It’s not often I get to post something solely in my White Elephant category, but due to several circumstances, I’ve only gotten up to halfway through season 3 of Once Upon A Time. Yes, it’s an awesome show- my mind’s been going wild with possibilities. Here is just one.
On an average day in Neverland, a girl is dropped from the sky. Still in spotted pajamas, her hair is a mess, and she flails her arms around her, wishing she could fly. She falls through some branches before landing with a bump on the ground. She is immediately captured by Peter Pan, king of the island, and his goons, who have no idea where she’s come from.
The boys threw the girl into the middle of their circle, proceeding to sit down around her, study her.
Pan stood over her, determining her worth. “We have no room for girls on our island,” Pan called to his followers. “Put her away. The shadow will deal with her tomorrow.” He turned away dismissively.
“Wait!” The girl said, worried about what he could mean. She looked around and saw only young boys. For a moment she wondered where everybody’s mother was. “I can help- cook or clean or something.”
“We’re lost boys,” piped up a smaller kid. “We don’t need nobody to cook and we don’t want nobody to clean.”
And with that, two boys picked her up and threw her into a cage. Well, she thought, boys would be boys.
When night fell, though, the boys began to do what they did every night- they wailed as they remembered the families they had lost and the homes they yearned for. The girl, saddened by the sound and thinking of her own brother, began to tell a story, gaining momentum as she heard them quieten. She told the story of a beautiful girl who pricked her finger on a spinning wheel and fell asleep for a very long time [attempting to emphasis the sleep], and how she was rescued by a handsome prince. Slowly, the crying stopped and the girl listened to each little heart slow, each small breath drag. Each and every little boy curled up and went to sleep, dreaming of princesses and princes. Peter Pan opened the cage and peered in, having returned from his thinking tree to a quiet camp for once.
“What did you do?” he asked, suspiciously.
“I calmed them down, instead of just walking off and ignoring them,” hissed the girl, unwilling to wake the boys again.
Pan nodded, as if he was satisfied- the girl rolled her eyes- and then he promptly shut the cage, turned on his heel and walked off.
The next night, however, the crying began again, and Pan came to the cage of the girl.
“Do it again,” he growled. “I can’t sleep.”
So the girl climbed out of the cage and began to tell the boys a story her brother used to like, a story of heroism, and pirates- of love and loss. One of the smaller boys climbed out of his hammock and rubbed his eyes sleepily. He came to curl up in her lap, asking what her name was.
“My name is Sarah- what’s yours?” she whispered, but the boy had already fallen asleep. Slowly, her eyes began to close as well, but before she nodded off, she noticed a man in the woods. Unfortunately the girl was too tired to think about it.
This pattern continued for a few weeks, with Sarah telling the boys stories to get them off to sleep. Pan never again requested that she return to the cage, but instead let her wander the island freely, collecting twigs or food sometimes. She had once tried to get the boys to eat some root vegetables she had found on the island, but they had protested until their faces were red as the beets she’d gathered- in the end she gave up. Every night she was aware of the boy, older than the others, who lurked in the shadows and listened to her stories. She always wanted to call out to him, but was always overcome by sleep as she finished her stories.
Once, while she was sitting in a clearing in the woods and thinking about her home, the shadow appeared and danced around her, seemingly wanting to get her off his island. The mysterious boy’s sillouhette appeared, however, shrouded by the trees, and he called to the shadow. Then, he was gone. She began to chase after him, but he knew the island like the back of his hand, while Sarah knew it about as well as the back of her knee. She resolved then and there, however, to find out who he was.
Life on the island was different from anything she had ever experienced. She had gone to Asia once, with her father, but although she was always surrounded by thick shrubbery, otherwise, things here were very different. Once the first in her science class, Sarah found herself constantly coming across things she did not understand- orange tomatoes and green carrots, blue apples and purple oranges (or were they purples?) She came to know what she could eat, though, and what she could not- where she could walk and where she could not. She also slowly learned about the natural flora and fauna. Mermaids, once a wonderful and magical idea that had filled her storybooks with flashes of silver and metallic blue, turned out to be terrible creatures on this island [the boys called it Neverland because they never grew older and they were never, ever told what to do]. They swam the island, crossing in and out of different lands, always giggling, but behind it all were ready to drag men into the sea, never to be seen again. Pan did not talk to her much, but he had warned her against the beautiful finned women.
One day, Sarah was exploring the island when she found herself stuck in a thorny bush. She wasn’t sure how exactly she had become caught in it, but the more she struggled, the tighter she found herself bound, as if she were sinking deeper and deeper into quicksand. Out of the foliage appeared Peter Pan, in that alarming way he had of doing things, followed by his henchman, a tall lanky teen with a scar that ran from forehead to chin. If Sarah were honest with herself, the boy scared her a little. His scar disfigured his face so that he looked slightly older than usual. She noticed he had feathers woven into his soft blond hair, and that his eyes were a piercing blue. He carried a club on his shoulder, as if permanently ready to jump into battle.
“I’m stuck,” called Sarah, to the two boys. Pan looked frustrated, as if she were disturbing her, and waved a hand. The bushes disappeared.
“Thanks,” said Sarah, slightly surprised at his willingness to help.
“Don’t thank me yet,” he replied. “That,” pointing to the remnants of the bushes, “was Dreamshade.”
“Dreamshade? What… what is that?” she began to panic, and noticed just how scratched up she was.
“The most poisonous plant on the island, dearie, and you’ve just walked into a heck of a lot of it.” He smiled a nasty smile as she bit her lip and her breath quickened.
“Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no….” Sarah began to hyperventilate. She’d been on the island no more than a few weeks and already her life looked as if it were going to come to an end.
“I’ll go and get something for it,” Pan said. He knew the riot that would begin in his camp if he simply let the girl die. “Stay with her, will you?” he said, turning to the other boy. The boy nodded and Pan disappeared.
Sarah slumped down onto the floor, littered with leaves. She began to feel the poison flowing through her veins, slowly taking her life. Funnily enough, it didn’t feel so bad- she just felt like she was going to sleep. She turned to the mysterious stranger looming over her- he was watching her intently, as if she were about to jump up and run away.
“I’ve noticed you listening to my stories,” she said, resigned to find out as much about him as she could, the awkwardness she had previously felt towards him no longer seeming to matter. If he were to be the last person she would ever know, she was determined to know him well. “You never come and join us, though,” she observed out loud. The boy made a “humph” sound, a smile slowly creeping up his face.
“What’s your name?” she asked, not much hoping to receive an answer.
“Felix,” he replied in a Southern drawl. He leaned against a tree slowly.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Felix,” she said, surprised at having heard his voice, “mine is Sarah…”
“…Sarah,” he finished with her. “I know.” This one was full of surprises. She pulled herself into a position where she was sitting upright and he sat next to her.
“I didn’t think you even knew who I was,” she said.
“How could I not?” he asked, staring blankly straight ahead, refusing to meet her eye.
“We’ve never spoken before,” she replied, as if it were obvious.
“I’ve heard every single one of your stories,” he said.
“Then why have you never come forward?”
“I dunno,” he shrugged. She tried to move closer to him and gasped. The Dreamshade was spreading faster than she’d expected. She looked down and realised there was clearly a black liquid oozing through her veins, and was centimetres away from her heart- that couldn’t be good.
“Well, Felix,” she slumping back down against the tree, “it has been lovely getting to know you.”
The boy’s smile disappeared. He supported her a little, so her head was resting in the crook of his neck. She relaxed and was comfortable. “Would you mind telling me a story?” he asked, so quietly she could barely hear.
“Of course,” she sighed, grateful for the distraction.
She began to relay to him a story she had heard as a child, careful to relay it in as much detail as she could but trying to get to the end of the story before she couldn’t continue- after all, there is nothing worse than not hearing the end of the story. She told him the story of Snow White and Prince Charming, telling him of the seven dwarfs and the Evil Queen, the poisoned apple. As she got to Snow falling asleep, her heart began to slow, and as she finally recounted true loves kiss breaking the curse, her eyes began to feel heavy. The last thing she heard was Felix whisper, “true love’s kiss?”
And she fell asleep.
When Sarah awoke, she was completely alone. She stood up, and, dizzy, sat back down immediately. “Felix?” she called out into the forest. The boy walked out from behind a thick part of the foliage.
“Good morning,” he replied, swinging his large wooden club.
“I… what happened?” she asked.
“You fell asleep,” he said, avoiding her gaze.
“I did not.” She attempted to stand again, and swayed. He steadied her, grabbing her shoulders. They looked at each other, and somewhere a light bulb flickered- true love’s kiss. “You kissed me?” she exclaimed.
“Keep your voice down,” he said, looking around. “Pan’ll be on his way back any minute now.”
“Yes, because I was poisoned! You don’t think it’s in the least suspicious?” she looked him in the eye.
“I’ll think of something,” he replied.
Sarah looked at the boy, who diverted his eyes to inspect the ground. She knew as well as he did- true love’s kiss only worked if the love went both ways. She barely knew him, though! She hadn’t even known his name half an hour ago, and she definitely didn’t know if she’d have kissed him back had she been conscious. Indeed, she may have clocked him one. But the kiss had worked, and she was ever grateful.
The boy was about six feet tall, dressed in nothing but rags and an old cloak. A lost boy, hey? He certainly didn’t look like a boy, although he may well be lost.
Without thinking it over much, Sarah reached up and kissed him on the cheek. He blushed a bright pink. Just then, Pan arrived. He looked at the two of them, Sarah still being supported by Felix, and rolled his eyes. He coughed to get their attention. “Come on, you two,” he said, motioning them to follow him. Nobody commented on the fact that he carried no medicine with him.
After Sarah’s run in with nightshade, things shifted a little bit. She felt the boys at the camp warm to her a lot quicker than they had before, perhaps as she was now closer to Peter Pan’s right hand man, and therefore Peter Pan. She spent a lot of her time hanging out with Felix, and learning more about the mysterious boy, although he continued to speak little. Oftentimes they would just walk without speaking, sometimes hand in hand, Felix watching out for her as she walked over ground that was still unfamiliar. He did not tell her about his life before the island, always simply shrugging and looking away until she let it go. They enjoyed eachother’s company, though, and a few times she would find herself falling asleep on his shoulder or with his arm around her. It got to the point where people began to notice. Pan began to notice.
“Sarah,” he said, coming up behind her one day. She turned to face him.
“Yes?” she replied, looking him in the eye, as she had learned to do.
“I don’t want you to tell the boys stories anymore,” he said, smiling his nasty half smile. “They have to learn to grow up. A bit hard on this island, I know, but they can’t rely on a mother anymore.”
Sarah thought long and hard about his words, confused and irritated. “Those boys are just children, though, Peter. They need a mother.” She took a step forward in what she hoped was an authoritative way.
He matched her, coming so close she could see the flecks of his irises. “But they don’t have one.” And with that, he disappeared.
That night, the lost boys could not get to sleep. They cried out to Sarah, and when they did not get an answer, just cried. Sarah’s eyes were wet as well. Felix swung into her hammock, balancing precariously so he did not crush her- indeed, he was barely touching her. They may have been in love, those two, but they were still teenagers, and inherently both awkward and aware of each other at every moment. “Why no story?” he asked, his hair brushing her face.
“I’m not allowed to,” she responded sadly.
“I don’t reckon you really were before either,” he said, slowly lying down next to her, feeling their sides meet.
“I know,” she said quietly.
“Then why did you?” he asked.
“I guess all these boys just reminded me of my brother,” she said. “My brother and I lost our parents a few years ago,” she continued. “Our parents were in a car crash, and they were all we had, so we were moved to an orphanage. I always knew I only had a few years there, but Ben- Ben had quite a while.
One night, he told me that there was a monster in his room. Looking back, I guess it must have been the shadow- I don’t know anything else in that world that could have frightened him that much- but I didn’t believe him. All the same, I promised him I’d swap beds for a night, and so I did. Next thing I know, I’m here, far away from him and leaving him with no protection. Guess it was dark, and the thing couldn’t see properly, but there’s one thing Ben was right about- it was a monster that was visiting him on those nights.” Sarah paused, thinking of her brother back home and how lonely he must be. She then realised how quiet it was. Felix was a sleep. She had told them a story.
No disobeying Peter Pan was ever going to go unpunished and the next morning, true to his word, Peter carried Sarah to the shore.
“Please,” she implored him, “please, just let me stay.”
“I said no stories, dearie. I said you couldn’t and you did.” He grabbed her by the collar of her shirt and pushed her into the water.
“Please, Pan, she won’t do it again.” Felix stood behind Pan, watching him but not making a move to stop him.
“You don’t know that Felix- in fact, we both know that she can’t help herself. She just sees us all as problems that needs solving.” He picked up a conch shell from the sand and blew swiftly into it. For a moment, nothing happened, and then the water around Sarah began to stir.
“A new one for us Peter?” a beautiful voice called. A blonde head popped out of the water, and about a meter away a shimmering blue tail. Mermaids. Sarah surged forward and fell into the water. Her feet were anchored (pun intended) to the ocean floor.
“Yes, a new one for your collection!” he called to her. Suddenly a dozen more heads broke the water, each followed by their own shiny flapping tails. They surrounded Sarah and slowly, she felt herself being pulled down.
“No, Pan, you can’t do this. Not to her, please.” Felix looked helplessly at Sarah, still not quite believing his hero would betray him like this. He looked at her, wanting to dive in and save her, wanting to do anything.
“You know the old legend about mermaids, Felix?” Pan said, turning his back on the girl as she sank beneath the waters. Felix continued to stare, mesmerised and paralysed. “They say that a mermaid’s heart becomes as cold as the waters that surround her. I’m thankful to say that for most of the ones I’ve met in Neverland…” he grabbed Felix’s hand and began to pull him away from the sea, “that’s true.”
Sarah could feel the air begin to leave her lungs, and the fight begin to leave her body. All she could hear was the song of the mermaids and as her eyes, nose and mouth filled with salt water, all of the love she had felt for the boy on the shore dissipated. All she wanted to do was swim away.
Felix turned quickly and raised his club, overcome by anger and despair. He went to swing it and realised he no longer held anything in his hands- his club was floating harmlessly in the air.
“Come on, Felix, you didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?” Pan laughed and drew his sword. He viciously swung it at his friend. Felix put a hand up to his face and winced- there was a new scar that crossed the old one. “That’s so you don’t forget. If there’s ever a next time though, friend, I won’t aim at your face- I’ll aim at your heart.” And with that, Peter Pan walked straight ahead into the forest, leaving Felix sitting on the sand, his tears mixing with blood.
The lost boys had arrived in Storybrooke, and Felix was already hating it. Imprisoned by his master on the very first day, he waited in a metal cell, where he had been thrown by the prince. Prince Charming indeed. Felix could hear people talking in the distance- far away enough so that no accomplice of the dreaded Pan could hear a word, and he heard a door open and shut. A new voice- a friendly voice. He leaned against the cold concrete wall. Great. Visitors.
Then, into his line of sight came the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, yet he had seen her before. She had long chestnut brown hair, and green eyes that reminded Felix of the forest he had been in for so long. They were not warm, though, but as cold as steel. She wore a blue cotton shirt that was buttoned up to the top and a short black skirt- much, much different to what she had been wearing the last time he had seen her- but it was definitely Sarah. The girl was bearing a plate of food. Prince Charming opened the door and she slipped inside. Felix could see the claustrophobia already beginning to set in. It was hard for her to forget that she too had been imprisoned once. He guessed she probably hated the water by now too.
“Hello, there,” she said, offering him the plate. It was heaped with steaming vegetables and a chunk of meat the size of a baby’s fist. He sensed some resentment.
“Hello, Sarah,” he said, taking the knife and fork and beginning to eat.
“Your first day in Storybrooke and you’re in a gaol cell- I guess some things never change,” she said, leaning against the bars.
Felix began to eat, hungry for the first time in a long time, for things didn’t just appear in your lap here. “How did you find me?” he asked, through a mouthful of food. It wasn’t so bad.
“I heard the lost boys were in town, but I couldn’t see you. Someone told me I could find you here.”
“You were looking for me, were you?” he asked, turning to face her.
“Oh yes, lost boy.” As quick as lightning, she back handed him. He gasped, not expecting it. “The food’s from Granny’s- she didn’t think you deserved to starve. She doesn’t know you as well as I do, though, Felix.” She turned to leave, and Felix stood up to follow her, his plate falling to the ground. He grabbed her shoulder, and she turned to look him in the eye as his face caught the light. She grimaced. “Pan finally teach you a lesson?” she asked haughtily.
“Yes,” he replied, reaching out to touch her hair. “He taught me that it was stupid to love.”
The girl smiled. “He was right, you know.” Sarah went to leave again, and Felix took his opportunity. He quickly kissed her before either of them had time to think about it.
She went to slap him again, and he caught her hand. The air around them shimmered, just for a second, and Sarah looked into his face again, as if she had just woken up. “Felix?” she asked. She reached out to touch his new scar, running her thumb against it as lightly as a fairy. He let go of her hand and they hugged.
“We all get punished for going against Pan,” he said into her hair. “You just got a worse punishment than I. How did you get here, though?” He looked into her eyes, the eyes he had missed for so long. “I looked for you.”
“I know you did. I just didn’t want to be near Neverland anymore. I stopped feeling love and hope, and I just felt bitter and angry, so I escaped. Just so happens I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I got sucked here by the Evil Queen’s curse, destined to be ‘Miss Sarah Carp’.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I came back lonely, though.”
“Sounds like one of your bed time stories,” he replied with a laugh. She hugged him again. “And this is our happy ending.”
p.s. The picture is my very best attempt to get what was in my mind to paper. Yes, I don’t use technological methods of drawing. 🙂