It has been AGES since I've updated, and I'm really sorry. Year Nine is so hectic! Teachers going ballistic cos I miss their classes for music and stuff, two hours more of school on Thursdays, tons more homework, lots of lunchtime meetings, having our first MUSIC RECITALS eek, and tons of other stuff going on, as well as Grease rehearsals scheduled so tightly we don't seem to be able to blink without missing something...anyways, it's hectic. As you can see. This term Grease finishes, thank God, but this term is also our in-house (well, in-school really) music eisteddfod, and I'm competing in about fifty different things for that - solo, competing with vocal ensemble, duet with one friend, trio with another, plus two choirs on top of that...ah well. It'll be fun. However, I will not be able to write as frequently, and due to the fact my computer ATE MY STORY (grrr...four chapters gone! Four!) as well as eating my scores (Sibelius...AARGH! Two compositions and a transposition gone!), this is the first chapter I've been able to get properly written and beta'ed. Thank you once again to my wonderful beta bookworm2111 (thanks, Booky) for nudging me along and for letting me cry on your shoulder several times this term...hope you enjoyed the Lindt!
Anyways, here's a new chappie for your enjoyment. Hope you had a great Easter (lots of choccie...yum. Lots of breakouts...ugh) and hope you have a great holiday! (What's left of it, anyways...)
Lots of love,
That night Elizabeth was woken by a loud clamour. Grabbing her threadbare blue dressing gown, she ran along the passage, where Lucy was busy waking up Peter and Susan. Edmund, sulky-faced, trailed behind.
'Peter! Peter! Wake up, Peter! Wake up! It's there, it's really there!' she cried, bouncing up and down on Peter's bed. Elizabeth rubbed her eyes as she entered the room.
'Lucy, what are you talking about?' Peter mumbled, turning over.
'Narnia, it's all in the wardrobe like I told you!' Lucy said excitedly.
'Lucy, you've been dreaming,' Susan said, tying her robe.
'But I haven't! I saw Mr Tumnus again! And this time Edmund went too!'
Peter sat up, staring at Edmund. The boy wriggled uncomfortably under Peter's questioning gaze, and the hard, steady grey eyes that belonged to Elizabeth. She was curious to see whether he would own up to it.
'You...you saw the Faun?' Peter said, his voice husky from sleep.
Edmund looked around uncomfortably and shook his head.
'Well...he didn't actually go there with me,' Lucy said, getting up. Peter's gaze was sceptical. Lucy turned slowly to face Edmund, her brow wrinkled. 'What were you doing, Edmund?' she asked, her voice questioning.
Elizabeth's gaze sharpened as he drew breath. This was the moment of truth.
'I was...just...playing along,' he said finally. Lucy turned to look at Peter, her eyes bewildered.
'Sorry, Peter,' Edmund said, more confident now. This was ground that had been first trodden long ago. 'I shouldn't have encouraged her...but...you know what little children are like these days. They just don't know when to stop pretending,' he said maliciously, settling back on the bed.
Elizabeth's gaze burnt into him as Lucy sobbed and ran from the room. Liz was furious now, and they all knew it. Peter drew a half-breath at the rage in her eyes as she looked around the room. Susan was frightened at the stormy depths of the girl's eyes. Edmund, however, was whole-heartedly afraid of the girl at that moment; her eyes blazing like coals of grey fire. He was very glad when she turned and went after Lucy, even though their eyes had only met for a moment.
Susan glared at him in disgust as she went by. Peter shook his head, threw back the bed-clothes, grabbed his dressing-gown and shoved Edmund out of the way, throwing him back on the bed. Edmund's indignant 'Ow!' went unnoticed.
Lucy ran up a flight of stairs, sobbing. She had been betrayed in one of the worst ways possible, although she did not know it herself. Elizabeth, however, did, and was filled with pity for the little girl.
Lucy ran into something plump and soft. Drawing back a little, she looked up and realised it was the dreaded Professor. Too distraught to care, however, she threw her arms around him with a sob and pressed her face into his scarlet waistcoat.
Elizabeth reached the stairs first and stopped, staring. Peter and Susan reached it seconds after her to see the plump, slightly eccentric-looking Professor, looking surprised to find a little girl attaching herself to him in the middle of the night.
'You children are one shenanigan shy of sleeping in the stables!' an angry voice said. Elizabeth winced. Mrs Macready.
The housekeeper came out and stopped in her tracks, taking the situation in with a glance. 'Professor,' she said, her voice low. 'I'm sorry. I've told them you were not to be disturbed,' she said, giving Elizabeth a glare from her lowered eyes. The girl returned it in full force.
'Oh, it's all right, Mrs Macready, I'm sure there's an explanation,' the Professor said in a voice that sounded as bewildered as he looked. He detached Lucy from his middle gently and led her towards Mrs Macready. 'But first I think this one is in need of a little hot chocolate.'
'Come along, dear,' Mrs Macready said softly, leading Lucy towards the kitchens. Elizabeth's eyes softened.
Peter and Susan turned to go. The Professor turned and saw them; he cleared his throat expectantly. 'A-hem.' Elizabeth had not moved.
The Professor filled the bowl of a well-polished briar pipe with tobacco, his deft fingers taking pinches of the well-scented tobacco from a small jar. 'You seem to have upset the delicate internal balance of my housekeeper,' he said inquiringly.
'We're really very sorry, sir. It won't happen again,' Peter said, tugging at Susan's sleeve to lead her out of the Professor's private study. Elizabeth stayed put stubbornly, arms folded across her chest.
'It's our sister, sir,' Susan said. 'Lucy.'
'The weeping girl,' the Professor said.
'Yes sir. She's upset.'
'Hence the weeping.'
'It's nothing, sir. We can handle it,' Peter cut in, obviously wishing to be elsewhere, and fast.
'Oh, I can see that,' the Professor said mildly. The corner of Elizabeth's mouth twitched suspiciously.
'She thinks she's found a magical land. In the upstairs wardrobe,' Susan said, making a clean breast of it.
The Professor stopped. He got up and came around his desk, his twinkling eyes intent. 'What did you say?' he asked in astonishment, taking Susan's sleeve and leading her to the sofa.
'In the wardrobe. Upstairs,' Peter said reluctantly, following his sister. 'Lucy thinks she's found a forest inside.'
'She won't stop going on about it!' Susan said.
'What was it like?' the Professor said, intent on information.
'Like talking to a lunatic!' Susan said.
'No, no, no, not her, the forest,' the Professor said impatiently.
'You're not saying you believe her!' Peter said in disbelief.
'I do,' said Elizabeth, her words sharp. Peter and Susan stared at her before sharing a disbelieving glance. She returned their stare, her eyes steady.
'And you don't?' the Professor said, ignoring this exchange.
'Well, of course not,' Susan said uncertainly. 'I mean, logically, it's impossible.'
'What do they teach in schools these days?' the Professor murmured, shaking his head sadly.
'Edmund said they were only pretending,' Peter said, trying to bring the conversation back to a semblance of normality.
'And he's usually the more truthful one, is he?' the Professor demanded.
'No...this would be the first time,' Peter said reluctantly.
'Well, if she's not mad, and she's not lying, then logically,' he shook his pipe at Susan, 'she must be telling the truth,' he finished as he lit his pipe.
'You're saying, sir, that we should just...believe her?' Peter said.
'She's your sister, isn't she? You're her family! You might just try acting like one!' the Professor said, giving them a sharp glance over the bowl of his pipe.
Elizabeth slipped out of bed; pulling her threadbare slippers onto her feet and pulling a jumper close around her shoulders. The nights were not warm in the old house, and where she was intending to go, it was even colder.
She lit her bedside candle and crept along the passage, past Peter and Edmund's rooms, past Susan and Lucy's rooms, up along a flight of stairs, across the landing, down another set of stairs, around a corner, up another, and came to a latched door. She lifted the latch and went inside.
The wardrobe stood at the far end of the room, just like she had known it would. It was cold and dark in the room, and the wind rattled at the windowpanes. She approached it, shivering in the dark cold of the bleak, unfurnished room.
She lifted the latch of the wardrobe door and stepped inside, her brow wrinkled in uncertainty. Her mouth turned up in a joyful smile as she felt a gust of cold air that made her shiver. Blowing the candle out and leaving it on the floor, she stepped into the wardrobe, eager to get back to Narnia, to the world of ice and snow, to the world she had dreamed of for so long.
This time it was even quieter than the first time. There was a deadly calm over the land, one that chilled the girl. She pulled her jumper close around her, looking around with wide, frightened eyes. This was not the Narnia she had first come to.
'What's wrong? What's happened? Please talk to me,' she whispered on an impulse. 'Talk to me. Please, wing-friend. Come out to me.'
The bird that had saved her life before fluttered out of a tree and perched on her outstretched hand. She preened it with a single, gentle finger, admiring the glossy feathers. 'Hello, little one,' she whispered. 'What's afoot?'
It looked up at her with one beady eye and shivered, performing a reshuffling of its feathers. The little wren let out a frightened chirp.
Suddenly everything seemed to compress, while remaining the same. A wind rushed past and through her, playing havoc with the loose hair that spilled down her back. She looked around, frightened, and caught her breath as six white reindeer pounded towards her.
Behind the reindeer was a little gnarled man-creature. And behind the creature was a sled, harnessed to the reindeer.
In the sled was the woman she had seen before; the one that had so terrified her; the one who had nearly caught her. The woman with the aura of evil.
Her eyes focused on Elizabeth, in her navy-blue jumper and red and white striped pyjamas, the girl's white-gold hair spilling down her back. 'Ginarrbrik!' she called loudly.
Elizabeth turned to run, but the woman nodded to the dwarf. He sprang after her and pushed her down, holding a knife to her throat. She drew a shuddering breath and fell silent, terrified of the sharp blade.
'Who are you?' the woman asked sharply.
'Lisa…' Elizabeth quavered. 'Lisa Lewetts.'
'And how did you come to be in my kingdom, Lisa Lewetts?'
'The land of Narnia, you doltish girl!' the woman said sharply. 'I am the Queen of Narnia, Queen Jadis.'
'Please, your Highness, may I get up?' the girl pleaded.
'Come and sit with me, Lisa Lewetts. I wish to know more about you,' Jadis said, holding an arm out so her furs draped invitingly, tantalising the cold and shivering girl.
Elizabeth hesitated. She had thought quickly enough to give the woman a false name, but had not thought further than that. But she had two choices; stay with this woman, whom she instinctively disliked, or run back to her world, in which case she risked leading this woman through the wardrobe.
Involuntarily, her mind flicked back to all the times her parents and brothers had insulted and hurt her throughout her childhood.
You're a lying little bitch! Turnips aren't that much...What did you buy with the extra, you little thief?
Take that, you miserable little excuse for a human...
You cook it now or you won't eat for a week...
Give me my shoes, girl, and make sure they're clean, or you won't sit down for a month, the beating I'll give you...
You? Friends? I'll give you friends! Take that, you lying little weasel, and that for every one of your imaginary friends! Filthy bastard...
Get out! Get out of my sight...
Give me those scissors, I'll hack off that hair of yours, my fine lady, and we'll have no more of this comb business, wretch, you don't deserve hair in the first place, only real people have hair like yours...
Give it to me! Give it to me now! You stole it! My word, you'll have a right beating from the police when they bring you down to the courthouse, my girl...
Lying, thieving, filthy, wretched, miserable, lazy little bitch! I'll see that you pay for that! I'll cane every penny out of you! One stroke of the cane for every single penny you took...ten pounds...a hundred strokes...you won't sleep easy for a month, my fine lady...
My fine lady...
My fine lady...
My fine lady...
Elizabeth blinked. Her mother's eyes had flashed before her, in every moment when she had been beaten, cursed, punished and dismissed. The same hard look that was in the Witch's eyes now.
'Lisa?' the White Witch said again, holding out her furs invitingly.
Elizabeth looked up at her, half-startled by her presence. She turned and ran; back towards the lamp post, back towards the wardrobe, back towards freedom and safety in her world. She heard the Witch's shout of command and dwarf-man's snarl of rage and hate as he pursued her, and quickened her pace, her heart thumping.
She reached the lamp post relatively quickly. Gasping for breath, she threw herself down and under the bushes, wriggling back through the wardrobe, pulling at the coats to push herself through more quickly.
Elizabeth scrambled to her feet and half-fell, half-ran out of the wardrobe, slamming the door behind her. Panting, she stared at it, before she tore back to her room and locked herself in, heart hammering in her chest, blood thundering in her ears, hair tangled and wild about her face, her cheeks flushed. Her eyes were wide, dilated with the mad fear she had felt in the presence of the Witch. She threw herself on her bed and buried her head in the pillow, trying to drive away the fear that still haunted her stomach and drummed patterns on the inside of her skull.
The next day, she was up early, not having slept. Peter and Susan were up early as well, and were unnerved by her wide eyes and pale face. She looked fragile and delicate, like a piece of blown glass, lighter than a butterfly's wing. Her lips were tightly pressed together, a thin line on her face. Her eyes stared out, the only points of colour, grey matching the rain outside. She looked as frail and insubstantial as a bubble, floating delicately in the air.
Before it dissipated into nothing.