Tamnen slipped silently through the woods, the sound of his steps muffled by the snow. The trees were frosted white, each leafless limb delicately outlined, each plump conifer draped in a glowing blanket. The moonlight caught on each snowflake as it fell, a disco-ball of iridescence.
If he weren’t so distracted by the cold, he might have been able to appreciated the evening’s beauty.
“All a scarf really does,” he huffed, breath misting, “Is remind you that your head and torso are naked. What the hell kind of tradition is it, really? Might have been practical back in Greece, but I doubt our ancestors would have trotted about this exposed to the elements they’d had to experience frostbitten nipples.”
It was useless, of course. He’d tried the same argument, minus the reference to nipples, with his father that very morning, but it was hard to have a proper debate when your opponent’s only response was a growled, “This is the way it has always been, and always will be.”
Tamnen supposed he ought to be grateful Tumnus and leave it at that – before that Lewis fellow’s chance encounter in the woods, even the scarf would have been ‘an affront to the ways of our ancestors!’ Tamnen wondered if Tumnus’ father had been as obsessed with keeping to the old ways.
His own father had been too outraged at Tamnen’s temerity at comparing himself to the great Tumnus to give any real answer. It seemed to Tamnen, however, that the great Tumnus had had the temerity to be caught out by a human, and was only revered because his image, wearing non-traditional clothing, had been inscribed into children’s books everywhere, the first of their kind not depicted as naked.
An unexpected dip in the ground sent him tumbling into deep snow with a loud yelp. He leapt to his feet, brushing frantically at the clumps of snow clinging to the hair on his chest and head, his entire body trembling with cold.
He snapped his scarf out a few times, cursing, to shake the cold from his only protective covering.
The muffled silence of the woodlands was broken by a surprised gasp. Tamnen whirled with a yelp of alarm, tripped and tipped back into the snow with only a momentary glimpse of a red hat, brown ringlets and a pair of wide blue eyes framed by icy branches.
“OH! Oh my gosh, are you ok?” the rapid-paced crunch of snow under boot grew closer, interspersed by the whoosh of her breath as she stumbled through the undergrowth. Even as Tamnen scrambled out of the shallow defile, his skin bright pink with cold, her mitten-clad hand closed around his arm and pulled. They tumbled down into the snow, and once again, Tamnen found himself covered, scrambling to his feet and shivering. He reached out and hauled the girl to her feet before shaking himself off.
Steadying herself on his arm, her eyes widened, taking him in. “Oh. My. Gosh.”
Uh Oh, Tamnen thought. Is not being seen rule one, or is freezing one’s ass off in honor of the ancestors?
“You must be freezing! What do you think you’re doing out here with no shirt on?” She yanked a mitt off and tossed it aside, pressing her plump hand against his chest. “You’re cold as ice! Hang on.”
The girl stripped off her thick coat and shoved it at him. Hardly daring to believe his luck, Tamnen slipped it awkwardly around himself, the residual heat from her body shrouding him delightfully in warmth and the summery smell of peaches. He surrpetitiously shuffled a few steps until the snow came up to about the girl’s knee level.
“I’m Amanda,” she said, gesturing impatiently for him to lower his head. He obliged and she plunked her hat down on his curly hair, pulling it down as far as it would go. Tamnen re-adjusted it, tucking his ears safely out of sight.
Amanda stared at him expectantly, their breath clouding out between them, her cable-knit-sweater pulled tightly closed. “Well?” she demanded.
“Um, Tamnen.” Tamnen said, rubbing his arms through the delightful wool of the coat. Amazing, absolutely amazing. It’s like having upper body fur.
“Well, ummmTamnen, that answers one question, but more importantly, why are you wandering around in the woods at night, in the winter, and naked?”
“I have a scarf,” he offered weakly. “And what are you doing out here so late?”
She lifted the camera that hung around her neck. “And weird fur-pants, yeah, I can see that. Not exactly winter appropriate, though, is it?”
“Right?!” Tamnen exclaimed, happy to hear someone finally agree with him. “It’s ridiculous – it’s winter, below zero, snowing! and yet, we go around dressed in the traditional garb of our ancestors, ancestors who never experienced anything like this kind of cold!” his voice deepened in an immitation of his father, “This is how our ancestors dressed, who are you to think you’re better than generations of Fau-” his voice cracked, “F-fausts before us?”
Amanda hadn’t paid attention to his slip-up, however, her eyes were locked on the hard-packed snow patch he’d created with his energetic pacing.
“Ohmygosh!” she gasped, one mitten-clad hand pressed against her mouth, the other pointed at his completely visible cloven hooves.
“Um…” Tamnen wracked his mind for an explanation. A hand raked through his hair pulled the hat loose, to further delighted exclamation from Amanda. The small horns previously hidden by hair were now poking through.
“Ohmygosh, no-one will ever believe this! It’s like I’m in freaking NARNIA! Are you real?!” Amanda did a little jig of excitement.
Narnia, Tamnen thought, suddenly feeling elated. His ears perked up, and Amanda squealed excitedly.
… who am I to not emulate the great Tumnus? Tamnen smiled, and said, “Haven’t you ever heard the expression, a picture’s worth a thousand words’? And… can I borrow your gloves too?”
My goal this year is to write more fiction than just prompts. Prompts are great, but they don’t often open you up to going over 500ish words. I like including pictures that either (as now) were drawn particularly for my story, or that I see and either inspire a story or suit it. So if you want me to write something inspired by your artwork… drop me a line (in comments, or at lexy3587 (at) gmail (dot) com). I love a good challenge, and having your art featured on my blog will lead to fame and fortune… or at least fame… or some renown… amongst the people who read my blog. The important thing is getting your art out there, really.