This is a fanfiction I’ve written about The Professor from The Chronicles of Narnia. I hope you enjoy it!
WARNING: This post contains mild spoilers from The Chronicles of Narnia. Please continue with caution.
“The Professor” – Story and Cover Art by Meredith Godwin
It was a bleak, drizzly, October day in the country. Inside the old estate on the hillside, there lay an aged Professor, tucked inside the warm, colorful quilt on his soft bed. He was very ill, and the Doctor had sent a young nurse to look after him until he passed. As he lay there, he thought of the wonderful life he had lived, and hoped it would come to a peaceful, painless end. The door to his room creaked open as the nurse quietly entered the room, her delicate hands holding a steaming cup of tea. She carefully placed the blue mug on the bedside table as she said:
“How are you feeling, sir?”
“Just getting ready to have a rest,” replied the Professor in a strained whisper. The nurse nodded, smiled, and affectionately squeezed his old, calloused hand.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” she said, and left the room, closing the door behind her. The Professor slowly removed the cup from the table and lifted it to his lips. A wave of warmth washed over him as he sipped the steaming liquid. Mmm, chamomile, he thought. The Professor feebly placed the mug back on the bedside table, and resumed his position under the quilt. As he closed his eyes and slipped off into sleep, he thought of the sweet nurse, and how she reminded him of two other young girls he had once known. Then he drifted into darkness.
And then came the dream. The familiar scene of the foolish childhood decision that had brought him so much regret and shame. Oh no, not now! thought the Professor. He was looking down upon a dull room full of statues. In the center of the room, there stood two children, a boy and a girl. They were staring at a little golden bell upon a pillar. The children began to argue, and quick as lightning, the boy reached out and grabbed a hammer with which to strike the bell. There was a skirmish, the girl throwing her arms around the boy’s chest and dragging him backward. She obviously didn’t want the boy to ring the bell. The boy struggled against her restraining grip, but managed to stretch out just enough to give the bell a slight tap with the hammer.
“What have you done, Digory?” yelled the girl, as the bell gave a long, quiet ring. No, no, no, thought the Professor, as his whole body began to tremble. The scene faded into blackness as a menacing voice began to whisper to him,
“Make your choice, adventurous stranger,” The ringing of the bell intensified.
“Strike the bell, and bide the danger,” The Professor’s body was shaking violently, pain searing through his chest.
“Or wonder, till it drives you mad,” The ringing of the bell filled the Professor’s ears, as he tried to cry out, but no sound came from his mouth.
“What would have happened if you had!” whispered the voice. The Professor hovered in the darkness, helpless and terrified as the pain overcame his ability to breathe. The sound of the bell had become so loud that the Professor’s old and damaged ears ached with the noise. The all-too familiar dream. The pain. The sounds. The terror.
Suddenly, the Professor was back in his bed, under his colorful quilt. He opened his eyes and abruptly sat up, terror still filling his soul. The terrible mistake that had changed the course of Narnian history. The guilt consuming him like an incurable disease. He glanced around and saw that the once gloomy and rainy day had been replaced with sunlight pouring through his open window. He breathed a sigh of relief as he realized the dream was gone. The dream that had haunted him his entire life. And then he saw the lion.
He was sitting at the side of his bed, staring at the Professor, his yellow mane shining like gold in the beautiful sunshine. He was the most amazing and magnificent creature the Professor had ever seen, and with him came the Professor’s peace. He felt better than he had in years. The guilt was gone, the pain no longer consuming him. He felt as though he could leap from his bed and run for hours across the green country-side. The lion leaned forward, and said,
“Aslan?” replied the Professor.
“Yes, it is I,” said the lion. “I have come for you at last. Get up, and follow me.” The Professor rose from his bed, full of renewed strength. He followed the lion down the hall, turned left, then right, then left again. They had arrived at a closed door, and when it was opened, revealed the wardrobe room. The room in which the Professor had placed the large, enchanted wardrobe many, many years before. Although it had been there for decades, he had never opened it. He followed Aslan across the room to the wardrobe, the old floorboards groaning beneath his feet.
As they approached the wardrobe, the Professor noticed his reflection in the looking-glass on the door. He was no longer wearing his old nightgown, but was dressed in a white robe of an unknown material. His face looked much younger, the color had returned to his features, and there was not a wrinkle to be found. His legs and arms were strong and muscular, not feeble and weak as they were just minutes before. The lion stopped, and opened the door to the wardrobe with his massive, but gentle paws. As the lion beckoned for the Professor to enter, their eyes met. Relief flooded over the Professor’s body, as he felt the grace and forgiveness that only the lion could give. The two old friends smiled at each other. Then, with a peaceful sigh, Digory stepped into the wardrobe.