Author's Note: This is a transformative work of fiction set before the movie The Lost Boys.
There’s something strange about Paul -- about all of them -- something a little too wild in the shine of his eyes and the way he watches her, his smile just a little too big, his teeth just a little too sharp behind his thin lips.
But Paul makes her laugh, when he slumps next to her and they pass a joint back and forth. Sometimes she starts laughing in the middle, when no one’s actually said anything funny, because she’s thinking about the way her mom used to pinch up her face and waggle her hips when she smoked up, calling it a doobie and blowing smoke in her boyfriend’s face.
Star misses her mom and misses her boyfriends, too. She doesn’t know her dad, but that’s never mattered much. They didn’t need a father figure to make them a family. The boyfriends were fun, though, always laid back and full of laughter.
“Twinkle, twinkle,” Paul says, bringing her back. “Where’d you go?”
Star wraps her hands around the mug. It’s slick against her fingers and strangely chilled. Whatever’s inside is thick, strangely syrupy. “Nowhere.” She forces a laugh, missing her more than ever. She would have found Paul and Marko a real treat. “I’m right here.”
“Never Never Land,” Marko suggests. He tilts his head to the right as he examines the owl gripping his forearm, its talons biting into the arm of his jacket. He’s always like that, surrounded by creatures that fly. He looks a little like an owl himself, especially when his owl tilts its head the other way. After a second, Marko plucks a single out of place feather. It twists out of his fingers, caught by a sharp, cold breeze sweeping down the stairs from the entrance.
Star shivers. She can actually feel goose bumps rise all along her skin.
“Drink up.” Paul nudges her arm, not hard enough that she slops anything over her fingers, but it’s a close call. “It’ll warm you.”
“What is it?” She doesn’t ask many questions, not here in this dim shadow world, this dead hotel tucked into a cave with the ocean far below, but she’s chilled and her chest is tight and her stomach feels weird. Maybe she’s coming down hard, maybe Paul’s last joint was laced with something weird. He doesn’t seem effected if it was.
Paul punches her shoulder, then grins at her, wild and slightly frightening and a lot silly. “Get it? Get it? It’s punch!”
Her laugh bubbles up. She lifts the mug to her mouth and catches her lower lip on the sharp chipped it. “Ouch. Damn.” When she gingerly touches her lip, her finger comes away with a bit of blood on it, dark against her pale skin.
“Drink!” Paul chants. “ Drink!” Marko takes up the cry too and his owl goes fluttering off to wherever all his flying creatures live when he doesn’t want to play with them. How he has them so well trained and yet so wild at the same time, she doesn’t know.
In the corner, Dwayne watches, dark and silent as the shadows, but Star is drawn to David, a dark silhouette in his black gloves and trench coat, cutting through the air like a thin, tempered blade. His gaze lingers on her lips and she blushes, glances down and then back up at him through her lashes, watching as a smirk lifts one corner of his mouth.
Peter Pan and his lost boys, maybe, in their underground Never Never Land. That makes her their Wendy, lost little girl playing mother. But David’s far more a pirate than the boy who never grows up and Star never wanted a kid of her own.
She turns the cup just enough her mouth is safe from danger and drinks it down.