Gwennie goes to Neverland
A short story by Hannah F., Grade 7 IPS Student
Gwennie couldn’t sleep. She had felt someone watching her for the past half hour, but she knew the room was empty. She decided to do what she always did when she couldn’t sleep and climbed out of her bed to sit in the window seat and count the stars. As she tiptoed past her older brother’s bed, she could just make out the carved wooden bed end with his name in swirly letters—James, surrounded by fairies and magical beasts. In the top left corner there was an elf maiden held captive by a fearsome pirate, and across from her a boy with slightly pointed ears, a pixie, and a sword was speeding to her rescue. Peter Pan of Neverland.
Gwennie smiled. Each Goldenstar child had one—her, James and little Annie-Marie who was only two. Ever since she could remember her parents had entertained her and her siblings with tales of the half-fae hero of the world where children never grow up. A floor board beneath her feet twinged and creaked and James turned over in his sleep. Gwennie froze. She did not want to wake James and Annie, for she knew her parents would find out and be unhappy in the morning.
Once she made it to the thick drapes that covered the window-seat, she pulled them back and gasped. A boy stood outside. He appeared to be around thirteen or fourteen and had tousled red hair, tanned skin, a green tunic, leather belt, brown leggings, surprised green eyes, and a knife in its sheath. A small gust of wind buffeted him and Gwennie almost shrieked. He wasn’t standing—he was floating.
The wind had picked up some of his hair, and for an instant Gwennie had seen. Slightly pointed ears peeked out behind his curls.
Gwennie cranked open the window.
“I think you had better come in.” she said.
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Some time later, Gwennie and Peter were sitting on the edge of Gwennie’s bed and talking about their lives. Gwennie had heard all about Neverland from her parents but was astonished to hear about it from a person who had lived there.
“—and they have pirates and mermaids and elves and fairies.” said Peter excitedly. “There’s also me and my gang of boys who roam the island and hunt stuff. We live in and under the Wild Willow tree, and hunt and fish and gather berries and nuts. Once, Nibs caught a fish twice as big as he was! It made such a feast we had food for days!”
James stirred in his sleep, and Peter, unaware prattled on.
“I’ll take you there, if you like.” he said. “To see the mermaids, Elves and pirates and have great adventures.”
James sat bolt upright.
“Nobody’s taking my sister anywhere without telling me first or taking me with him.” he declared.
His loud announcement had woken Annie, and she sat up in her cradle-bed and began to cry. Gwennie rushed over to comfort her and tripped on a small figure sitting on the rug.
“Shhh, Annie,” Gwennie said, picking herself up and dusting herself off. “It’s all right. Peter here was just telling us about a place called Neverland. There’s mermaids and fairies—oh! I do believe I just tripped on one.
“We are all thinking of going there—Peter James and I, that is— would you like to come too?”
Annie had stopped crying by now and was rubbing her eyes with her little fists and nodding her head vigorously.
“Alright!” Peter crowed. “We shall leave at once!” and he ran to the window, jumped out and disappeared. Gwennie rushed after him and was just in time to see him soaring off into the night with a small glowing light following him and ringing furiously.
“Oh,” said Gwennie sadly. “I guess he didn’t mean to take us with him.”
Annie started to cry and Gwennie tucked her back into bed. James stretched, yawned and lay down in his bed again. Gwennie stood for a few minutes and watched out the window as the speck that was Peter disappeared into the night.
A few minutes later, just as Gwennie was starting to fall asleep, Peter came back.
“What are you all doing in bed?” he asked. “I have come back to take you to Neverland. I am very sorry I forgot to give you the pixie dust the first time. I just couldn’t believe I had new friends to bring to Neverland and play and adventure with. Please forgive me, I really didn’t mean to.”
Gwennie, who was the only one still up, put a finger to her lips and motioned him to sit on her bed.
“James may not want to come again,” she whispered. “But I will do my best to convince him. Surely, he will regret it if he doesn’t come. Wait on the window-seat and I will wake him and Annie up.
“James,” Gwennie murmured. “Peter’s back, and he is willing to take us to Neverland now. We shall have to be quick and quiet.”
“Tell him to go away.” James said angrily. “If he’s going to leave abruptly, then pretend it was all a mistake, he can buzz off. Permanently.”
“James,” Gwennie scolded. “I’m sure you will regret not coming. You’ve wanted to go to Neverland for years, so swallow your pride, apologize—properly!—and come with us. Think of it this way,” she said. “If you don’t come, you’re going to have to be the one to tell Mama and Papa where we are.”
James caved. “Fine,” he said. Then he turned to Peter. “I am sorry for being rude.” he said. And then he paused. “So, where’s this pixie, and how will we get dust from her?” he asked.
“I don’t know where Tink is,” said Peter, alarmed. “But if I shake her over your head, her golden dust will rain down and all you have to do is think of one happy thought, then you can fly.”
“Tink?” said Gwennie. “Is that what your pixie’s name is?”
“Yes,” Peter replied. “Although she’s a fairy. Male fairies are called pixies and females are called fairies. And,” he added thoughtfully. “Her full name’s Tinkerbell. I should look for her so we can leave. Tink? Tinkerbell? Where are you?”
A small chiming sound that sounded like a thousand tiny bells being rung came from Annie’s tightly closed fist. Annie laughed and shook her hand up and down vigorously. More chiming came from her fingers and a small glowing light began to squeeze through her fingers.
“Tink!” cried Peter. “Let her go! If you crush her I’ll never be able to get back to Neverland again, and I will be stuck here and forced to grow up! Let her go, I say! Let her go!”
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