They landed hard on the wooden floor. Unfortunately the floor was very solid beneath Edmund.
Above them stood a familiar far away phantom of the Professor who had taken them in all those years ago. They were back.
Edmund could feel the shock pouring off his siblings, the bewilderment written on Peter’s stunned face. Heartbreak seeped all over Lucy, she was so young now.
Susan was immovable, her face was stone, Edmund thought of the orchard Susan had just planted alongside her closest friends. Susan would never see the trees grow, Lucy would never teach the young trees how to dance, Peter and Edmund would never walk down through the orchard after a tough morning spent pouring over new laws.
The rest of the day passed in a blur. Edmund battled with the odd feeling of being, a twenty five year old man now stuck in a thirteen year old body.
There was a moment when Edmund suddenly sat up straight, a terrible thought crossing his mind he had forgotten about Phillip, and the other horses Merrylegs, Ginger and Jewel.
Edmund knew his friend Phillip would have searched for hours in the woods for him.
“Merry who?” Peter spoke frowning from where he sat half lying on one of the cushioned chairs.
“Susan’s horse” Edmund said suddenly frightened he couldn’t quite remember the faces of the dwarves he had spoken with the morning before the hunt. Peter’s brow crinkled “right” he said rubbing at his eyes “I just-it’s all”. Peter shook his head.
Susan told them to go to bed when it got dark, Lucy had just nodded and her silence disturbed Edmund more than he wanted to admit. Lucy should never feel so down, she was the light in any room. They went to bed.
When Edmund woke the next day, Narnia seemed so far away, more faded than a dream. It upset him greatly and he got up despite the early hour and went to the spare room, opened the wardrobe door and walked to the back.
Solid wood rested under Edmund’s shaking hands. There were no pine trees, no autumn Narnian air. Just the smell of dust balls, Edmund almost found himself wishing for the icy snow that had first greeted Edmund barely a week ago. Fifteen years ago, his mind screamed, he had lived in Narnia, he had grown up in Narnia.
They all had him, Lucy, Susan and Peter. But it was all gone. All that remained of Narnia was the back of a wardrobe in the spare room of Professor Kirke's house. Edmund tasted salt in his mouth, he was shaking, his face wet with tears.
Edmund would like to say that things got better. When he, Lucy, Susan and Peter returned home to their mother and their father returned from the front.
Narnia faded more and more and life in England continued. There was still a war on, but there was homework and house chores and obligations to pay visits to their relatives. Edmund however, did not handle losing Narnia all that well. He spent each day trying to remember as much as he could of Cair Paravel. The dwarves, Centaurs and talking animals.
Susan tried to forget it all and threw herself into teenage girl obsessions, makeup, magazines and boys. Susan was a High Queen of Narnia, she had never been vain although many songs had been sung of her beauty.
It was hard for Edmund to see Susan obsess over the lipstick she and her friends had saved rations to buy. When Edmund could vaguely remember his sister at twenty four bare faced and lovely, turning down every suitor.
Now Susan would wear lipstick she didn’t need, and smile her painted mouth at boys in hopes of getting their attention. Edmund’s memory of Susan at twenty four was replaced with the current sixteen year old Susan. And no matter how hard Edmund tried, his memory faded.
He couldn’t remember the colour of the dress Susan used to wear, or the style, or the name of the arrogant prince who had tried to kidnap her. Edmund tried not to forget the clear Narnian air, the sound of the merpeople’s song. The dawn of a new day rising brilliantly over Owlwood.
Most days it was physically painful for Edmund to look Lucy in the eyes. Lucy always smiled, she always cracked jokes and laughed. Her sunny personality was as wonderful as the time she had won the treaty of- Edmund couldn’t think what treaty but it had been a treaty, she had gained the alliance of- the Galmans or Archnlanders.
All she had done was smile and laugh and Narnia had a solid ally in… Somewhere, someone. Edmund couldn’t remember.
Edmund just knew that Lucy’s eyes should never look as sad as they always looked now, even a year later Lucy’s eyes remained far too sad and far too wise for a twelve year old. It was painful for Edmund to look into Lucy’s eyes, her eyes spoke of the loss she carried. The loss of Mr Tumnus, the bevers, the trees, and more Narnian’s who Edmund couldn’t remember.
Sometimes Edmund thought of asking Lucy if Narnia was faded for her as much as it was for him but he never did. Edmund couldn’t decide if it was worse if Lucy could remember everything just like it was all yesterday and was stuck here, a grown woman, a Queen.
Or if she would blink her eyes at Edmund and ask him what he was on about. That it was only a game they once played, why was he asking? The thought that Lucy, Lucy who had found Narnia first, would forget the trees her friends everything. It terrified Edmund.