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Lost Boys and Girls

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“Beep, beep…” goes my alarm. I slowly get my arm to turn it off and I drag myself out of bed and walk to breakfast. My mom is behind the kitchen counter making scrambled eggs on the stove and my little brothers are fighting over a toy. I walk up to them to break it up. “I think I’ll take this Henry,” I take the toy away from Henry. “Thank you”

“Hey!” he says jumping up and down with his hands grabbing at air since I am about three feet taller than him. I give the toy to Harry.

“Thanks Piper,” says Harry. He runs to his room with Henry soon on his tail.

Henry and Harry: my parents were so creative weren’t they?

I go to the kitchen counter where my mom puts a plate of eggs and bacon in front of me.  “Thanks,” I say to her.

“So, I hear you’re having your wilderness survival test today,” says my mom.  “Are you all packed?”

“Yes. I have my tent, my sleeping bag, some matches, some bars for when I get hungry, and all of the other essentials I need for one day in the forest,” I say with a proud smile on my face. I quit the act and exhale, “I’m so nervous anyway though. Luckily my test isn’t till Friday. The list the Ms. Timberly posted online said that for, the very first week, ” I said mocking my teachers voice, my mom snorts. “The list goes: Jack,” my mom and I make a disgusted face at the name. I continue: “Abby, Will, I forgot who goes on Thursday, and then me, on Friday,” I say.

“Ooooo! Will! Isn’t that the boy you love?” says my mom in that annoying voice she uses every time he comes up in a conversation.

“Shut up Mom!’

“Fine, now go get dressed, you don’t want to be late.” I hear her teasing laugh/snorts as I walk down the hallway to get dressed. It was a late Fall in L.A. so naturally, I put on some shorts and a tank top.

This week in school we are going to be doing the tenth grade Wilderness Survival Test. But the students, and sometimes the teachers, call them  the W.S.T.. Everyone has been studying this subject for at least two months now. And it’s pretty much going to be the easiest test in the world because it has nothing to do with math or science or anything that we would have to do inside of school. You know what? Scratch those first two things. The only reason everyone actually cared for studying for this test was because it wasn’t going to be at school. But I still think that some people are going to take a map (no electronic devices are allowed) with them so that they could find their way to the nearest Starbucks.  

When I get to the classroom everyone is staring at me and I realize that I’m late. I sit down quietly in my seat and get ready for a scolding from Ms. Timberly. “Piper Beverly Hudson, this is the tenth time you’ve been late this year, explain yourself.”

Just saying, that is not entirely true. I was sick for two days and in the morning my mom wouldn’t let me go to school, but when I finally convinced her to let me go it was nine o’clock in the morning, and I had a note.  

“Sorry Ms. Timberly, my alarm didn’t go off,” I lie.

“I wake up every morning at five o’clock. Don’t you think you should be able to wake up at six thirty?” she says. You know that feeling you get when a grown up yells at you? It feels horrible right? Ms. Timberly has yelled at me so many times that I am immune to the feeling now.

“Again I’m sorry, I’ll try harder next…”

“But how about we get on with class, hmm?” she says in her ‘nice’ voice. We go over everything that we’ve learned so far in the year about surviving in the wilderness. Now you might be wondering, what school has a wilderness survival test? Well, one of the P.T.O. members of the school was walking around campus and she saw how many trees there were, and that’s when the idea sprang. And guess who that P.T.O. member was? Ms. Timberly. I know, I was shocked too.

After about an hour or so of going over survival in the wilderness, Ms. Timberly announces that we are going to begin the paper section of the W.S.T.. We have exactly an hour to finish a ten page test.

The test has questions like, If you see a bear when you are hiking, what should you do? and, If you  run out of water, how do you get more (clean) water?

At nine fifty nine I am done with my test like everyone else, and everyone turns in their papers. “Okay class that’s break, but let’s first say goodbye to Jack , who is leaving right now to go to the campsite to do the physical part of the test,” says Ms. Timberly as the bell was ringing and everyone started to pack up. Jack, Jack, Jack. He is one of those boys who is popular for getting into trouble with the ladies, and the principal. And his sense of style is preposterous. If he doesn’t wear the same black jeans, T-shirt, boots, and jacket every day. Then he has like twenty pairs of each.

We all wish him good luck, his buddies give him one last noogie goodbye, and then he is escorted out of the room. After that we all carry on with our usual schedules.

 

 

The next day, I walk to school with my best friend Abby (Abbygale). She is like one of those girls perfect for the cheer squad, but is actually nice so she doesn’t get in. She is on dance team though, that’s why she always wears the same pattern of work out clothing. Leggings, tank top, sneakers, and her hair in a ponytail. Today it was her turn for the physical test and we’re going to get the results of our paper tests. “Are you nervous?” I ask her.

“More like excited, but yeah. I’m sort of nervous too I guess,” she says quickly.

“Don’t worry!” I say. “You’re going to do great. I promise.”

“Really?” she asks.

“Yeah, I mean if Jack Sammy can pass then of course you can.”

“Yeah, I know.”

This time we aren’t late, but of course Ms. Timberly still gives me crap. “On time, hmm.  Yesterday you almost got on my bad side,” she said.

“If I wasn’t already on your bad side you don’t have a good side,” I mumble to myself.  I sit down and I notice that the teacher was staring at me.

Uh oh.

People next to me start laughing quietly to themselves while Ms. Timberly’s face turned red.

That’s when I noticed that Jack wasn’t in his seat.

“I have bad news everyone, but don’t worry it is nothing serious. Jack went missing in the middle of the night,” said Ms. Timberly as soothingly as she could (which was probably very hard for her). “But don’t worry, everything will be alright.” I looked at Abby… she was shaking with fear. When I saw her, it reminded me of what a bunny would look like right after it had seen a coyote.

“But today, it is miss Abigail‘s turn to do the physical part of the test!” said Ms. Timberly. She applauded as if she was expecting an applause from everyone. Instead, everyone turned around and looked at Abby with sorrowful faces. She slowly got up and walked to the front of the classroom. She was still shaking and I could tell her palms were sweating from the way she wiped her hands frantically on her leggings.

“Wish me luck,” she said shakily to the class, and was escorted out the of the class. After Ms. Timberly’s speech, I honestly wished I hadn’t promised she was going to be okay. Then like yesterday, we went through all of our usual schedules.

When I got home I told my mom about how Jack went missing and how I was worried about Abby. “Jack probably got lost, or something minor like that,” says my mom.

“Yeah,” I say. “Well, I’m going to get some sleep. Good night mom.”

“Goodnight my love,” she says. I get ready for bed and go to sleep.

 

 

Today is Thursday, and my mom is driving me to school. “Hey! I just remembered who is doing the physical test today,” I said.

“Who?” asks my mom.

“Wendy,” I say happily (but sarcastically).

“Oh. Is that the girl spilled the apple juice on you on purpose?” she asked. “And the one whose mom said you were a wild animal?” she grumbled angrily.

“Yep that’s the one,” I said.

We get to the school, and my mom gave me a kiss goodbye. I walk in.

When I came in everyone looked like all of their friends and family had died. I sat down and looked around. That’s when I noticed that Abby wasn’t in her seat.

“Where is Abbygale?” I asked Ms. Timberly.

“She went missing too.”

“Is there a search party out there?”

“Yes we are trying to find them, both of them. But until then we are going to continue with the tests,” says Ms. Timberly.

“Are you crazy! Everyone has gone missing so far on the tests! We should be shutting down the test until Abby and Jack are found!” I yelled.

I was mostly screaming because I was scared for Abby and for myself who was going in two days.

“I agree with you miss Hudson, I truly do. But you have to remember that I don’t make the rules. It’s the principal’s order to keep the tests going.”

That’s weird because Mr. Clark is one of the most awesome principals I’ve ever met. He would never do something like this. Ms. Timberly was probably lying. But I’ll let it go (for now).

“Miss Wendy Darling would you please come up here?” said Ms. Timberly. “Teachers pet,” I murmured when she walked by, loud enough that she could hear me. “Jealous much,” she said back to me. Wendy and I have a lot of history.

In middle school, we were friends. But it all started  the day before the end of the year dance. We were having a sleepover and were talking about our crushes and deepest darkest secrets. “I have been keeping an eye on this one guy who’s super cute. I’m pretty sure he’s not going with anyone to the dance, so when I see him there I’m going to ask him to dance,” she had said to me.

“I already asked this one guy and I’m going with him. So I’m really excited!” I said. The next day at the dance I’m supposed to meet him by the drink and food table, but he’s with Wendy. And it looked like she was flirting with him.

“That is so funny Michael! But anyway do you wanna dance?” she asks him.

“Uh, no he doesn’t Wendy because he’s with me,” I crossed my arms while he put his hand around my waist. “Yeah, sorry Wendy but I’m with her,” said Michael.

“What! Piper how could you do this? I told you I was going to ask him.”

“And I said I was already going with him.”

“You didn’t say his name,” said Wendy.

“Neither did you.”

“Well, back off because I got to him first!” she said to me lifting her chin.

“No you didn’t. Unlike you I was smart and asked him. Also, he actually said yes to me,” I said. Then I realized that I had just roasted my friend.

“Well you know what? Now that the two of us have asked him, let’s see who he chooses now?” she said. She was smiling a nasty smile at me. “Um, I pick Piper,” says Michael.

“There you have it.”

“I’ll get you back for this Piper, I swear.” Then she walked away. Eventually Michael and I broke up, but Wendy and I haven’t been friends since then. We carried on with our usual schedules, and our usual day avoiding each other.

“Okay class, today it is William’s turn to do the physical test,” said Ms. Timberly.

William, Will, my crush.

Will has luches (Miranda) wavy dark blonde hair that blows in the wind when he plays soccer. He has biceps and abs that you can see if you tilt your head the right way when he’s wearing a tank top. And his eyes were light brown like milk chocolate – my favorite type of chocolate.

He walked up to the front of the class. I could see it in his eyes he was scared, but he hid it so Will, I mean well. So well, that I bet no one noticed. Then he was escorted out of the class.

When I got home I made sure everything was packed and that I had an outfit picked out for tomorrow. I was scared, and was lying in bed awake. But after a few hours, I finally fell asleep.

 

 

When I got to school, of course we found out that Will had gone missing. Ms. Timberly announced (very happily) that it was my turn to do the physical test. I was escorted through the halls and out the school gates. There was a bus parked right in the middle of the parking lot. Waiting for me to get in. All of my stuff had been packed in there before I went to class so I wasn’t carrying anything. I got on the dirty, disgusting, gum filled bus.

It was a long ride but when I finally got there the counselor that came with me went over all of the basic things I need to know for the third time today. Then when he was finished he wished me luck and drove off.

Everything was quiet except the sound of the nearby stream and the birds chirping. This was very different from the big city. I have never heard anything like it before. I stood and listened for a while longer. I realized this was a test, and so I snapped out of it, I got to work.

I started to set up my tent which turned out great by the way, thanks for asking. Then I organized everything that I have packed. Then I cleared a path to the stream that I had heard, put all of the food in the raccoon/bear safe that I got from my counselor, and then sat down and listened to the nature for a while longer.

Soon it was dark and I started to cook dinner. I had the usual camping meal of hotdogs and smores. And with a full stomach, I went to the tent and fell asleep.

Then the dream started; I get up and walk into the forest. And not on the path that leads to the stream, I’m just walking in a random direction. My vision was tinted green. I saw the shadow of a person move, so I followed it. After five minutes of following the shadow, it had led me to what looked like a portal. A swirling green portal. The shadow flew into it, but I didn’t like the look of this. So I willed my body to turn around. But it wouldn’t obey my mind’s command. Instead, I walked forward into the portal and got sucked into nothingness, and everything goes black.  

“Don’t worry Will, she’ll be fine. Her heart is beating, and the only thing that could hurt her would be the scrapes and bruises she got from the fall,” said a familiar voice.

“Okay, but I’m going to collect some water from the lake for when she wakes up,” said another voice.

“Hey Prince Charming, why don’t you try kissing her awake? I bet Princess Piper would love that!” said a third voice. Will and Abby? But there missing… wait a minute. What if I’m missing too? Oh my god I am missing! I’m probably with Abby, William, Jack, and Wendy. Oh god! I’m going to be forced to spend time with Wendy! And that was Wendy talking earlier!

I open my eyes and see Abby sitting next to me. “Oh my gosh! You’re awake!” says Abby. I look around and see that we are camped out at the bottom of a cliff. It looked like it was almost sunset. “How long was I out?” I ask her. “Oh, only six hours. A green portal opened about twelve feet up the cliff and dropped you,” she said casually, like she has said it many times before.

There was a little man made shelter on the edge of the woods. Jack was whittling a knife out of wood and leaning against the cliff wall and Wendy was sitting against a tree watching. “You had a good nap sleeping beauty?” she said. I started to get up but got stopped by the one leg that was asleep that forced me to sit down again.

“Nope,” I said. “Question, where are we?”

“Don’t know, but we would probably all be lost right now if it weren’t for Jack. He stayed put and waited to see if any others would come,” said Wendy.

“No problemo,” said Jack. Will came out from the dense jungle trees with a water filled leaf.

“Oh, Piper! You’re awake!” He gave the leaf to me. “ Thanks Will,” I said to him.

“How are you feeling?” He asked me.

“Um, I feel tired and the only thing that hurts is this bruise on my knee,” I say pointing to the bruise.

“Are you sure there is nothing else hurting? Do you feel hot? Here, I’ll feel your head,” he placed his hand on my forehead multiple times.

“I’m fine, and I do not feel hot right now at all…”

“So you’re cold? I can get my jacket if you want me to,” he said.

“I. Am. Fine. Honestly, if something hurts I’ll tell you but for right now I think I just need to rest.”

“Okay,” said Will.

He cares.

“Yeah Prince Charming, I think you just need to chill for a while,” Wendy and Jack laugh.

“I’m going to get some more water,” said Will. As he walked away, Abby looked at Wendy and Jack.

“Why do guys have to do that?” she said.

“What? It’s not like it’s a lie. I mean he hasn’t stopped talking about her since he got here,” said Jack with a big fat evil smile on his face.

“I totally agree,” said Wendy.

“Well no one cares what your opinion is, kay? So just leave him alone,” said Abby.

Right when I was about to finally stand up, Will came back from the jungle shouting. “Oh my god, Oh my god, oh my god, oh my…” He was constantly pointing at the jungle, for what reason I don’t know. “The-there’s a house!” he said happily.

“Wait what?” said Wendy.

“There are people here! We have to go talk to them! Maybe they did the wilderness test too  a few years ago and fell through a portal like us,” said Will slightly less loud.

“Let’s go then!” I say eager to get home. “But what about the other kids that fall through the portal” says Abby. “Shouldn’t one of us wait and stay for the other kids to come?”

“Let’s write them a note,” said Jack. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. I’m mean imagine you just fell from the sky and then you see this note. You read it and it says, Don’t worry! You are just in a weird place that you’ve never seen before, you don’t know how you got there, you don’t know where it is, and there is no internet connection! You are perfectly safe. See you later!

“Are you joking write now?” I ask him.

“Nope,” he says while getting something from his backpack. He got out a notepad and started writing. When he was finished he read it out loud:

 

Dear Survivors,

The first five of us who left for the test were just like you. We are going on a little exploration of this place that we don’t know the name of. PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW! Stay here and use your survival skills to camp out for a while. We have made a trail to river, feel free to use it. We will be back soon to get you back home.

From,

                           Jack H.

 

He put the piece of paper on one of the cliff’s ledges. “Okay then, lead the way Will.”

 

 

We follow Will into the the thick jungle, with no sign of life. “Are you sure you saw a house?” I asked Will, smacking a mosquito on my neck.

“Er, tee-pee, but, yeah. I’m sure of it,” he said in a very promising voice.

We have been following him for about an hour now, and the heat and the mosquitoes are  starting to get to me. “I’m going to go look how close we are to the tee-pees. You guys should take a break while i’m up there, be right back.” I climb up the tree while the others start sitting down and taking out their water bottles. The trees are different from back home so it takes longer than it usually does.

When I was five I lived in an area where there were a lot of pine trees and deer. And there was one tree in my backyard that I would climb up in and hang out there a lot.

Finally I get to the top of the tree. It’s a beautiful world of green trees and colorful flowers of all sort. In the distance I saw the teepees Will was talking about. “Guys! Guys! I see them! They’re about a mile away and up a hill!” I shouted down the tree. They didn’t respond. I climbed down again to find all of them on the floor appeared to be passed out. That’s when I hear the sound of the dart. I turn just in time to see the dart hit me in the gut, and I fall down.

I wake up with my eyes still closed. Phew! This is all just a dream, I’m going to wake up and it is going to be Monday and no one is going to go missing.

A sudden chill rolls over me.

I’m on the floor, and not on hardwood floors like at home but on a floor like a woven basket.

I open my eyes to find not my home, but somewhere totally different. I looking up and see a cloth ceiling, going down in a triangular shape. Like a, teepee. I look to the left to find a throne with a fourteen year old boy in it. “Wakey, wakey,” he said softly. “Get up!” he yelled through the room. There was a stir, while everyone started to wake up. I stood up quickly with my hands on my side and my chin up.

“Hello there!” said the boy. “I am the great Peter Pan! But you can call me Pan if you like.”

“Wait, you’re the guy with the green tights that flies with fairies and stuff?” asks Will.

“Yes.”

“Really.”

“Yes.”

“You?”

“Well yes and no, they have given a horrible idea to children of what my personality is. But for the looks, they got most of it right. Except that I’m even more charming in person.” Peter looked at me.

“Why did you bring us here?” I asked him. He turned very suddenly away from Will and looked at me. “Well my darling, I brought you here because I need something desperately. And my friends in your world, otherwise known as fairies, told me about how your children home was hosting a game to see who could survive in the wilderness and the most excellent students would go first. So they made a portal and drew you into it so you could come help me find the Stone of Age.”

“What the heck is the Stone of Age?” asked Jack. “Is it like the Fountain of Youth from Pirates of the Caribbean? Cause that’s what it sounds like” he asked teasing.

“I don’t know what means,” he blinks a few times then continues. “But the Stone of Age allows me to change into any age of myself I want to and it will make me immortal and whoever I want to make immortal immortal. But of course I cannot get it because it is too dangerous. If I get it right now and am hurt, I will be hurt forever when I become immortal. So I have to be in good shape when I do the ritual.”

I thought this over. There is a secret fairy spy at our school, who opened a portal to this place that I’m guessing is Neverland because… well you know the story. And now we have to go get a magic item for Peter Pan so he can control his age.

Interesting day.

“Peter Pan,” I asked.

“Darling, call me Pan or Peter, although I prefer Pan.”

“Okay, 1) I’m not your ‘darling’. And 2) why would we do this if there is nothing in it for us?” I asked him. He put a big smile on his face.

“Because, darling, I will give you guys whatever you want afterward. Money, popularity, I could take you back home, and I’ll even go on a date with you if you want, which I know you do.” he winked at me. I looked at Will. Clenched fists, white knuckles and all. He looked like he was about to run at Peter, tackle him, and then stab him in the heart with anything that looked sharp in the room.

He’s jealous and cares.

“Please, I would never go on a date with you,” I snapped at him. “But after we do this quest for you, you will send us back home.”

“Whatever you say darling,” he said dreamily. When he looked into my eyes I finally got the chance to really see him up close. He had deep forest green eyes, blonde hair, and wore a thick, dark, green shirt that looked like the consistency of clumped up moss. A brown belt and some pastel green pants with dark brown boots.  

“We would also like to first have dinner and stay here overnight so we will be at our fullest tomorrow,” said Jack. “Fine,” he said plainly. “Jerry, show them to their rooms.”

Pan walked out of the teepee and left. Suddenly a boy grabbed me and my friends by the wrists. “Follow me,” he said.

We followed him through the jungle gym of a palace. There were teepees on circular decks everywhere with little bridges connecting them. The teepees were patterned with blue and orange zig zags and were different colors like green, red, or even purple. Below us were a bunch of teenage boys from the ages twelve to eighteen. All boys, no girls… weird.

We stopped in front of two teepees. One tinted blue and the other orangish redish. “Here are your rooms. Boys in the blue, and Piper, Pan told me tell you that he had the most special tent of all picked out for you. The “Sunset Tent” he calls it. As you can see it looks right over the cliff that perfectly presents all of Neverland…”

“Yeah, yeah, we get it. Best tent ever for Piper. She’s staying in it for a day, not renting it out for summer vacation,” says Wendy.

“It’s okay Wendy,” I hit her with my elbow. “Tell him I say thank you for the wonderful tents and for welcoming us into his home.”

Jerry smiled at me in a weird way. “I can see why he likes you, you are not the first girl who has landed on this land. They’ve all disrespected the great Pan and yelled nasty insults.” He walked away happily to go join his friends.

When we walked into our tents, there were three beds with chests at the foot of them and a slit in the back. “Sweet,” said Wendy. She walked over to the slit in the tent and went out side. “There is a ladder that goes to a hole which I unfortunately think is the bathroom. And if you go around the porch, well… I think you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Abby and I looked at each other. I nodded quietly and we followed Wendy outside.

When we go outside, there is a beautiful sunset overlooking a jungle and the ocean. “Over here!” says Wendy. We keep walking around the porch and see what she meant. On the left side of the jungle, some of the trees were burned or just darker in general. There were vultures circling that part of Neverland and something about it told me that was not a good place to be.

“That’s the Dark Forest.”

“Ahh!” screams Abbey. I turn around to see Pan standing right behind us looking off into the sunset. “Don’t scare us like that!”

“The Dark Forest is where all life goes to die, where are all good turns to evil. It also happens to be the place where I was born,” he smiles as if it is a funny joke. “It’s hilarious how unlucky a person can be.” I stares into the sunset, almost as if he wanted to be blinded. “I’d better be off then,” he walked away, his smile still on but faded.

“Creep,” says Wendy.

“I think he’s just misunderstood,” says Abby, optimistic as ever.

“Abbey, the only reason that would be true is if we misunderstood the fact that he kidnapped us all. And did we? No we didn’t! Because he actually did kidnap us! Not everything is puppies and rainbows Abbey! You should just accept that before your puppies and rainbows get taken away from you!” Wendy yells into Abbey’s face, but I stand in front of Abbey.

“You can take it out on me Wendy, not on Abbey. You hear me?” I say as strongly as I possibly can.

“Ugh!” Wendy storms off into the tent.

“Well that was interesting,” says Abbey laughing nervously.”Everyone has their own opinion, why don’t you just except that before it gets taken away from you!” She yells into the tent.

“SHUT UP!” Wendy screams from under her pillow.

“You shut up,” Abbey says quiet this time in a mocking voice.

As we laugh, we hear a long horn being blown and someone screams, “DINNER’S READY!”

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Lost Boys and Girls