Returning from Neverland

The return of a once lost boy to a home he does not recognise brings questions of self-declared heroic status.

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The house is as silent as the grave, which feels apt, with the feelings of ten thousand or more dying memories floating from my mind like ghosts in the wind. This cold, empty shell of a house was once a home. My home. I pull back the bedroom curtains and the sunlight bursts in, but does little other than burn my retinas, and leave blank white patches in my vision. I let the curtain fall back again, content with the dim light that manages to push its way through the faded purple rag that remains. It looks exactly how I feel: sad and torn, a shadow of what it once was, the main difference being that I have never been so obviously majestic a sight.

Who am I kidding? I was long gone from here before I ever had the chance to see if I could be so. I guess I never would now. The allure of eternal youth had been so captivating when he took me away to be just another face within his crowd of ‘lost boys.’ The boy who would never age. Peter Pan.

Now I look back on it, I realise just how strange a man… Well, is man even the correct word? I’m not entirely sure anymore. The only man I ever knew was the pirate captain we called Hook. How naive it had been of me to never question his status as ‘the bad guy.’ Hell, I’d be angry if some pubescent scumbag cut my hand off. Perhaps his intentions toward Peter were justified. I guess I’ll never know for sure, yet the more I look back on it, the more I sympathise with him. I was just a prisoner of eternal childhood, still am. It’s taken me weeks of walking through the desecrated remains of the world I was plucked from to find my way to what I would have once called home. What remains of it at any rate.

“I’m truly sorry, this is all that is left.” The woman’s voice reverberates from the doorway behind me, bouncing across the high ceiling and along the walls, dancing over the once golden, now filthy wallpaper. I still don’t know her name, despite our many days and weeks of companionship. She’s the closest thing I’ve had to a mother since Wendy had left all of those years ago; warm and comforting, accepting my account of the many years of life I leave behind, none of which show on my pale face or my long blonde hair.

I feel her hand on my shoulder, a touch of warmth running through the otherwise desolate cold that envelops me; her voice soft, the blanket I could really do with mentally and physically right now. I can feel my voice cracking before the words escape from my mouth. “It’s not your fault.”

Her touch becomes slightly more firm as I survey the rest of my surroundings.

The bed I once slept in still remains, grubby, but otherwise impeccably made. Bedding the same purple shade as the curtains. It has always been my favourite colour. I wonder if the men who caused the world’s destruction would have appreciated it? The woman had told me of the thirty-minute war that had taken everything from the earth. She said the day had been no different to any other, people going about their lives as normal, interrupted by a movement in the skies leading to a single minute of panic and then, close to nothing. Only a few of those once vibrant, fallible people remaining amidst the chaos. She believes it was crueller to have been left to wonder what remained.

She had lost a son, and I? Well…I was blissfully unaware in the land where no child ever has to grow up, away for at least a decade, perhaps more, unknowing of what was going on in the place I had abandoned. Perhaps my mother will be out there somewhere? Seeing as I’m eternally cursed to never grow a day older than I am now. Immortal, but a mere child.

“It is time for us to leave now, my child. There is no use in lingering.” Her words slide into my ears as tears fill my eyes. She is right.

I am forever cursed to be a lost boy.

Maxwell Ford is a writer, poet and music lover from a small seaside town in Kent.

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