35 // TUMNUS

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Snowflakes were falling onto my face

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Snowflakes were falling onto my face.

The chill of each minute crystal felt good on my skin, like dancing in a brief, downpour of rain after enduring the sticky heat of a scorching summers day. I tilted my head back, so I could catch more of the snow on my face, eyes closed and smiling as it caressed my lids with the gentlest of icy kisses.

'You feel better now?' Mr. Tumnus said, close by.

I nodded, my eyes still closed. 'Yes. Thank you, Mr. Tumnus. I feel much better indeed. There's something so wonderful about the snowfall, don't you think?'

Mr. Tumnus said nothing for a moment, and when he did, there was such a sad inflection to his tone, that it made me open my eyes and search him out, because I hated to think of Tumnus feeling sad.

'I have grown accustomed to the harsh bite of winter, daughter of Eve,' he said. 'But I do so long for the summer. I think I would very much like to feel the softness of grass under my hooves, and dance in the warm glow of the sun. And besides,' he went on, as he saw me frowning at him, 'it would be nice not to have to wear this blasted scarf.'

He pulled on the red woolly scarf wrapped around his neck and made a funny face, as if it was strangling him. I laughed and stepped closer, grinning as I arranged the scarf to sit perfectly, making sure the ends were level.

'Do you think we will ever dance in the sunlight, Mr. Tumnus?' I asked.

His smile faltered a little then, a small crease appearing on his brow. His faun ears twitched and settled back into place as he sighed, the smile returning.

'I think you will, Casey Brogan.'

My face fell. 'But, what about you, Mr. Tumnus?' I said. 'Won't you dance with me there?'

He playfully prodded my nose with one fingertip.

'Some of us weren't made to dance in the sunlight, daughter of Eve. That, I'm afraid, is just how the story is written.'

I scowled, my bottom lip poking out in a sullen pout. 'Well, I think that's a stupid story,' I replied, with a little stamp of my foot on the snowy ground. 'I don't want to dance there if you can't.'

He grasped my small hands in his and squeezed firmly. 'Don't ever say that!' he said, his eyes wide. Was he angry? I couldn't tell, but he didn't let go of my hands. 'You must never say that, do you hear? You must never be afraid to step into the sunlight on your own, because if that is the path of your story, then that is where you must go. Remember though, I will always be here if you need me. You will remember that, won't you?'

'Yes,' I said, nodding my head fervently. My tangled hair fell over one side of my face and he pushed it back with his hand.

'Have you ever caught snowflakes on your tongue?' he said, suddenly, turning away and poking out his tongue to catch the tiny flurries of snow that drifted down in the light of the streetlamp.

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