THERE WAS A LOT of screaming.
By now, the neighbors were used to it. They expected it, even, for a night without hearing Wendy Darling’s bloodcurdling screams was a rare thing -- it would’ve taken a miracle. Night after night, the eldest Darling daughter would wake up in the dark of night screaming as if there was a murderer in her very bed, shivering like a madwoman with cold sweats running down her trembling spine, clawing at something that wasn’t there, imagining things that were inconceivable and impossible.
Since her window was always open, for some godforsaken reason, everyone a mile away could hear her.
Who on God’s green earth would have thought of menacing pirates with only one hand, the other fastened with a sharp hook? No one had ever heard of fairies or pixies with the ability to make ships fly, let alone having heard of mermaids being real. And the craziest thing? Wendy Darling believed in a place called Neverland. A land that existed on the second star to the right, and believed wholeheartedly that the only way you could get there was to fly -- and with what, you may ask?
The poor girl had gone insane.
The Darling girl was a lunatic, she was deranged, ”not right in the head.”
Her teachers had pitied her. Most of her friends had deserted her and her lunatic ways. Her own father was one step closer to dragging her to an asylum.
They didn’t exist. None of it does, they kept shouting at her.
And she finally cracked. She finally believed them; it doesn’t take much to listen to what everyone keeps saying, again, and again, and again -- repeated so many times, it became the awful drone that haunted her wherever she went. People recognized her, and steered clear of her. They tsk’ed at her image, thought about how much potential she wasted on her fantasies.
Her faith in Peter Pan, who had promised to come back, had disappeared, and with the oncoming wrath of the Great War, there were other things more important than silly childhood fantasies that couldn’t have been real. Shouldn’t have been real.
The humiliation led her to believe that Peter caused this. Her thoughts made an enemy of him. What used to be the boy she longed for to come back into her window, now grew to become the boy who never showed, and the boy who had done this to her.
The nightmares were neverending. It was hard to tell what exactly drove Wendy Darling to madness. She screamed that pirates were smothering her, threatening to kill her. She raved that she was falling from the sky, plummeting to her gory death. Visions of carnivorous sirens. Demonic and bloodthirsty little lost boys. Dark shadows running through the night, coming for her and only her. And most of all, she screamed that Peter was dying.
If only she knew how right -- and completely sane -- she was.
Maybe she could have saved him,
Because everyone knows that if Wendy dies,
Peter dies with her.
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