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Chapter Eleven: The Cottage


The morning was still cold and dark when Susan arose, dressed, and packed a light bag. She nearly added the rings to her bag, but stopped, pondering them a moment. She no longer needed them—but maybe there was someone else that could find solace in them. So Susan wrapped the cigar box of rings with brown paper and wrote an address on it.

She scribbled a note for the maid and placed it in the kitchen, and then Susan left her home for the damp streets.

The Pevensies owned a car, but Susan had never driven it, and she wasn’t about to try and learn to do so now. The railway was not a far distance away, and besides, it would feel good to breathe fresh air. The walk pinkened her cheeks, and the sun slowly came out to warm the sky.

The post office was on the way, so Susan stopped there first and paid for her parcel to be sent before hurrying on to the the railway.

Maybe she was going insane, as Carl believed. Her entire growing up years, she’d fought to be rational, but what if this tragedy had truly broken her?

Maybe Susan was wrong to go? Maybe she should have at least told Carl?

But Carl wouldn’t have let her go, and she felt an unexplainable desire to go to Professor Kirke’s cottage.

Susan purchased her tickets then sat to wait, trying to calm her fears about Carl and her own mind.

But as the train whistles screeched closer, another fear coursed through Susan. A train had taken everyone she loved—how could she dare to board? Would it take her, too? She didn’t want to live, but Susan knew deep in her soul that she wasn’t ready for death.

Not yet.

When the train stopped at last, Susan’s hesitation morphed toward resolve. She gritted her teeth and forced herself to step inside.

πŸŽ•πŸŽ•πŸŽ•πŸŽ•πŸŽ•

Susan wandered the platform, uncertain which way was to Professor Kirke’s. She’d only been to his place once before, and she’d never had a good sense of direction.

“Miss, can I help you?” an older man wearing a railway uniform asked Susan.

Relieved, she nodded. “Do you know the way to Professor Kirke’s cottage?”

The man’s eyes fell, probably thinking of the man who used to live in and add much to the community around him. “Yes. Fifteen miles down that way. You go straight until you find his drive.”

Fifteen miles? Susan would never make it. The high sun mocked her with the time and reminded her that she’d packed no food, nor had she eaten since the party last night. Her stomach grumbled at the idea of going so far without food.

Susan blushed, hoping that man hadn’t heard.

“Do you not have someone to meet you?” the railway man asked.

Susan shook her head.

“Why don’t you have a seat, Miss? Some of the farmers will be returning from the market soon. I know that one of them would be more than happy to give you a ride.”

“Oh, would they? I would be very grateful.” Susan said.

“My pleasure.” the older man smiled.

And so Susan took a seat on the bench.

πŸŽ•πŸŽ•πŸŽ•πŸŽ•πŸŽ•

Susan rode with an old farmer in the back of his produce wagon with his two grandsons in it. The boys had a packed lunch from their mother, and they insisted that Susan have some of it.

“Oh, I shouldn’t,” she said, eyeing the food as if she really thought she should.

There did seem to be a lot of food for two small boys.

But they insisted by pushing their containers under her face until she accepted. And so Susan ate, and after they’d all eaten she was glad, for there had been plenty with leftovers.

The drive was quiet, save for the boys’ playful banter that sometimes included Susan. In some ways, she was reminded of Peter and Edmund, not in a way that made her sad, but in a way that made her content to watch the boys.

“We’re here,” the old old mad said from atop the wagon seat.

He hadn’t spoken much, so his voice startled Susan and it took a moment for his words to register. Susan saw the drive that lead to a small cottage surrounded by bare trees and dry grass. It had been summer when she saw the Professor’s cottage, and she hardly recognized it now. But the old man’s words finally grabbed her, and she jumped up and out of the wagon, grabbing her bag.

“Thank you so much,” Susan said.

The old man nodded with a reserved smile and snapped his reins. The boys waved goodbye. Once they were out of sight, Susan made her way down the winding drive toward the cottage. She hesitated only a moment before fitting the key to the lock and entering the Professor’s home.

Sunlight streamed in behind her, revealing an organized living room covered in a thick layer of dust. There were not many things to fill the room—only an overstuffed chair, a desk, book shelves, and a wardrobe.

Susan recognized the wardrobe at once as the one she and her siblings had first entered into Narnia through. She rushed over and opened the doors, stirring the dust all around her. She reached through the coats hanging inside, but her knuckles touched hard wood right where a backboard should be.

She sighed and closed the door, turning to the bookshelves. There were hardly any novels there. Mostly textbooks, philosophy, and theology, Susan assumed. It was no wonder that Peter and the Professor had gotten along so well.

Susan brushed her fingers along the spines, reading the authors’ names—George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, Harold Bell Wright, G. K. Chesterton. She turned away from the books, her finger tips coated in dust.

A painting hung on the wall just above the overstuffed chair. A ship tossed at sea. The waves looked almost real, and the ship wasn’t like any other ships Susan had ever seen on Earth. She inspected it closer and realized it must have been the painting Lucy had mentioned that had pulled her, Edmund, and Eustace into Narnia.

Susan touched the waves, imagining them wettening her hands. Or maybe they did, for when she pulled her hand away, the dust no longer stuck to the top of her fingers.

Susan stared at the picture, but it wouldn’t pull her in.

She turned away from it at last and sighed. She didn’t know what she had expected to find when coming here, but whatever it was, she wasn’t seeing it.

What she really needed was a good cry. But stubbornness wouldn’t quite let go of her. “Why have I come?” she asked herself.

It was then that she noticed the large stack of papers sitting on top of the Professor’s desk. Beside the paper laid a fountain pen and a box of full ink cartridges.

Suddenly, she saw what she must do.

But first, it was time she prayed.

Susan dropped to the floor, bent her head, and prayed out loud, “Father, I’m sorry I forgot you. Please help me find the faith I had as a child, and thank you for not giving up on me.”

As Susan continued praying, her words became unintelligible and mixed with her tears—joyful tears of discovered peace. Her eyes still closed, her tears slowed and, for a long moment, she felt warmed as if He hugged her.

At last, Susan arose from the floor and grabbed the paper and fountain pen, then sat in the overstuffed chair.

Then, Susan placed the pen on the first blank page and remembered Narnia.

After having been treated so poorly by the Bryants, do you think that the railway man and the farmer with his two grandsons were a breath of fresh air to Susan? 
Do you think this was the perfect place for Susan to remember both God and her own story? Or does the place really matter? 

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 Seven: The Kiss
Chapter Eight: The Dinner
Chapter Nine: The Rings
Chapter Ten: The Conversation
Chapter Twelve: The Train
AFTERWARD: Why I Wrote Susan Of Narnia 

Comments

  1. The farmer and his two sons were so sweet. <3 They showed such kindness! I'm glad that Susan chose to come here and I hope that she holds on to her new peace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you liked the new characters. And yes, the ending was so hard to write, but I'm very thrilled to be sharing it SOON.

      Delete
  2. AWW YAY FINALLY! I'm so happy she's finally made this step. :') I can imagine how sad she must have been going there and seeing the wardrobe and the picture. Especially when they wouldn't take her to Narnia.

    Great chapter! I can't wait for the conclusion! I can't believe we're already at this point. o.o

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finally? I had the same feeling writing it πŸ˜‚ finally I had her where I wanted her ... But now what to do with her!?

      I can't believe it either.

      Thanks!!

      Delete
  3. YESS Susan is finally believing again! i love what you done with the story and i can't wait to see the end!!! <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wish something like this had happened in the book. I love this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too 😭 Susan was my favorite, and so my heart was broken when I first read the Last Battle. In fact I read the portion of Susan like ten million times before accepting that Lewis wrote it. And then I was upset that he was already dead and couldn't fix his mistake. So then I knew I had to ;) Thanks so much!

      Delete

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