Peter jumped to one side. The ball slipped right through his fingers! “Goaaaaaaaaaaaaal!” Edmund’s cries rang across the garden to where Peter lay. Edmund danced around. He was soon joined by Lucy who was on his team.Lucy laughed, “And who ever said only big kids can play football?”
Susan walked over to Peter and helped him up. Peter shouted over to them, “Congratulations, you two. Maybe you can help England finally win the cup.” Susan laughed as they walked over, “Maybe.” Lucy and Edmund stopped dancing as they were joined by their older siblings. Edmund said, “What does that make the score?”
Peter said quietly, “Seven to one.” Lucy replied, “So, did we win or do you want us to completely demolish you?” Edmund and Lucy started laughing again. Susan said, “Well, you may have beaten us at football, but we can still beat you at…tickle war!”
Peter and Susan attacked their younger siblings, tickling them. Susan’s words were true, no matter how hard they tried, Edmund and Lucy could never out tickle Susan and Peter.
Soon, after all four children had just about died from the pain in their stomachs, they lay on the grass and looked at the clouds. Susan shouted, “Look, it’s a bear.” Peter looked to where she was pointing and said, “That’s not a bear, it’s obviously a puma.” Edmund shook his head, “Your both wrong. It’s a dinosaur. A big t-Rex!” Lucy said, “I think it’s a lion.” The other three children looked hard at it. Peter said, “You’re right Lu, it does look like a lion. A rather large one though.”
The four children continued to see things in the clouds until their mother’s voice called out to them, “Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, come in please. Your father and I have to talk to you.”
They all stood up. Susan said, “Race you.” and there was a mad dash to the door. Peter came in triumphant. They all panted and laughed, until they saw their parents faces. Their mother looked as though she’d been crying, and their father looked very serious. “Sit down please, children.” He said. The four of them sat down on the couch.
Mr. Pevensie looked at his children. “Now, you know I hate to beat around the bush, so I’ll just say it. I’ve been drafted.”
Lucy asked, “What does that mean?”
Mrs. Pevensie replied, “It means your father is going to fight in the war.”
Edmund cried, “What? For how long?”
Mr. Pevensie said, “Either until the war ends or they allow me to go home. It can take quite a while, I leave tomorrow.”
Susan said, “That soon? Couldn’t they at least give you a weak before you had to go?”
Her father answered, “The Nazi’s forces are getting stronger. They need more man-power. Almost every man in England is being called to duty. I feel proud that I can help those innocent people Hitler’s trying to kill. But I will, of course, miss all of you very much. I wanted to ask you all to be strong in my absence and to take care of each other.”
Peter said, “You have our word on that, Dad. We’ll care for each other right here, just like we always have.”
His mother sighed. “Actually Peter, the four of you are going off to Boarding School in a few weeks.”
Edmund shouted, “Boarding School? Why can’t we just stay here?”
Mr. Pevensie answered, “It’s the best thing for you. Your mother and I talked long and hard about this, it’s what we think is best. And then, when you get back your going to stay with Professor Kirk in the country.”
Lucy spoke through the tears. “Why?”
Mrs. Pevensie said, “Parliament is starting a program for kids to go to safer places while the bombings are still extreme.”
Lucy said excitedly, “Then mum will be coming with us?”
Mr. Pevensie answered, “No, only the children are leaving. Someone has to keep the economy running.”
Edmund shouted, “Oh, I see how it is. You’re going off to war, and then you’re sending us away! First to Boarding School, and then to some strangers home! I can’t believe this!”
Mr. Pevensie said, “I’m sorry Ed, but it can’t be changed.”
Edmund replied, “They were doing fine before, why can’t you just stay here?”
Peter looked over at Edmund. “We can’t change what needs to be done, Ed. They’re is a war going on and wars have to be fought.”
Edmund shouted, “I don’t care, it’s still not fair.” Edmund got up from the couch and ran upstairs to his room. Everyone in the room was shocked, Edmund would never fight like that. He was always the one who tried the hardest to get along with everyone all the time. That outburst was the last thing any of them expected.
Mr. Pevensie said, “Oh dear. It’s all my fault.”
Susan said, “Don’t worry Dad, he’ll come around.” She picked up Lucy, who had been crying into her shirt and led her upstairs. “Come on Lu, let’s clean up for supper.”
Mrs. Pevensie said, “I should get supper out of the oven now.” She walked into the kitchen.
Peter said, “I suppose I should go wash up as well.” Before he left, his father stopped him.
“Wait Peter, I need to talk to you.” He sat his son down and sat in a chair across from the couch. “Peter, you’ve grown so much in the past twelve years. It’s hard to believe you’re going to be a teenager in a matter of months. And that is why I feel confidence in what I’m going to ask of you. In my absence, you’re going to be the man of the house. That means I want you to take care of your mother, brother and sisters.”
Peter replied, “Of course. I promise to protect them.”
“Especially at Professor Kirk’s. He’ a nice man and all, but his housekeeper isn’t the easiest to get along with. Stay together, and love each other just as you always have. I know none of you would ever do anything to betray or harm the others, but with change comes new personalities.”
Peter thought about the outburst from Edmund. Then he thought about Susan taking Lucy to wash up for supper. She was the last person he expected to bring that up. Even now, Peter could feel a change in himself. Some sort of chemical imbalance. “I think I understand. I promise to look after the others.”
“Good boy. I hate to turn you into a man so fast, but I think you can handle it. Go wash up for supper, and try to get Edmund to do the same.”
Peter got up and walked upstairs. Dinner that night was quiet. Nobody seemed like their usual self tonight. The usual jokes and antics were absent. There was no laughing, and very little talking. Mr. Pevensie noticed so many changes about his family that night. He had to wonder if there was any way to reverse this. He could tell that nothing would ever be the same with his four darling children again.
© 2007 Abby Lord
by Abby Lord