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Chapter Seven: The Kiss


Susan fell backward away from the fevered children as doctors rushed toward Jill and Eustace.

“Please, give us space to work or leave the room,” a doctor snapped at the parents.

Everyone else moved out of the way.

“What did my Jill say?” asked Mrs Pole. “Was she asking for water?”

“I don’t think she said anything, dear,” Mr Pole said. “She was just … murmuring.”

Susan had plainly heard Jill say Aslan, and still the word rang loud in her mind, as if a taunt toward Susan. Jill believed even as she neared death, and yet Susan would not pray. She clung to Carl and he pulled her closer.

Susan couldn’t help but look to Francis—the poor man was as white as the children, maybe whiter.

“She said Aslan,” Francis whispered to himself so that only Susan heard, and only because she had been looking directly at him. “Aslan,” Francis whispered again, as if testing the name on his tongue to find out what it might mean.

Susan turned away from Francis and shook in Carl’s arms.

Carl kissed behind her ear and shushed comfortingly.

The doctors moved and nurses worked in frantic, hurried motions. Fear clutched at Susan as they left Eustace’s bed and moved to Jill.

Eustace lay still again—too still.

“Why aren’t you working with my son?” Alberta demanded.

A doctor looked to Harold Scrubb and said, “We’re sorry,” and turned back to Jill.

“No … No.” Alberta tried to run to Eustace’s lifeless body, but Harold held her back.

Mrs Pole joined the loud chorus of sobbing as she watched the doctors desperately try to save her own daughter with more plasma and doses of medication.

Susan couldn’t watch, because then her eyes might avert toward Eustace’s body. And she couldn’t bear to see him like that …

“Carl, take me out.”

But before he could respond, Jill’s own body stopped struggling as it fell limp.

The doctors moved away, tears and sweat mixed on their faces.

Susan turned her face away; she couldn’t watch the parents cry over their children. Why must there be more death? Wasn’t it enough that she had to lose all of her family?

Susan couldn’t hide her eyes forever. She looked and saw the dead children and regretted that she hadn’t prayed for them.

Why hadn’t she prayed?

“Carl.” Susan choked on her own sobs.

“Yes.” Carl grabbed her firmly and guided her toward the door. Susan brushed against Francis, who stood quiet as he stared at his sister’s lifeless body.

Outside, with just the two of them, Susan let all of her tears loose—and there were a lot of them. She would have fallen if Carl hadn’t been there to steady her and hold her. Susan pinched his jacket to keep from screaming.

She could never go back to her old life. Parties and friends were vain, with no satisfaction. No, she wanted children—three, at least. One for each of her siblings, for she could never let them die forgotten.

But what of the others? She would need two more children for her parents, and then there were the two dead children, the Professor, and Aunt Polly. Susan would have at least nine children. Would Carl agree to so many, and then to have them all named after the dead?

Susan wiped at her tears and snot, trying to dry her face as much as she could before saying, “Carl?”

“Yes?” He sounded so weary.

Poor man—Susan knew he’d probably seen his fair share of tears and death in the war. Did this bring up bad memories for him?

“I’m ready for you to kiss me,” Susan said.

“Are you sure?” Carl asked, his eyes lighting up with obvious desire, but also uncertainty. Carl grabbed her shoulders and pushed her away to look in her face a moment longer.

Susan never wanted to be parted from him again, of that she was certain. “Yes, I’m sure.”

And so, not wasting another moment, Carl pulled Susan back into his arms and kissed her.

She expected to feel whole again—or at least warm and safe. She expected security to settle her soul, for his kiss to confirm to her that Carl would make the future brighter and that hope was to be found again.

But the kiss only snatched away Susan’s breath, washing away none of her pain.

When her lips were free, they felt numb. Her heart was numb. She hid her head in Carl’s chest and wept.

🎕🎕🎕🎕🎕

Susan and Carl decided to leave without saying goodbye to the grieving people inside of the hospital room. They left the brightly lit hospital, and Susan was not startled to see that the sun had set long ago. The weariness that pulled at every part of her told Susan that it had always been dark and always would be dark.

The sun, like Narnia, was not real. And she’d see neither again.

At home, Carl said nothing until he’d helped Susan into the house. “Shall I stay up with you a while?”

Susan didn’t want to stay up. She wanted to sleep and never wake up. Or go to Narnia, where everything had always been good. More than anything, Susan desired to hug Aslan and be comforted by Him.

Susan searched the closest mirror; one hung just over the mantle. But Aslan did not appear to console her.

“Susan?” Carl brushed Susan’s arm.

She remembered his question. “I … I think I would like to rest. You should go home, too. Your aunt and uncle are probably worried.”

“Don’t worry about me or them,” Carl said as he buttoned up his coat.

Susan bit her lip and remembered the kiss. How she hoped she wouldn’t come to regret it … already she felt as if she might now wish she hadn’t let him kiss her. “Carl … thank you for being with me.”

“Of course. I’ll be back tomorrow. Now sleep well.” Susan pretended to not see that he appeared relieved to be going. She told herself to not be hurt—of course he was ready to be away from so much grief. Carl hugged Susan quickly, then left with a murmur of, “Goodnight, Susan.”

“Goodnight,” she said to an already closed door.

And then, not fully sure why, Susan broke into a mess of tears. Her vision blinded and feeling as if her room were too far away and lonely, Susan went to her parents’ room and crawled under their covers, still in her clothes, with her compact mirror.

“Please, Aslan, let me see Lucy—or any of them. Please.”

Though she looked into the mirror until she fell asleep, no face appeared.

Why is Susan guilty about not praying, and do you think her guilt is justified? Was Susan actually ready for Carl to kiss her? Why was the kiss not what she needed? What did she need? 
Now that Susan wants to see a beloved one's face in the mirror, why do you think no faces will appear? 

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 Six: The Hospital
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. Poor, poor Susan. You're so wrapped up in the whole "further up and further in" stuff at the end, you never really think about what it would be like for those left behind...like Susan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly ... The Last Battle was so exciting, Narnia is so wondrous, that we readers could easily forget Earth and all its happenings.

      Delete
  2. Oh, Susan. :( It's so sad how she's all alone, other than Carl. (He hasn't been to Narnia, so he doesn't count. xD)

    I feel bad for her, but I still want to say "I told you so" when she starts longing for Narnia and everything. :P

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's hard to count Carl, as he can't really understand.

      I know what you mean! She deserves a "I told you so," but then maybe we all do when we fall?

      Delete
  3. :( :( ( : ( :( I was kinda holding out hope that Eustance and Jill would live. But then i remembered that they died in the book so now i'm sad. But Susan definitely needed? This tragedy so she would have faith and believe again. I can't wait for the next installment!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I'm sorry for having to make their deaths painful all over again. Yes, it's crazy how tragedies can wake us up ;) Thanks, Lia!

      Delete
  4. Ok, theeese was sadddd.... :(((( Over though, all I really enjoyed it! Great post!!

    Evan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, sorry to have caused you sorrow ;/ But glad you enjoyed it! Thanks, Evan :)

      Delete
  5. Y'know, Carl tries. I like Carl.

    POOR Susan. :'(

    ReplyDelete
  6. The link for chapter 8 needs fixing here. :)

    ReplyDelete

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