The Search For Neverland:
Shadows

I was ready to leave. My baggage was too heavy and I couldn't escape fast enough. Everything was in place; the letters were on my desk, the missing bottle from the medicine cabinet in my hand. I would've gone right then, if it weren't for the boy crashing through my open window.

The bottle clattered to the floor and I fell with shock, landing hard on my tailbone. I scooted farther away from the intruder, sure my eyes were huge. The boy straightened himself up and brushed himself off. I studied him, trying to memorize every detail for the police report.

"Wendy?" he asked, his eyes glinting with his smirk. He was scrawny and had light hair and pale skin, freckles almost popping from his cheeks. He wore a patched monstrosity, mostly green, that looked like something a pixie would wear in autumn. Who the heck was this kid?

"Who the hell are you?" I shouted, tossing anything nearby at his elfish grin. He leaped out of the way and my copy of A Christmas Carol hit the wall. The smug look fell from his face as I readied to throw a shoe at him. He looked hurt despite having dodged my first attack.

"Wendy?"

Was this jerk for real? He reminded me of someone, but I couldn't quite put my finger on who yet. My brain was quite jumbled at that moment, since a human being had just tumbled through my window at midnight. Any time would've alarmed me, albeit the dead of night.

"I'm not Wendy! Answer my question!" I launched the shoe at him and he jumped, clinging to the upper corner of where my wall met met my ceiling. I blinked in bewilderment as my fingers searched for something else to chuck at him. A flying elf looking for a girl named Wendy...

"I'm Peter!"

...Figures.

He saw that I was momentarily at a loss for ammo and decided to float back down. "The real question is," he started, as if I were the committing the crime, "who are you?"

I rubbed my eyes and sighed. If he was going to murder me, he should have just done it. After all, I had been about to do it to myself moments ago.

"I'm not Wendy. My name is Rebekah, though I don't know why I'm telling you, since you just broke into my house." He seemed unperturbed as I said it, plopping onto the floor across from me. He tucked in his legs Indian style, his eyes filled with wonder as he looked around my room. The wonder quickly disintegrated into boredom when he realized I had nothing as exciting as a slide or any secret entrances.

"Not even an ax," he tsked. He cocked his head to the left like a puppy. "Hey, were you attacked?"

"What?"

He pointed to my arms and I immediately understood what he was referring to. I hesitated, pulling my sleeves down before I answered. "Kind of."

Peter's eyes lit up in excitement. "By what? Pirates? Monsters?!"

"You could say that," I said softly, not meeting his curious gaze. I was tired and already beaten at my own game; opening up to a stranger wouldn't matter in the long run, I guessed. A flying stranger, at that. "You see, Peter, the difference between us is that‒"

"You're a girl!" He guessed, his cocky grin displaying the fact that he actually thought that was right.

"No. Well, yes. I am a girl. But the difference between us is that you're brave enough to face your battles, the ones with Hook and what-not, while I've already lost all mine before they've even started."

Peter scratched his head, his eyebrows furrowed. The concept was probably lost on him, as he lived as the king of a happy island of adventure and games. "You know about Hook? I have my Lost Boys to help me, sometimes, though I'm the one that wins," he boasted and rolled his shoulders back. "Do you have anyone to help you?"

A bell of loneliness rung through me and I picked at a loose thread in the carpet as I avoided his eyes again. "No. I'm alone. All alone." I could tell he was leaning forward to study me, his shadow falling across my face. "That's what happens when you grow up. You're all alone."

He rose an eyebrow, his crossing his arms and jutting his chin out in defiance. "I will never grow up!"

"Don't," I whispered, "it is the worst mistake you could ever make." He nodded fervently in agreement. I shook my head and studied him carefully. He wouldn't ever know what it was like to run from the monsters. He faced them head on. While I spent my time fleeing from my shadows, he chased his and demanded they be sewed back on. How could he be so happy? So content with his life? He was an orphan that would never grow up, stuck in the same adventures day after day. He was so innocent, a feat I wish I could have shared. But it was too late for that. At least he could fly. "How do you do it, Peter?" I whispered.

"Do what? Be incredibly awesome? I ask myself every day," he chuckled but then realized that wasn't the question I was looking for. "I just think happy thoughts, of course‒"

My alarm clocked beeped softly from my shelf, indicating that it was one o'clock in the morning. Peter glanced at it and shot up.

"Never you mind. I shouldn't have asked."

"Sorry, Rebekah! I have to go! The stars will be fading soon and those are my only way home," he shrugged a bit bashfully. He grabbed the bottom of the window and was about to pull it open wider before I interrupted him one last time.

"Why do you chase your shadow?"

Peter stroked his chin, the corners of his mouth tilted up in a thoughtful smirk. "It's part of me, of course! Our shadows are part of who we are! Can I come back tomorrow?" I nodded as he grinned and slipped out the window, giving me a short wave of a temporary good bye before launching off into the sky, his boyish laugh echoing in the quiet night.

I stayed there for a moment before pulling myself up. I closed the window and grabbed the bottle of pills. My hand hesitated on the cap. If I took them, Peter would come back to find me dead. I couldn't do that him, to innocent Peter Pan. I realized I couldn't do it to my siblings either, or the kids I hung out with at school. I couldn't ruin their innocence like that. I opened the door and turned off the light as I went to put the bottle back in the cabinet.