Building Neverland


This is ‘Building Neverland-Pan Rising.’ In this classic tale, we will begin to discover the darker side to the Peter Pan story we all grew up knowing and loving. Within this re-imagining, Peter is thrust violently off of the island only to land himself in the company of pirates. We find his first Lost Boy’s in the abused and neglected cabin boys inhabiting the vessel as Peter begins to gradually grow his child army to eventually one day take over the ship. We are thrown into a chaotic world of violence, adventure, Gods, war, and kidnapping as we bear witness to Peter’s journey towards becoming the great Captain Hook.

We find Peter, young and afraid, running down the shores of Neverland being pursued by a mysterious war tribe as flashes of the child’s fallen people and father glance across his memories. We watch as he learns to fly and makes his grand escape, hopping the passing pirate ship that rides the horizon as the sun sets on a dying day. 

Once there, he finds himself at the mercy of pirates and their dark pirate Lord Captain Blackbeard. 

I have worked on this story for over sixteen years. It is my life’s work, a piece of my soul. My mother and I worked on this together until she passed away on March 28, 2019. It is my goal to get this book out there to as many people as possible in honor of her. 

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A taste:

Chapter One 

“GET THE PAN!” Shouts from the attacking war tribe carried across the wind as they gave chase over the sandy shores of the island.His breathing erratic, Peter ran over the coast as swiftly as a small child could possibly manage.
He was just barely outrunning the tribe. Angered shouts cut through the air as his pursuers got closer and closer. Tears streamed down the boy’s face, obstructing his already blurred vision as he hurried. He kicked sand up into the blinding light of the setting sun. There was nowhere else to go.
If he did nothing they would catch up to him, putting him out the way they had the rest of his people: snuffed out like a small burning candle in the dark.The boy’s gaze swept across the horizon with the waves lapping at his bare, burning feet. His heart pounded like a war drum in his narrow chest as the tribe continued their pursuit.
Having little to no alternate options, Peter just began praying under his breath. Maybe the Gods would take pity on him and send some form of help…somehow. “Please…” he uttered, clutching at his chest as their rapidly encroaching footsteps and shouts drew nearer.“Please! If you are listening…if you are even there at all…help me!”
For several tortuous moments, when no clear signs of help or a savior had arrived to halt the swiftly approaching danger, Peter was certain that the Gods had chosen to turn a blind eye to his desperate situation. Maybe they had forgotten about him entirely? Liquid formed in his eyes as he squeezed them shut tight, bracing himself. He only opened them to wipe their tears away with the back of his grimy fist.
It was then that he saw it, just barely visible, an approaching vessel. It was hardly a speck on the blue horizon. It veered to the left of the island to skirt around the heavy mist. As well, the ship’s silhouette was a dark contrasting shadow against the deep orange setting sun which hovered just above the edge of the world. Peter could just about make out the shape of its dark sails in the far distance.
His salvation had arrived as he cried out loudly, raising his fists and gaze upward, “Thank you!” He looked back to the ship’s distant hull with growing determination as he measured the space between it and himself. While he had never attempted a jump of such magnitude, Peter figured he could make a swim for it if his powers of flight ended up failing him halfway there. He did not have any other options. They were almost upon him, surrounding him from behind.
Arrows began landing with sickening thuds, striking the sand about him. This caused a cascade of fine grit to fly in every direction. Time was running out, and the boat was gaining distance with every second that passed as it sailed to the side of the seemingly small innocuous island.
With that, Peter lifted off of the shore, shakily at first. He gave his body a shove up with his feet and steadied himself. Peter then breathed a sigh of relief when he finally managed to get into the air. He had practiced his take off many times before, but never in such dire circumstances when his mind was filled with the many possible outcomes of his situation.
His stress and heartache deepened as the speedily nearing danger distracted him from being able to accurately focus on his task. It took all of the concentration he could muster, but he did it. It was a struggle, what with the water sloshing at his feet each time he wobbled. Rocks and arrows hurled in his direction even as he began to reach more height in the air after a nearly lethal tumble too close to the ocean below. Their screams and cries for his head filled his small ears as he began to rise from the ground itself.
Once he had achieved height, he hurriedly flew through the space between him and the water’s edge. Peter then bounded over the ocean like a speeding purple Curu bird in the direction of the ship. He was getting further and further away from the fast-approaching tribe as they finally made it to where he had previously been standing. All bellowed and wasted little time trying to knock him from the skies with their sharp flying arrows and heavy rocks.
Peter grunted as one rock hit him in the back before he had managed to escape. This nearly distracted him enough to cause him to tumble down towards the ocean below. Just as he was about to slam into its choppy surface, he halted mid-air. Bracing himself, his hands darted out in front of his face, shutting his eyes tight.
Very slowly he opened them and turned to look towards the water beneath him as he realized he had regained his control. Within its depths swimming just beneath the surface, flittered silvery glowing fins. They were keeping up with his pace. He did not have time to carry on a discussion with them. He needed to get to the ship. With that and everything dire in mind, he carried onward until finally getting to the edge of the large wooden vessel.
Nighttime would be upon him soon. Peter could feel it like a shimmering dew upon his very flesh, a shiver running through his small form. The cold crept in with misery as the scenery below him tinged in various colorful arrays of lavender and rust. He had landed carefully and as quietly as he possibly could on a small balcony at the stern. Leaning into the railing, Peter gasped, feeling as if he had held his breath for the entire flight.
Salty sea air rushed to fill his lungs with each harsh and rapid breath in and out. He had just about given himself a moment to recover from it all before a blinding, golden light assaulted his vision just as it had begun to adjust to the darkness surrounding him. Its occurrence startled him until he realized at that moment, as the light grew closer, that it was just his tiny companion – a fairy by the name of Tinkerbell.
He held his small hand, palm up, towards her as she delicately hovered above it before gently perching upon the tip of his index finger. She was a desperately welcome sight of familiarity and home. Tears began to brim his silver eyes, as he whispered, voice cracking, “Tink…they’re all gone…” Salty sorrow flooded his vision and instantly he sank down onto his knees as the little fairy fluttered off of his fingertip to land on his shoulder. She emitted a sad bell-like noise of empathy.
A harsh sob wracked the young boy’s body as he let his sadness out onto the balcony below. His feet were muddy and damp from the sand, the flight, and his time spent partially in the water. Hand reaching to clutch at the wooden railing before him to avoid tumbling over the edge, he shut his eyes tight to the flashes of memories that plagued him.
Visions tore into Peter’s poor tormented mind. Cold, dead silver eyes and the scent of saltwater and salty copper rushing into his nostrils and the back of his throat. This left a sour, burning taste in its wake. Their gaping mouths were wide with silent screams, eyes frozen in eternal horror. No matter how much he tried he could not thrust these images from his mind. He could still hear the monstrous bear’s roars as it plowed through his people like they were nothing but wheat to be harvested. He could still remember his father’s brief scream for him to fly, to get away before he was immediately silenced forever. The last thing Peter saw was his body as it collapsed beneath the bear’s mighty claws. Its powerful jaws seized his father by the neck and there was a sickening crack sound to follow before his father’s light was put out once and for all.
All of these forceful memories were too much for Peter. He stumbled forward and wretched violently, throwing up the contents of his small stomach over the edge of the balcony to the cold depths far down into the crashing mighty water. His belly churned with the tossing of the ocean waves. Peter gasped for air once more, trying to regain some semblance of composure while Tinkerbell hovered over his shoulder, emitting gentle bell sounds to him.
He stood there for what felt like forever, staring into the depths beneath him. Finally, he snapped himself out of it. Time was of the essence, thought Peter as he wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. He then maneuvered himself back into an upright position, despite the overwhelming tightness in his guts.
He had to get a grip if he was going to survive, regardless of his tragic circumstances. This was no time to lose himself to his emotions. First, he had to figure out what type of ship he had landed himself upon. His father had taught him of the many different types of vessels that flooded the oceans and seas. Merchant, cargo, military, private, royal, and the like. In leaning back, he stared at the crows’ nest where the ships dark flag fluttered in the wind. Ominous black cloth waved wildly, an eerie sight and one to strike fear into the hearts of most men. It had a simple white X stitched upon it. “Pirates,” he whispered down to Tinkerbell, who emitted a soft, shuddering, fearful noise. Of all of the boats that he could have landed upon. He had to pick the one with pirates, he thought in quiet consternation.
His father had told him all about pirates, and in what few surviving books they had managed to find. He had read much on the men and women who populated the seas in search of lost or ill-begotten treasures. One could reason that not all pirates were murdering scoundrels but it was safe to say most held that title. He was not out of the woods just yet. He might have landed himself in yet another bad situation. Only this time, there was nowhere to fly off to. He tore his gaze off of the flag finally, turning his attention to the door. Peter lowered to all fours in order to move toward it with great care.”What do you think, Tink..?” he asked in a gentle whisper, his voice trembling a bit.
He gazed through the crack of the entrance where a sliver of pale flickering light could be seen. The source was from an old lantern dangling from a hook attached to a wooden support beam. No other sounds or signs of life to be heard from within. The sky was darkening fast, transforming into richer purples and soft deep royal blues. The light was fading away into absolute darkness around the boy and his little glowing fairy.
With great care, Peter turned the shiny brass handle only to find it fortunately unlocked. Tinkerbell slipped in first as she buzzed about the cabin. Initially, she went about it with great caution, immediately flying to hide among the lantern light and get a good aerial view of the surrounding cabin. Her natural light filled the room before them with a soft golden radiance, shadows dancing about as she moved throughout before emitting a sharp little whistle to give him the all-clear.
Peter stayed low on all fours as he moved into the semi-opulent space. He closed the door quietly behind him. There were jovial sounds of music and laughter somewhere in the front of the ship, past the double doors on the other side of the cabin. They were distant and faint for the time being. The rich smell of sea-aged wood and old tobacco filled his nostrils as he looked around, searching the area for anything of use, quelling his deep and ever-growing curiosity.
The room was well furnished. There was an oversized lavish bed with a colorful thick patchwork quilt of navy blues, pastel greens, and rich rusty reds adorning it. There were two plump plush cream-colored pillows in rows near the top of the mattress as well. Next, there was a wooden table flanked by two squat wooden chairs in the immediate center of the room. Atop it stood a tin platter of what appeared to be old crusty brown bread and a metal pitcher of what Peter mistakenly presumed to be clean water.
Thirst and hunger overcame him as he reached for the pitcher and tore off a piece of bread, teeth sinking into the stale mass of crumbs, and crust. He chewed hard and found himself unable to swallow the lump of dry stiff mess. So he grabbed the pitcher and carelessly gulped down as much of the contents as he could without a second thought. The liquid dripped down each side of his chin and onto his tunic. Eyes immediately snapped open wide, he began to gag and spit it right back out again into the pitcher. Upon discovery, he found those contents to be some form of dark foul-smelling liquor. It tasted like bitter bile and burned his throat and the back of his nose. Peter gagged loudly as he sputtered and coughed hysterically for a few moments. He then clamped his hand over his mouth to muffle his distress.
Shakily, he placed the pitcher back upon the tabletop. There was a heavy wince upon his face as he wiped his tongue off on the sleeve of his tunic. He then turned to continue his investigation of the Captain’s quarters. He shuddered and shook off the disgusting flavor of the liquor that haunted him. He then located a large wooden desk and enormous dark red leather wingback chair placed just behind it. The desktop was laden with rolled parchments. They were possibly maps and star charts. There were also gold coins, a small silver dagger and an ink quill with an elaborate, probably quite expensive, cream-colored feather topping it. Peter swiped the dagger, tying it to a braided cord about his waist – it never hurt to be armed, even if it was only but a small blade.
Tinkerbell, of course, made a disapproving noise, fluttering around his head accusingly. Peter turned to regard her, waving his hand to shrug off her annoyed and worried noises, “It’s only in case we run into any trouble,” which with pirates about, they most likely would.Opposite the desk on another wall were two large bookcases filled with a dull rainbow of leather-bound volumes. His fingers gently toyed with the binding of the books as he walked past it idly. He eyed the titles of such but recognized none of it, many of them in different languages unknown to Peter.
Still, it was an interesting notion to Peter that a Pirate Captain of all people might keep so much literature on hand, but what did he truly know about such things? Peter then moved on from the bookcase, walking the perimeter of the lavish cabin. It was then that he jumped, turning with fear at the sign of movement within his acute periphery.
He hastily whipped out the dagger and took aim. Peter breathed hard with fright for a few moments before quickly realizing it was his own reflection he had seen and laughed at himself briefly, albeit nervously. A lavish, gold-embossed mirror stood nailed to the wall beside the bookcases. His shadow danced teasingly against the partition behind him but he ignored it.
He took a moment to look over himself in its smooth reflective surface. Moonlit hair a tousled mess, he lifted a hand in an attempt to pat down the unruly mass of snowy locks. A sigh sounded out at the sunken look in his usually vibrant, silver eyes. His young smooth ageless tan face looked drained, so… fearful and filled with deep loss.
His once comfortable oversized ivory tunic was stained with the sanguine sprays of blood from those that had gotten too close to him and the enemy. Once he had spotted this his eyes widened in horror, hands pulling at the cloth about his chest in mortified observation. He stared at the splatters across his chest, breathing rapidly as more flashes of his people being mowed down by the bear filled his mind.

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This is the first book in a seven-part series. You can find it at Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. Thank you to Amazon and Barnes and Noble for giving me the opportunity to share my story with the world. Now it is up to you, the reader, to decide whether the story is worthy of success or not. 

Make your choice:

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Hello, my name is J.M. Sonnier

I am nearly thirty-five years old as of 3/24/20 (I will be 35 on the 31st) and I am currently celebrating my late mothers birthday. She died a year ago. Together, her and I worked on this book. ‘Building Neverland-Pan Rising.’ I have worked on this for over sixteen years. It is a seven part series and I’ll just say, in my re-imagining, Peter BECOMES Captain Hook. I hope you might take interest. I will be posting my publishing process, as well as my writing process as I work on the rest of the novels in the series.

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