Joyous laughter peeled through the woods over the sound of galloping hooves. The Kings and Queens of Narnia raced through the forest. Magnificent crowns graced smooth temples.
The four of them burst through into a clearing within the woods. At its centre stood a strange slim pole, a dim yellow light coming from the odd box at the very top of the pole.
Queen Lucy tilted her head at the peculiar pole, she felt like she knew it. There was a memory lodged in the back of her mind, a red umbrella and snow.
Lucy knew Tumnus once lived just over the hill. There were fir trees around this area of the forest. Lucy frowned thinking inexplicably about fur coats.
“Spare Oom” Tumnus had once said to her.
Lucy felt a call through the fir trees. There was something here she just didn’t know what. Lucy wanted to know what it was. Gathering her dress Lucy ignored her siblings and pushed through the fir trees intent on finding the source of the strange pull.
The trees were unresponsive and seemed to push back against her. Lucy frowned in confusion, the trees always parted for her. Her siblings crowded into the trees behind her, Lucy felt Susan’s hand close around her elbow. The needle leaves scrapped across Lucy’s face and then become soft.
Lucy could smell moth balls. The fur coats were right up against her face, Lucy was a lot shorter than the others. She doubted Susan and Peter were constantly having to spit bits of fur away from their mouths. Something felt wrong, Lucy suddenly felt anxious.
Someone stood on Lucy’s foot. “Stop shoving me Peter!” Susan hissed indignantly. Lucy felt irrationally worried they were making too much noise and Mrs McCready would find them. Panic closed in on Lucy, something was very wrong.
There was an almighty clammer as Edmund probably accidentally tripped up Peter. Susan gasped and fell onto Lucy. Lucy lost her footing and reached forward to catch herself, her small hands hit wood. The door opened as Lucy fell on top of it, and then they were all falling out of the wardrobe and landing in a heap on the uncarpeted floor.
Mr Tumnus, sardines and tea. Snow in the middle of the rainy season. The lamp post. Edmund pretending he didn’t know. Tumnus getting taken by the White Queen, everything that had followed. Lucy could feel the phantom press of her silver crown against her brow.
Lucy stared at her small hands pressed against the wooden floor of a room she had not been in since she was a child. A room she had forgotten. Lucy couldn’t feel the magic in the air anymore. They were back.
The rest of the day they all floated around in a kind of haze. The four of them congregated in one of the rooms. The one with decent sofas, a carpet and a bookcase. There was a silent understanding that nobody wanted to be alone right now.
Peter was lying on a chair. He kept on pulling at his hair, tugging at it, trying to see it.
The wind whipped through Peter’s long golden hair and he laughed loudly.
Peter’s hair was short. Their mother had cut it a few days before they had been sent off to the countryside.
Susan was sitting cross legged on the carpet. She was tracing the pattern and frowning fiercely.
Edmund was staring out the window. The expression on his face uncomfortably reminded Lucy of how he had looked when they had got Edmund back from the White Witch.
Lucy wanted to go home. She wanted to curl up in her favourite spot in the gardens and talk to Basilius and Elodie. They were her closest friends, Elodie had moved from whispering woods to the gardens at Cair Paravel. Elodie and Basilius had chosen a sunny spot just under Lucy’s bedroom window.
There was a tree near the window in the living room they had all collapsed in. It swayed in the breeze. Lucy felt sick. This tree would never talk to her like Basilius and Elodie.
“We’re going back,” Lucy said firmly. Susan met Lucy’s eyes pleadingly. Peter tried to stroke a beard that wasn't there.
“Do you think we can?” Edmund asked, he sounded so hopeful.
Lucy led her sibling back to the spare room. She opened the door and screwed her tiny hands into tight fists. Please, please, please. Lucy slowly walked into the wardrobe pushing the fur coats aside. Edmund followed behind her, Peter and Susan bringing up the rear.
Lucy’s small shoe hit the back of the wardrobe.
“It’s not there is it”. Susan’s trembling voice broke the silence.
Lucy felt a sob build in her tiny chest. It spilt out ugly and raw. “Lu,” Edmund tugged Lucy away from the back of the wardrobe and into a hug. He was crying as well.
The four of them ended up sitting cramped into the wardrobe crying and holding each other. They had lost Narnia today.