Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Pan Trilogy - Part 3

The past two Wednesdays featured excerpts from The Trials of Jonathan Darling and Michael's Ascent, the first and second books in Fionnegan Justus Murphy and Michael Winkler's The Pan Trilogy, a re-imagining of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Settle in for the excerpts from the conclusion of the trilogy, Wendy's Daughter.

Excerpts from Wendy's Daughter
by Fionnegan Justus Murphy and Michael Winkler
     Aboard the Jolly Roger, the crew waited, hiding from the last bit of tormenting sunlight.  The ship’s mascot, Smee, was picking through the remaining meat, trying to find a piece that was not thoroughly rotten.  The ship’s turncoat, Smythe, sought out the solitude of the ship’s bowels.  He could not stomach being in the company of the men he betrayed, confronted by the change he avoided by agreeing to be Pan’s informant.  The ship’s Captain sat at his desk, documenting his recent change in vain.  He knew that shortly he wouldn’t be able to read the ink on the page in front of him, but something needed to be done.  He had to keep trying. 
Captain’s Log
Captain James Hook of the Jolly Roger
Date Unknown, Location Unknown.
I feel a return to myself, and it’s all thanks to Smee.  Something has happen’d to my mind, and it is probably proof of further degradation of my mental faculties.  Nonetheless, it gives me hope.  I feel like I have somehow gain’d access to another side of my own consciousness.  Or perhaps I have simply fabricated it. 
My own thoughts that gave me hope are now causing only frustration.  Am I to trust myself?  Is this just another trick caus’d by the island and that monster, Peter Pan?  Do either exist, or are they simply a part of my own madness? 
The answer seems unimportant.  If I am in a madhouse somewhere then I must be receiving care, lock’d in a cell where I cannot hurt anyone.  If this is real then my life and the life of my crew hang in the balance.  I have no choice but to assume reality.  I am Captain Hook of the Jolly Roger, and my enemy is a demon by the name of Peter Pan.  Recently I have receiv’d word of a strong military force on Neverland that means to oppose Pan soon.  I will lend all of my strength to their aide, and provide a shelter for the inhabitants of the island that are unable to fight.  Destroying the demon is the next obstacle in escaping this horrible setting. 
Dear God, I know I am not a man of much faith.  But right now I am using what small stockpile I have to send this prayer to you.  I beg you, not for my sake, but for the sake of these men, see to it that I am lock’d in a madhouse somewhere and this is all just a fever dream, for if this is reality and a war with Pan is coming it will be like marching my men through the gates of Hell.


     John needed to find Wendy, Jane, and Michael.  He jumped across the still widening river that was splitting Neverland in half.  The trail leading up to the Tiger Lily Forest was where the battle was trying to head, so John set off in that direction.  When he landed, he was brought nearly face to face with Klaus.
     The Lost Boy was cinching a filthy scrap of cloth around his arm when John came back to the ground.  Klaus bared his teeth and took a swing at John, more out of instinct than anything else.  John had come down out of nowhere, and he was invading Klaus’ personal space.
     John was beyond Klaus in combat skill, and easily snatched the goblin’s wrist.  With a skilled bending of the fragile joint, John was able to steer Klaus’ steps.  The goblin was unarmed, wounded, and pathetic, hardly worthy of keeping John’s attention, so he ditched the lousy thing.  John walked Klaus over to the river and tipped him in.  Someone else would finish the job.  He completely forgot about Klaus as soon as he fell out of sight, and he returned to his journey up the path.
     John’s neglect was traded for another’s attention.  Klaus splashed into the water, which was immediately deep.  The cold salt water in his wound nearly stopped his heart.  He splashed helplessly, grasping painfully at handfuls of mud and clay.
     Not far away, a Mermaid snapped her head in Klaus’ direction and froze as she tried to find the image that went with the familiar scent of him.  His scent was very distinct to her, because part of his scent was her.  He had stolen the best parts of her and corrupted them, twisting them into the black force that fueled him.  He fought her and ripped her apart from the inside out.  He left her for dead.  He was her Lost Boy. She was his treemother.
     The girl from Jabalyah had grown up hungry.  She was a burden on her family, and was never given any encouragement.  She knew that going with Pan would be good for her and her family.  They would have one less mouth to feed, and one less child to try to protect.
     They tried to keep her away from violence.  They tried to keep her innocent.  But one day when she was walking home from the market she saw a boy get beaten in an alley.
     The boy was a few years older than her, and she never knew if he lived or died there.  She never told anyone.  If she told, then her family would know she wasn’t innocent anymore.  Even though they never needed her, and never tried to make her better, they tried hard to keep her from getting worse.  Two days later, while she was out on the balcony, plagued with the image of the boy’s swollen face, Pan came to get her.
     She pushed herself through the water with her thickly muscled tail and reached Klaus within four flicks.  He was one reason that she was so hideously transformed now.  He did this to her.  The beating of that boy in the alley flickered again and again in her head.  She swore to herself that his beating would be nothing compared to the viciousness she was going to show Klaus.
     Her fingers clamped around a matted clump of Klaus’ hair and pulled him down.  Klaus grabbed one last breath of air before he was submerged.  He kicked and grasped for anything that would help bring him back to the surface, but even after he ripped his hair free she methodically grabbed him by the back of his neck.  She allowed the scales on her hand to cut into his skin.
     She turned him around and looked into his eyes.  He was so helpless in her hands, down here where the sunlight began to fade away above.  She watched as his eyes began to fade, drinking in every last drop of his life before she pressed her delicate lips up against his wide, rough mouth.
     Klaus was disgusted.  Her lips were so soft and the kiss, her breath of life that she was giving to him, felt so out of place.  He tried to push her away, but when he moved his good arm to swipe at her, she pulled her face away from his and let him consider his position.  He needed her now, and she wanted him to know it.  Again, she waited until his eyes began to glass over before filling his lungs with precious oxygen.
     When he had been topped off, she backed away again and smiled at him.  Her teeth were flat and straight, and just a little too big for her.  She would have grown into them one day.  Then a second set of teeth dropped down behind her original ones.  These were the teeth of a shark, razor sharp and needle tipped.
     It didn’t take long for her to remove his hand.  Just enough time for her to put her mouth on his again.  This time she tasted like his own blood, but he couldn’t stop from greedily breathing in her air.
     Klaus’ death came eventually, but not until she had taken back all that was owed to her.  He lost his legs, his hand, and the entirety of the arm that Joe had cut.  Klaus did not drown.  He died out of his element, in a place that scared him and made him impotent.  He died helpless.  In the end he just didn’t have enough blood left to carry her oxygen to his brain.
     When he expired, the girl from Jabalyah dove down to the depths to find something cruel that would take her life quickly and for all the right reasons.
© Fionnegan Justus Murphy

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