This story came from a prompt given during my writing club. We had to use the first line from a famous novel. I chose Peter Pan, of course.
All Children Except One Grow Up
Word count: 360
All children, except one, grow up.
Mags skated around her driveway. Her skates chaffed her ankles but she barely noticed. Her face was fierce; cheeks red, hair covered in sweat, her eyes narrowed and intense.
Inside of her house her parents raged. She could hear them, everyone could hear them. Occasionally another child on her block would stop, or at least pause across from her on the sidewalk listening only long enough to know that they wouldn’t stick around for more. No one ever hung around. It made Mags very lonely.
Her skates rode roughly over the pavement. The vibration gave her calves a pleasant almost numb feeling. Hot air rose around her. Like hell, Mags thought. That’s what Mom would say, sitting with her friends in the backyard under the shade trees. Then Mag’s father would roll his eyes and wink at her.
She, ten years old, was at the beginning of her life, but it was changing. She could feel the changes, sometimes. She could see them too which is why she abhorred mirrors, pretended they weren’t there, went selectively blind at certain times of the day. Like when she brushed her teeth.
They were shouting again. Mags closed her eyes. “You never loved me!” She could hear her mother shout, but she knew it wasn’t love her mother sought, not really. That wasn’t what was missing.
It was the elimination of the other stuff, the stuff Mag’s mother called stress. Things like paying bills, buying groceries, turning off the lights. Well, that was her father’s big thing–’turn off the lights, Mags’ he always said but she preferred the darkness anyway. It was her mother that wanted the light. It was her mother who sat up at night and turned on all the lights and left them until dawn, while she slept in the chair in the living room.
Those stressors, they all had one source: adulthood.
Mags knew that the root of all grown up problems stemmed from being a grown up.
The solution was easy; never grow up.
That’s what Mags planned to do.