Lost Boy, p.10Chanda Hahn
Peter flew to the window and floated right outside, being careful to stay in the shadows.
Wendy was pacing across the floor, her delicate hands running over her face in worry. She paused when she caught her reflection in the mirror and panicked at her appearance. Her jacket was covered with a dark splatter. Wendy ripped off her outer jacket and rolled it up in a bundle before hiding it in the back of her closet. There was still some black goo in her hair, and she tried to wipe it off. Frustrated, she grabbed a pink bathrobe off the back of her bedroom door and headed into the hall, closing the door after her.
Peter needed to take a closer look at that jacket. He slid open her unlocked window and listened, waiting until he heard the sound of water running in the hall bathroom.
Peter slipped inside her room knowing he had a few minutes time until she came back. He felt a pang of guilt at being in her room, but he pushed it aside as he headed toward her closet, rationalizing that he couldn’t protect her if she was hiding stuff from him.
“What are you hiding, Wendy?” he whispered. Pulling open the doors revealed a typical teenage girl’s closet: an array of colored shirts and scarves and an overwhelming number of shoes and purses. After some digging, he finally found her jacket balled up on the floor, hidden behind two shoeboxes. Peter knelt down and grabbed the jacket, opening it to see the black goo.
“What have you been doing?” He touched it and confirmed it was the same stuff they’d found coating the alley. “Was that you, my little bird?” he whispered, somewhat shocked by her courage to take on the morphling. Peter was about to put the jacket back when he saw something else hidden. He couldn’t stop himself as he pulled out a gray T-shirt and held it up.
He froze when he saw the dark red stain; he knew it was blood, surrounding a bullet hole. It was the shirt from that fateful night of her death and rebirth a few weeks ago.
Peter’s hands shook with barely controlled frustration and guilt. “I’m sorry, Wendy.”
The shower turned off, and he knew he needed to be quick. Peter put the gray shirt back but took the jacket with him to show Tink. He leaned back on his heels just as the bedroom door opened unexpectedly, and John walked into the room.
“Wendy, are you here—what are you doing here?” John yelped in surprise.
Caught off guard, Peter fell backward and grasped at the clothes to catch himself, snagging a long-sleeved dress, but he accidentally pulled the closet rod full of clothes down with him, burying himself under a pile of lacy shirts and glittery prom dresses.
“I knew there was something off about you. You’re a perv. Get out of my sister’s room right now,” John whispered angrily, his eyes glancing toward the door.
“No, wait.” Peter tried to push the clothes off and escape, but he was just getting even more tangled. He stood, a pair of denim jeans wrapped around his foot. “I came here to see if she made it home, just like you.”
“But we left at the same time. I left before you. How could you have arrived here that fast? It’s not humanly possible.”
“Well, funny thing is—regarding the human part, I can fl—”
The bedroom door opened and Wendy came in, her pink bathrobe wrapped around her slim frame, her blonde hair hung in damp curls down her back.
Wendy’s eyes squinted in anger at seeing her brother, but they widened in shock when she saw Peter.
Her eyes took in the boys and her destroyed closet.
“What are you doing in my bedroom?” she hissed.
Peter tried to hide the jacket that he was still holding behind his back, and her face reflected her disgust.
“Now, I can explain.” Peter reached for Wendy, but there was a bra wrapped around his hand. He grimaced and tried to flick the pink lace contraption off his hand, and it went flying toward John, hitting him square in the chest.
“Aagh!” John jumped backward, batting it away. “Help me.”
Wendy snorted, pulled the bra off him, and shoved it in her top dresser drawer. Peter caught a flash of papers and a map in the drawer.
“Grow up, John,” Wendy growled in frustration, her arms crossing over her pink robe defensively.
Peter slowly made his way to the window, but Wendy turned on him, her finger waving in the air. “You’ve got to be kidding me . . . after the night I’ve had? You are not going anywhere until you clean up the mess you made.”
She gestured back at her closet and the wooden rod that was then on the floor with all of her clothes. Storming across the room, Wendy plopped down on her bed, curled her feet up under her long bathrobe, and stared them both down, daring them to disagree.
Her wet hair pooling around her shoulders, her pinched and angry face surrounded by the pink fuzzy bathrobe, Peter couldn’t help but liken her appearance to that of a wild and angry mermaid. She could have screamed or yelled for her parents—and it would’ve been normal, expected even. But instead, she just sat there, silently challenging him. The tables were turned on him as he shifted uncomfortably.
He adored the new confident Wendy.
His hand waved in a circular motion as he gave the flashiest of bows. “As you wish, my lady.”
He moved to lift the closet rod up, trying to keep as many of the hangers still attached, but as soon as the rod lifted a foot off the ground, the hooks slid off the other end.
“Help him, John,” Wendy commanded.
John’s shoulders stiffened, and he tried to back away. “No, I didn’t do it. I’m not touching—”
“You let him into my room. I blame you. You can help him. The sooner you do, the faster you both can leave.” Her tone left no room for argument.
Peter glanced at John and watched as her brother rolled his eyes and caved. He came over and grabbed one side of the bar. Between the two of them, they were able to get the bar up easily, without losing half of the clothes. Peter grabbed the loose hangers and shoved them onto an open spot, but Wendy called out, “Not there. That’s winter clothes. They go on the left.”
Feeling sheepish, since it was evident, he placed them in the correct spot and even glanced over his shoulder, and then she nodded in affirmation. His lips pinched together as he tried to hide his enjoyment at being with her. He picked up a red knee-length dress to hide his face and the smile threatening to widen to clownish proportions. The tags were still on it, and he glanced at Wendy and couldn’t help but wonder why she bought that dress. Was it for a prom or dance? Did she buy it for that guy? Did she hope to impress him? A sour note hit him deep as jealousy reared its ugly head. He held out the dress, which was on the verge of being daringly inappropriate, and whistled at the price tag.
“What’s this one for?”
Wendy wouldn’t meet his gaze, her head finally dropping. “I don’t know why I bought it. Maybe it was a dance that I missed. I don’t remember.”
With the rod rehung, John scuttled to the door, doing as little as possible to help put the clothes away. “It was. I remember the day you bought it. You were hoping that Jeremy would ask you to the dance.”
Wendy went still, her silence spoke volumes and her eyes were downcast. She pulled her robe tighter around her neck.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t hold your breath on him asking you out again,” Peter said, then felt his face go hot. That was tactless and rude. He shouldn’t take out his jealousy on her. He tried to think of kinder words to explain the disappearance of the guy she supposedly liked, but the words became lodged in his throat. He couldn’t say it. Just the thought of saying his name made his temper flare, and his hands unconsciously formed into fists.
“You know about Jeremy, then?” Wendy said softly, her own hands clasped in her lap. It looked like she was holding back tears. “That he’s gone.”
“How do you know he’s gone?” Peter asked wondering what she had seen.
“Because I couldn’t save him from that . . . that thing. I tried, but he was . . . he was gone.” She looked up at Peter, her eyes glassy as she held back tears.
He cleared his throat. “So, you saw the morphling?” Peter asked, hoping she would say no, and that he hadn’t failed her. But he knew based on the blackness on her jacket that she had done more than just seeing it. She had encountered the morphling and not only survived, but escaped and lived to tell the tale. He didn’t know if that made him feel proud that she was strong enough to face the beast or like a failure because he wasn’t there when she needed him the most.
“And you weren’t scared?” John asked, the tremble in his voice betraying his fear. “How did you get away?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She began to clam up, her shoulders stiffening, and she kept staring out the window. Finally, she relented and explained what had happened in the abandoned lot and how she had defeated the morphling with the light tower. “I know it sounds crazy but I didn’t make it up.”
“I believe you,” Peter answered, hanging up a sundress and stuffing her shoes back into the shoeboxes. “Because I know what you’re capable of. I’ve seen you take on a morphling before.”
“Yes, and this won’t be the last morphling you face, Wendy. I know you know that.”
Wendy shook her head. “No. I don’t want to relive that horror again.”
She fumbled with her robe, and she became aware of her state of dress, but she was trying to not draw attention to it.
“Are you done yet?” she asked irritably and glared his way.
Peter hung the final shirt and fixed the last shoebox, then clapped his hands together. “Yes, I’m done.”
John moved to Wendy’s side and sat on the bed. “Then, I think you should go now.”
He wrapped his arm around his sister.
Peter stepped toward the window and Wendy scooted away from him, and then he almost slapped himself in the forehead. Dumb. Not the window. Don’t go out the window. Use the door. He covered his folly by addressing Wendy. “I hope you had time to think about what I said, about Neverland? You can’t stay here anymore, not when those morphlings could come here at any moment.”
“And go where?” One golden arched eyebrow rose in speculation; her blue eyes flew to John, who just shrugged his shoulders.
“With me, someplace safer than here,” Peter said.
“John?” she asked, looking at him for an answer.
“Well, you got to admit that something is after you. I mean, first, the attempted kidnapping and then, that monster. Wendy, I’ve never seen anything so terrifying than that thing in my life. This is way beyond something that we can handle.”
“But what about Mom and Dad? I can’t just leave again, and I barely know him.”
“Well, let’s give it a night to think upon it. I’m sure we can come up with something to tell them.” He turned to Peter. “Does it have to be now? Can we have a few days before you take her from us? Just a few final days to say goodbye to our family?”
“John, you can’t be seriously considering me leaving like that,” Wendy said, apparently affronted by her brother’s bluntness.
“Look, Wendy, you need answers, and they seem to have them, and the means to protect you.” He wouldn’t meet her gaze.
“I don’t want to go,” she said, her voice dropping to a whisper. “This is the only thing I know. The last few weeks with you, Mom, and Dad are all I have.”
“Don’t you want to know more about who you are?”
“No—I mean yes . . . but I’m scared.”
John tucked her head under his chin and hugged her. “And I’ll protect you. I’ll always be your brother, you know. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
“You know it’s the right decision,” Peter spoke up softly. He hated having to break their family up, but he could protect her better if she was with him.
“No.” Wendy lifted her chin in defiance. “I won’t leave my family.”
“I can’t protect everyone, Wendy. You naturally attract shadows and morphlings. By not leaving, you are putting John and your parents at risk.” He could see her wavering when he mentioned her family.
“I never asked you to protect me,” Wendy said firmly. “I never asked you to bestow on me a past that I may not want to remember. Her eyes were blazing and she stood up, squaring off with him.
Peter knew he had overstepped a line and he couldn’t retreat fast enough. If he pressed harder, he could lose her.
“You need to leave now.” She demanded, pointing at the door.
“What?” Peter said at her sudden demand. “Wendy, think about what you are saying.”
“I am.” She stood up and looked to her brother for support. “John, can you see him out, please?”
John nodded and addressed Peter, “Look, I think you’re super cool and all, but you need to leave now.”
“What?” Peter said, confused at suddenly being kicked out.
“You heard my sis. Plus,” he whispered. “She’s not properly attired, and I’d have to have to kick your butt and defend her honor if you don’t leave.”
Wendy glanced down at her bathrobe. Her face flushed in embarrassment and as soon as they entered the hall, she slammed the door behind them.
“You know I’m right.” Peter turned to John. “You need to convince her to leave.”
John was firm. “It’s not your decision. It’s hers, and you have to accept that.” His head dropped, and his voice became soft. “I tried to make that decision for her the last time. I convinced her to run away, and what happened? She died. I won’t make the same mistake again. This is her decision.”
John went to the front door and unlocked it for Peter, then held the door open. “How did you get in here, anyhow? The front door was locked when I got here, and we always lock our front door.”
“I flew through her window,” he answered truthfully.
“Right,” John said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He paused and looked up at Peter. “Let me tell you something. For what it’s worth, I think you are the best choice to protect my sister.” He opened the door, and Tink stood on the front step, her arms crossed in exasperation.
“Don’t you answer your phone?” Tink tried to barge in through the door, her head craning to see into the foyer.
John stuttered and ran his hand through his hair. “You didn’t call me.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Not you. Peter.”
Peter shrugged and stepped out of the house, his heart heavy with sadness.
John rubbed his hand across his forehead. “You people are weird. This is just too much.”
He closed the door on the both of them.
Tink didn’t take the rejection well.
She took a minute to regain her composure, and then gesticulated at the closed door, giving it a piece of her mind. “Yeah, that’s right. You couldn’t handle all of this,” she yelled, motioning over her body. “And it’s not weird,” she added, her voice rising in pitch. “You’re weird . . . We’re perfectly normal.”
“Yeah, you tell that door, Tink.” Peter snorted.
“Shut it, Peter!” She growled at him, her face scrunched up in anger.
“I think it already is.” He pointed at the door, and he couldn’t contain his laughter anymore. It seemed that Wendy’s brother was able to get under her skin, and he hadn’t seen anybody do that in a while.
The door opened, and John’s head popped out.
“See, you’re talking to a closed door. Perv and weirdo,” he muttered, shutting the door again, then turned the deadbolt.
“What . . . @%#.” The ringing bells of Tink’s censor band went off, and she turned to see two wide-eyed and shocked adults standing at the end of the driveway. Mary stood frozen, holding a plastic Tupperware container, while George held his keys in his hand.
“Can we help you?” George asked as he came up to the front door. “Are you friends of Wendy and Joh
“No, apparently he thinks I’m weird, and . . .” Tink’s band started to go off under her breath.
Mary, unsure of what to do with the noise and the upset teen, opened the container and reached inside. “Here, have a cookie.” She shoved the cookie into Tink’s mouth.
The bells stopped. Mary smiled in relief.
“They’re oatmeal,” George said as he opened the door and ushered Mary inside quickly. “It’s her secret recipe.” He waited to see if they did anything else, and when neither Peter nor Tink moved, he wished them a goodnight and shut the door. It was the third time that night that one of the Owens family had shut them out.
Tink, with a mouthful of cookie and crumbs falling from her lips, whined, “I hate oatmeal.”
Peter threw his head back and laughed. His humorous laughter echoed into the night, mixed with Tink’s cursing bells.
Wendy dressed for school and spent more time in front of the mirror than she normally would. She fluffed the cascade of her blonde hair around her shoulders. A hint of blush and lip-gloss completed her outfit—a soft teal long-sleeved shirt and jeans, with flats. She knew the blue made her eyes pop and look more azure with only a hint of green ringing them, but her face looked pale. Makeup and clothes couldn’t cover the mess of mixed emotions she was battling. Even though she had put on a brave front for Peter, she was still trying to mask her doubt.
“You got this,” she mumbled, then pinched her cheeks and added more blush. Last night, she was running on shock and adrenaline. It was only in the light of morning that she could face the reality of what she had done. Her hands shook as she put her phone into her purse.
Lost Boy by Chanda Hahn / Fantasy / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes