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Second to the Right

By Zach Neuman

Adventure / Fantasy

Blurb

THIS IS A REVISED VERSION To London's abandoned children, he was to be a myth whispered on the streets. To a young family across the Thames, he was a hero. Yet to the believers of the world, he would be the boy who never grew up. This is where his legend begins, and every legend deserves a beginning.

Commotion at Midnight

Night descended onto London. Smoke and fog cleared the skyline as rain clouds moved towards Ireland and the Americas. Stars dotted the sky like jewels on black velvet, the moon a majestic circle on the horizon. Noises from the day dissipated into echoes on the streets.

In the distance, a child ran. His bare feet pattered on the cobblestones as a commotion raced behind him. In tow, gruff men in tight fitting clothes and overcoats gasped and wheezed after him, their slow bodies stopping them from catching up. Their swords glistened in the moonlight as the child stopped running after encountering a dead end. The child has not shed one tear, nor frowned one bit. Instead, he held in a laugh as he faced them.

“Before we start,” he joked. “Can I at least learn of your names first?”

The pirates stop in confusion, their worn shoes sliding on the street. They look at each other as if willing the others to speak instead of him.

“Well, won’t somebody answer his question?"

"But the Captain said we can’t come back to the ship without him or he’ll kill us."

"Yeh, he said we must not talk with the boy, It wovn’t be good form."

"To cats wit' good form, let’s tell him wha' our names are, T'EN we KILL him and take over t'e ship once we chuck t'e ugly, red-coated self-ri'teous brute."

"A mutiny?! That’s awfully bad form."

"Do you even know what bad form is?!"

"Err, well, no."

The child stared with smug eyes at the whole conversation, his legs crossed as he sat against a wall.

So how can you tell me what bad form is without even knowing an iota of what it is?!

"I-I don’t know sir, maybe we should ask Smee."

"Yes! Let us go right to Smee and figure out what good form is!"

I concur!

NOW?! But what about the boy, let us gather him in first, stuff him into a sack, THEN we can talk about good form!

Okay, fine. While we’re here, why don’t you say you’re name first, little boy?

The child sat up and brushed his hair with his hands.

I’m Peter. And you?

"Well, we’re-"

"No! I’m done with taking orders! Now let’s follow Captain Hook’s orders and take him in!"

Peter shook his shoulders and stood in the middle of the street, his fists clenched at his waist.

“Alright, then. Who’s first?"

One of the men reached him and lunged at his skinny frame. The boy unsheathed his dagger at him in time.

Peter ducked down underneath his jump arc and slashed at the man’s arm, landing on his right forearm and slicing hard. The blade whizzed so fast he heard it whistle before striking true. The man tumbled awkwardly behind him, gripping his bloody arm.

The other slightly leaner but more patient man unsheathed his own sword and reached the boy. Meanwhile, the boy's dagger had grown into a sword in order to face this new threat.

Their blades met in a thunderous collision, reflecting the streetlights like lightning.


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