Journey of a Lifetime

I had been to Neverland before, with my father and uncle on a quest from the king. I had befriended Peter Pan then left in the middle of the night without so much as a goodbye. Now I'm back, to help save Emma's son Henry. In and out, that was how simple it was supposed to be. I'm Lucy Jones, daughter of Killian Jones and the girl that simple doesn't apply to.

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11. Chapter 11

Past:

I ducked into an alley to hide from some of father’s crew members coming down the street. They banged on doors and described what I looked like, and then moved from door to door after the sleepy man or woman shook their head. I’d been extremely careful not to be seen. I had not anticipated on being found missing so soon.

                Once they were gone, I let the necklace lead me further through the village. I slowed when I saw that the houses were thinning and I was nearing the forest outside of it. It was dark and eerie, as forest generally are at night. I did not want to go in there.

                The necklace glowed brighter, lightening a path in front of me. It urged me on. I took a deep breath and took one step forward. The necklace glowed brighter, almost impatiently. Another step.

                Horse hooves on the dirt road caught my attention. A carriage was coming this way. Now the forest was my only chance with the village crawling with father’s men. I pulled my hood back over my head and pushed through the thicket at the edge of trees.

                Keeping my eyes forward proved to be harder than I imagined. I could see shadows moving out of the corner of my eyes, hear crunching leaves and sticks from behind me, and every time the owl cooed I almost jumped out of my skin. I tried to remind myself that it was only my imagination playing tricks on me.

                “Where am I going, Peter?” I whispered. A tree root tripped me, and I hit the ground rather hard. The necklace went flying into a thorn bush. I groaned and laid still for a moment.

                I bet Father is still docked in the harbor. I could tell him that I needed some air and got lost outside the village. I could go back and try to be happy with the decision Father has made to be with Mila. That was a lie. I knew that I would never be happy with her. I would resent her for the rest of my life.

                The thorn bush glowed brighter.

                “Don’t rush me. I’m not a woods kind of girl. I prefer the sea,” I said and crawled over to the bush. Reaching in, I tried to avoid the thorn as much as possible. My fingertips grazed it. I leaned forward a little more; one of the thorns on a branch scratched my cheek.

                It had gotten tangled around a branch. After a few tugs it came loose. The flow dimmed and I sat back on my heels. Thorns stuck out of my arm in little red dots. Each one I pulled out hurt worse than the last. It wasn’t deadly, but it would cause a tingling burning sensation.

                The burning didn’t subside while I forced myself to walk on. I cradled my arm under my cloak. The dew started to cover the ground, soaking through my pants in places. The sun wouldn’t be rising for a while.

                The trees cleared, leaving my standing on a high cliff. Moonlight lit up the rocky bottom below. The smell of salt water filled my lungs and calmed my nerves. I closed my eyes and listened to the crashing of the waves against the rocks and the wind whistling as it whirled up and down the curves of the cliffs.

                Two hands roughly pushed against my back. Then I fell. A sharp scream escaped my lips until something caught me. I opened my eyes.

                Letting out a breath, I relaxed a minimal amount. Peter’s shadow held me close and flew off toward the star that led to Neverland.

                The sun rose behind us, creating a beautiful sunrise. One the rocks of the lagoon, the mermaids splashed and waved, calling my name. I gave a little wave back.

                Birds fluttered up around us and dipped back down to hide in coverage of the trees. Peter’s shadow followed, setting me down on the soft dirt of the woods. I slipped the necklace around my neck for safe keeping.

                Peter’s shadow disappeared. Looks like I’m on my own from here. Lost boys could be anywhere on the island so I decided to wander aimlessly and explore. A clearing in the trees held a field of wildflowers and dozens of beautiful butterflies. I slowly walked around, picking a flower or two. One red butterfly caught my eye and I followed after it.

                The smell of fresh grass and flowers filled the air. Sunrays warmed my skin as it rose higher into the sky. Neverland had beautiful landscape and creatures.

                I stopped at the edge of a creak but the butterfly continued on across to the other side. Tiger lilies grew all around. I almost turned to go back but a girl caught my attention. A girl? My heart just dropped to the ground.

                “Beautiful day,” I said to break the silence.

                She was lying on the ground on her back. She leaned her head back and a big grin spread across her face. She answered, “Absolutely breathtaking. You’re Lucy?”

                My confusion must’ve been visible on my features. She jumped to her feet and headed toward me. “Pan told me that you were coming.  I’m Tiger Lily.”

                “You live on the island?” I asked, relaxing only a little. She didn’t speak of him like she loved him.

                “Haven’t you ever met an Indian before?” Tiger Lily asked, doing a twirl. Her brown dress fluttered around a little, and the feather in her headband threatened to fall out.

                “Never, but it’s a pleasure.” I smiled.

                “Pan isn’t with you? He couldn’t stop talking about your arrival last night.” Tiger Lily stood up on her tip toes and raised her hand to shield her eyes from the sun. She looked in all directions, frowning. “Wait, are you alone?”

                “Yes, I hadn’t had the chance to see Peter-”

                “Come with me! I can show you my camp and introduce you to my father! Oh, we could even dress you up!”

                “I think all of that sounds lovely, but I’d really like to go see Peter.” I knew if I was gone all day, Peter would send lost boys looking and the reunion would be less happy.

                Her grin dropped. “Aw... another day? There aren’t any girls my age, and the boys are… boys.” Her eyes rolled with the statement.

                “Of course, I will. I’d love to be friends.”

                “Friends…” Tiger Lily hugged me, only letting go when the sound of a horn blew out. “See you!”

                Tiger Lily went running off across some stones in the river to the other side. She waved once more and disappeared from sight. I couldn’t wait to see Peter, but I was also excited about having a friend.

                I listened to the horn be blown two more times and then it fell silent. I turned to go another direction. A smile lingered on my face. I’d made a friend and a girl no less. Being back in Neverland felt extremely right. I belonged here.

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