Closer to Home

Chapter 4

Peter’s concern grew as Michael dragged him from room to room, trying to convince him that the old, ramshackle house was his beloved island.

“And see...” insisted Michael, as he opened the door to a bathroom and ushered Peter over to the tub, “Here is Mermaid Lagoon.”

Peter looked up at Michael in complete disbelief. He stared at the man, who was grinning like a Cheshire Cat, so proud of the nonsense he was spouting.

But Peter would not play. He couldn’t. He needed to escape.

When Michael met his gaze, and realised the boy was staring at him with derision, Michael’s smile slipped, and he dropped his eyes to the floor, feeling a little ashamed.

“You’re mad.”

The statement caused Michael’s gaze to rise again, and lock with Peter’s. The insult stabbed at him, and he stuttered as he announced his denial.

“I am not. How dare you?”

“You’re completely mad!”

Michael’s eyes flashed with anger.

“It’s your fault you’re here!” he screamed, letting his temper boil over, “We should all be happy, playing in Neverland… together. But you abandoned us. You abandoned her. And now she’s dead! It’s your fault she’s dead!”

Peter took only a second to retaliate. The unfairness of Michael’s blame raised his own temper.

“I told Wendy to stay with me! She left. It’s her own fault she’s dead!”

Peter gasped at the force of Michael’s hand, slapping him across the face. Then silence fell over both of them, and Peter eyed the man fearfully.

“How dare you speak of her?!” Michael moved to exit, but paused and lowered his voice;

“You promised to come back for her.”

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