It was the afternoon of winter. The seas were calm despite the fierce cold that nipped at your skin like a thousand knives.
My ship sailed on through the water at the guidance of my steady crew. Due to the tedious happenings, I had let them resign early to their bunks, their laughter echoing up through wooden floorboards of the deck.
It was only myself and Tom left atop as it was Tom's shift at the helm. I stood at the heart of the ship, quiet but observant.
If I had been in any other position, I would not have noticed the small rowboat floating along in the dark water.
"Say Captain," Tom spoke. "There's a boat in the water. Should we run it down?"
I shook my head. "I don't believe it's an enemy. We should just-say, what's that?"
Both Tom and I peered over the ledge and I shouted when I saw the unconscious young boy in the boat.
"Get him out of the water!" I cried. "Get the crew!"
The stomping of boots came with the boys that marched onto the deck, every one of them curious as to what was happening.
"The boat!" I shout. "Bring it on board!"
The crew hauled and pulled ropes together until the boat was reachable. One of the boys, Avon, grabbed at the boy and brought him back over the ships edge.
"Lay him down!"
"Is he an enemy?"
"It's a child!"
They hustled about but moved out of the way when I approached. Rushing over to the unconscious boy, I peered at him closely.
I checked for a pulse and found one. However, the boy's clothes were drenched and he was ice cold.
"Get him a blanket." I instructed and laid it over him when someone retrieved it.
"He's half frozen!"
"What do we do?"
With a quick gesture, I hushed them and a silence fell over the ship.
I studied the boy for a moment before taking a chance and giving him a good thump on the back.
I did it a few times over and suddenly the boy coughed and spluttered water. Coughing a few more times, he took a painful deep breath, shuddering violently with each intake.
"What is your name?" I demanded.
The boy turned to me and appeared to see for the first time. His eyes widened and fear and he stuttered, "Y-y-you're C-captain H-"
"Your name." I demanded once again, tone harsh.
"A-Ambrosio," the boy gasped. "My name is Ambrosio."
"How did you get to this place?" I ask. "Where are your parents?"
"I-I don't know," the child stutters. "We ran into another s-ship. They killed our crew and m-my p-parents. I managed to e-escape."
"The ship, the one that attacked you, did it have black sails?"
He nodded. "Black as coal."
I ran a hand down my face. "Oh god."
One of the boys stepped forward. "Captain, you don't think it was-"
"Yes." I responded immediately, anger beginning to burn inside me as I glared at my crew. "Who else would it be?"
They fell silent and I breathed out heavily. "Get the boy inside. Give him a hot meal. Tomorrow we will return him to the Edge."
"Wait!" The boy struggled to sit up but was persistent and managed. "What's the Edge?"
"The place you go where you don't belong here."
"And where is here?"
The crew looked at me as they waited for to hear the answer. I smiled bitterly at the kid.
"Welcome to Neverland."
Night fell over the ship quickly that evening. The crew had retired once more and I sat up-top with a frown etched on my face, a lantern being the only nearby warmth and light.
"It's not possible." I muttered to myself as the wind howled around me. "He wouldn't do this to an innocent ship."
I spun around to find the boy-Ambrosio-stood in the doorway to my quarters with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. The lantern cast a shadow over his face that made him look older. That made him look like-
"I'm sorry. I didn't know where I'm supposed to sleep and I-"
"It's fine," I wave dismissively. "You can sleep in my quarters tonight. Tomorrow we will return you home."
Ambrosio stepped forward. "You said this place is called Neverland but, what exactly is Neverland?"
I tried not to bristle at the question as I turned back to him. "Neverland is a place where dreams come true. Where anything can happen and you have no parents telling you what to do."
"No parents?" Ambrosio exclaimed, "Is that why-"
"Yes, you entered this realm and so they were taken from you. There are no adults in Neverland."
The boy looked confused. "But, you're an adult?"
Without responding, I turn away to glare at the dark sea. It was true, whilst the other boys looked to be ripe with youth, I looked roughly twenty years old. "It's complicated."
The boy didn't take the hint as he came and placed himself beside me on the ledge. "What do you mean?"
"It's doesn't matter!" I half-shout, turning on him aggressively. "Things have happened here. Things naive boys like you would never understand."
Ambrosio didn't flinch once at my domineering tone, he simply said gently, "So tell me about it."
"No. It was a long time ago and I don't talk about it. No one does."
Ambrosio wasn't letting up to my annoyance. "There's a reason isn't there?" he asked. "Your crew; they're all young boys-no more than sixteen-but you? You look about twenty. You age. Why is that?"
"I said I didn't want to talk about it." I grumbled angrily.
"There is a reason; something lies upon you, something that doesn't work in your favour. What happened?"
I glared at him. "You're real nosy kid. That's not a good quality to possess."
"And you're reserved." he shot back. "That's no way to live. By the way, my name is Ambrosio."
If any of my other crew members had spoken to me that way, they'd be off the end of the plank in a heartbeat. But I liked the flare that this boy had. It was almost intriguing.
"Besides," he continued. "How can anyone help you if you don't let them in?"
"No way can help me." I mutter. "I've tried everything."
"There has to be a way." Ambrosio pressed.
I turned to the boy with a raised eyebrow. "You really want to know? You want to know why I'm older? What happened to make me age? Why I am the way that I am and no one else is?"
Ambrosio nodded. "I do."
I sat down on my three-legged wooden stool, pointing a finger at the boy with an icy glare. "You tell anyone what I said and you'll be fed to the sharks. Understood?"
Ambrosio nodded quickly and I sighed.
"I created Neverland."
Ambrosio frowned. "I don't understand."
I gesture around us. "This place, this island, it didn't used to be called Neverland."
Twisting slightly, I point towards the shadow of the island, hardly visible in the darkness. "You see that rock? The one shaped like a skull?"
"That's where is started."
Ambrosio still has confusion written all over his face. "I don't understand. It started with a rock?"
I shake my head. "It wasn't just me alone who created this place. There was two of us."
"Who was the other."
Smiling bitterly, I cast a glance toward the rock before looking back at a curious Ambrosio.
"His name was Peter Pan."
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