Skinned Knees

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Oh great Arrow! You've done it now!

I jumped over a mossy log, leapt over a rock, and sprinted across the rope bridge. I ran as fast as I could with my legs having far less momentum than my brain.

I had told myself not to go swim, that the lagoon wasn't going anywhere and I could always go swim tomorrow. But the temptation of cool, clear water down my sweaty back seemed very pleasing and I couldn't resist a quick dive.

I scoffed at myself. So much for quick. I lost track of time and was now late for the most important part of the week, Peter Pan's report.

As I ran through the vines and trees, a root sticking ever so slightly out of the ground got my foot and tripped me. My hands braced myself for the fall, but my legs wobbled and my knees skidded across the rough dirt.

Standing up, I brushed myself off and noticed my new skinned knees. I sighed and continued my run through the forest to reach the hideout.

I could see the large tree in the distance, the elder tree. A sense of relief washed over me as I climbed the branches to a large knot.

I pushed on it revealing an opening and slid through, feet first. The wooden slide twisted and looped, turned and weaved until a light at the end was revealed.

I arrived in what I liked to call the base. The largest room in the underground section of the hideout.

"Arrow! Where ya been?" Asks a little boy. He's only about eight years old with his red hair and brown eyes.

"Just for a swim Quiet Fox."

"Yeah? Well ya late. Let's go!" His twig arms tug at me and drag me to a room where all the lost boys are gathered. In the front is our leader and hero, Peter Pan.

"Captain Hook has advanced past the reef. He is surely on his way to the Indians. The chief has invited us to a Powwow so that we can keep a look out for them." Peter explains. I watch in fascination as he speaks with confidence and strength. Someday, I hope to be as awesome as Peter Pan.

"And remember the three rules." Pan states, we all repeat them in unison.

"Always be loyal to Peter Pan. Don't look into the Founding. Never leave Neverland and grow up." We all laugh at ourselves and prepare to dance out.

"Arrow! Stay behind please." Peter calls. I wince as Quiet Fox looks up at me and smirks. I stick my tongue out at him as he runs away. I turn towards Peter, head hung low.

"May I ask why you were late?"

"I was swimming in the lagoon" I wait for the punishment that will surely await me.

"Oh! Well if that's all? You may go."

"That's it?"

"I'm not your chief or captain Arrow, I'm just a leader. In fact, I'm glad you swam in the lagoon even though you were gonna be late. Shows that you're not growing up."

I sit there listening and confused. I feel like I should get punished, even if I don't want to. My eyes wonder and land on the Founding, a red box with faded gold leaves on it.

"Tsk! Come here Arrow." I take my eyes away from the Founding and walk over to him. Peter puts his arm around me as he's much taller. We stand in front of a mirror wall that shows our reflection.

I can finally see myself and what the stressful run here did to me. My skinned knees were red from irritation. My brown hair was still silently damp and my green eyes were strained. But I still looked good for a twelve year old if I do say so myself. While Peter Pan has light brown hair and blue eyes, one of the only ways I can identify him is by his green hat that has a red feather sticking out.

"You are a lost boy, therefore we are a pack, a family. No one is greater than another. We are all equal. I am simply the leader because I have been here the longest. You've been here for quite a while too, Arrow." He pauses, and I find myself desperately wanting him to continue. "How would you like to be my apprentice?"

I look at him with awe. Me? Peter Pan's apprentice?

"Big Bear is going to be by my side for the Powwow. I would like you to be there too. The other lost boys will just be having fun, but you two, will be my helpers." He raises an eyebrow and cocks a smile. "What do you say?"

I nod my head violently. "Of course!"

"Good. Now head to your hut. We have a long night tomorrow."

I salute him and walk out. As soon as I'm out of ear shot, I dance and yip with joy. "Woo-hoo!"

I climb up the tree and follow the planks and branches to my hut. Once I'm in, I see Quiet Fox and Mud wrestling. The dark boy who can blend in with his name was clearly winning, which Quiet Fox did not like.

"That's no fair! Ya always win!"

"Quit'cha whining feather top! You da one dat challenged me!" I could see they were about to get into another fist fight, so I tackle them both and blow raspberries at them.

" 'ey! What'cha do dat fo'?" Mud asks, his dark skin forehead getting wrinkled in anger. 

I ignore his question and quickly tell my roommates what Pan told me. They both went wide eyed and their mouths dropped. Quiet Fox laughs.

"I guess ya could say that ya skinned knees were a blessing in disguise." He says, bellowing in laughter.

"Yeah! Who would have thought that a swim in a lagoon would end up helping me." I reply.

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