Forever Young Episode 1

“Second to the right, and straight on till
That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way
to the Neverland.
Episode 1
The school bell rang, piercing into my
daydream and bringing me back to
awareness. I had been enjoying, I’m
sure, a Technicolor fantasy, filled with
unicorns shooting rainbows out their
butts. But wherever my dreams had led
me, I was back to reality and had no
immediate recollection as to what I had
been fantasizing about. The shrieking
bell indicated the scintillating world of
Calculus had come to an end.
“Remember…you will have a pop quiz
tomorrow on Chapter Seven,” I heard
Miss Smellie yell over the chattering of
Go ahead and laugh, but I swear… that’s
her name. Miss Lisa Smellie. And yes, all
the kids snickered the first two weeks of
school, but then it got old. Seriously,
teenagers have a more sophisticated
humor than adults give us credit for.
Now, she was just good ol’ Miss Smellie.
Who gave not so surprising pop quizzes.
I never understood how it could be a
pop quiz when we were told about it
ahead of time. It seemed to take all the
fun out of the surprise. It’s like adults
really don’t trust us to do the studying,
so they try to trick us with the terror of a
pop quiz, only to not be a trick at all. It
was reverse psychology at its worst. I
pondered this theory as I picked up my
books and loaded them in my backpack.
Not only was Calculus at an end, but so
was the school day and I was glad.
As I walked by Miss Smellie’s desk, she
shot me a smile. “See you tomorrow,
“Charlie,” I reminded her. For what felt
like the hundredth time.
“Right…sorry.” She gave me a lovely
showing of sparkling white teeth.
I returned her smile and started to turn
toward the door when I caught a subtle
movement on her face. I focused my
gaze on her and watched as her
countenance seemed to melt away.
Except, it didn’t actually melt away
completely, but morphed into something
else. Within seconds, her face had
completely transformed. Gone was her
light brown hair, slightly round but
tanned face and blue eyes. In its place
was pale skin that shimmered like
crushed diamonds. Her liquid silver eyes
were large and slanted. Her hair was
now platinum blond, falling long over
her shoulders. She was very beautiful in
an ethereal way and still smiling at me
“Is something wrong, Charlie?”
I vaguely heard her speaking to me but I
was transfixed by her dazzling guise. I
kept up my smile, hoping that I wasn’t
giving away any physical reaction to her
sudden change in appearance. “Nothing
wrong. Have a great night, Miss Smellie.”
“You too. Don’t forget the pop quiz.”
With that, her angelically pale skin
morphed again, and the normal, average
looking Miss Smellie was back.
Shooting her a wave with my hand, I
turned around and walked out of the
classroom. I mentally shrugged my
shoulders. It was not uncommon for me
to see people’s faces morph into
something else. Sometimes it was
hauntingly beautiful, like it had been just
now with Miss Smellie. Sometimes a face
would percolate into a vestige of pure
evil and scare the living daylights out of
me. I had no idea why I could see it and
I was pretty sure no one else could. But
the truth of the matter was I had been
seeing transitional faces since I
witnessed my parents being killed over
four years ago.
Stepping out into the hallway, I looked
around at all of my classmates as they
prepared to go home for the day. Happy,
shiny faces. Just like me. We smile on the
outside, but the inside is often a
different story. I’ve heard before,
courtesy of my state mandated therapy,
that we often get so wrapped up in our
own misery, we fail to notice it in others.
I think that’s true and I’d take it one step
further. People try to wrap themselves
up in so much external fantasy, they
don’t realize the depths of their own
misery. They simply ignore it.
Regardless of how others view me, I am
well versed in my own suffering. I lost
my parents when I was thirteen years
old. Tragic, I know.
They were murdered during a home
invasion. Shocking, you say? I couldn’t
agree more.
Turned away by my only living relatives, I
was forced to become a ward of the
State of New York. Can it get any sadder?
Probably not.
That is, unless you consider the fact that
not one single foster family in the entire
metropolitan area of New York City
wanted me either. I was labeled “a lost
cause”. My therapist said the seven
months I refused to speak after my
parents’ murders caused prospective
foster families to be a little “gun shy”
around me. Poor choice of words if you
ask me…considering my parents were
killed by a gun.
I know it’s hard to believe but I have
always been a “glass half full” kinda girl.
It’s just my nature. Yay me! And so, after
seven months of silence, I decided to
open up and become part of the real
world again. And by real word, I mean I
left the comforts of the Presbyterian
Hospital psychiatric unit and became a
member of St. Christopher’s Resident
Treatment Facility. Though my
psychiatric issues were diagnosed as
nothing more than a deep, situational
depression following my parents’ brutal
murders, it made me damaged goods
and unadoptable.
I stopped at my locker to pick up a few
more books I would need for
homework that night. Hopefully, I would
be able to use the group home’s
community laptop as I needed to do
some research for a history paper. What
kids did before Wikipedia, I’ll never
I gave a passing glance at the inside of
my locker. It was pristine. Nothing but
school books neatly stacked in a row. No
pictures of me and my BFF’s. No love
notes from the high school quarterback.
There was nothing that would identify
me as a typical senior in high school. It
said a lot about my life.
Not that that my life was significantly
lacking. I’m sure I could have my posse
of BFF’s and a cute boy to date if I
wanted. I just didn’t want to put my
energy there. Instead, I put all of my
energy into two things. Studying to get
good grades, which would be my ticket
to college. And trying to stay out of
Weird, right? I was a brainiac. Top of my
class smart. But I had a dark side. I loved
to fight. And not just girlie hair pulling
fights because Samantha looked at
Josie’s boyfriend with unfettered lust in
her eyes. I’m talking about hard core,
knuckle brawling fights that had
meaning and depth. It was my calling…
to beat the hell out of those that
deserved it.
So, it would be no surprise to my
therapist, or the school principal, Dr.
Tinesdale, that I naturally heard the
sounds of a scuffle in progress as I was
walking down the almost empty school
hall. I believe Dr. Tinesdale once said to
me, “Trouble always seems to find you,
Charlie.” I appreciated the fact he didn’t
say that I was the one courting trouble
but rather it came looking for me.

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