In honour of our Summer Challenge, this writing contest is appropriately themed to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even as we experience summer on this side of the wardrobe door, imagine what it was like for the Narnians to have only one season for one hundred years. How did they conduct themselves during this time? The floor is open for any variety of entries: serious tales about everyday struggles or rebellious Christmas parties, fun stories of playing in the snow or general family-and-friend bonding time, long-winded pieces or short ones, whatever strikes your fancy!
Example: “Redder Than Holly”
Mother was not doing well. Fifteen years of straight winter had taken its toll on her: she was near-bedridden most days and half-delirious more often than not. Tumnus worried for her. She was not gone, not yet, and he had to take care of her as best as he knew how. What recourse did he have? Even if Father — no. It was no good thinking about Father now. What was done was done. Mother could not live on hours of knitting and dozens of flute-songs. She needed these precious packages of food.
Tumnus shivered in the cold. Father was not here. Mother need not know. Mother may not even notice. Much as he wanted her to recover, this much worked in his favour: Mother would not suffer a broken heart over his broken promises.
At last, he reached home and thawed his fingers over the crackling fire. “It’s cold out there today, Mother,” he said with forced cheerfulness. She didn’t respond, but he hadn’t expected her to: she hadn’t spoken in such a long time. Keeping up a stream of chatter for the both of them, Tumnus prepared lunch: tea, bread and butter, a slice of ham, and, from the new provisions, a handful of dried cranberries. “Here we are, Mother,” he announced as he approached her bed with the tray.
Mother turned her eyes from the fire to smile at him. Her hands pushed something — a package — toward him. On top, in neat and careful letters, were written the words “Merry Christmas”. Tumnus’ heart froze. Ill as she was, Mother had remembered Christmas. And after what he had done — what was he to do? He fought the urge to check over his shoulder for the Secret Police. Instead, he set down the tray and unwrapped the paper. The scarf inside was long and bright red, redder than holly. “It’s lovely, Mother; thank you.” He wrapped it around his neck. “And it’s warm too!”
Mother smiled again and they tucked into their lunch. Tumnus relaxed when Mother did not question the new fare. However, when they had finished and he began to clear the dishes, he noticed that she had not touched the cranberries. He bit his lip without meaning to. So she knew after all. She knew of his betrayal. She knew he had gone to the White Witch. Tears sprang to his eyes and shame filled his heart. Mother’s hand cupped his cheek and wiped at one of his tears. When he finally met her gaze, he saw unshed tears in her own eyes. But behind those tears, beyond the spark of rebellion in the face of endless winter, he saw the one truth he had always known: “I love you.”
“Christmas Once Again” by QueenoftheUnderground
For a dog, even a Talking Dog, there is nothing better than jumping around in freshly fallen snow, even if the snow had been around for roughly 100 years. Rasee was born inside a small, warm cave and her parents kept her inside, trying to protect their pup. But after a few years of being kept inside, Rasee was determined to put her tiny paws into the white fluffy goodness.
Tentatively, Rasee sniffed around and then took one step. “IT’S WET!” she cried, jumping backwards. “It’s wet yet solid! It’s weird.”
She ran forward and jumped into the snow, bounding around with little barking huffs. She rolled around and snuffed as the snow got up her nose.
“Oh, I have been missing out,” Rasee happily mumbled, burrowing a tunnel through the deep snow. Her orangey fur was getting soaked, but she didn’t care, she was having fun. Yet, somewhere in her Dog brain, she remembered her mother telling her about someone called White Witch.
“Be careful,” her mother would say. “If you hear the sound of bells in the distance, get to the cave as quickly as you can. Stay away from the Witch lest you be turned to stone for knowing and following Aslan. She always can tell a follower.”
But Mother was away and the snow was fun. Rasee bounded up and down, rolling around, till she was quite frozen.
Rasee’s brown ears perked as she heard bells in the distance. She wiggled out of the snow and glanced around.
“What do I do? What do I do? Where’s the cave?” She glanced around frantically, circling around and around. There was a snowbank to her left. Quickly, she jumped in and burrowed in, not realizing that her fluffy tail stuck out.
The sound of bells became louder and louder, though muted by the snow in her ears. Suddenly they stopped. Rasee felt the heavy plodding of boots in the snow coming up behind her. Something gently tugged her tail.
“No… no… no…” Rasee thought.
“Come out,” she thought she heard a voice say. “You’ll suffocate, you know.”
Rasee tried to wiggle, but found herself stuck.
Suddenly, Rasee felt hands coming in at her sides. She felt them push the snow away and grab her sides. Slowly, she was pulled out of the snow bank. She sneezed the snow out of her pink nose and shook herself. She looked up at whoever pulled her out of the snow.
“That’s a good, Dog,” a man said. He gently scratched around her ears. “We’re friends.” Rasee didn’t know why she should trust the man, but his large size and smiling face put her at ease. He led Rasee back to her cave, set fresh straw down for her to lay on and lit a fire in the mantle.
“Warm up now, cool down later,” he said with a smile. He dug into his pocket and took out a large bone, wrapped in a red ribbon. Rasee took it with a soft mouth and set it at her paws. She looked at him.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“The bearer of good news,” he said, crouching low to her level. His tasseled hat hung over his face. He moved it aside and ran his hand over her head. “When I come, it means the Witch’s reign is nearing the end. I come to not only bring gifts, but to tell you that Aslan is on the move.”
Rasee’s tail wagged. “Good,” she said.
“When the snow melts, head to the Stone Table, that’s where you’ll find the best gift.”
“Aslan? He’s back?”
“Indeed. Now, I have more work to do.” He stood up and stretched his back. “Merry Christmas, Rasee. It is a Merry Christmas indeed with Aslan back.”
Rasee settled into the straw and started to chew on her bone. The sooner she could finish, the sooner the snow would melt, the sooner she could meet Aslan.
And the winner is…
“Hope” by AGB
Snow, snow. Nothing but snow. The icicle air that clung to his face, the frigid flakes that numbed his hooves and froze his tail.
The Centaur hadn’t seen the warm rays of the smiling sun for a hundred years; they had always been buried underneath the gray, menacing clouds. The trees were chillingly still as he stalked through the forest, almost like they were…but no, he mustn’t let himself even consider that possibility.
Gleaming icicles hung from their branches like daggers, aimed at the heart of the frozen earth beneath them. There was the stream, once so cheerful and alive, but now as cold and dead as the world that surrounded it, its glassy surface like the eyes of a corpse. The Centaur leaned over the edge of the chilled bank to find his own reflection gazing back at him. His nose was red, his lips were blue, the tip of his beard was frozen.
And there was that feeling. That anguish that constricted his heart with a freezing grip. It seemed to be permanently embedded in his chest, like he had swallowed a chunk of heavy, rock-hard ice.
Then he saw it. It was just a flash, a blur in his vision, for a moment as he turned his head away from the still stream. Frantically, he tried to find it again. He stepped forward. Could it be? No, he must have imagined it. The everlasting snow had stolen his spirit, and now it had stolen his sanity.
But there it was again! A flash of…color. Bright color. It was just peeking out behind that tree. He bolted toward it, his body trembling because of something more than just the cold. He reached the tree. And he found it! Four strands of radiantly green grass, poking out from the frozen wasteland beneath them. The Centaur’s breathing quickened. Something was happening. Something that hadn’t happened in one hundred years. The forest was thawing.
Then the unthinkable happened. The tree that stood tall and strong and still beside the grass let out a long, barely perceptible, creaking groan.
The wind picked up. And, somewhere on the breeze, the Centaur heard the faint whisper: Aslan.
Tears began to spill from the Centaur’s eyes, for something had happened within him that he had convinced himself a long time ago would never happen.
His heart had started to beat again.