Author's Note: I have a good feeling about this one. I wrote this at 12 in the morning and it was sort of a spur of the moment thing. I just had sudden inspiration, I guess.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything you recognize.
Susan Pevensie is numb.
She stands, frozen, in the crisp autumn air as she watches nine wooden caskets being lowered into earth. She is vaguely aware of someone playing a sad tune on an organ in the distance but everything is muted. She saw nothing in her mind's eye except the smooth, polished wood of the coffins. She has a strong, uncontrollable urge to stop this whole ghastly thing, to open those horrible wooden boxes, to scream and shake them, 'Why did you leave me? How could this have happened?'
But she doesn't.
Everyone around her are bending their heads down in silence to pay respect. There aren't many people at the funeral, just a few close relatives, neither which Susan is close to. She has a vague memory of a fat, pudgy woman standing a little distance from her, bawling her head off, drenching a handkerchief that she brought along. In fact, almost everyone around her is sniffling.
Babies, Susan thinks. What are they crying about? They didn't even know them well.
Her own eyes stay dry.
She knows what they are saying about her behind her back, that she didn't care about her siblings at all, or Mother and Father, or Aunt Polly and Professor Kirke. Susan doesn't care anymore. Nothing in this world matters anymore.
She remembers the eulogy Father Harlem gave a few moments ago. Mostly he rambled on about how tragic this incident was, how sudden that nearly a hundred lives had been taken because of this railway accident. He described everyone, saying that Father had been a good man and a good husband, and that Mother was a good mother and had raised four kids good and proper. He told them about the works of Professor Kirke, the numerous books he had written over the course of his life and of Aunt Polly, the jolly old woman that every child living on the same street as her had grown to love her.
He also spoke of her siblings.
Susan could not bear to hear about them anymore. Hadn't she been hurt enough already? She tuned out Father Harlem's voice and instead focused on the scenery around her. The funeral service was held in a small graveyard near the very English countryside that Professor Kirke had once lived in, that rambling mansion Susan had loved so much. She had abruptly noticed a rundown ruin in the distance, and she was going to look at it properly but then it was time.
Time for final goodbyes.
She looks at the coffins once more, and they have almost disappeared under the dirt. She tries not to think about the fact that nine people she had loved most in this world were leaving her.
She could not stand it anymore.
So she ran.
Susan abruptly turns on her heel and walks out the sprawling gates of the graveyard, unaware of where she was heading, where she was going. Anywhere was better than there.
She hears shouts, calls behind her, saying, 'Come back, Susie!' It's Susan, Susan thinks but she does not correct those strangers, instead she hurries on. The cold air stings her face and she feels cleansed. Her black mourning dress flaps in the breeze and she feels free, freer than ever.
She realizes that she is heading in the direction of the ruins she spotted just now, during the eulogy. Her shoes click-clack on the smooth gravel ground as she nears the ruins. She enters a field and leaves crunch pleasantly under her heels. In a few minutes, she's standing in front of what was once, Susan was sure, a large mansion.
With a painful jolt that sends Susan gasping, she realizes that this is the house, Professor Kirke's mansion. Susan stands for a long time, looking at the ruins of the mansion, trying to suppress all those memories, those painful thoughts that are sure to send her sprawling to the ground, broken.
She takes one hesitant step forward, unsure why she was entering this potentially dangerous site. No one knew she was here. If one of those unstable boards collapsed, her body would be lost, nowhere to be found.
But I will join them, this particular thought burst into Susan's mind, and she feels a rush of pure joy, and for a moment she is content with the idea of joining them again, to be able to bask in each others' being there, to feel again.
But eventually, her joy dies down, and she tells herself that she is being unreasonable, that they were dead, and she could do nothing to bring them back.
But had nothing, she was nothing without them, a ghost of her former self. Susan throws all her doubts away, and ventures into the dust.
The stairs are still there, and Susan has brief flashes of the four of them running up and down the stairs, giggling and laughing madly, unaware of the horrors the future would bring.
She places a hand on the banister and closes her eyes. Her heart thumps madly and she allows herself to access to more memories, something she hadn't done in a long, long time. A flying cricket ball, shattering glass, a crying Lucy (Susan's heart jerked hard and her grip tightened), and smooth wood.
Her eyes are wide open again and she places one foot on the first step, after finding that it is sound, she slowly climbs the stairs.
The stairs groan as they try to support her weight. Susan hastily stumbles up the last few steps and breathes heavily. She removes the black veil shrouding her face and disposes of it on the dusty floor. She surveys her surroundings.
Part of the second landing is gone, and Susan looks upward at the sky. It is a clear blue. She slowly explores each nook and cranny and finds the Professor's study, Mrs. Mcready's room and their own room when they were staying here. She studies this all, pretending that these places mean nothing at all to her. Her hands are covered with grit from touching bedspreads and opening moth-eaten curtains to let in light.
She arrives at a hallway. This hallway, she notices with some surprise, is unblemished and nearly perfect. She chooses the door closest to her, holds the dull gold doorknob tight and turns.
What she sees causes Susan to drop to her knees.
A magnificent wardrobe in a spare room. A large cloth, virgin white is draped over it. It still looks exactly like Susan remembers. But she doesn't want to remember. Not ever.
The wardrobe seems to smile at her, greeting an old friend.
Susan's whole frame shakes violently and tears spring to her eyes. She picks herself off the grimy floor. Her legs are wobbly and are barely able to support her.
She hurries out of the room and looks at it one last time.
That was her undoing.
What was she doing? She couldn't walk away now, not when it might be lying just a few yards away from her. Behind fur coats, was paradise.
And she was walking away.
She had to say it.
'Narnia.' she manages, and this is the first time in five years she has uttered the word. 'Oh, Aslan.'
These words are like a medicine to her, and once more she is healed. She stands upright, and eagerly makes her way to the wardrobe. She slowly caresses the cloth, wanting to savor every moment, the moment she returned to her homeland once more. She thought about her siblings, yes, she could say their names now, and she could say them for how many times she wanted, so she did.
'Peter. Edmund. And oh, dear Lucy. I'm coming home.' she murmurs into the cloth, burying her face into it. Then she slowly pulls it off. She is nearly overwhelmed by the beauty of it. She feels the wood, the feeling of solid wood under her fingers, and her traveling fingers reach the handles.
Susan pulls them open, and is greeted by a myriad of large, fur coats. Susan laughs delightedly and steps inside. She removes her heels, for they are leaving welts on her feet. Anyway, she can now wear the comfortable leather-made sandals in Narnia now, and the flowing dresses made my Narnian maids that she loved so, with material as soft as silk, unlike the scratchy fabric her current dress was made of.
Susan walks slowly, not making any noise. Something rises up in her heart, unadulterated joy that she will finally get to see her parents, her siblings, Trumpkin, maybe even Mr. Tumnus, or even Reepicheep! She gave a small laugh when she thinks of the two foot tall Narnian knight. And Caspian!
Susan sighed with joy, imagining King Caspian the Tenth showering her with kisses upon her return.
Her arms ached when she thought of hugging Lucy, Edmund and Peter. She longed to talk to them through the night again, giggling, just like when they were children. Yes, grown-up Susan, who had wanted to be a grown-up since she was fifteen, was longing to be a child again. She had seen how foolish she was to think that being a grown-up was the best thing that could happen in her life.
Just a few more steps now, she thinks, and no word could describe the joy she was experiencing, the feeling like she was floating on--
Her eager hands feel hard wood at the end of the wardrobe.
Susan's stomach falls.
Her hands look around, feeling for a branch, a leaf, or anything remotely Narnian.
Her breath comes in short ragged gasps now, and the happiness she was feeling earlier are now replaced with mind-blowing panic.
Tears drip down slowly.
Her cheeks burn.
All hope is lost.
The gates of Narnia would not open up to her.
Susan is broken. She slumps down and cries, curling up in a fetal position, weeping like there was no tomorrow. She cries, and there is no one there to comfort here. She cries, for she is alone.
Half and hour later, Susan is sitting on a train. The train station near the ruins were still operating and she catches a train on time. She is receiving odd looks for her disheveled appearance, her bare feet, her ruined makeup. But mostly for the blank look on her face.
She is normal again.
There never was any Narnia, she tells herself.
Suddenly, she finds herself looking at the ruins of a certain mansion outside the train window. She stares for a moment at the building.
She looks away.
Susan Pevensie is numb.
Author's Note: Any feedback? Really hope so… I nearly teared up while writing this.