Home > The Dark One (Vicious Lost Boys #2)

The Dark One (Vicious Lost Boys #2)
Author: Nikki St. Crowe

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

This book would not be possible without the help of several readers.

We can all agree that in the original Peter and Wendy, the depiction of Native characters was extremely problematic. When I set out to do a Peter Pan retelling, it was important to me to keep the Native presence on the island, but it was of the utmost importance that it be done in the right way.

I have to thank several sensitivity readers for helping me portray the twins and their family stories in The Dark One in a way that was accurate and respectful to the Native culture, even if the twins reside in a fantasy world.

So a huge THANK YOU to Cassandra Hinojosa, DeLane Chapman, Kylee Hoffman, and Holly Senn. You were extremely helpful and I appreciate your time, energy, and feedback!

Any mistakes or inaccuracies that remain in this book are entirely my own.

 

 

BEFORE YOU READ

 

 

The Vicious Lost Boys Series is a reimagining of Peter and Wendy, though all characters have been aged up and are 18 and over. This is not a children’s book and the characters are not children.

Some of the content in this book may be triggering for some readers. If you’d like to learn more about CWs in Nikki’s work, please visit her website here:

https://www.nikkistcrowe.com/content-warnings

 

 

To all the girls who have broken and mended.

 

 

“…there was a greedy look in his eyes now which ought to have alarmed her, but did not.”

- J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy

 

 

1

 

 

PETER PAN


Two shadows leap from the box in my hand.

Two shadows.

It catches me so off guard that both of them slip through my grip.

One goes left, disappearing into the branches of the Never Tree, and the other goes right.

“Fucking hell. Get them!”

The one on my right knocks over several liquor bottles. They hit the floor with a resounding smash and liquor goes everywhere.

The leaves of the Never Tree rattle and the little pixie bugs blink with frenzied energy.

The twins go left. Vane and I go right.

I follow the shadow—my shadow because I would know it anywhere—out the open balcony doors. It disappears over the stone railing.

Hand to the railing, I leap over it too and hit the ground two stories down with a loud thud. The ground reverberates and the Lost Boys look up from the revelry just as the shadow leaps over the fire pit, embers sparking into the night.

Vane is beside me in an instant. “There,” he says and points to the writhing shadows near the firecracker bushes.

I snap my fingers at the Lost Boys. “None of you fuckers move.”

My skin is crawling and my stomach is twisted into knots. I’ve been waiting decades for this.

The Shadow of Life is mine by right. I have to claim it. I don’t know what’ll happen to me if I don’t.

Vane and I stalk it, trying to cage it in.

The darkness quivers as we draw near. Behind us, the Lost Boys are silent as they watch and somewhere in the distance, the wolves howl.

The island knows the shadow has returned.

“If I miss it, you get ready to catch it,” I tell Vane.

“I know how to handle a shadow,” he says.

“Your black eye says otherwise.”

He scowls at me.

We draw closer.

Closer still.

The hair lifts along the back of my neck and along my arms. I’m less than two feet away. This close to having what is rightfully mine.

Heart drumming in my head, I still my body, ready to leap at the exact right moment.

The shadow is mine. It will be mine. I just have to—

I lunge for it. The shadow dodges me and darts away.

“Fuck!” I yell and Vane and I give chase.

The forest parts for the damn thing, while leaves and branches pull at my hair, my shirt. We follow it to the lagoon, then down the length of the shore, then back into the forest along the path that leads to the road.

My chest tightens as we run. Sweat beads on my forehead and pours down my back.

I’m going to get it. I have to get it.

We burst from the path onto the dirt road and then two miles down and—

“Vane!” I shout. “We’re running out of ground.”

“I know!” he yells back. “I see it.”

We pick up the pace. The shadow must sense us, because it flies through the night as if it were born of nothing but nightmares. And maybe it is. My own personal nightmare. Because nothing matters if I don’t have it.

The window is fucking closing, what is left of my territory shrinking.

“Vane!”

He snatches at it. The shadow springs in the opposite direction, leaps off the trunk of a tree. I claw at the air, feeling the tug of it, the cool rightness of it.

But I’m too late.

So close and yet too far.

The shadow evades me and darts away.

And disappears into the darkness of Captain Hook’s territory.

 

 

2

 

 

KAS


The leaves of the Never Tree shudder as the shadow darts around the branches. The pixie bugs wink out and go dark.

"You got eyes on it?” Bash asks.

“Over here,” I answer.

The shadow is hunched at a split in the tree.

If I had my wings, I’d fly up to snatch it.

Everything is harder without wings. Sometimes the ache in my back, the space where they once were, aches like they are there, like I’ve just returned from a long afternoon flying among the clouds.

Bash comes around the tree trunk, his gaze trained on the canopy above us. “How do you want to do this?”

“Fuck if I know.”

“Which shadow do you think it is?”

“My guess? The dark one. Pan will be pulled to his shadow, probably without even thinking about it.”

Bash shifts to our fae language because no one but us can understand it.

If we catch it, he says and lets the thought trail off.

I know, I answer.

You think Pan will want one of us to have the death shadow?

Hard to say what he wants. What do you want?

My twin gives me a pointed look.

If Bash or I were to claim the dark shadow, our little sister Tilly would hate us for having more power. But she made her decisions. And to see her face when one of us walks in as Neverland’s Dark One….

I smile to myself as my twin’s voice echoes in my head.

Let’s nab it first. Then we can plot our revenge.

We close in.

“How about if one of us goes up?” I suggest. “Force it down.”

“Rock-paper-scissor you for it. Whoever loses goes up.”

We’re still watching the branches as the leaves rattle again and the shadow shifts.

“Hurry up,” I tell him.

“I’m ready. I’m waiting for you.”

I snort and put my fist in the cup of my opposite hand.

“Rock-Paper-Scissor-Shoot,” we say in unison and look away from the tree just long enough to see who has won.

“Rock? Really, Bash?” I say with a laugh. I went with paper. Bash always goes with the rock because he’s predictable. “Looks like you’re going up,” I tell him.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Sweet Temptation
» Den of Vipers
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» ENEMIES
» Credence
» Archangel's War
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)