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Chapter Six: The Hospital


Susan didn’t want food—it seemed so pointless to eat when death weighed on the world all around her. But Carl wasn’t so inclined, and he made certain she ate a little before they went on to the hospital.

Eustace Scrubb lay very still in a narrow bed. Jill Pole was in another bed just a few feet away from Eustace. Both children were hardly visible through all their bandages and blankets. They were hardly sixteen—too young to be so still.

Her aunt Alberta stood next to Eustace. Alberta clung to Eustace’s hand. Jill’s mother was likewise by her daughter’s bed. The children’s fathers, with Francis, sat on a hard bench. None of them looked as if they had slept in days.

Susan’s guilt intensified.

She rushed into the room, leaving Carl gaping in the doorway, and went straight to her aunt. “Aunt Alberta, tell me, how is he?”

But as Susan looked closer at Eustace, she wished she’d never asked. The boy was so pale and his skin stretched tightly over his bones. Was he even breathing? Susan held her breath until she saw a slight quiver as Eustace's chest moved.

Alberta hugged Susan and wept, “Oh, Susan. What will we do if we lose him?”

Susan tried to comfort her aunt, but her own tears started at once.

Susan’s uncle, Harold, spoke up from where he sat on the bench. “The doctors have been worrying over them all night—they just left before you got here. Eustace and Jill are stable for now, but neither have awoken.”

Harold had already looked exhausted, but these last words seemed to deplete the rest of his strength.

When Alberta at last pulled away, Susan’s shoulder was wet. But she didn’t mind—how could she, at a time like this? She noticed that Carl was now in the room, standing stiffly in a far corner near Mr Pole, Harold, and Francis.

“That your sister, then?’ Carl asked Francis, his head nodding toward Jill’s bed.

Francis nodded. “Yeah.”

“She doesn’t look so good—sorry,” Carl said.

Susan winced at Carl’s lack of tact and unsenstive tone.

Francis didn’t seem to notice or care, but laughed hoarsely. “Yeah. She’ll probably not talk to any of us for a month when she knows we’ve all seen her looking like she does.”

Carl cleared his throat as if trying to laugh.

Susan saw no humor, though. She looked at poor Jill and wanted to cry harder than she already was. When she saw Jill, Susan couldn’t help but think of Lucy and how she’d never see her sister again.

Susan thought she ought to pray for Jill and Eustace. She looked around the room and couldn’t bring herself to close her eyes in front of so many people. But even if she did—could she bring herself to talk to someone she hardly believed in?

But, as if God wished to laugh at her unwillingness to believe, Francis said, “Could we pray? Now that we are all together?”

Mr and Mrs Pole shuffled uncomfortably, but Harold and Alberta actually smiled. It took Susan a moment to remember that they had both confessed last year to having found faith in Jesus. Alberta said, “That would be very nice, Francis.”

And so Francis bowed his head and prayed earnestly for both Eustace and Jill.

Susan couldn’t bring herself to join the prayer, but Francis’ parents and Carl bowed their heads along with the rest, if not somewhat awkwardly. Susan could tell that Carl’s eyes were not closed, but staring down at his tapping feet.

“Father, we thank you so much for the joy these two young people have brought to our lives. And we pray that you’ll grant them to continue to do so; give them health and strength … ”

Susan zoned away from Francis’ words.

Prayer would change nothing; the children would either live or die and their only hope was what the doctors could give.

Susan would remain practical in even this … Her shoulders slumped under the weight of her grief, and suddenly she was too tired for logic.

As the prayer came to an end, Susan opened her purse and searched for a lipstick container and her compact mirror.

Her fingers slid over the flowers painted on top.

Fire-flowers, Lucy had said. And how much they did look like the flowers she had once pretended into existence.

Susan opened her mirror and quickly applied her lipstick. She put away the lipstick but looked in the mirror a moment longer. She wasn’t surprised to see the sudden glow of light and then a lion’s face.

And she was too weary to will it away.

Susah stared at Aslan and felt that He could see into her soul.

Aslan growled, though He sounded sad, not angry. “My Daughter. It’s never too late to return to me.”

“But I thought you said I could never come back?” Susan whispered, and then she clamped her hand over her mouth and looked about the room.

No one seemed to have noticed. Susan looked back to the mirror.

“I said you no longer need Narnia, but you will always need me.”

Susan wanted to protest, but she daren’t talk again for fear someone might hear her.

Instead, she angrily snapped the mirror shut. God—Aslan, whoever He was—had only ever taken everything she loved as He tormented her reality in every possible way. Why must she listen to how much she needed Him? Susan would need no one.

Carl knelt beside Susan. “Are you doing all right? We can leave when you are ready.”

Except Carl—he was everything she needed and all she would ever need. She knew that now. Age was not to be feared, as was not marriage or having children; dying alone, that was worse—much worse.

“Thank you.” She tried to smile as she slipped the mirror back into her purse.

Carl looked like he had something else to say, but he never got the chance, for, at that moment, Mrs Pole gasped excitedly, “Jill is moving.”

Susan’s eyes jerked toward the young people—both of them were squirming. No, she realized, they were shaking.

Their pale faces were now covered in beads of sweat and splotched red.

Francis ran into the hall and called to the nurses, “We need the doctor.”

Susan neared the children, letting both of the mothers and fathers have room next to them first. She watched the children fight death and her heart tore for both of them. Again, she wondered if she shouldn’t pray.

But she couldn’t bring herself to do it.

Jill Pole’s eyes opened and she shouted even as Eustace screamed.

Amidst all the noise, Susan heard one word escape the children’s delirium: “Aslan!”

Why is Susan hesitant to pray? Do you think it's good that Francis prayed instead? Aslan tells Susan it's never too late to return to Him ... is it true, that no matter how much we reject God, we can still repent and be saved by Him? 
What of Carl in this scene? He is sticking by Susan during her darkest hour. Is he proving himself to be a better man than what the Pevensies originally took him to be? 

Links will be available when posts are published. 
A new installment will be posted the first Monday of every month: 
Prologue: Polly and Digory
Chapter One: The Mirror
Chapter Two: The Church
Chapter Three: The Friends
Chapter Four: The Party
Chapter Five: The Book
Chapter Seven: The Kiss
Chapter Eight: The Dinner
Chapter Nine: The Rings
Chapter Ten: The Conversation
Chapter Eleven: The Cottage
Chapter Twelve: The Train
AFTERWARD: Why I Wrote Susan Of Narnia 

Comments

  1. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. That is all I can say. XD

    ReplyDelete
  2. *SOBS*

    I need to start keeping up to speed on this...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *pat on the back.

      All I'm going to say, aside from THANK YOU, is, "Yes, you do!!"

      Delete
  3. I’ve purposely been ignoring this because I wanted to read the whole thing at once and not hang on cliffhangers...but today I stopped by and read all the chapters you’ve posted. Today was not the day to do it - I think this is the worst cliffhanger of the six so far! 😂 I’m very intrigued by Eustace and Jill, and Susan’s slow, steady journey is a delight to read. Thanks for writing this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahaha!
      Well, I take that as a high compliment ;)
      I'm glad you caved in, and I feel just a little bad that you're now sucked into the serial ;)
      Thanks for sharing this with me!

      Delete
  4. This is so good, I especially like this line.
    “I said you no longer need Narnia, but you will always need me.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! And yes, that line made me so happy to write ;)

      Delete
  5. Do I see Susan starting to come to her senses just a bit?? Well, she probably has a long way to go, but at least she's talking to Aslan now. Even if she probably wouldn't admit it. ;)

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think I agree with you ... she definitely wouldn't admit it ;) thanks for reading ;D

      Delete
  6. FYI, the link for chapter 7 here is incorrect.

    ReplyDelete

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