Brown and Hazel
“Who are you?” Victoria asked with red eyes and sniffles.
“I have a better question: Who are you?” He tilted his head sideways as she wiped her eyes.
“I saw you, yesterday, in Princess Square, in the trees.”
“No, you didn’t. I was near a different group of trees.”
The boy stared at her with an impatient glare, almost like he was having a great time hiding in the alleyway.
“Well, it must have been...”
“So, why have you come to see me in my house?”
“This is your house?” She examined him with a squinted eye.
“Yes, this is my fireplace,” he pointed to the grating covering the window next to them, “this is my chimney,” he pointed to a small pipe someone must’ve left on the small arch, “and this is my lantern,” he pointed to the glowing fairy next to him, suddenly appearing out from behind his neck.
“Your lantern is...” Her eyes widened, the redness on her face disappearing with the yellow glow of a tiny sun. “Your lantern is a...”
“Oh, come on stop it,” the boy waved her awe away, “this is Tinker Bell. She not just a lantern.”
Indeed she wasn’t. A single skeleton leaf covered her entire body, yet left room for slender arms, twig legs, clawed feet and long fingers. Her hair glowed with a thousand colors, her mouth folded in a smile and her eyes stared into Victoria’s. Her wings bent and morphed into those of butterflies and hummingbirds, eagles and crows.
“So, your lantern is a Tinkerbell?”
“Yes, well no. She’s a fairy.”
“So she’s both a fairy and a Tinkerbell?”
Peter squeezed his arms across his chest.
“Do you know what a fairy is?!”
She stopped to think, unbeknownst to the group of boys who heard her talking in the distance
“I’m quite shocked that a lady doesn’t know what a fairy is. How else should she start a fairy tale, but with fairies?”
“I’m a lady?”
“Aren’t you, just like all of the other ladies?”
“Well, no. I’m still a girl.”
The boy jumped up from his seat, Tinkerbell whipping around her. He grabbed her arm in a soft squeeze.
“Excellent! Then we can go have some fun in Neverland!”
“What?!” Victoria jumped back. "You're with them too!"
"With who?" The boy arched an eyebrow in confusion. Tinkerbell tugged on his shirt.
"There you are, little girl!"
The four boys gleefully blocked the alleyway. Victoria slipped behind him like he was another alleyway.
"WHO ARE YOU?" They saw a boy with long auburn hair, tattered clothes and bare feet standing between them and her.
"Me? Why I'm Peter."
"Peter who?" The leader cracked his knuckles in anticipation.
"That's a dumb question."
The boys stopped to look at the dumb child in front of them.
"No, it's not. Everyone has a last name."
"Oh? Then what if I don't want to tell you?"
"Then your epitaph will only show your first name."
The other boys laughed. Peter stood his ground, proud of the fact that he had no idea what an epitaph was.
The leader brandished his switchblade again, bringing it towards the two of them.
"Let us take this girl to Wonderland, so you can go free."
She gripped his shirt tighter.
"I don't want to. We're actually going to go to Neverland. There's a big difference."
He reached the sheath hanging off of his thin belt and pulled out a dagger of his own, pointing it squarely at the boy's torso. Victoria backed away from the duel.
"Have at thee, scoundrel."
The boy lunged forward, waving his blade in a fury. Little did he know that Peter had plenty of practice and never forgot his sword fighting skills. Within seconds the boy was disarmed, allowed to try again, and then promptly disarmed.
"I would kill you like I did those pirates, but I have a girl here."
He stood over the cowardly leader, bumbling over his little blade.
"Leave," Peter commanded, almost like a general. "If you were unlike any of the other codfishes I have slain, then you'll stop chasing this girl-"
He pointed where she had stood, but there was no one there. Everyone did a double take. She had disappeared when the dust settled, taking advantage of the distraction in front of the boys.
"Get her! Find her-"
The dagger swooped down on the leader's neck again, this time cutting the skin.
"Don't. Touch. Her." He stared at him with gritted teeth. "She's mine."
The boys rushed in the other direction, distancing themselves from the child-like monster.
After some acrobatics to the roof of the building, he saw a brown-haired girl race across Cleveland Street towards Tottenham. If not for his shadow being a crumpled mess on the floor nearby, he'd have caught up to her by now. Maybe she can help him put it back together.