Michael ran up to them just then.
“Something’s happening!” Michael shouted excitedly.
Sam and John exchanged looks.
“The Tiki are going crazy,” Nathaniel said. “They’re all gathering by the Chief’s tent. Come on!”
All four boys ran to where the Tiki were crowded together, masks pushed back to reveal their faces. Every man and woman there wore hard expressions even though they bounced on their toes like kids in a candy store.
“What’s happening?” Sam demanded.
“Guests,” one man said.
The four boys looked at each other. They were ushered to the side, however, to make a path.
“Who is it?” Michael asked bouncing on his toes.
“It’s hard to see,” Sam said.
The Tiki began shouting for joy and rushing forward. The only words they could make out were, “Princess Tiger Lily!”
Sam gulped and the other three boys took a small step back.
“It can’t be him,” Nathaniel said. “Not yet.”
“They’re not going to hand us over, are they?” John asked.
They were about to flee back to their tent when a familiar face appeared in the crowd. The clothing wasn’t what they remembered, but there was no mistaking those bright blue eyes.
“Wendy!” John and Michael shouted as one.
“John! Michael!” Wendy shouted, joyful tears glistening in her eyes.
“I was so worried,” she said, touching their cheeks.
“Us? We were worried about you!” John said.
Wendy looked passed them. “And who are they?”
“These are our friends,” John said proudly. “Boys, this is our sister, Wendy. Wendy, this is Sam and Nathaniel.”
Her face froze. “You . . . you are? But . . . you’re not dead?”
Sam and Nathaniel had matching expressions of shock as she grabbed them each by the hand. “You have to come with me! There’s someone you must meet. Oh, he’s going to be so excited!”
“He?” Sam asked, yanking his hand away. “I won’t let Pan take me!”
“What?” she said confused. “Why would I give you up to that monster?”
“You know?” John asked.
She nodded. “Just come with me.”
They followed her as she pushed her way through the crowd of cheering Tiki.
“Wendy! Did you find your. . ..” Captain Hook stopped in mid step, his eyes widening in disbelief. “Sam? Nathaniel? You―”
He was cut off as the two boys threw their arms around him shouting in unison, “Dad!”
“Dad?” John said his jaw dropping. “Captain Hook is your father? Wendy, how did you know? What were you doing with him?”
“He rescued me from Peter. I went with him to free Tiger Lily as well. He’s agreed to let us hide from Peter aboard his ship. It’s the safest place to be until we can figure out a way to get home.”
They spent the evening partying with the Tiki. There was dancing, music, and all manner of food. Come morning, they made their way back to Captain Hook’s ship. A slight breeze was blowing, gently lifting the black flag, exposing the white skull and cross bones.
“Are you going to take us home now?” Michael asked.
Captain Hook looked at them and sighed. “I’m afraid I can’t.”
“Why not?” Sam asked.
“I only had enough pixie dust to take us one way. Unless we can get more, we may be stuck here for a while.”
“You’re never going to leave!” Pan appeared, swooping down on them. He grabbed Wendy and flew away, laughing.
“Wendy!” John and Michael shouted.
“Where is he taking her?” John asked.
Captain Hook snarled. “Skull Rock. Mr. Smee!”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n!”
The crew rushed to set the sail while the first mate issued barked orders.
“What’s he going to do to her?” Michael asked worriedly.
Sam patted his head. “Nothing. We’re going to save her.”
“What are you going to do to me?” Wendy asked nervously as Peter bound her arms behind her.
He grinned at her. “I told you I would teach you the secret to staying young. Then we can be together forever.”
“I want to go home, Peter.”
“You are home,” he laughed.
She glared at him. “My brothers―”
“Should be here shortly.”
“PAN!” an angry voice echoed through the cave that was the interior of Skull Rock.
“That’ll be them now,” Peter said, drawing the knife clipped to his belt and casually tossing it in the air to catch it. “Just sit tight, Wendy. This will only take a minute.”
“Pan,” Hook snarled dangerously as he stepped into the cave. Mr. Smee, the boys, and several other pirates filed in behind him. “You flying coward!”
“Coward!” Pan barked a laugh.
Hook drew his sword. “Mr. Smee, take the children where they won’t have to see what happens next.”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n!”
Amidst their protests, they were drawn back behind the row of pirates. Though their view was blocked, they could still see enough.
“I think it’s time we ended things between us,” Peter said.
“Agreed,” Hook said. “I’m going to enjoy this.”
Pan laughed. “If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll let you live long enough to watch your children die. Or should I say rather, to watch me eat them.”
“You’re going to regret taking my sons from me,” Hook snarled.
With another laugh from Pan that echoed unnervingly off the rocks, the fight began.
John covered Michael’s face, but he managed to pry open his fingers. They watched as the duel stretched on for minutes, both parties finding rough footing on the bones that crunched loudly under their feet. Hook was pushed back. Pan ducked behind a boulder and stabbed Hook in the leg from behind.
“Dad!” Sam and Nat shouted as one.
Pan was like some vicious creature. He didn’t seem much like a child at all. He slipped under Hook’s blade and used the pirate’s injured knee against him. Kicking at Hook’s feet, Pan tripped the pirate captain. “Haha!” he laughed victoriously.
Suddenly, Tinkerbell appeared with several other glowing lights at her side. They flew at Pan’s face, tugging at his clothes and hair.
“What are you doing, Tink!?” Pan roared.
It was the distraction Hook needed. He leapt forward.
Wendy screamed in horror from where she was still tied up.
Pan laughed as he fell to the bone littered ground, his blood spilling out along the ground. His laughter became haggard and wheezy. The youthful face became lined with wrinkles and the hair turned white. Slowly, his body shriveled, and his bones joined those of the children he had consumed in order to preserve his childlike state.
The boys cheered, along with all the other pirates who had watched the fight.
Hook, limping over to Wendy, cut her bonds to free her.
“Thank you,” she said through her tears. “Are you alright?”
He smiled at her. “This is nothing.”
A bright light flew in between them, tinkling joyously.
“Tinkerbell!” Wendy said, clasping her hands to her chest. “That was wonderful of you. But, why did you do it?”
She began acting out her chimes, holding her arms at her sides and squirming.
“I don’t understand,” Wendy said.
Two of the other pixies joined the charade. They grabbed Tink by the arms and then threw her down. They began pointing furiously as Tink rushed as quickly as she could in each direction.
“Pan enslaved her,” Hook said.
The pixies jumped, nodding their heads vigorously.
“So, you’re free now!” Wendy said beaming. “Oh, how lovely! Can you help us? We need to get home but we can’t do that without pixie dust.”
The pixies put their heads together and then nodded.
“Hooray!” Michael shouted.
“Calm down, George, dear.”
“How can I calm down, Mary? Our children are missing!”
A loud thump upstairs made them both jump.
“What was that?” Mrs. Darling asked.
Mr. Darling was already racing up the stairs. He threw open the door to the nursery and gasped. “Wendy! John! Michael!”
“Father!” the children shouted, throwing their arms around their parents.
“What happened to you?” Mrs. Darling asked, kissing their heads and faces. “And what are you wearing, Wendy?”
“It was wonderful, mother! Peter Pan kidnapped us and took us to Neverland where we helped Captain Hook rescue the Lost Boys. Then, after Hook killed Pan, we sailed away on a ship in the sky.”
Mrs. Darling placed a hand against her daughter’s forehead. “Are you sure you’re alright, dear?”
She grinned. “I’m just glad to be home. Oh, father, I think I’m finally ready.”
“To grow up.”
Mr. Darling smiled at his wife. “Well, all in due time, my dear. All in due time.”