My grandmother used to tell me stories about him every night. Horrible stories, stories about the most dreadful young boy, who tricked young children with him to a place faraway. A boy so fixated on staying young it made him insane. He would do terrible things. Things so awful, I cannot say them out loud. He was pure evil, like the villain in your favorite fairytale. He was so bad the only way to describe him was as a monster. I guess that was what I found so fascinating. How could someone be so bad?
I have seen him before. He would lurk outside our house at night. I think he is watching my grandmother, but for some reason he never came in. Every night he would be there. Lurking in the shadows and every night I would sit in my room looking at him.
Not that night though. That night was going to be different. I was going to go outside and talk to him, something that I had wanted to do all my life. I waited a long time. Making sure everyone had gone to sleep, my mother, my siblings, but most importantly, my grandmother.
Sneaking out of the house was easy. I had spent years finding the perfect route. The perfect route from the nursery to the backdoor and out to my little monster. The stairs seemed to take forever. I walked with tiny steps, shoes in hand and a woolly scarf wrapped around my tiny shoulders. Every step I took was taken carefully and with precision, because one wrong step would mean that I would never see my monster, my beautiful monster.
With every step the smile on my face grew and before I realized it, I was at the door. Slowly I put my hand on the handle. The cold metal felt almost alive in my palm, as if it tried to hold on to my hand, not wanting me to go outside and for a moment my head filled with doubt. Then I saw his shadow. He was hiding behind the tree closest to the house. I yanked the door open forgetting I was not supposed to make a noise.
I could feel the wet grass beneath my feet as I put on my shoes. I tucked the scarf further around my body, slightly because it was cold, but maybe also because it made me feel a bit safer. Before I knew it, I was by the tree staring into his eyes. They were black, jet black and without any sign of emotions, unlike his mouth that was curled in a creepy smile. His head tilted slightly to the left as if he was trying to look at something behind me.
“Pe-Peter get away from her” my grandmother’s voice was old and grey, but the strength was hard to ignore. “I’m only warning you once”. A high-pitched laughter came out of his mouth and he took a step closer to me. I held my breath and took a step back, but his hand grabbed my wrist and pulled me into his arms. My knees were shaking and I could hardly breathe. “You left us Wendy. Now we need a new mother”. His voice was childish like my own. Before I knew it he had sprinkled some golden dust, more wonderful than anything I had ever seen, over my head. Some of it fell into my eye and made my vision go blurry. “What is happening?” I whispered. I could suddenly not feel the ground under my feet. “We are going to Neverland and we are going to read stories and play and you will be our mother”.
I always knew, he would take children with him, but I never imagined he would take me. He was my monster. He was not supposed to hurt me. He was not supposed to take me.