This is the story of the boy who never grew up.
Chapter 5 – The Island Come True
Feeling that Peter had returned, Neverland awakened into life again.
In his absence, things are usually quiet on the island. The fairies take an extra hour in the morning to get up. The beasts quiet down and take care of their children. The natives eat for six days and six nights straight. And when the pirates and lost boys meet, they merely make angry faces at each other.
But now Peter was back, and he hated all things boring. So the island started up again. If you put your ear to the ground, you could hear the whole island breathing with life.
On this evening, Neverland’s main forces were as follows:
The lost boys were out looking for Peter.
The pirates were out looking for the lost boys.
The natives were out looking for the pirates.
And the beasts were out looking for the natives.
They were going round and round the island, but they did not meet because they were all going at the same speed.
All of them were blood-thirsty, except the boys. Sometimes, they liked blood, but at the moment, they were focused on finding their captain.
How many lost boys are there, you ask? Well, it depends. Of course, sometimes they get killed by pirates and so on. And sometimes they grow up, which is against the rules, and Peter gets rid of them. At this time, there were five of them. Well, technically there were six, if you counted the Twins as two separate people.
Right now, they were walking through the sugar cane field in a single file, each with his hand on his dagger.
One of Peter’s rules was that they couldn’t look like him. So instead of leaves, they wore bear skin. Of course, they hunted the bears themselves. Hunting bears wasn’t easy, so all of the boys had become very agile.
The first one in line was Tootles. He wasn’t a coward, but he was very unlucky. You see, he had been on fewer adventures than the others because exciting things always happened when he wasn’t there. The moment he stepped away from the group, something amazing always seemed to happen without him. He would go away to do a chore, such as gathering sticks for the fire, and when he returned, the others would be sweeping up the blood. This misfortune made him a sad character, but instead of becoming sour, it made him humble. In fact, he was the most humble of the group. Poor kind Tootles. He didn’t know it yet, but tonight he would finally get a chance to face real danger. Tinker Bell had plans for him because she believed that he was the easiest to fool.
Tootles, beware of Tinker Bell! I wish he could hear our warning.
Next in line was Nibs. As always, he was cheerful and confident.
After him was Slightly. He often made whistles out of wood and danced merrily to his own music. Out of all the boys, he was the cockiest (although, not as cocky as Peter). He thought he could remember the days before he was lost, when he was taught proper manners and customs, so he held up his nose high in the air.
Curly was the fourth. He was the meekest of the group. Whenever Peter had to scold the boys, he would say, “Who did this? Step forward!” Curly would always step forward automatically whether he did something bad or not.
Last came the Twins. It’s difficult for me to describe them because I never know which one is which.
Peter never quite understood what a “twin” was. And Peter didn’t like it when his band knew something that he didn’t know, so they never explained themselves. They simply kept close together as if they were one person and were apologetically silent.
One by one, the boys passed and vanished into the gloom.
Shortly after them, the pirates appeared. Actually, you could hear them before you could see them. They were singing the same dreadful song as always:
🎵 “Ay! Pirating we go, and if we’re parted by a fight, we’re sure to meet below!” 🎵
You’ve never seen a more villainous group, not even if you’ve seen prisoners waiting for their execution.
In front was the handsome Italian pirate named Cecco. He walked with his great bare arms and eight piercings hanging from his ears. He had escaped from the prison of Gao and carved his name into the back of the prison governor.
Then came Bill Jukes. Every inch of his body was tattooed.
Next was Cookson, who was said to be Black Murphy’s brother (although it hasn’t been proven).
Gentleman Starkey came after. He used to work in a public school, so even as a pirate, he was well-mannered when he killed.
Then came Skylights, Smee, and Noodler. Noodler was a bit strange because his hands were backward.
Finally was Robt. He was a Spanish man that was feared by many.
And in the midst of them all, was Captain James Hook. He was the darkest and largest of the group, and he lied back at ease in his chariot, which was pulled by his men. And instead of a right hand, he had an iron hook. He treated his men like dogs, and they obeyed him like dogs.
In person, he looked like a corpse. His hair was styled in long black curls, which looked like black candles from a distance. His expression was threatening, yet handsome. His eyes were as blue as the sea, and filled with sorrow. Well, they weren’t always blue and sad. When he plunged his hook into an enemy, his eyes lit up with a red glow.
There was something very refined about him. Even when he was ripping someone apart, he was very polite and elegant. And when he talked, and even when he was swearing, he did so in a cultured way.
He was the most courageous of them all. In fact, it was said that the only thing he was scared of was his own blood. His blood, by the way, was thick and quite an unusual color.
And his clothing? He dressed like someone who was related to Prince Charles II. And he always had a cigar in his mouth. Actually, he liked to smoke two cigars at once. But undoubtedly, the grimmest part of him was his iron claw.
Are you wondering if pirates kill pirates? Well, yes they do! Would you like to see it? Now is the perfect opportunity because they are about to kill Skylights. You’ll be able to see Hook’s method.
As they crossed the field, Skylights walked clumsily. He bumped into Hook and ruffled his lace collar. The next moment, the hook shot forward and there was a tearing sound. And then a scream. And then the body was kicked aside and the pirates kept walking. He didn’t even remove the cigars from his mouth.
He’s a terrible man, isn’t he? Don’t you wonder who would win if Peter Pan and Hook fought against each other?
After the pirates disappeared into the gloom, the field was silent for only a few moments. Soon after them, came the natives. They walked with their eyes wide open. They carried axes and knives, and their bodies were painted.
They were not a peaceful tribe. They were always ready for war. As decoration, they wore necklaces with the hair of their victims. Hair from the lost boys and hair from the pirates.
Walking at the front of the tribe was Great Big Little Panther. He walked on all fours, like a real panther. He was so brave that he wore many necklaces that weighed him down.
At the back of the group, which is the most dangerous position, was Tiger Lily. She stood tall and proud. She was the princess of the tribe, after all. She was more beautiful than the princesses of Europe. And she was unpredictable, too. She could be cold one moment, and lovely the next. Every boy who met her seemed to fall in love, but she kept love away with an ax.
Look! Watch them as they walk! Can you hear them? No! They walk over the sticks and grass without making the slightest noise. The only sound you can hear is their breathing.
Indeed, the natives seemed to be breathing heavily. It was because they had just finished eating a banquet. Now, they were fat and heavy, but soon, they would work it off.
And they disappeared into the gloom. Behind them, the beasts entered the field.
Lions, tigers, bears and an uncountable number of smaller savage things. This island seemed to be home to every kind of beast that ever lived.
Their tongues were hanging out because they were hungry. When they disappeared into the gloom, one more animal appeared. The last figure was a gigantic crocodile.
When the crocodile slowly crawled past and into the gloom, the lost boys appeared again.
And this is the cycle that would continue until one of them stopped or turned around. You see, all of them were focused on hunting. None of them imagined that they were being hunted! This was how the island always was.
The first to fall out of the moving circle was the boys. Getting tired, they flung themselves down on the grass near their underground home.
“I wish Peter would come back,” they all said nervously. They didn’t feel right when Peter wasn’t around, even though all the boys were taller and larger than their captain.
“I am the only one who is not afraid of the pirates,” Slightly said in a bossy tone that never made him popular. But even still, he must have felt nervous because he quickly added, “but I wish he would come back and tell us whether he has heard anything more about Cinderella.”
They started chatting about Cinderella. Tootles was confident that his mother must have been like her.
It was only in Peter’s absence when they could talk about mothers. When Peter was around, that topic was forbidden because it was “silly.”
“The only thing I remember about my mother,” Nibs told them, “is that she often said to my father, ‘Oh, I wish I had a bank account of my own!’ I don’t know what a bank account is, but I would love to give her one.”
While they were talking, they heard a distant sound. A normal person, such as you or I, wouldn’t have been able to hear it. But the lost boys, who lived in the woods like wild creatures, could hear very well.
It was the grim song of the pirates:
🎵 “Yo ho, yo ho, the pirate life, The flag of skull and bones, A happy hour, a long, thick rope, And hey for Davy Jones.” 🎵
Before the song ended, the lost boys were no longer there. Even rabbits couldn’t have disappeared more quickly.
Where did they go? I’ll tell you.
With the exception of Nibs, who darted up to their look-out spot, they all went to their home under the ground.
How did they reach it? That’s a good question because there is no entrance to be seen. There isn’t a door. There isn’t even a suspicious rock that might be hiding a door. But if you look closely, however, you might notice that there are seven large trees. And each of those trees has a hole in its truck that is as large as a boy. These are the seven entrances to the home under the ground. Hook has been searching for the entrance for a long time, and all his effort has been in vain. Will he find it tonight?
As the pirates came closer, the quick eye of Starkey spotted Nibs disappearing through the woods. At once, he pulled out his gun, but an iron claw gripped his shoulder.
“Captain, let go!” he cried, writhing.
Now, this will be the first time you hear the voice of Hook. You’ll be surprised. It’s a dark voice that gives you chills down your back.
“Put away that gun,” the dark voice said, threateningly.
“It was one of those boys you hate. I could have shot him dead.”
“Ay, and the sound would have led Tiger Lily’s tribe to us. Do you want to lose your scalp?”
“Should I chase after him, Captain,” asked pathetic Smee, “and stab him with Johnny Corkscrew?”
Smee had pleasant nicknames for everything. His sword was nicknamed Johnny Corkscrew because he wiggled it in the wound. Smee had a lot of strange quirks. For example, after killing, instead of wiping his sword, he wiped his glasses.
“Johnny Corkscrew is silent and quick,” he reminded Hook.
“Not now, Smee,” Hook said darkly. “He is only one boy. I want to get all seven of them. Scatter and look for them.”
The pirates disappeared among the trees, and in a moment their Captain and Smee were alone.
Hook let out a heavy sigh. I don’t know why, (perhaps it was because of the soft beauty of the evening), but Hook suddenly had a strong desire to tell his life story to the faithful Smee. He spoke openly and honestly for a long time. But Smee, who was rather stupid, could hardly follow the conversation. But the word “Peter” caught his attention.
“And most of all,” Hook was saying passionately, “I want their captain, Peter Pan. He was the one who cut off my hand.” He brandished the hook threateningly. “I’ve waited a long time to shake his hand with this. Oh, I’ll tear him apart!”
“And yet,” said Smee, “I have often heard you talk gratefully about your hook. You said it was worth twenty hands. You said it was great for combing hair and other things.”
“Ay,” the captain answered. “If I was a mother, I would pray to have my children born with hooks instead of hands.” He looked with pride at his hook, and then he looked with scorn at his regular hand. Then, he frowned again.
“Peter flung my arm,” he said, wincing, “to a crocodile that happened to be passing by.”
“I have often noticed,” said Smee, “that you have a strange dread of crocodiles.”
“Not of crocodiles,” Hook corrected him, “but of that one crocodile.” He lowered his voice. “It liked my hand so much, Smee, that it has followed me ever since. It follows me from sea to sea and from land to land, licking its lips for the rest of me.”
“In a way,” said Smee, “it’s sort of a compliment.”
“I want no such compliments,” Hook barked. “I want Peter Pan, who first gave the beast its taste for me.”
He sat down on a large mushroom, and now there was a quiver in his voice. “Smee,” he said huskily, “that crocodile would have had me before this, but by a lucky chance it swallowed a clock. And that clock goes ‘tick tock’ inside it. And so before it can reach me, I hear the tick tock and run.” He laughed in a hollow way.
“Someday,” said Smee, “the clock will stop working, and then he’ll get you.”
Hook licked his dry lips. “Ay. That’s the fear that haunts me.”
Since he sat down, he had started feeling strangely warm. “Smee,” he said, “this seat is hot.” He jumped up. “What in the odd bobs! I’m burning!”
They examined the mushroom and realized that it was much larger than any other mushrooms found on the island. They tried to pull it up, and it came out easily in their hands because it didn’t have a root. Stranger still, smoke began to ascend. The pirates looked at each other. “A chimney!” they both exclaimed.
They had indeed discovered the chimney of the home under the ground. The boys had a habit of plugging it with a mushroom when enemies were in the neighborhood.
Not only smoke came out of it. There also came children’s voices. The boys felt so safe in their hiding place that they were chattering happily. The pirates listened grimly, and then replaced the mushroom. They looked around and noted the holes in the seven trees.
“Did you hear them say Peter Pan’s come home?” Smee whispered, fidgeting with Johnny Corkscrew.
Hook nodded. He stood for a long time lost in thought, and at last, a sneaky smile lit up his face.
Smee saw the smile. “Tell me your plan, captain,” he cried eagerly.
“We will return to the ship,” Hook replied slowly through his teeth, “and cook a large, delicious, thick cake with green sugar on top. The boys’ hideout must only have one room, because there is only one chimney. The stupid moles didn’t have the sense to realize that they only needed one door, not seven. That shows that they have no mother. We will leave the cake on the shore of the Mermaids’ Lagoon. These boys are always swimming around there, playing with the mermaids. They will find the cake and gobble it up, because, having no mother, they don’t know how dangerous it is to eat a wet cake that has been sitting in the sun.” He burst into laughter. Real, deep laughter. “Aha, they will die.”
Smee had listened with growing admiration.
“It’s the wickedest, prettiest plan I’ve ever heard of!” he cried. And in their joy, they danced and sang:
🎵 ”They stop when I appear, By fear, they’re overtook. Nothing left on their bones, When they have met the Hook.” 🎵
They began the song, but they never finished it because another sound made them still. At first, it was such a tiny sound that it might have just been a leaf that fell. But as it came nearer, it was more distinct.
Tick, tick, tick, tick!
Hook stood, shuddering. He had one foot in the air.
“The crocodile!” he gasped, and bounded away, followed by Smee.
It was indeed the crocodile. It had passed the natives, who were now on the trail of the other pirates. It crawled after Hook.
Once more, the boys emerged into the open, but the dangers of the night were not over yet. At the moment, Nibs rushed breathlessly to them, chased by a pack of wolves. The tongues of the wolves were hanging out, and their barking was horrible.
“Save me, save me!” cried Nibs, falling to the ground.
“But what can we do? What can we do?”
“What would Peter do?” they all cried.
Don’t you agree that it is such a compliment to Peter? When they are in the presence of danger, their thoughts turn to their captain.
And immediately, the boys answered their own question.
“Peter would turn his back to them and look at them through his legs.” And then, they said, “Let’s do what Peter would do.”
It was quite successful. Nibs bent over and looked at the wolves through his legs. This angered the wolves. The next moment—and I suppose it was a long moment—the boys advanced on the angry wolves and fought them off. The wolves dropped their tails and ran away.
Now Nibs stood up straight and stared out. The others thought he was still staring at the wolves in the distance, but it wasn’t the wolves.
“I have seen something wonderful!” he cried as they gathered around him. “A great white bird. It is flying this way.”
“What kind of a bird, do you think?”
“I don’t know,” Nibs said, awestruck, “but it looks so weary. And as it flies, it moans, ‘Poor Wendy’.”
“I remember,” said Slightly. “Aren’t there birds called Wendies?”
“Look! Here it comes!” cried Curly, pointing to Wendy in the sky.
Wendy was now almost overhead, and they could hear her crying. But even louder was the shrill voice of Tinker Bell. The jealous fairy had stopped pretending to be kind and she was now darting at Wendy from every direction. She pinched her savagely each time she touched.
“Hello, Tink,” cried the boys.
Tinker Bell screamed out.
You do not speak fairy language, so I will translate it for you here: “Peter wants you to shoot the Wendy.”
The boys, of course, never questioned Peter’s orders. “Let’s do what Peter wants!” cried the simple boys.
“Quick, bows and arrows!”
All of them, except Tootles, popped down their trees to get their weapons.
But you see, Toodles was always afraid of missing adventures, so he made a habit of being prepared. Toodles had a bow and arrow with him. When Tinker Bell saw it, she rubbed her little hands together.
“Quick, Tootles, quick,” she screamed. “Peter will be so pleased.”
Tootles excitedly fitted the arrow to his bow. “Get out of the way, Tink,” he shouted. And then he fired, and Wendy fell to the ground with an arrow in her chest.