CHAPTER 2: A FAUN'S FANCY

The rain thundered on the window angrily, and poor little Lucy looked out of it, very put out. Edmund was lying under the coffee table, carving something into it, and Susan, Peter, and I, sat gathered on the sofa and chair, Susan with a dictionary open on her lap. We were all bored, of course, but none of us could be bothered to try and find something to do.

"Gastro vascular." Susan read with difficulty. Neither Peter nor I responded. "Come on, you two, gastro vascular." Peter sighed.

"Is it… Latin?"

"Yes." Susan answered. Edmund appeared from under the table.

"Is it Latin for 'Worst game ever invented'?" Susan sneered at him and Peter rolled his eyes.

"Oh, hush up, Ed." I said, putting my hand on my forehead.

"Don't tell me to hush up; you've only known me for two days." He replied, grumpily. Lucy stood up and came over to Peter's chair, resting her arms on it.

"We could play hide and seek!" She pointed out, hopefully. Peter and Susan exchanged looks, then with me.

"But we're already having so much fun." Peter tried, too lazy to play.

"Oh, come on, Peter, please?" Lucy pouted adorably.

"One… two… three…" Peter began, and Lucy grinned, happily, and ran to find a hiding spot. Peter stood up and leaned against the wall, his eyes covered, still counting. Susan and I smiled and stood up, along with Edmund, and went to find a hiding place. Susan hid in a trunk in the hallway, but I continued running on. Ed hid behind a curtain, and Lucy clambered into the cabinet next to him. I couldn't think of the best place to hide, so I kept going. I burst into an unknown room, and all of a sudden, got a chill. The room was completely empty and shrouded with a thin layer of dust. The rain became silent, although it still poured down steadily. Across the room, was a large, rectangle structure hidden by a white curtain. My curiosity got the better of me, and I shut the door, silencing Peter's muffled counting of, "Seventy-two, seventy-three…" I moved slowly across the room, mystified by this hidden treasure that loomed up magnificently before me. With one smooth motion, I pulled the curtain off, revealing a beautiful, dark brown, carved wooden wardrobe. 'A perfect hiding place!' I thought to myself, and opened it slowly. All that was in there were a bunch of large, extravagant fur coats. A few mothballs tumbled out as I climbed in, my head still poking out of the wardrobe. I always liked testing my fears, the dark being one of them; so foolishly, I slowly closed the wardrobe door. Surprisingly, I could still see. A bluish light filled the cupboard. Curiously, I backed further away from the door, supposing the light was coming through cracks in the hinges perhaps. My arms outstretched behind me, I expected to feel the smooth feel of the back of the wardrobe, but it didn't come. Another row of coats came, and another, and then something prickly and cold touched my hand. I drew it back and spun around in shock. A large, green tree branch was directly in front of my face. Confused and annoyed, I pushed it out of the way and continued forward, stumbling and falling. Instead of wood, I felt soft, cold, powdery snow. I stood up quickly, so as not to soak my white, button up blouse and red swing skirt through. Looking around, I was so shocked, I nearly fell back down. For I was no longer in a wardrobe, but a wood, with a steady snowfall tumbling down around me. It looked to be mid afternoon, and further along in the clearing stood a tall, glimmering lamppost. Completely astonished at the new world around me, I made my way to the lamppost, smiling, looking around, and trying to take everything in about me. I looked up at the glimmering flame inside the lamp, but my muses were interrupted by the cracking sound of footsteps on snow approaching. Wheeling around, I looked for the source of the sound, but when I spied nothing, I began to get frightened. I grabbed the lamppost and peered around. The footsteps became louder and quicker, and I frantically looked around. A figure appeared out of the wood, and we both shrieked, startled to see each other. I darted behind the post, and the unknown figure hid, terrified behind a tree, dropping the many brown paper wrapped parcels he was toting. I could see, behind the tree, the corners of an old, brown umbrella poking out from behind the tree. Curiously, I came out from behind the post and approached him slowly. He poked his head, nervously out from behind the tree, and, upon seeing me coming towards him, did a double take and slowly emerged from behind the tree. He had a bare torso and a fit, muscled chest. He also had dirty blonde hair in curly tendrils, bright, sparkling brown eyes, a small goatee, and some small horns poking out from his head. The oddest part was that below the waist, he had the feet of a goat. I bent down and picked up the nearest parcel. He stuttered. I looked at him, inquisitively.

"Were you… hiding from me?" I asked him.

"Er – " He stuttered again, frantically, nervously picking up his scattered parcels. "No, I – I, uh… No, I was just…I didn't w-want to… to scare you, that's all." He stood up. I handed him his last parcel and he took it, cautiously.

"I don't mean to be rude," I said to him, "But… what are you?"

"Well, I'm a faun!" Said the faun. "And you must be some sort of… very tall, beardless dwarf?"

"I'm not a dwarf! I'm a girl!"

Then he seemed to remember his manners. "Oh, do forgive me. My name is Tumnus."

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Tumnus! My name is Roseline Hawthorne." I extended my hand to him. He looked at it, then back to me, curiously. "Oh, you shake it."

"Um… why?" He asked, as though this was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard.

"I…" I thought a moment. "I don't know! It's what people do when they meet each other." He smiled and took my hand, quivering it, quickly. We both laughed.

"Miss Roseline." He gave a small bow, and then looked up, delicately. "Are you, by any chance… a Daughter of Eve?"

"Well," I answered, completely confused. "My mother's name was Christine…"

"No, yes, I know, but you are… actually… in fact… human?"

"Well of course I'm human!" I answered him, confused. He thought for a minute, looking totally in awe.

"Well, Miss Roseline –"

"Please, call me Rose." He smiled, happily.

"Miss Rose, how would you like to take tea with me?" He said it so eagerly, it was almost impossible to say no.

"Oh… Dear Mr. Tumnus, I would very much like to, but I should probably return home. My friends will be wondering where I am."

"Your friends? How many?" Such an odd question.

"Well, four. Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter." This seemed to strike him as very interesting, but he pushed it to the back of his mind.

"Oh, please, do come. There'll be toast… and tea… and cakes… and, we might even break into the sardines." He said, a mischievous glint in his eye. I laughed. "Please. It's not every day I get to make a new friend." He looked at me so pleadingly, I had to go along.