Never Again, Never LandA Story by recklessfunk
A modern, more twisted version of the classic Peter Pan tale. Written for my college creative writing class.
No one on the ward is allowed to wear tinkling jewelry anymore, and they've all learned to keep their dogs away. They dismiss even the thought of darkness at night. As many lights are kept on in the halls as possible to chase the shadows away. Because heaven forbid he sees a shadow crisscrossing on the ground in front of him. The poor boy would lose it.
They put up blackout curtains in his room and kept him mostly on the first floor. That way he couldn't see the stars at night and he couldn't see the ground far below him. The stars were the worst of it though. One look at a star and he would start muttering about something second to the right. Morning. Poppycock.
He wasn't allowed to play with the younger kids, especially the boys. Sure. He was only a little older than them. He was approaching fourteen by now. But those on the ward who have been watching him have noticed that when he plays with the younger boys, he tends to believe he is their fearless leader and treats them as such. Poor boys. Lost boys.
No clocks tick on the walls. Clocks are only a reminder of the time that passes, and for every second and every minute and every hour that goes by, you grow older. He never wanted to grow older. In fact, he ridiculed the idea. Wearing a tie? Going to school to recite a silly rule? Wearing a serious expression in the middle of July? All were jokes to him. He was never going to grow up. Not him.
Laughter was similarly frowned upon around the boy. They couldn't, of course, just up and ban the natural human reaction altogether, but the nurses tried to keep it a rule that the laughter and giggling was to be kept to a minimum whenever the boy was around. He believed that laughter broke, you see, and the pieces of it went skipping around or something of the sort. Ridiculous notion, no?
Pets were just out of the question altogether, especially fish. Fish had tails. They were too close to mermaids, too close indeed.
A lot of people at the Trevor Strand Psychiatric Hospital had no idea where the boy had come from. His parents quite literally registered him and dropped him off without so much as a 'hello' to anyone else, even the orderlies who were usually quite friendly to those visiting and leaving a beloved family member behind. After all, abandoning a loved one was a hard ordeal. Surely, the orderlies thought at the time, the mother and father of this dear boy would be heartbroken at leaving him? Not so. Not even a tear escaped the mother's eye.
The boy never gave much away about himself either. He rarely talked, only smiled. He kept to himself most of the time, usually humming a song.
Most of the time, though, he explored. Every nook and cranny of the hospital was engrained into the boy's mind as clear as day itself. He spent his hours scouring over the smallest of details. Some of the other children believed he had found a few secret hiding places to stash things like extra cookies, random articles of clothing...even toys. They all tried to get close enough to him to ask questions about it, but alas, the new rules forbade such contact with the new boy.
The in-patients didn't have much of a clue, but all the orderlies knew what the boy's real problem was. They knew of his wild imagination, of his fairytale flights and stories of pirates when, in fact, he had only been sitting in a chair staring out a window. Dreaming.
When he wasn't exploring, he was dreaming. A lot of the orderlies gossiped that this was the original reason he had been sent here by his parents. They wanted to cure him of his silly imagination. He spent way too much time in his fantasy world, so much time that in fact a theory was circulating amongst the nurses that he never emerged from this world. This explained his constant dreaming, his need for exploration, and his thirst to live out his delusions. This explained why his parents gave up on him so early in his life.
One summer night the boy came barreling out of his room, shouting that he had found a fairy. The orderly on duty ran to meet him midway down the hall, catching him and calming him down enough to get an explanation from him. Apparently, something small and glowing was flitting about the room. The orderly inspected the boy's claim and tried to patiently explain that the creature was not a fairy, but a firefly. The boy insisted that the orderly wasn't looking close enough. The orderly ignored him and told him to get back to bed; it was almost one in the morning.
Oh Peter. Nobody will ever have the guts to tell him exactly what reality is. But the reality is this: he has been stuck inside his own head for far too long. He needs someone brave enough to rip a young boy " still a child, really " from his own imagination, a place where many, if not all of us, have had the desire to escape to every now and then.
Peter is a determined little squirt, though, and he won't take no for an answer. Many have tried and failed to convince him of where he really was and what was really going on. Even now, he remains in his little world full of faith, trust, and pixie dust.
If he has his way, he will stay there for as long as he wants and never have to resign himself to the awkward tradition of growing up.
© 2010 recklessfunk
New York, NY
AboutHey everyone! My name is Gabby. My dream is to be an author, but seeing as it's difficult to be just a full-time author these days I plan to work on being an editor at a publishing company such as Sim.. more..