Chapter Five

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^The video is (once again from Finding Neverland. Tis my goal to post all the songs. Please bear (don't know the correct spelling) with me!) Believe. This probably one of my favorite songs right now. :D

A few well-placed knocks from Peter caused a wooden panel to slide away. Inside, it revealed a rough wooden slide that disappeared down a dark rabbit like hole.

Peter was the first to disappear down the slide's darkened path.

My brother blankly followed behind him, his eyes empty and his features covered in confused fear.

It was sad to say, but my rock of a brother had been shattered. And I wasn't sure how to piece him back together.

Josh nudged me forward with his hand, knocking me from my guilty thoughts. 

I could only hope that he had shoved an ounce of bravery into me with that gesture.

I gently took a seat on the edge of the slide. I balanced there, hesitantly peering off into the undulating shadows. The wood beneath me was surprisingly smooth, worn down with age and constant use.

Another nudge from Josh sent me zooming down into the pitch black. I didn't have a moment to process my surroundings before my eyes failed me. 

I sat there in the darkness, the only sound the low hum of the wood as I flew over it.

Minutes passed this way, seconds stretching into seemingly long hours. My thoughts of my brother persisted, following me like a shadow through the dark. 

Then I was bursting from the darkness into a dimly lit cavern. I skidded across the dirt floor before stopping in a crumpled heap.

I peeled myself off of the ground, dusted my clothes off, and studied my dim surroundings.

I stood in an eerily lit cave, the light resonating from stones embedded into the compacted dirt walls. A sense of strange magic filled the place from the trampled dirt floors to the ceiling of twisting vines and roots above.

The cavern was void of all other life, though. Peter and my brother were long gone. 

I was completely and utterly alone in this strange place of wonder.

Up ahead the cave walls narrowed into the rough outline of what appeared to be a door. From this rough doorway spilled the rambunctious laughter of children and more of the same dull lighting.

I stood there awkwardly, debating if I wanted to head in and interrupt their many conversations or continue to lure in the half dark.

I didn't have long to decide, though, because I was knocked forward onto my hands and knees, the dirt rough under my already scraped up skin.

A loud 'oomph' sounded from behind me as I scrambled to my feet.

I turned and found Josh sprawled out across the floor, dust coating his red hair and dirt lining his face.

A giggle broke free from me at the surprised expression on his face.

I offered my hand to him, a gesture I was sure he had only offered me hours ago. Or was it days? Weeks maybe? I couldn't really be sure.

He took my hand. His own was warm and crusted in a thin layer of dirt.

Not surprising considering the fall he had just made. 

Josh patted me on the shoulder, purposely wiping the dirt onto my semi-clean shirt. It smeared in a bright streak of brown. 

"Hey!" I shouted as he sprinted off laughing in the other direction.

"Come back here!" I cried as I chased after the giggling red haired boy.

As I ran, I had a distinct feeling that my feet were following a path that a hundred others had before me, each doing their job to push down the loose dirt. Each having their own reasons for treading into this place.

Josh raced through the door just ahead of me.

I hesitated though but pushed on when my revenge reared its ugly head. Grinning, I continued the chase through the door. Josh wouldn't get away from me that easily!

The room I found beyond was not unlike the cavern I had left behind. A few things set it apart, though. This cave was fairly larger and had several crude beds that occupied the space. It was also more brightly lit by those strange stones. Over in a far corner, I saw the brief flash of a roughly carved staircase.

I chased after Josh, who ran between the other children with ease. I swerved left and right, dodging the boys as they all fell into stunned silence.

But I didn't care. A huge smile lit my face as I desperately tried to tackle the giggling boy ahead of me.

He was always just a little bit out of reach as we swerved and circled.

But when Josh ran around Finley, he slowed his pace just slightly. It was a fatal mistake on his part.

I seized the opportunity and lunged, my arms outstretched and reaching.

My impact sent us both rolling to the floor where dust and dirt preceded to coat us in more peppery layers.

We both laid on the ground, winded and tired from the run. Our breaths came in short puffs. We stared at each other, brown clashing with gray, before breaking out into tear-inducing laughter.

Our laughter mixed into a childish harmony in the silence that permeated the room.

When our giggles had faded into mere hiccups of the joy they had once been, we both sat up.

A glance around the room revealed that the others were merely standing around silently. All of their eyes, a kaleidoscope of different colors, were fixated on Josh and me. Even my brother's were dimly focused on us, a dull emotion playing through the blue irises.

Peter was the first to break his stance. He approached us, and with a hand to each of us, pulled Josh and me to our feet. He ruffled Josh's dust ridden hair and wiped some dirt smudges from my face. Then he turned to face the other boys.

"I thought this would be a good time to introduce all of you," Peter said in a clear voice.

I saw several of the boys nod before scrambling into a strict formation before the man. They ranged from tallest to shortest. Finley was first while the last was little Benjamin. Even Josh had disappeared from my side and joined their ranks.

I realized that almost all of the boys had changed from their plain school uniform into a more favorable animal skin clothing. All except Josh of course.

"Alright," Peter said, "You guys know what to do." He stepped back beside me and ushered me forward towards Danny so that I stood right next to my brother.

A boy had stepped forward from the line and I realized with a start that it was Isaac.

He piped up, his voice coming out hesitantly, "Do we use our full names or our other names?" A nervous fear underlined his words.

"Both," Peter replied with a curt nod.

The boy stepped back into line, a small smile gracing his lips.

Then the tallest stepped forward, his blonde hair swishing around his ears.

Author's Note:

Hello, everyone! I know it took me all day to get this posted,  but I was off playing a horror game all day! Which I quit playing because I am a chicken!

How were your guys' holidays??

Mine was all good. :D

Hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Let me know what you thought in the comments and don't forget to hit that star button! :D

Have a good day and I will see you all next week!

-Anna

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