This is the second time I’ve used the title ‘The Lost Boys’ in a story. The first was a New Lords of Time Christmas story centred on J.M. Barrie’s premiere of Peter Pan. This one takes the same theme but at a slightly more oblique angle.

This story, like the last one, opens with Darius the vampire as the central character. This is complete coincidence. Since I write these Torchwood Glasgow stories alternatively with Torchwood Cardiff ones I tend to forget who took centre stage in the previous tale. Anyway, the idea of the Vampire after dark enjoying late night shopping with his child in a pushchair was rather irresistible. It gets dark very early in December in Glasgow in December and there is plenty of time for him to wander around the city like an ordinary citizen, enjoying ordinary Human experiences. Why not?

Buchanan Street and St. George’s Tron parish church put a distinct geography to the place where the story is set. I actually thought of him going into the church with Gabrielle and listening to the carol service, but it would have just been padding. Maybe next year!

The street Darius turns into, following the ragged urchin is St. Vincent Street, but there the real geography ends. There is no Footlocker in St. Vincent Street. It is the other direction on Argyle Street in a building in 1930s Art Deco style. The old Gallagher’s Toy Emporium and the alleyway at its side are purely invented.

When Darius takes Dougal back to the alleyway they return along St.
Vincent’s Street, which has a very large Lloyds TSB bank with a row of cash machines outside – a perfect spot for children to wander away from while parents are busy with credit cards and purses. The remark about the small percentage of child abuse carried out by gay men is a point worth making. Too many people still assume that there is a connection between homosexuality and paedophilia. Even as a throwaway comment the myth needs busting.

The supernatural appearance of two missing children in the mural leads Owen and Toshiko to consider what happened long ago in their Cardiff Torchwood career when faeries were stealing children. The occasional flashback to old storylines does no harm. It keeps these stories within the framework of Torchwood’s first two TV seasons when it all made a bit more sense than it did later.

The little anecdote from Owen about his childhood and his bad relationship with his mother that made him want to grow up fast and leave home rather than being an eternal ‘lost boy’ is another flashback to the way he is portrayed in those two series of Torchwood on TV. The reason why he was so unhappy at home was never really explored. I should probably dig into it some time.

Owen’s lack of a strong mother figure in his life isn’t just a throwaway piece of padding. His experience is a counterpoint to the two strong mothers in Torchwood Glasgow – Toshiko and Shona. And mothers are the key to this story. Shona is pulled into the mural because she IS a mother. But she isn’t exactly what the lost boys want. She is a reluctant mother who cares for her own child but has no interest in other children. Toshiko would be a better choice. The way I have portrayed her since Etsuko was born she is much closer to the idealised ‘Wendy’ mother that the Lost Boys would want.

Fortunately, they don’t need her to do that. They meet Natalie, instead, twin sister of Nathan who is already one of the Lost Boys. Grown up, lonely Natalie is happy to go back to Neverland and be the Wendy-mother. Ok, it is an unashamedly sentimental ending to the story. But it’s Christmas. That’s what everyone wants at Christmas. Happy endings.

Buchanan Street TARDIS