It's a funny thing to think that I never used to feel the cold. No, that's not entirely true. I felt it, but it bothered me less. Winter used to be my favourite time of year; building snow-men with Father, snow-ball fights with Peter, the squeals Lucy used to make when I tipped fresh snow down the back of her neck... it all seems so far away now. So long ago.
I feel the cold now. In fact, I don't think I've ever felt this cold. Strange... I never knew what the grown-ups meant by 'bitterly cold'. How could it be bitter? It's a feeling, not a taste! At least, that's what I used to think. I know better now. You see, I've felt it. Aching, biting, gnawing cold. A cold that goes beyond freezing. It gets inside you, cuts through you, takes you apart from the inside out. Every breath hurts as it stings away at your lungs... making every breath sour. Bitter, even.
Not too dissimilar to poisoned Turkish Delight, I find myself thinking somewhat ruefully.
In a way, some small part of me is actually glad of the cold. As I sit here, hugging my knees, waiting for her to come back, I feel terribly sorry for myself. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that I have next to no right to feel sorry for myself, but every need to feel sorry for my actions. And I am, oh, how I am. For the first time in... I can't remember how long! How sad to think that... For the first time in, well, years, I guess, I wish my family was here. And the cold, in its way, reminds me of what I have done, what brought me here. And that small part of me is glad, because the cold has brought me to terms with the saddest fact of my existence.
I deserve this. And so much more. I look at my skin, see the ghostly blue-green colour it has taken on from the glow of the ice around me, and I find it a fitting metaphor. A visible sign of the taint within. For my surroundings mirror precisely what I have been toward my family. Cold, distant, almost alien. I had cut myself off from them for the stupidest reason of all; I had believed that, if I let go of them now, distanced myself deliberately and forcefully, then it wouldn't hurt when they left of their own accord. Like Father did when he went away to war. Like Peter...
No. Peter never left. It wasn't his fault, he's only human after all... I couldn't expect him to be there for me all the time. But when he wasn't, it hurt all the same...
I had been so afraid. But you had comforted me, just like you always did. You pulled me close, told me you loved me, that you would look out for me. And I believed you, and trusted you, and though I would never admit it to you, I loved you more then than at any other point in my life. Standing there, in the prickling grey mass of my new uniform, feeling so very small in the face of my new school, your words gave me hope.
Those hopes had been dashed mere hours later. Some of the older boys had asked me for my lunch money, and I had said no. I had told them defiantly that you would come, and then they would be sorry. But they just laughed. And you never came.
The first blow did more than split my lip and knock me down. It broke my faith in you. Because, like the angry, spoilt child that I am, I let it. I was angry because my brother, my Peter, hadn't come to my rescue. And I realised then that you weren't perfect. You were no longer my hero, the perfect brother I had believed you to be. My anger blinded me to everything else, and like so many things it became easier in the end to just continue with it, rather than admit to a mistake and change. And because of that, every time I failed to match up to the standard you set, every time I failed where you succeeded, I began to hate you more and more... Almost as much as I hated myself.
I see, now, the error of my ways. And I wish I could take it all back, every angry word, every spiteful act...
I wish I could hold Lucy in my arms just one more time. I wish I could tell her how much she means to me, that she is summer to my winter, that her endless happiness is one of the things in this life I envied most. That I had been cruel to her, made her miserable, to bring her down to my level. Because I knew, deep down, that I could never reach hers.
I miss Susan so much. I miss her warm smile and gentle touch, ever present, ever comforting. Even when she nagged at me, somewhere inside I knew that she only ever tried to be so smart because she loved us, that she wanted to protect us from all the unseen dangers of the world. I had resented her so much for that, thrown so much scorn and sarcasm at her for her efforts. And now I wish with all my heart that I could hear her voice one more time. Even if it was just for her to nag at me.
But most of all, I wish I could see Peter. Just for a little while. To have just one chance to tell him how sorry I am, to tell him that I know now why he snaps at me the way he does. It's because he never lost faith in me, the way I lost faith in him. Every time I do something spiteful, every time I talk back to Mum or tease Lucy, every time I shout at him or Susan to leave me alone, that they aren't my parents, it hurts him. It's like every word has taken a knife blade to his heart. Because he still sees, beneath all the hurt and anger and childish hate that I have become, the Edmund that was. His little brother.
And, were I allowed just one single regret before the end, it would be this: that I never told him that I was sorry for all I had done. That I knew, in my heart, that he didn't deserve my anger, because he hadn't done anything wrong. That it had all been me, my selfishness, my pride. And I would tell him that I loved him so very, very much, that he was still the one I looked up to. Still my hero. And most of all, I would apologise for not being the brother I should have been.
My short time here, in this cell, has changed me, though I probably don't realise just how much. It has shown me the error of my ways, the sin that I will have to pay for, probably sooner rather than later, and it has taught me that I have missed so much of the joy that life has presented to me. I have learnt a new appreciation for all that I took for granted. And I have even learnt two new definitions of 'cold'.
Cold can indeed be bitter, and not just in the literal sense. Winter can be spiteful, hateful even, because it can not support life the way that the other seasons can. It can have beauty, yes, a certain cold majesty, but it can never know vibrancy or joy like the others. And, in it's own way, it seeks bitterly to destroy all that it touches, all the warmth that it can never possess.
Just like her.
I can hear her voice, shouting orders to her servants. She seems to be calling for an army to be raised, her orders are so many, though I can't hear her words clearly. But I can hear the anger in her voice, the hate, and it chills me anew that it is directed toward my family. The beavers had mentioned that my family were held as a shining hope for summer after an endless winter, for freedom from cold tyranny. As I listen to the sounds of the Witch and her dwarf coming closer, listen to her voice that is warm as winter's kiss, I know that she intends to destroy them. And so, I make a pledge.
If, by God's grace, I ever get away from this place, if the powers that be see fit to let me see my family once more, this I promise. That I will do all in my power to right the wrongs I have done. I vow that I will do anything, everything, to heal the wounds I have caused, that I will fight to my last breath to repair all that I can. And at this moment I swear that, if it is what fate requires of me, I will lay down my life for them. No more mistakes. No more regrets.
As I look down at the meal that has been left for me, a frozen cup of water and a stale lump of bread, it appears for all the world that my redemption will be a long time coming...
Author's Notes: I own nothing of this world, nor the characters that reside within. They all belong to C. S. Lewis first and foremost, a true master of the writer's art. After that, it belongs to whoever owns the copyright, I guess.
It is, however, a truly wonderful place in which to play...
Sorry if this was perhaps a little darker than some would like. And I apologise if Edmund's thought processes here are perhaps a little more involved or mature than would be feasible. This is all really based on an observation that the actor who played Ed in the film (Skandar Keynes, bless his cotton socks, did a pretty good job, I feel) looked truly miserable in the dungeon scene. And I got thinking as to what went through the character's mind while he was down there. This is the result. I hope I didn't get too carried away!
Any thoughts/criticisms/flames/questions are very much welcome. I'm hoping to post a couple of stories in this fandom, and would love to know what you think of my first attempt at Narniafic. So please review, it always means a lot! Bye for now...