starspiritgate: (dekko)
Yubi Shines ([personal profile] starspiritgate) wrote2013-01-26 03:51 pm
Entry tags:

“The terrible danger of screaming into the dark is the chance that something will answer back.”

Since I've decided to use this journal more often, here's a thing I wrote last month. Fanfiction.

I've been intermittently keeping up with the Narnia Deconstruction posts, which really underlines what a raw deal Susan gets even at the start of the series, around the same time I found Lovecraft's commonplace book. (A commonplace book is... actually, rather like how some people use tumblr, a collection of words and quotes and scraps of ideas that you keep in a place to use later. Albeit with less porn gifs.)

Original posting: ...er, somewhere on plurk. (edit: found it) If you think the pace is a little funny, it's 'cause I wrote it sentence by half-sentence in IM-form.
Original posting where people could actually read it sensibly: tumblr.

---

A great many things came into her possession, after all was said and done.

Personal effects, some money, their father's souvenirs from the war; she recognized a stack of envelopes bound up in green tape, letters they'd written to him and addressed in their crooked childish scrawl. A set of silver that had belonged to her mother, and her mother before her. A dented metal box. Even the professor's little cottage with his books and his writings, and what remained of the fine furniture from the lumbering old house where it all began.

(She was surprised to find herself in his will, but, she supposed, it was a simple process of elimination. Who else was left?)

Much of this was to be held in trust by the family solicitor, until it was deemed she was old enough to manage it.

(Old enough, what a joke, as though she wasn't in her fifties or more, not yet a crone but well underway, not this half-grown adolescent playacting in a girl's body.)

After the funeral the solicitor had driven her back to her little flat in London—he had suggested her parents' house, perhaps it would be a comfort?... but acquiesced under her flat stare. The rest of the drive had been in silence, as she ran her hands over the box on her lap, caked soil collecting under her nails.

What remained of her relatives were in no state to drive her; Aunt Alberta and Uncle Harold had been pale and silent during the service, holding hands like they were clinging to a lifeline. She'd shaken hands with Mr. and Mrs. Pole, who had been little better. In truth, she known them less than she'd known their daughter (which was to say, hardly at all), but, well, it was the duty of a queen to comfort her people.

She'd heard the murmurs behind her: poor girl, what a dreadful blow, she must be out of her mind with grief, do you think she understands the gravity of the situation yet?

Ha. She understood better than anyone.

She supposed, in the end, that he had played by the rules after all. He had told them that they had grown too old—and she'd obeyed, turned her face away from her memories (for memories were all that was left) to live in the world of her birth. Her siblings had chosen differently: to stay young, to stay in neverland, to relive their distant glory days over and over like some of the more ridiculous boys she'd dated, who could only ever talk about that time they'd been chosen for the cricket team at school—as though they had no other accomplishments of note in their lives.

Given the choice to grow, they had chosen instead to regress. And now—and now, he had taken what was his.

Well, what else do you expect from the gods.

---

It was evening, now, and she sat on a hard wooden chair in her empty flat. There was a great pile of flowers and cards by the front door, and she supposed that she should be writing polite responses—thank you so much, you're so kind, I appreciate your support through this difficult time, thank you.

She won't write them, not now or ever.

She has had enough of being thankful in the midst of disaster.

Instead, she prised open the lid of the little metal box, hinges stiff and rusted after years of being buried beneath the earth, and a faint humming filled the room as she revealed rows of green and yellow rings.

---

The night before the crash, her elder brother (the only one of them who could bear to speak to her; how any of them had managed to rule alongside each other, she would never know) had called her, and she had listened to his description of the bound and beaten king, listened to him asking her one last time to join them, I know you haven't forgotten, listened as long as she could bear before hanging up without a word.

You poor children, she had thought, he would never allow you to return under your own power.

She wished, now, that she had not been right.

It turned out that the jewelled god of the desert was not the only one who would demand a living sacrifice.

Ha.

And yet... and yet.

The first time they had left that land, she had begged them to turn back, to give up the hunt for the stag, to go home. When they returned to see their castle in a shambles, she had wondered... how could she not wonder—what would have happened if she had returned alone, to rule with three empty thrones next to her. Would her country have been ravaged by pirates? Would her people have been decimated by hate and ignorance and genocide?

And now that the golden god of the forest had, in effect, taken his toys and gone home...

This time, she knew, this time, her countrymen would not be left to fend for themselves for a hundred, a thousand years. This time, she would not leave a half-grown pampered boy-king on the throne, but a true queen.

She opened a drawer, retrieved paper and ink and pen, and in a darkened room began to write. Not a thank-you note, this, but a letter leaving everything in her name—the war relics, the silver, the cottage, the books—to her relatives. Perhaps it would not stand up in a court of law, but the solicitor had been kindly after a fashion and probably it would work out. And she would not have it said that she did not leave her affairs in order.

A part of her, regretfully, knew that this would be taken as a suicide note, and the more she might try to explain the truth the more convinced everyone would be of her descent into delusion. Tragedy compounded upon tragedy!

Sometimes it seemed like nothing had gone right, not since the day her sister walked from a spare room into a snowy forest.

All she could do, in the shambles of her entire world, was to make things right.

She slipped a ring on her finger and vanished.

---

This time, there was not even the courtesy of snow on the ground or fur coats at her back, only ice. Only ice, and darkness.

She fell to her knees in her sunless kingdom, just a silly little girl after all in funeral blacks with a long braid of black hair whipping in the wind, and she screamed in rage and loss and thwarted hope. When she slammed her fists on the ice bloody streaks were left on the surface.

"They weren't yours to take!" she shouted. "You never lived here, they did! They lived in the fields and the rivers and the trees and all you ever did was abandon them!"

The terrible danger of screaming into the dark is the chance that something will answer back.

I know, a voice said, so soft as to barely be heard.

She scrambled to her feet and turned around—but there was nothing to be seen. The last time she had heard the voice was decades ago. The last time the owner of the voice had been alive, she was being torn to shreds on a battlefield, and it had been a little girl who turned away from the ghastly sight, too nauseous to speak, too proud to be seen throwing up in front of her subjects.

But, after all, one queen will always recognize another.

I know, the voice said again, low and sad. He watched as the red star threatened to burn my land into ashes, and he did nothing. He turned my sister from me and told her I was wicked, and as we tore each other into shreds he did nothing. In the end, if I thought a quick death for all was more merciful than being cooked alive by our own sun, what else was left for me to do?

She swallowed and asked, quietly, "How are you still alive?"

A quiet laugh, the laugh of broken pride, of someone who has suffered a mortal wound. Didn't your brothers tell you? A witch never truly dies. Not even if she wants to.

"Are you the only one left?"

I do not know. This world is bigger than he, or you, or I ever knew. He wasn't here when it began, you know. The land was here before he ever sung the stars into being, and it seems the land will remain.

She hugged her arms to herself, although she scarcely felt the cold anymore. "He told my sister," she said slowly, "he told her that he exists in my world too, in another shape."

Then, if this world is truly barren, if there is nothing left to save, we will return to yours. And we will see if we can wrest it from his grip, as I could not do for Charn, or Felinda, or Sorlois, or Bramandin. Or Narnia.

She nodded.

And the darkness coiled up around the broken queen and made her whole.

Man stumbles on dream world—returns to earth—seeks to go back—succeeds, but finds dream world ancient and decayed as though by thousands of years.
-- H. P. Lovecraft's commonplace book


ember_keelty: (juri thoughtful)

[personal profile] ember_keelty 2013-01-27 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
So I've seen a lot of fic about Susan, The Problem Of, a fair amount of it through you, but I don't think I've ever seen her use the rings before, which is a really good idea wow that is just a plot point sitting around waiting for someone to dig it up. And those last lines are haunting. It's always been such a given that Aslan is Jesus that it's never even occurred to me to turn that around and try looking at it from the other direction — that Jesus is Aslan, and Earth is every bit as fucked as Narnia.

I would really like to see how this could play out, but there's also a part of me that doesn't want to know, because as brave as Susan is, she's up against a god, and it could end depressingly so much more easily than well.
ember_keelty: (Default)

[personal profile] ember_keelty 2013-01-28 12:21 am (UTC)(link)
The part that haunted me the most was intentionally horrific, and that's what made it so upsetting; it was just so cruel, and then no one ever questioned it or thought about it all. I mean the Animals who have their ability to talk taken away and are sent into the darkness. I was young enough when I read the books to not care about most of the more questionable things Aslan did and just believe what the narrative told me about how wonderful he was, because he was an authority figure who cared about children and usually showed up in time to make things right, and there was something really comforting about him. But before I became an atheist, I was always a staunch universalist, and I could never, ever like him again after that.

I'd actually forgotten about the fear thing, but when you talk about it like that, you make it sound like entering Aslan's country is really just the other side of the same coin as being turned away from it.