I'll Keep You Safe
Massive French doors swung open, letting in a howling wind with a eerie bang. Silence pierced through the air like daggers. A hovering, black creature slid trough the window, eyes glowing in the most inhuman way possible. They locked on something just a few feet ahead of the shadow monster- a child, who looked so absolutely terrified he was frozen with his mouth slightly open.
Quickly, the shadow lunged towards him, grabbing one of his fragile arms and lifting him into the air; the child screamed frantically as two men came racing towards him for rescue. The shadow fled towards the window, still gripping the fighting child, as the men shouted the boys name with utter desperation. One of the men, the father, lunged for the monster, only to be returned with hitting the cold floor.
Seeing its chance, the shadow sped through the window and up into the lucid air. The other man could only watch in utter horror as it, and the boy, vanished into the cloudy night sky towards the only visible star. Neverland.
The air was biting cold against his small red cheeks as he fled through the forest.
The boy had no idea where he was.
"Well aren't you cute; you'll make a fine lost boy."
Those words rang cruelly in his ears. That boy was scary, evil almost. "You'll like it here. We get to play whenever we want."
"I- I don't wanna be here," his small voice heaved back sobs, "I want my Papa. I want to go home."
The bigger boy smiled as if he were amused. "Adults are never fun. They don't see things the way we kids do."
The night was so black the boy couldn't see three feet in front of him. The only sounds heard was the thudding of his feet against broken leaves and the pounding of his heart.
He couldn't let them catch him.
Escape was actually easier than expected; the boy simply waited for everyone to drift off in their hammocks. But he was four years old; he didn't know what to do. So he just ran.
After what felt like an eternity, his little legs gave out and he fell to the dirt floor, surrounded by damp leaves that made him tremble. In surrender, he curled himself into a tight ball and cried, wanting nothing more than the nightmare to end.
It was beginning to seem pointless, the search for her son. They were always too quick, too nimble, always one step ahead of them. A week had gone by, and they were getting absolutely nowhere.
"Maybe we should venture out to the caves, maybe that's where they are," Snow White's annoyingly optimistic voice finally spoke to the discouraged crowd. Emma and the rest of them barely gave a shoulder shrug in response.
"I guess we could try, but they'll probably have moved by the time we get there," Emma said distastefully, folding her arms.
She couldn't take it any longer. They were getting nowhere.
"Hey- Regina, where are you going?"
She didn't answer. Instead she continued walking blindly through the forest, not really caring where she was headed. She had to get away from them. She couldn't take it.
Once she was completely alone, Regina finally broke down in tears, ones she had kept inside of her since their arrival. Why him, why her son? Did she really do something bad enough to deserve all this?
She covered her mouth with her hands in attempt to cover her sobs, soon leaning up against a tree because she knew she would collapse with out it.
I hate this dreadful island. I want Henry back and then I want to leave.
She kept repeating this to herself in her head, though every time she said it the forest around her seem to taunt her even more.
Finally, Regina gave it up; she tried taking deep breaths to calm herself down, though it didn't seem to work. She squeezed her eyes shut, resting her head up against the tough bark of the tree.
I need a sign. I need a sign so I know there's hope in getting my son back and everything will be okay.
Regina wasn't directing the words to anyone in particular; she just needed to say it. Opening her eyes, she waited about five seconds in complete silence before she laughed to herself. How naive she was, believing in things like a little girl would in prayer. People like her didn't get happy endings.
But then, she heard something. It was faint, but Regina could hear someone crying. Her mind told her she was hearing things, but she wasn't so sure. The sound sparked a light inside of her- the cry had to belong to a small boy. She would know. The spark soon escalated into an automatic instinct of hers as she began wandering around the forest trying to pin the source of the sound.
If it weren't for his dark colored pajamas, she probably wouldn't have spotted him. But she did, and she began running towards him with concern in her eyes. Hearing her advancing closer to him, the boy poked his head up and stared, wide eyed at the woman towering over him. He wasn't sure if he should be scared or not, but she did have a kind smile on her face. She knelt down to her knees so she was more his height.
"What are you doing out here by yourself?" She asked, heavy with concern.
When the child didn't give a reply, Regina spoke again. "You don't have to be afraid of me, I won't hurt you." She showed him both her palms for emphasis. His daddy always told him to not talk to strangers, but for some reason he knew he could trust this woman. He sat up slowly and brushed off the twigs and dirt that filled his hair.
"A flying black monster took me. Then some boys found me and wanted me to stay with them, but they were scary so I ran." He said these words with such innocence it left a pang on her heart.
"Are you from the Enchanted Forest?"
He nodded his head yes.
She then noticed a small blood stain on his arm sleeve, taking no hesitation in reaching for it to examine it.
"You got a cut," she said, rolling up his sleeve, "you shouldn't be out here alone by yourself."
She waved her hand over the cut and instantly the wound was healed, much to the boy's amazement. "You can do magic?" He asked curiously, looking up at her with excitement.
Regina smiled and replied, "it's a good kind of magic."
Then the boy did something unexpected. He moved forward and onto her lap, tangling his arms around her neck as he rested his head comfortably under her chin. It surprised her, but she took no hesitation in returning the affection by wrapping her arms around his small form comfortingly.
"Can I stay here with you?"
She hadn't been given this much love in such a long time. Regina almost had to hold back tears as she thought about Henry.
"Of course you can. I'll keep you safe, I promise."
The boy snuggled closer to her body at her response. He was always used to getting hugs from his dad, but never had he had a mother that would hug him. It felt... Nice.
She ran her fingers through his short brown hair. "You can call me Regina."
Interesting, she thought, this boy was part of the few that still remained in the Enchanted Forest. She couldn't help but wonder who his family could be.