Hello! As you've probably guessed from the description; this a modern retelling of my favourite Narnia story: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
If you are overly faithful to the books and do not wish to read a gritty, alternative, realistic (at first, of course!), character-altering version of one of your favourite stories, do not read on. I do not wish to cause offence by perhaps treading into taboo territory for those of you that find interest in the more faith-orientated parts of the book; which I will include, but do in new ways.
Hopefully you'll enjoy, I enjoyed writing it.
Chapter One: First Blood
Peter awoke in a cold sweat, sitting up and surveying the room; there were no signs of damage. But the piercing screams that echoed through his home said otherwise.
24 hours earlier.
"Morning" Peter said grumpily as he opened the front door, Susan was there, as usual; at five o'clock in the morning.
"Hi" Susan replied, for someone so intelligent, she didn't say much. She slowly started to slip upstairs.
"You're welcome" Peter hissed, not wanting to wake up their Mother. He stalked his way back upstairs, hoping to get a few more hours in.
"Paul… Paul…" he heard on the landing, the sound was coming from his Mother's room. She never slept peacefully. Ever since their Father had been killed in Irag three years earlier, the nightmares just kept coming. Peter slowly walked into the room, watching as his Mother tossed and turned. He gently touched her arm, she jolted upright, looking completely insane as she did so.
"Oh… Peter… I'm so sorry." she said, he found her like this every morning. She apologised the same way, every time.
"Don't worry Mum, it was just a bad dream." Peter replied, she got out of bed and walked downstairs, without another word. She had never been the same since he died. From nowhere, Lucy came and leant against the door frame, Peter had never noticed but slowly she was becoming a woman. At only fifteen she already had the curves and the figure, her hair was tousled and her makeup freshly applied. He wasn't sure if he liked it.
"Bad dreams?" she asked, twitching slightly.
"Yep… more." Peter replied. He pulled his dressing gown belt, drawing both sides together. He was cold.
"I wish we could fix her." Lucy said, Peter thought he could see tears brimming in her eyes. He quickly edged forward, pulling Lucy into one of his big bear hugs. She had always appreciated them, ever since she was a little girl.
"Shh… it's okay… it'll all be okay." Peter said, kissing her on the head.
"Oh God what's wrong with you two?" Edmund asked, running his hands through his thick black mop of hair.
"Shut up" Lucy replied, pushing past him and slamming her bedroom door.
"You can't just stop can you?" Peter asked Edmund, who looked outraged.
"It was just a joke! I know it was Mum." Edmund spat.
"Whatever Ed, just get dressed, breakfast'll be ready in a bit. You know what she's like." Peter was right, their Mother had always insisted they eat breakfast together. Even Susan kept her promise, the wayward daughter.
"Breakfast!" their Mother called from downstairs, Peter listened from his bedroom as he heard Lucy, Susan and Edmund's racing footsteps. It was always a military operation. He chuckled to himself, changing into his favourite hoodie and a pair of jeans. He reached into the jacket he wore yesterday, stuffing his pack of cigarettes into a pocket. He had kept it a secret from his Mother, who despised smoking.
"Isn't this nice?" Mother asked as they sat around the table, a six seated rectangular thing. The seat was always empty, as they all knew too well.
"Thanks Mum" Lucy said, smiling at her Mother, who looked at her adoringly. Putting a hand on her chin as if she was surveying a work of art.
"So beautiful." Mother said, smiling proudly. "If only you didn't wear so much make up."
"It's fashion Mum." Lucy replied, smirking and rolling her eyes at Peter. He smiled back.
"Well I'm far too out of touch to know anything about all that." She said, continuing eating her fry up.
"So, Susan, how was last night?" Peter asked, Susan shot him daggers. He just smiled serenely. Lucy giggled but pretended it was a cough.
"Oh it was, you know, fun." Susan replied.
"What? The Library?" Edmund asked, Peter laughed loudly, their Mother looked entirely confused.
"Yes, the library. It was great, I read for hours." Susan replied, if this was a few years earlier, that much would be true. But their Father's death had changed them all. Susan, the once mature 'secondary mother figure' was now the rebellious teenager she had sworn she'd never be. Edmund, formerly a very sweet, gentle boy; now a snarky tearaway.
"Sounds riveting." Lucy replied, sipping on her orange juice. Susan aimed a sharp kick her way under the table but hit their Mother by accident. She wailed in pain.
"Who was that?" she asked, looking at each of them intently.
"Me" Susan replied.
"Well why would you do that?" she asked, a look of slight fury in her eyes.
"I was trying to hit Lucy." she replied, smirking at her Mother.
"Get upstairs, now!" her Mother said, standing up, Susan stood up too, they always clashed.
"No" Susan replied. Her Mother slapped her hard across the face.
"Mum" Peter said, standing up, "Calm down." Susan ran upstairs, silent.
The tension in the house was unbearable, Peter walked outside and started smoking a cigarette. He heard the door open, Susan silently stepped over to him, mimicking his stance; leaning on the exterior fence.
"She's such a stupid cow." Susan said.
"No she's not." Peter replied.
"She is. Do you have a cigarette?" she asked. She was looking at him with her big blue eyes, her Father used to call her Doe Eyes.
"Yes." he passed one to her. "Don't tell Mum."
"I won't." Susan replied.
"I've got work in an hour, will you be alright?" Peter asked, looking concernedly at Susan.
"I'll be fine. Just lock myself in my room; like always."
"Don't say that…" Peter said, putting an arm around her. She leant into him.
"It's true. I'm the former genius of the family, the fallen angel." she said, he could see tears forming in her eyes.
"Stop it Susan, none of this is true." he said.
"Whatever. I'm going back in." she said, stubbing out the cigarette and walking back inside. Peter sighed heavily and leant back against the fence, looking up at the sky.
"I wish you were here Dad…"
Lucy heard the front door shut, it meant Peter had gone to work. She sat down on her bed, pulling her laptop off of the bedside table and flipping it open in front of her. It was the same old boring stuff, nothing she cared for. She slammed it shut again. She longed for something to happen, anything, if it would break the monotony of living at home. She longed to be like Susan, to not care, to be able to go out all night and pass it off as a trip to the library. She heard a knock at the door.
"Come in" she said brightly. It was her Mum, she walked over and sat at the end of the bed.
"I'm sorry" she began, putting her hand on Lucy's leg.
"It doesn't matter Mum… forget about it."
"I can't." she said quietly, her lips quivered. Lucy wriggled over to her Mother, putting an arm around her shoulder. Kissing her then tear-stained cheek.
"Susan's just being silly." Lucy said.
"Susan?" she asked.
"Yes Mum, Susan…"
"I'm talking about your Dad." she said, she could barely get the word 'Dad' out. Lucy never spoke about him, unless it was with her Mother.
"Oh…" Lucy said.
"See? This is all I do… ruin things."
"No Mum, no… shh." she said, her Mother leant into Lucy's chest, Lucy put her head on her Mother's, cooing to her like you would to a baby, to soothe it. She had gotten used to this.
"Goodnight Mum" Lucy said, running a hand over her forehead and kissing her on the cheek. Her Mother lay quiet, merely smiling up at Lucy.
"So beautiful." she said, Lucy smiled.
"Night Mum…" she trailed off, shutting the door quietly and switching the light off. She heard the front door open, it was Peter.
"Hello." Lucy said. Peter smiled.
"You alright Lu?" he asked.
"Yeah. Mum's in bed." she walked downstairs and hugged her brother closely. She recoiled slightly, "you stink."
"Oh sorry, long day, you know!"
"Oh… that was Barry, he smokes in the staff room."
"Yeah." Peter replied, walking into the kitchen. "Have you had dinner?"
"Yes, I made it. Susan went out earlier, Edmund's in his room." Lucy replied, starting to walk back upstairs. Peter told her goodnight, she shut her bedroom door. She was tired, she needed some rest. She slowly slipped under her pink bedcovers and closed her eyes. She heard Peter go into his room, carrying a tray of the dinner she had left in the oven for him. The world went black as she slipped into a deep sleep.
Peter awoke in a cold sweat, sitting up and surveying the room; there were no signs of damage. But the piercing screams that echoed through his home said otherwise. It sounded like his Mother.
"Mum!" he shouted, running to his bedroom door, it was flung open suddenly and a man in a balaclava punched him square in the jaw, knocking him out cold. Lucy was cowering under the bed in her bedroom, all she could hear was the men, shouting and screaming at her Mother to give them her money, her Mother didn't understand what was going on, completely bewildered by the horror of the situation. She heard one more wail and decided enough was enough. She stood up, walking out onto the landing. The men were standing at the top of the stairs, there were three of them. They were looking down at something.
"Come on, let's get out of here!" one yelled, the three of them ran down the stairs as another came from nowhere and pushed past Lucy, Peter had been hit by that one she assumed. Lucy walked to the top of the stairs, what she saw made her want to be sick. Her Mother's broken body at the bottom of their staircase, they had pushed her.
"M-M-Mum…" Lucy quivered, slowly stepping down the stairs. She knelt down beside the boy calmly, checking for a pulse. There was none to be found. "Oh Mum…" she kissed her Mother on the forehead, straightening her body, she hated to see it broken the way it was. "Mummy…"
"What happened?" Edmund asked, standing at the top of the stairs. He rushed down. "What did you do?" he asked.
"I didn't do anything!" Lucy shouted back tearfully. He had headphones around his neck, Lucy assumed he had been completely oblivious to the entire goings on. They had broken in, hoping to steal from them.
"What then?" Edmund asked.
"Burglars Edmund…" she said, tears falling down her face. "Mum's dead." she saw Peter at the top of the stairs now, his eyes wide, blood pouring from one side of his mouth.
Three hours later.
Susan was trotting the usual way home, past the chip shop, the new house on the right of the hairdressers and finally; their road. She stopped suddenly as she saw a police car outside the house, an an ambulance. She suddenly started to run down the road, turning into their small front garden and running inside. She was grabbed by a policeman, who wrestled her into a grip.
"I'm a family member!" Susan yelled, biting his arm and slipping out of his grip.
"Oh.. sorry" he said gruffly, she brushed herself off and walked into the living room. Peter was sitting in their Father's armchair, Lucy on his lap and Edmund at their side, kneeling on the floor, they were all visibly distressed.
"What happened?" Susan asked.
"Mum…" Peter began. "She's dead."