Saturday, November 5, 2016

Narnia: Susan, Lucy, and the dead Lion

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

Susan had her hand over Lucy's mouth, careful not to cover Lucy's nostrils too, and found herself wishing that someone were restraining her own voice in a similar fashion. The entire army was moving passed the place where they had hidden themselves. A single noise might mean death.

Prophecy seemed to be dead, there could be no hope or protection sought there. Even if it weren't, it was their arrival that had somehow allowed Aslan to enter Narnia. The thing about the thrones must have been wrong regardless. They set events into motion, obviously, but there was no reason to believe that they wouldn't be crushed by those events.

The ground shook, cold passed through Susan, shadows passed over.

It seemed to go on forever. And Susan tried to remain very, very still. Their brothers were protected by an army, but she and Lucy had one bow and one dagger between them. They could easily die, even if Aslan's sacrifice to save Edmund was successful.

Stillness became Susan's very being.

Something touched Susan's leg. It took a few moments to realize that Lucy was tapping it with her hand. Was something wrong? Had she covered Lucy's nostrils, making it impossible for her sister to breathe, after all? She cautiously took her hand from Lucy's mouth.

"I think they're gone now," Lucy whispered.

Susan listened a long while. She heard nothing.

"Be ready to run," she said as she stood, and offered a hand to help Lucy up.

They both looked around, and saw nothing. Nothing except the thing in the place neither wanted to look. At first the sight was from moments Susan hadn't thought and let her gaze pass that spot or from the corner of her eye as she looked elsewhere.

She didn't know why. She'd seen it. God, she'd seen it and hadn't thought to cover Lucy's eyes. But she didn't want to look now. Neither did Lucy, but eventually there was nowhere else to look, and soon both looked to the place they never wanted to look again. They looked because it seemed there was nothing left to do, no excuse left to keep them from looking.

There were no enemies to fight or flee here. They'd never catch the army from behind. Whatever became of the battle, good or bad, was beyond their ability to change.

So there was nothing but the two of them . . . and the corpse.

"I guess..." Susan said.

"Yeah," Lucy said.

Susan reached sideways and soon felt Lucy's hand in her own.

They approached the Lion.

The moon grew low, the clouds slowly drifted by, the light seemed on the verge of dying, but they could see the Lion. They had no trouble walking to him.

Lucy dropped to her knees and cried in what was left of his fur. Susan went to his face and stroked it softly. "Even if this all comes to nothing," she said, and tears started to flow, "even if Edmund dies anyway, even if we--" she sobbed. "If we all... if we should all ... if we ... become like ..." she sobbed again, "like you." She stroked the cold face again and looked into the lifeless eyes. "Thank you."

She cried again. She felt Lucy hug her from behind.

"Thank you," Susan said. "For our brother." Another sob. "For what you," her voice broke, "tried to do."

Susan turned and hugged Lucy.

She lost all sense of time.

Then Lucy pulled away, and a moment later Susan saw Lucy's dagger gleam in the moonlight.

"What are you doing?" Susan asked.

"I hate the muzzle," Lucy said.

Susan nodded. Then she examined the muzzle and Aslan's-- Susan felt more tears. She examined the muzzle and Aslan's face with Lucy. She didn't want to add more wounds to the corpse. It was clear that Lucy didn't either.

With cold numbed fingers, looking through tear blurred eyes, and carefully --ever so carefully-- with the help of Lucy's dagger, the two of them slowly removed the muzzle from Aslan's face.

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