A continuation of His Dark Materials
Disclaimer: I do not own His Dark Materials nor any of the characters mentioned in Pullman's books that are mentioned here.
Chapter 1: Remembrance
The girl gazed out of the mist covered window, trying to shut out the creak of wheels, the whistling breezes that seemed to be trying to flee from a dreadful fate, but knowing it would come anyway. To her, every sound seemed amplified by a thousand from the weeks of compressed pain and sorrow she had endured. Although she was mad with grief, it never threatened to dampen the fiery personality hidden just behind the wall of sadness. Despair had etched premature lines around her eyes, giving her a tired appearance that was barely hidden behind the dark gold locks that cascaded down around her jawbone.
"Oh, Pan." The pained whisper was heard only by the ball of fur curled in her lap. Her daemon, Pantalaimon, scurried up her arm to nestle near her neck. She sighed, letting out a little hiccup of sadness. But that was all that escaped the barrier within her, except for the single tear that rolled down her cheek onto her pale brown skirt. Of course, the girl tried to keep her grief hidden, and Dame Hannah saw that, and so she said nothing. She'd met the girl years before, but she'd been very different: a young, wild thing that never followed the rules. A few weeks previously, she'd returned to Jordan College from a long journey. Dame Hannah had offered her a place at her boarding school and she had accepted.
A little gasp escaped the girl, which she quickly turned into a cough. Pantalaimon comforted her as best he could, but it was no use. She ached down to her very bones. They both did. She could feel a familiar pressure building inside her chest, it visited her frequently. The figure of Dame Hannah, sitting in front of her, was the only thing holding back the cry of utter helplessness and remorse she would have screamed to the heavens with all the strength she could muster.
Suddenly, the coach lurched sideways. It bumped and rocked, throwing the Lyra from her seat. She had ridden many creatures, including armored bears and mulefa, but nothing had prepared her for this. She scrambled back up only to be thrown once more to the cold, wood floor. There she stayed, huddled under the small window.
"Don't fret now, dear. We'll be arriving shortly." Dame Hannah helped Lyra up and them seated herself firmly on the opposite leather bench.
The pine martin, Pantalaimon, nuzzled Lyra's neck; his wet nose rubbing against her trembling jawbone.
"Oh, Pan." She whispered again as she stroked his red-gold fur. Another tear rolled quietly down her face.
Two days previously, and worlds away, in his Oxford, Will walked down the sidewalk and sat at an empty bus stop. His daemon, Kirjava, jumped to his lap, invisible to curious eyes. He stroked the cat, twining his fingers in her lustrous, dark fur. He had been visiting the Botanic Garden everyday he could manage. Once there, he'd talk to his imaginary Lyra, who was always sitting next to him, listening intently. But today had been special, for Lyra would have been there too, on mid-summer day.
He had no idea how long he'd been there, but he didn't care. All that mattered was that he'd gone, ljust as he had promised Lyra, and she him. The bus came into view from around the corner. He rose to his feet. Kirijava jumped gracefully to the pavement and followed Will, whose fists were clenched, head bowed to hide his tear-streaked face.