Second Star to the Right, then Straight on 'til Morning

By Phoebe Cao

Horror / Fantasy

Chapter 1

He is watching you.

Looming and bloodthirsty, the god of Never perches behind you like a vulture. Wherever you go, he always follows you, cunningly disguised as your shadow. When you turn off the lights and become enveloped in darkness, the god of Never cautiously starts to wrap you in his embrace. But, as soon as lights flicker on again, he instantly fades away, becoming your harmless little shadow again.

Listen to our voices. We can’t stand it if it happens again.

The younger children are always the most observant. Although older people scold these youngsters for being so “cowardly,” they always seem to sense his presence. The god of Never is especially fond of those that can see, hear, or even feel him. That only makes his job easier.

Tonight, when you start to drift off to sleep, abruptly shake yourself awake and open your eyes as wide as you can. In the semi-darkness of your cozy bedroom, you will manage to make out a pair of beady eyes staring at you. If you’re lucky, the god of Never will decide to spare you, temporarily. But if you’re not...he will take you to Neverland, along with the rest of us.

However, you probably would forget about our warnings, and fall fast asleep. You will slip into the soft, pleasant dreams of pleasant memories and fancies of little children. That, however, would greatly anger him. Like he did to us, the god of Never would forcefully wrench you out of your dreams and carry you to Neverland. If he is calm by then, he would decide to play with you for a bit before your time comes.

When you arrive at Neverland, do not be fooled by the pretty sights, delicious food, and boisterous games. Neverland is an illusion; it is but a land of nightmares in which the god of Never is the king. Immediately after he helps you onto your feet after landing, you must run away at once. We will try to guide you. Although we have no bodies anymore, our dismembered souls should appear to be like little specks of light to you, like fireflies, or perhaps fairies. Most of us, if not all, will be devoured by the god of Never’s wrath, but we will do whatever we can to save you.

Say that you are fooled by Neverland’s illusion. Say that, heaven forbid, you are mesmerized by the land’s exotic, colorful flowers and its twinkling night-sky. There will be bright scarlet campfires with little boys and girls dancing around them, singing and playing fun games. There will be juicy ribs for supper, adorable little tents, and vast treasures chests filled to the brim with shining jewels. But, we beg of you, do not be fooled by these sights. We know what they are.

When we were at Neverland, we had no one to warn us. We were all alone with the god of Never, who was disguised as a simple, kind little boy. We thought he was just one of us, but we were wrong. And that cost us our lives.

“Don’t grow up,” he said cheerfully. “It’s a trap.”

And so, we never did.

He played his reed pipes, and beautiful, unearthly music entered our ears. The golden campfire dimmed in front of our eyes, and we fell asleep, only to wake up...never. We could’ve survived...but we didn’t have the slightest clue of what was going on. Unlike you, we had no clever pixies to point our way.

The campfires have glowed blood red ever since. The juicy ribs taste odd now, too. They’re oddly shaped like human limbs…

We no longer have our bodies, but they still move. They still dance and sing and play, just without us. The god of Never owns them, and he uses them to fool other children like you into playing games with him. Unless you escape right now, your body will join them, too. This is your last chance.

When he plays his music to you, plug your ears and look up towards the sky. Instead of twinkling with millions of lights, it will be pitch black, with just one gleaming star. That star will be your only hope. If you somehow manage to escape the god of Never and his army of undead little boys and girls, you must follow that star to the edge of Neverland. While running there, you may hear voices or feel cold hands on back, but whatever happens, do not look back, we beg of you. Just sprint with all your might to the mist-covered beach, and ignore anything or anyone that tries to distract you.

Once there, you will see a ghostly pirate ship, glowing pale golden in contrast to the suffocating darkness of Neverland. At the front of the ship, a large man clad in bright, showy pirate clothes will turn his head towards you. We do not know how’ll you see him; a handsome face with a gentle smile, a faceless monster, or a deformed man with one eye. But, regardless of what you might see in the face of the pirate, you must make a decision in a split second between choosing to escape with him or to die at the hands of the god of Never.

The pirate will save you, but only at a cost that you’ll regret much, much later in life. When the time comes, you will remember. You will bitterly curse us for lying to you, but we will be long gone.

As soon as you step on the pirate ship, you will be whisked away from Neverland. The ship will fly on and on and on, until the sky is full of twinkling stars again. Having escaped the god of Never, you will fall fast asleep in your warm, cozy, bed, and eagerly dive back into your pleasant dreams of childish fancies.

You may forget about the god of Never for now. We won’t say anything more; our job is done. Finally, he has reluctantly given up on you, so you’re safe. Very, very safe.

Until tomorrow.

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