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       Lost Girl, p.21

           Chanda Hahn
 
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  “What’s wrong with him?”

  “Morphling venom. It cut him deep.”

  “Isn’t there a cure?” Wendy asked.

  “If there is, we haven’t found one yet.”

  Something nagged at the back of Wendy’s mind. “Peter!” she said excitedly. “I think I know something that can help.”

  “Really.” He clearly didn’t believe her.

  “I know what to do, and how to help.”

  “How?” Peter demanded.

  “It’s the…” She made a gun motion with her hand, and he gave her a blank look.

  “We’re not going to shoot the kid.” Slightly sounded offended.

  “No, it’s…I…uh.” She carefully sorted through what to tell him and what to leave out. “I think I know where to find a cure. Now I’m kicking myself for not bringing it, but I couldn’t after…” She trailed off, unsure how to broach the subject of Jax’s betrayal. “I’m sorry Peter, about Jax.”

  Peter looked away. “It happens. Sometimes we lose a lost boy. He was the best of us.”

  “Wait. What?” They really thought he was dead.

  Tink quickly wiped at her eyes and sniffed. “Jax would want us to keep going, keep fighting,” she said, trying to sound strong.

  Wendy was about to correct them when the boy on the bed moaned, drawing everyone’s attention to the current problem.

  Slightly rushed forward. “Wendy, you said you could save him?”

  Peter stood and came over to her. “Is it safe?”

  “Safer than leaving him to die.” She closed her eyes and tried to remember everything she had seen. Could she really believe what she saw? What if she was wrong and they were torturing that girl in her vision? No, her symptoms were very close to what she was seeing right here in the same room. “We need to hurry.”

  Peter looked into her eyes, and she silently pleaded with him to believe her. “Okay, Wendy. I trust you. Lead the way.”

  She ran out the door with Peter on her tail. Slightly ran after them and grabbed his leather jacket from a chair. He tossed Peter his keys and said, “Take my car.”

  “It’ll be faster if we—” Peter started.

  “It’s broad daylight, Peter,” Slightly gently reprimanded.

  Wendy gave Slightly a confused look but he just smirked, “One day you’ll understand.”

  “I still prefer my way of travel.” Peter stared at the keys in his hands.

  “Oh come on, Peter,” Wendy pleaded. “We don’t have time to take the bus. Just take the car.”

  The whole room erupted in laughter at Wendy’s comment.

  Peter just grabbed Wendy’s hand and headed for the door. “You’re so adorable.”

  Wendy took Peter back to the crash site and she immediately started searching the drainage ditch.

  “Come on. I know it’s here.” She scoured the area and couldn’t find any sign of the injector gun.

  “What happened here, Wendy?” His voice was husky, filled with emotion. She turned to look at him. He wouldn’t budge from the middle of the road.

  “I was in one of the Hummers. Jax rammed the car and caused the accident, the driver died. Others came before I could escape, so I hid under the vehicle. They didn’t want any evidence left behind so they torched everything.” She went to him, and she reached up and touched his arm.

  “About Jax. Peter, he—”

  “Shhh.” Peter interrupted. He touched her swollen eye. A jolt of static electricity raced through her body.

  “Oh, Wendy, I’m sorry.” She felt his breath catch. “This?”

  “A gun slap,” she whispered.

  “And this?” he reached and touched the roughened scratches across her cheek.

  “Airbag.”

  His hands felt glorious and warm as he caressed her wounds; all the pain faded under the feel of his touch. It was intoxicating. It was addicting. He leaned forward, and she inhaled as his hand brushed against the hollow of her neck.

  She froze as his fingers trailed against her skin. It almost killed her to pull away from his touch, but she did. His hand reached for her but she let it slide away. Wendy went back to the ditch and continued to search.

  Peter looked around at the pieces that remained—side mirror, part of a bumper. He had stopped in the center of the road, in the middle of the largest scorch mark.

  The scent of burning rubber and tire still hung in the air like a cloak. Most of the grass was burned to a crisp, and the path of dead grass stopped only feet away from where Wendy had hidden. It was a miracle the smoke hadn’t killed her. Or she was lucky she had passed out.

  “What are we looking for?” Peter started looking through the grass and mud.

  “An injector gun. About this big.” She showed him the size with her hands.

  She got down on her hands and knees and peered into the darkness of the drainage pipe. Her skin crawled. She didn’t want to go back in there, but she couldn’t find the gun out here. It had to be in there. She bit her lip and then Peter’s hand stopped her.

  “Let me.” Without waiting for an affirmation, Peter crawled easily into the darkness. Moments later, he came out holding the silver injector gun. It was covered in mud, and Peter used his gray t-shirt to wipe it clean. “Is this what you were looking for?” He handed the metal gun to her, and she looked at it closer in the daylight.

  Etched along the side, one word.

  “This is it.”

  Peter’s jaw twitched in anger. “No. I don’t trust anything from them. And how is this going to save Teddy?”

  “Not the gun, Peter.” She continued to scan around the drainage pipe until she found the small silver case. She opened the case and showed Peter the row of medical vials. She held up a small gold vial, the same color she saw injected into the girl in her vision.

  “If Neverland is using or working with these Morphlings, they have to have their own preventative measure against their poison. We just have to duplicate it.” She handed Peter the golden vial and he held it up in the air to read the label.

  “How do you know about this, Wendy?”

  “Because…the shadow showed me.”

  Wendy gripped her head and tried to remember, but the pounding started again. “The shadows are showing me glimpses of the past and future.”

  “Why would they do that?”

  “I don’t know, but I can tell you I think they’ve been trying to communicate with me for a long time. It’s only lately I’ve been able to make sense of it.”

  Peter sighed. “As much as I want to believe…” his voice drifted off and softened. “I can’t help but wonder why? Who are you really? It’s like you ring true to every part of my body and soul, and I’m afraid you’re a trap. I have to protect the lost boys.” He turned his back on her and looked out across the water.

  A soft breeze blew against her neck and Wendy looked up to see a shadow floating just across the road. She beckoned to the shadow and it came almost eagerly. “Show me? Help me explain to him that I want to help.”

  Peter turned around just as the shadow pushed into Wendy and her head dropped back, her mouth went slack.

  “No Wendy, don’t!”

  She was back in that place. Somewhere in the past or the future. Another lab, this one had a trapped morphling inside a glass room surrounded by light. The shadow spoke through images and she knew what she had to do.

  The shadow left and she whispered a soft thanks, as Peter watched it fly away stunned.

  “What just happened, Wendy?”

  Wendy stormed up to Peter and ripped the injector gun out of his hands and opened the case.

  He would never believe her unless she proved to him that she was right. “The gold one is the cure for the morphling’s poison and I’m pretty sure this black one here…” She loaded the vial filled with purplish black liquid into the gun and handed it to Peter. “Is concentrated Morphling venom.”

  “How can we be sure? What if this is a trick?” He sounded so skeptical.<
br />
  She pulled her hair to her side and looked up at him, her eyes rimmed with unshed tears. She took a deep breath. “Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s nothing, but I’m willing to take that chance to prove to you I’m not lying. To prove to you that this is the cure.”

  “Wendy, I’m not asking you to do this,” Peter said disgustedly.

  She grabbed the gun and pushed it against her neck. “If I don’t, you’ll never save Teddy.”

  “But if you’re wrong and that other vial isn’t the cure, you’ll die.” Now it was Peter’s eyes that filled.

  “If it proves to you that I’m not lying, then it’s worth it. Some things are worth dying for. But I’ll never be regret meeting… you, Peter.” She closed her eyes and waited for the prick of the injector gun.

  She felt it pull away, before warm lips crushed against hers. Peter was kissing her. It was warm, desperate, aggressive. But there was something off about the kiss. It wasn’t a kiss of passion.

  It was a kiss of regret. He wasn’t going to do it.

  She opened her eyes just as Peter lowered the gun to the ground.

  “NO!” she twisted the gun out of his hand. Before he could recover she pressed it against her own neck and felt the cold compression of the injector needle.

  “What did you do?” he gasped.

  “I had…to. Peter?” Wendy grabbed onto his shirt and started to fall forward into his arms. Her body seized up, cold invaded her blood and everything started to go dark.

  “No!” Peter yelled.

  Peter watched Wendy seize up in front of him. Her eyes closed, her skin went cold. She had forced his hand—he had to try the cure. His hands shook as he loaded the other vial.

  “Please let this work.” He pressed it to her neck and pulled the trigger....

  Nothing happened. He began to count in his head, wondering how long it would take to see results. He pulled her onto his lap and buried his face into her neck. “Please work,” he mumbled into her hair. If he could use every wish on every star, he would use it now, to save her.

  He felt her intake of breath, then the breathing steadied and he saw improvement. Still, she hadn’t regained consciousness.

  He drove like a madman to get Wendy to the medical wing at Neverwood. Now it was a waiting game. And he was never fond of waiting. He watched as Tink took a blood sample from Wendy, who lay on the bed. She never moved, even after the prick.

  “I thought you didn’t like her.” Peter said.

  Tink rolled her eyes. “I don’t necessarily like the girl. I’ll know more if we find the genetic marker.” Tink withdrew the needle and put a Spiderman band-aid on Wendy’s arm. She held up the vial of Wendy’s blood. “But I’ll tell you what I think: I think she’s a lost girl.”

  “That can’t be.” He paled. “None made it off the island. The Red Skulls killed them all, and Jax burned Neverland to the ground.”

  “We know one girl escaped, Peter,” she said softly. “One made it to the boat.”

  “No! She couldn’t have survived,” his voice trailed off. “It was impossible.”

  “Well, what if that girl did, Peter? What if that girl survived, the same way you did?”

  Peter rubbed the scar on his chest and his eyes started to wander the room. “That would explain her lack of memories, but not how she ended up here.” He went and sat on Wendy’s bed, his hip touching hers.

  “Check Peter,” Tink encouraged. “I’m pretty sure she has one.”

  Peter was too afraid to look. “I would have noticed if she did.”

  Tink snorted. “Uh, I doubt you were looking that closely at her neck. Besides, it would have faded over time.”

  He never even thought to check for the marker on her, because she was a girl. Sometimes they’d find another lost boy, one that had chosen to not come to Neverwood, but never a girl. He started to hope. Peter let his gaze trace her features, tried to imagine the young freckle-faced girl.

  How would she look grown up?

  Like Wendy.

  The resemblance was uncanny. Her hair had gotten lighter, turned a beautiful strawberry blonde, and her freckles had all but disappeared. If he had just opened his eyes and looked, he would have recognized it sooner.

  His hand brushed against the side of her jacket and gently pulled on the collar. His breathing faltered, and he felt as if the bed, floor, and building were spinning.

  It was her.

  She was alive.

  Chapter Thirty-Seven

  “So how long is she going to sleep for?” Tootles bounced on the mattress, making Wendy’s head bob in the same rhythm against her pillow.

  “We don’t know,” Slightly answered.

  “Ay-yi-yi…I’m way-way-wake,” Wendy answered.

  Tootles stopped bouncing. “Yay, now it’s time for you to take your medicine.” He ran over to a table and picked up a yellow coffee mug with a grumpy cat face on it.

  Wendy sat up, smoothing the blanket down beside her. Her neck itched, and she couldn’t help but scratch at the still fresh injection site. Tootles was carefully walking, one foot in front of the other, trying not to spill the coffee. Next to him, Slightly was looking over her medical charts.

  “Here’s your medicine, Wendy.”

  “No, no medicine,” she answered politely. “Unless it’s coffee.”

  “It is coffee.” Tootles smiled, showing off his adult teeth, which his little face hadn’t yet grown into.

  “Well then, pass that medicine over. Your patient is in dire straits.”

  Tootles laughed and handed her the cup, spilling just a bit on the blanket.

  Wendy took a deep breath of the heavenly aroma before she took a sip. It was cold. She grimaced and was about to spit it out, but Tootles was watching her expectantly. She did her best and swallowed it without making another face. Poor Tootles had probably been waiting to serve her coffee for a long time.

  Wait.

  She knew who Tootles was? She was alive. “I still remember you. You’re Tootles.”

  “’Course I’m Tootles. And you’re Wendy girl.”

  “No, just Wendy is fine,” she said.

  “Well, you’re the first girl brought here besides Tink, so I can’t call you a lost boy. You’re not a boy.” He scrunched up his face in concentration, and Wendy laughed.

  “Wait, what about Teddy. Is he …?”

  “Naw, Teddy is just fine,” Slightly answered, standing in the open door. “You can go look in on him if you want. He woke up an hour before you, feeling mighty jiffy. He’s in the main room.”

  Wendy stared at the skinny kid in front of her and tried to put it together. “So the cure worked?”

  “Well, Peter gave me the injector with the vial and told me what to do with it. I’ve administered it, and I’m also running some tests on it through our mass spec to see if I can duplicate the contents.” Slightly’s limp seemed a little worse today.

  “Peter also told me what you did. Pretty bold move to inject yourself. You know, you could have just brought both back to me and I’d have tested it on Ditto.”

  “You would not have,” Tootles laughed.

  “No, I would have used you as my lab rat.” Slightly teased. He winked at Wendy. “No really, we have rats.”

  Wendy flung the blankets off her lap and stood up. Her cheeks flushed red in embarrassment. Why didn’t she even think of that?

  “Ooh look,” Tootles spoke in awe. “Her face is on fire.”

  Wendy threw open the door and went down the stairs into the main floor of the hideout. Ditto, twinning, sat on opposite ends of the couch, and Tink was sitting next to Teddy, who was awake and seemed to be adjusting quite easily.

  “Where’s Peter?” Wendy asked. “I want to speak to Peter.”

  “Not here, obviously.” the twins said in unison.

  “Hi, um, Wendy right?” Teddy stood up and offered his hand. “I’ve been told you’re the one I need to thank for the medicine that helped me get better.” He looked better, hea
lthier, with a splash of freckles across his nose. “I’m…Teddy.” He looked embarrassed, and Tink gave Wendy a searching stare. His cheeks flushed and he added meekly, “Miss Tink says you saved my life.”

  “Did not,” Tink muttered indignantly. “She helped…sorta.”

  Wendy felt overcome with so many emotions—embarrassment, relief, thankfulness—that she didn’t know how to process any of them. “It was…nothing. I’m glad it worked.”

  Rather than talk, she went in search of Peter for answers.

  In the boys’ hall, she found an open room with a crow on the door and stepped inside. She wasn’t sure how she knew it was his, but she just knew. A queen bed with a simple blue duvet, a closed trunk at the foot of the bed, and on top of it stacks of fables and fairytales. There were no other personal items in the room.

  “Wendy.” Peter’s voice surprised her. She turned, and he was standing in the doorway leaning against the frame, his hands in his pockets.

  “Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have trusted you to find a less dramatic answer for the cure.”

  Something about his posture screamed vulnerability. All of his doubts and strain were wearing on him. “No, I understand your urgency. If it wasn’t for your initiative, and forcing my hand, we might not have saved Teddy in time.”

  “Are you angry with me?” she asked.

  He stayed frozen against the door. “No, but you’ll probably be angry with me when I tell you what we did.”

  He wouldn’t look at her. His eyes kept glancing to the floor and to the wall. His avoidance was making her stomach drop. “What did you do?”

  He brought her hand up to his lips and gently kissed it. “I’ll tell you in a second, but first, tell me about your family.”

  “What happened? Did something happen to my family? Are they okay?”

  “No! No! They’re fine. I just…I want one more moment where can talk, share things…before you hate me.”

  “I won’t hate you, Peter.”

  “I hope not.”

  She blushed and stared at where his lips kissed her hand, savoring the moment, wishing he had kissed her on her lips. She moved and sat on his bed. “What’s to tell? I’ve got a great family. My dad works at the local bank as a loan officer—on the weekend he’s an assistant soccer coach for my brother, John’s, team. My mom is a retired elementary teacher who’s obsessed with crafting and baking. This time of the year our house smells like pumpkin and cinnamon because she’s baking pies for the booster fundraisers.”

 
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