The night flew in like a shadow, the skyline kindling its own versions of suns on the streets and in homes. Deep in the Gardens, where trees and bushes hid the world from paradise, more suns orbited their queen.
Small, radiant, flying people hovered around their hive, a clear glass-like hive covering the branches of a hidden Myrtle Tree. Deep within the bushes, past the Serpentine, on the small island in the middle of the river, right next to a sunny sky and golden beach, sat a little boy playing his pipe flute. Birds snuggled next to each other on the rooftops, children’s dreams got brighter, and the shadows near children’s beds slipped away from the song. His song grew louder since his shadow returned, his happiness so high it could flow out of his ears.
He barely even took the time to swipe his hair away from his face, letting the tips itch his nose and cheekbones. The song almost overpowered a little bell ringing in the background.
“Not now, Tink. I almost got the shadows completely out of the country!”
“Peter! I found the most wonderful event taking place! Pirates are declaring a FIGHT!”
He swung out of his crossed-legs and shot up like a bamboo sapling.
“At the corner over there!”
Her little multi-colored eyes and thin arms waved towards the far part of the park, signaling a place way beyond the fence.
“Well, I dare say that someone can have so much fun without me! Let’s invade their adventure, Tink, and we shall find Hook through our enemies!”
Tink clapped joyfully as the two of them jettisoned towards the battle.
He brought the newbies with him, as he didn’t want to bring any of his colleagues into harm’s way. He even promised them promotions if they helped. They didn’t know anything about the paperwork involved, so they agreed to join him.
Captain Robertson and his army of misfit policemen reached the courtyard from all sides, as he swam amongst a sea of men growling in “arrrs” and “yarrs”.
If I get through this, Captain Robertson declared to himself, I’ll never step foot on a ship again.
He reached the mob of men as they passed through the front gates. The courtyard, covered in green and cobblestone, looked like a secret garden tucked away from the drabby greys. Two large maple trees covered the courtyard with roof-like leaves, filtering the moonlight into flapping curtains, and small houses surrounded it with walls. A perfect sanctuary for delinquents with swords. He even noticed sword marks on the walls, as if someone had been using them for practice.
"Split up and find those boys! I want them alive! Most importantly, bring me their leader, the one with a sword. I wish to bring him in myself."
They spread across the shadows of the courtyard, sliding into each house within the courtyard. Captain Robertson winced when he heard dishes and cupboards crashing in the buildings. He searched through the main courtyard, allowing no shadow to harbor any ruffians.
Then he heard a small whisper, deep beneath the pirates' growls.
He contemplated that word as he investigated the Maple trees in the courtyard.
There it was again. He listened closer, putting his ear in the sound's direction.
The boy's whispers were interrupted by the Captain's wide eyes.
He saw a smaller boy race away into one of the buildings as the whispering child tried to climb the tree. Captain Robertson dragged the boy out into the moonlight.
"What did that word mean, boy? Speak, or you'll be banished by the royal guard!"
The little boy covered his face with waving arms, whimpering in his speech.
"You, men! Take the farthest building to the left! One of the boys ran in there!"
After immediately following his orders, he turned back to the boy at hand.
"Where is the boy with the sword?"
The boy shook his head as tears streamed down his face.
"Do you want to leave England without a hand?!"
"Then tell me, BOY!"
He never noticed a silhouette creep through the trees, knees bent and sword hungry.
Then the pirates' hollering overtook his demands and everyone turned towards the building.
"We got 'em, boss! The boy you were looking for!"
The pirates paraded their prize as tens of boys followed suit with swords pointed at their backs.
Ichabod stumbled forward and stood up ferociously. His hands, bound in front of him, looked dirty even in the moonlight, with blood caked beneath his fingernails.
"You. You're the boy who murdered all of those policemen!"
The other policemen grumbled in agreement. Ichabod turned to face them in bewilderment.
"Policemen? Murder? Who in their right mind would mistake these men for policemen?"
Captain Robertson marched toward the shorter boy, as Peter snuck behind the pirates.
"Anyone with a regard for authority, little ruffian. Now, give me your motive or else I imprison your cronies with you and you all face exile."
The little boys in the group began to whimper like the previous child, now in the "care" of another policeman.
"I didn't kill them, Sir, but-"
"Captain, boy. You're talking to a Captain."
A beat in the conversation only got punctuated by a policeman coughing.
"I'm so very sorry, Captain, but as these men are not Policemen, Captain, then I am innocent."
"Well," Captain Robertson shrugged. "That can easily be determined. Men, if you are not pirates, say 'Nay'."
A dozen "nay"s could be heard throughout the courtyard.
"They are not policemen, Captain."
"They are not the ones soon-to-be on trial, Ichabod Holton."
"But I never touched Ivory Jaw, Thunder, Willie, One-Eye Jhonny or Jinx McGee. I swear."
All of the pirates stunned into silence. Captain Robertson stared towards Ichabod.
"Those were their names... You could have asked for their names, anyhow... It doesn't prove anything!"
"Oh yeah? Smee, tell him you're not a pirate!"
The pirates gasped again. One particularly smug Policeman began mumbling incoherently.
"I'm not Smee, Captain! I swear!"
Ichabod rolled his eyes. "Smee?"
The pirate turned in the prisoner's direction. "Yes?"
"Enough of this."
Captain Robertson's head shook sideways, trying not to absorb the idiocy through his ears. He immediately turned to his small notepad, hidden in his suit jacket, pen in hand, to record the night's ordeal.
"Ichabod Holton, you're under arrest for-"
Peter's sword itched for an adventure, and Peter was happy to oblige.
"five counts-" One down.
"Of-" Now a second.
"Murder-" A third.
"And-" A fourth.
"Multiple accounts oft heft and trespassing." A fifth stood no chance.
"The punishment will be determined in a court of law, pending imprisonment-"
Before Captain Robertson could finish his sentence, five pirates fell to Peter's sword.
"...immediately. What happened to five of us-"
"It's the man-killer!" The other pirates screamed.
Captain Robertson rushed for his pistol as Peter Pan swooped in from the shadows, grabbing each pirate inward before striking down. Before you could count to eleven, all of the pirates disappeared, leaving the boys alone with the Captain and his pistol.
Sweat dribbled down from his hair as he pointed the pistol towards every shadow he could find. He raced through the group of children and into the abandoned house to the far left of the courtyard, aiming his pistol, ready to check every house if he needed to.
"Alright, that takes care of them."
Peter slid back towards the children, shocked to the point of speechlessness. Even Ichabod stood frightened in place, like a frozen mop pointed upwards. Captain Robertson watched from the broken window as a small boy floated towards the freed group of boys.
"What fun! Shall we do that again?"
Ichabod was the first to shake away his shock and awe.
"Y-Y-You saved us."
"I didn't save you, silly," Peter chuckled as he tore through Ichabod's ropes. "We were having an adventure, and we got to strike down as many pirates as possible. We were having a contest and I WON!"
Peter floated around them in joy.
"Oh, what a wonderful time I've had! Can we do that again please?"
"You're such a small boy..."
Peter swooped in close to the leader, hazel eyes meeting dark blue.
"Am I? I like to think that I'm perfectly fine, especially after beating you and your friends, don't you think so, Tink?"
The little floating light rang her small bell amongst all of the boys.
"Um boy? What is your name?"
Ichabod tugged at Peter's shirt as the flying boy drifted down towards his new friends.
"I'm Peter. Peter Pan. And I'd love to bring you to Neverland. We'll have so much fun together!"
Ichabod eased away from the flying boy as the other boys flocked towards him.
"Can you teach us to fight grown-ups like you did?"
"You want to kill grown-ups too?!"
Peter flew into somersaults as the other boys cheered.
"I'd love to! Come with me, and let's go to Neverland through the gardens!"
The other boys cheered as they followed him out of the courtyard and into the night.
The courtyard remained quiet as Ichabod saw Captain Robertson emerge from his hiding place.
"Before you leave, Ichabod, I'd like to offer an apology. You're a free boy, again. I've seen the killer, and he flies like a bird."
Ichabod nodded and took off into the night.