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The Neverland Clock

A girl with black hair sits alone in an empty room. She looks about sixteen; her frail body looks thin and pale. There is a glass door that leads out to the patio. There are a few cardboard boxes, and a small book, but aside from that, there is nothing else.
SOPHIE walks over to the book on the floor, and picks it up. The title reads ‘PETER PAN’
Her older sister, Megan, walks in and stands looking over her shoulder at the book.
“I remember this book.” She says.
The other girl smiles.
“Yes, I remember, you read it to me when I was young. Or at least, when I was younger. I used to read over it, and at night, I would stay up, staring out my window. I used to think I could see it ‘the second star to the right...’ I used to spend hours staring at it, waiting for Peter Pan to fly down and rescue me.”
Megan laughs, but it is a hollow laugh.
“That’s foolish.”
“Perhaps. It probably was, but at the time, it felt real. I thought Peter Pan would fly down and take my worries away. I wanted to be Wendy. I believed we would run away to Neverland with Tinkerbell, and I would never have to grow up,” says the girl sternly.
“Don’t be like that, growing up isn’t that bad.”
“Don’t be like what? Childish? Is that what you were going to say? I wish I could be childish. But even when I was a child, I could always hear the clock ticking and ticking, always ticking, like a heart beat. Even when I was truly a child, my heart was a time bomb, set to explode when I was older. And ever since, my heartbeat has been nothing more than the ticking of that clock.”
The girl is clearly upset.
“Please, stop talking like that. You’re alive now, right? The disease has only just started to kick in, it could take weeks until...” Megan stops herself.

“Until it kills me. Just say it.”
Megan shakes her head.
“Until it fully takes action.”
Megan, desperate to change the subject, yanks the book from the girl’s hands, and snaps it shut with a thud.
“I’d like to keep this, you can take it to the hospital with you, but after... after can I keep it?” She asks.
“No.”
Megan looks at her sister in surprise.
“What? Why not?”
“Because it’s full of lies. I spent my life waiting, waiting to be swept away, but there is no such thing as Neverland, and nothing is going to stop me from getting older. Nothing is going to stop the timer that’s slowly counting down in my chest.”
Megan look deeply concerned.
“Stop speaking like that,” she stops, trying to think of something consoling to say.
“We are all going to die eventually, right?” She exclaims, ever so comforting.

“Of course we are. But most people don’t know when. Most people can’t feel each and every heartbeat against their chest; most people don’t glare at time, fully aware of what it’s going to take away from you.”
Megan throws the book to the ground angrily.
“That’s not true! Do you think I don’t feel it? Do you think I haven’t been watching the clock from the second you were born? Counting the seconds since the doctor said you only had so long left to live? Believe me, I know. I know what time is going to take away from me.”
“What?”
Megan’s anger vanishes, and is replace with an expression of deep sorrow.
“It’s going to take away my little sister. It’s going to steal away my little fairy before she even had a chance to learn how to fly.”
The other girl keep an unreadable face, but something in her eyes changes.
“Can you... can you promise me something?”
“Sure.”
“Promise me that when you’re older, and you will be older, that you’ll stop keeping time. Promise me you’ll live in a beautiful house, and that you’ll tear off all the clock in the house, and you’ll never buy a watch. Don’t wait for Peter Pan to come and take you away, and if he does, then turn him away. Promise me you’ll grow up, and you’ll enjoy every step of the way, or at least that you’ll try to. And then, when you fall in love and settle down, you can sit in your house, with your children by your side. I want you to tell them the story of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. Don’t read a book about him; books give you something solid, something to hold on to. Just sit by them, and tell them... tell them about Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, and his band of lost boys. And tell them... you teach them to be childish. Teach them to fly, and teach them to believe in fairy. Teach them to believe in magic, and to hold on to that. And when the time is right, just when it’s right, teach them to grow up, and not to be afraid of it. God knows I was terrified of growing up, I still am. I wanted things to stay simple; I wanted them to stay magical. So can you promise me? Can you promise me that?”
Megan smiles a sad, yet earnest smile.
“Yes. I promise. And I promise that I will tell them the story about my sister, and how she flew away, and went from being a girl that was lost, to a Lost Girl. I’ll tell everyone the story of my sister who never grew up.”
“Yea, she stayed forever young in her magical grave.” She responds halfheartedly.
Megan picks up the book and flattens out the crumpled pages.
“This is your story.”
“It’s a rather short story, isn’t it? I never really minded stories being too short. I judged a story by its contents, not its length. I should have spent more time working on the content of my story, not worrying about it’s length. Now my story is ending, my time is running up, but I can’t go back. I can’t re-write this story, it has already written. Want to hear a tragedy? No, not that I was born with a dormant disease, that’s not a tragedy, that’s life. But a real tragedy, you know what the real tragedy is? I can’t see it anymore. The second star to the right, I can’t see it. I used to spend hours looking at it when I was younger, but it’s been too long. I can’t see it anymore. I look out at the sky... but I can’t find it” the girl says sadly.
“Then what are you doing here? You can’t re-write this story. You can’t go back, so we do the only thing we can do, we endure, and we go forward.”
She looks at the door.
“Mother will be here to take you to the hospital soon,” Megan says randomly.
“You’re not coming?”
Megan looks down at the book in her hands.
“No, I think I’m going to go catch up on some reading.”
They both smile.
“It’s a beautiful night, you know. There isn’t a cloud in the skies and you can see all the stars clearly. You could go see them. Your story isn’t over yet, maybe it’s not too late for you to write a different ending.”
The frail girl smiles. She walks over to the glass door and looks out. Suddenly, her smile widens, and she laughs.

“I see it! Megan, I see it! It’s there, where it’s always been! The second star to the right! It’s beautiful! I can see it! It’s right there! It’s so bright, how is it I couldn’t see it before? Megan, I can feel it.” She cries out.
The girl tentatively tries the handle, slowly opening the door. She takes a step outside, almost in a trance, with a wide smile on her face. Suddenly she stops and turns to face her sister.
The siblings smile at each other fondly.
Megan nods at her younger sister with an encouraging grin.
“Goodbye Wendy.” She whispers.
The girl waves with a smile, and without another word, she steps out into the night’s cloak. She loosing herself in the starlight’s sweet embrace, and along with the light, she leaves behind her fears, she leaves behind her sorrows, she leaves behind time, and she never grows up.



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