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Edmund's StruggleUnder the Spell of the White Witch
By Michael Flexer
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Michael Flexer
All right reserved.
High above London, the metal birds were dropping their bombs. Edmund Pevensie, young and unafraid, pressed his face against the cold window in order to see the airplanes. Although there were many buildings on fire that night, the glass in the window felt like ice against Edmund's skin. Since the War began and his dad had left to fight, it had seemed like winter every day.
"Edmund, get away from there!" his mother cried. She hurried Edmund, his elder sister, Susan, and younger sister Lucy, out of the backdoor toward the air raid shelter in the garden. Peter, the oldest of the four children, held the door open with one hand and tugged Edmund with the other. A thought passed through Edmund's mind. He broke free from his brother's grip. He had always been good at escaping. Whenever Peter and he used to play together, Edmund would manage to wriggle out of reach. Not that Peter and Edmund played any longer, since Peter had decided he was too old for children's games.
Edmund hurried into the house, with Peter running after him. On the mantelpiece stood a photograph of their father. Edmund reached toward it. At that moment the ground beneath his feet vanished andthe whole room seemed to explode in a shower of glass. A bomb had exploded outside the window. Peter had tackled Edmund in the nick of time, saving him from injury... or worse.
"You little idiot!" Peter shouted as he grabbed Edmund's arm and pulled him back to the shelter. In Edmund's hand was the damaged photo of their dad. The word "idiot" rang in Edmund's ears days later as all four children sat on a train heading into the countryside. They were being sent from London for their safety, and were to stay in a large house with Professor Kirke. Edmund felt that Peter was always being mean to him, calling him names and treating him like a little baby. One day, he thought to himself, I'll show Peter that I can be grown-up too.
Edmund was still full of angry thoughts when the four Pevensie children stood nervously on the train platform waiting for the Professor to pick them up. Instead of the Professor, an ogress of a housekeeper named Mrs. Macready arrived. She wore a miserable expression. She showed the children around their new home, and it seemed as though every sentence she spoke began with the word "no."
"No sliding on the banisters. No improper use of the dumbwaiter. No touching of the historical artifacts."
That first evening in the Professor's household, Edmund and his brother and sisters talked nervously about their new life. Lucy was very frightened about being away from home and far away from their mother. She was only eight years old. Although in his heart Edmund wanted to be positive and cheer his little sister up, he found himself only upsetting her more. Somehow, he always seemed to say the wrong thing. He knew what he said to Lucy sometimes might sound mean, but he was really only joking. It felt to him like Peter and Susan just wanted an excuse to order him around and to pretend they were Mum and Dad. Susan was only two years older than him anyway. It wasn't fair.
In his bed that night, Edmund thought how nice it would be if for once Peter and Susan had to do what he said, as opposed to the other way around "Gastrovascu1ar" said Susan for the third time.
Edmund gently banged his head against the table out of boredom. Outside, the rain battered the window. Inside, Susan was trying to make everyone play a dictionary quiz. Edmund thought he had never played such a dull game ever before in his life. Lucy suggested something different.
"We could always play hide-and-seek."
Edmund, before he could stop himself, made a nasty reply. "Hide-and-seek's for children."
Again, he had managed to upset Lucy. He had not meant to. Edmund realized that he could not think of one single nasty thing that Lucy had ever said to him. He hadn't always been so spiteful and unkind to his little sister. When he was younger, he and Lucy had played together and the fact that he was older had not mattered. Now he was embarrassed to play with her and thought, as an older brother, that it was his duty to tease her.
Peter insisted that they play hide-and-seek anyway. Just like Peter to make me play a silly kid's game, thought Edmund crossly as he ran upstairs to hide. Edmund was especially annoyed that Peter got to seek first.
"One, two, three, four. . ." said Peter.
Edmund found a hiding place behind a curtain. He tried to make himself as small as possible and make his breathing slow and quiet.
Suddenly, a hand pulled the curtain aside. It was Lucy, looking for a hiding place. "I was here first," Edmund hissed. Lucy disappeared.
"Ninety-nine, one hundred. Ready or not, here I come!" shouted Peter. All of a sudden, Lucy had reappeared and was shouting that she was back. Edmund tried to make her be quiet. At that exact moment, Peter found them.
"I'm not sure that you two have quite got the idea of this game," said Peter. Edmund felt dreadful. Not only had he been forced to play a kid's game, and not only had he lost, but he had also given Peter a chance to make a joke at his expense. And it was all Lucy's fault.
Lucy kept insisting that she had been gone for hours and had visited a magical land called Narnia at the back of a wardrobe. She dragged Peter, Susan and Edmund to look at the wardrobe. Of course there was nothing there and Edmund saw his chance to get revenge on Lucy.
"I believe you," said Edmund. Lucy's face lit up. Then Edmund spitefully continued, "Didn't I tell you about the football field in the bathroom cupboard?"
Excerpted from Edmund's Struggle by Michael Flexer Copyright © 2006 by Michael Flexer. Excerpted by permission.
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